Jul 3, '08 by [COLOR=#003366]NJRNtobe
Hi Adp (and others),
I just saw your post asking questions about the program and I apologize for the delay....I haven't been on here in a while.
So to answer some questions...
First things first...while the RN to BSN program is accredited, the accelerated program at NJCU is NOT accredited...BUT...and it's a big but...don't let it deter you, and I'll explain why.
In order for any school to even apply for accreditation, the program has to have enough students enrolled, and they have to graduate a full class first to even be considered. Given that the first class is just graduating, the school is now in the process of accreditation, which they will most likely get, given the curriculum is built around what accreditation committee looks for. That also being said, accreditation is not as big a deal as some people make it. I'm not trying to downplay it - but here's the deal: if you graduate from a program that's been around for 10 or 20 years and they still don't have accreditation or somehow lost it along the way, you can assume the program is pretty worthless or had to make some major changes to get it up to snuff. When a program is 2 years old and in the process of accreditation, it's considered normal. Chances are...the program will be accredited by the time you graduate.
This was also a concern for me since I have intentions of going on to graduate studies here in NJ. So I called a few different schools and even though they say the program you graduated from "needs" to be accredited, it's simply not the case. They all understand the process of accreditation, and they know you can't even apply for it until you graduate a class, regardless if you're a community college or Harvard. So don't sweat that too much.
Currently, I'm in the Wall Cohort. We started our first semester this past May and we're done the end of July....
22 credits almost done! It's been a long semester already!
But let me start by saying this...the program is the shortest and cheapest in the entire state. That was a big deciding factor for me. Given my financial situation and the fact that we started in a summer, I'll be able to finance the entire program through Stafford Loans. Big plus. If your situation is different and this isn't an issue, so be it. Also, I live in Monmouth County. The only other program relatively close to me is Seton Hall's program through Georgian Court University, and they want 60k! That's criminal if you ask me.
And since I mentioned Seton Hall...at least 60% of the faculty at NJCU has transferred from Seton Hall (including both Program Directors and the Program Assistant) because they didn't like the way the program was being run and wanted to start a new one where they could fix the problems that were occurring. In my opinion, I think the faculty are AMAZING. They bend over backwards to help you. They want you to succeed. And they're flexible. That's really important to me. I have no complaints on that end.
Another thing I love is that they start prepping you for NCLEX on day 1. Most of your tests are NCLEX format so you get used to that line of questioning, and you go over each test question and rationale so you can really understand why something's wrong or right. That's a big plus. I have a friend who did a traditional 4 year program with great grades and failed her NCLEX the first time around because she had never seen that type of questioning before. It requires lots of critical thinking and you have to practice, practice, practice. So I love that about it.
As far as clinical and theory goes, you have to understand that ALL accelerated programs are giving up clinical time to teach you theory. There's just too much material to go through to get it all done. And you also have to understand, learning the skills is just repetition: foley catheters, meds, IV's, injections, etc... the most important thing you learn in the program is theory. You can always teach someone the "how", that's the easy part. But teaching them the "why" is more important. And once you learn the why, the how becomes 2nd nature. Now don't get me wrong, we have clinical. One full day a week. But that's really just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of the skill learning is something that's gonna be mastered on the job. And I'm fine with that. I've yet to meet any nurse, whether from a CC program, a trad 4 year, or an accelerated program that said they felt comfortable in their first year of nursing. I believe it's very scary and uncomfortable because you're so preoccupied with the idea of not wanting to make a mistake. But everyone does it....and they all get through it. So yes, there's clinical. Is it a ton? Probably not. Can I compare it to other programs?...no. You have to decide for yourself how important that is to you.
The schedule is pretty much M-F, 8am-5pm, so it's intense. The tougher classes (Pathophysiology, Fundamentals, Health Assessment), they're usually straight lecture. There's some class discussion and things like that, but for the most part you're doing a lot of sitting and a lot of listening. I don't necessarily mind that. But sometimes it's hard to sit through 2 four hour lectures back to back. There's breaks and lunch and all that good stuff, but those are the longest days. The other classes (IT, Contemporary Nursing, Cultural Nursing), those are more discussion based. And there's usually projects and lots of debates, so it's a nice balance.
(FYI - I'm sure it comes out of our tuition, but everyone get's an awesome PDA. And then you have an IT class to learn how to use it. It's a beautiful thing).
I'm sorry this is so wordy...I've had tests all week so this is the most recreational thing I've done since Monday! I apologize. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to PM me. School takes up most of my time, but I'll try to answer any questions I can.
Hope this helps!