Entering a new career as a nurse...advice on programs?

  1. Hello Everyone!

    I made an introduction on the main page located here and consider myself fortunate to have found this community!

    I am 40 years old and have decided to pursue my passion for nursing. I have a Bachelor's of Science in Biology but unfortunately for me I received my degree in 1990.....a bit long for a transfer of credits...LOL.

    I will be able to start pursuing this endeavor full-time in Feb of 2010 when I can leave my current job.

    What I have found disheartening are the waiting times for new nursing classes.

    I have a friend who is also in a similar situation and he indicated that the waiting time for CNM is two years.

    I spoke with UNM CON today and they said while there is no waiting list, it is an extremely competitive with over 200 applicants and roughly 40 are selected. The second degree program is even more competitive and I do not have "current" credit hours to even qualify from what I learned.

    Pima Medical and Apollo College have no waiting lists, if any, but are very expensive. I am still awaiting materials from both of them.

    Santa Fe Community College is less expensive with relatively no waiting time but clinicals could be located far away from what I have gathered. The people I spoke with at the college were very nice and helpful.

    I would certainly appreciate if anyone has any insight to the differing programs out there in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area. For those of you that have finished or are enrolled in the programs, what are your thoughts on each? Are there places to avoid? What would be your suggestions on how to realize my desires to become an RN?

    I am very excited to pursue a career that I truly want to be involved in!

    Thanks for any and all advice you can provide. My dream of becoming a nurse may have been delayed for a few years:chuckle....but eventually I will get there! I am also very thankful for discovering this site....everyone has been wonderful thus far!

  2. Visit MDB1968 profile page

    About MDB1968

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 10


  3. by   MDB1968
    Hi everyone,

    Can anyone shed some light on which programs they liked/disliked, did you feel prepared, cost, etc for the program you were in? I am considering CNM and SFCC with the possibility of UNM CON.


  4. by   NMCoNstudent
    Congratulations! It's a big step to follow your dream I wish you the best of luck!

    I was accepted into the summer program at U.N.M, so I can only offer you advice about the program I am in.

    The first step is to decide what type of nursing degree you would like. A BSN, an associates, or LPN. Programs such as, C.N.M offer the associates and the LPN program. The waiting time may be long and then you have think about were you would like to go with your degree, which may take more school. If you plan to increase your salary or move or to more advanced nursing you may need a bachelors or a masters.
    I've heard that C.N.M offers more field experience than U.N.M. Many people may prefer that as U.N.M has classes four days a week, on top of two clinicals a week. One twelve hour shift a month along with home visits, all in the first term. The massive amounts of reading is hard to keep up. I've heard, can not verify, that C.N.M is less demanding.

    I know someone doing the LPN program at Pima. It cost her around 20,000. She is unhappy that she will have to renew her license and is looking into getting her BSN at U.N.M. With programs like Pima you have to consider the job opportunities and pay available, as some hospitals will not accept degrees from institutes as Pima. On the up side, their programs are fast, no waiting list. Something to think about.

    U.N.M is highly completive; however, I did get in first try. It's very possible. I know many people who were accepted with me in the second degree program. They only had to take a few courses, info at the website. They had positive things to say, because unlike me, they could bypass some difficult courses. Many of the required course can be taken online or at C.N.M, which is cheaper then U.N.M

    The program at U.N.M is very demanding, working is usually not possible for most. But, I do know many people who work part-time and go to school. The instructors are amazing, the atmosphere is wonderful; overall I'me very happy that I decided to take the risk and bet it all on U.N.M.

    I hope this helps, I've given you everything I know about the programs. I think it comes down to what will work best with your life circumstances and your goals as a nurse. I'm sure others know much more then myself and hope they offer their opinions! Good luck!
  5. by   MDB1968

    Thanks a bunch for the informative answer! I am exploring all opportunities but have ruled out Pima and Apollo. Fortunately for me attending full time will be easily done (not in the workload department but in the TIME department). The unfortunate aspect is that my BS in Biology is now 19 years old....so essentially I would be a brand new student in the University's eyes.

    I am going to pursue all avenues available aside from P & A.....keeping my fingers crossed! All good things come for those who wait!


  6. by   PsychiatricNP
    I just want to give you another perspective on UNM CON. I have read what kboylan09 has said about UNM and from my perspective some her comments were a little inaccurate. This is likely due to the fact that she is not currently a student there, but will be starting in the Summer. I am presently a student at UNM CON and am a second degree student, though I am still relatively young. I was accepted to UNM CON on my first try and selected this program over three other programs that I was accept to.

    I would certainly disagree with her comments that the atmosphere is wonderful and that the instructors are great. The atmosphere is relatively negative, and I believe that I can say this with a high level of certainty as many of my peers have spoken to this. The instructors are disorganized, often don't know what they are talking about, and really aren't interested in helping you to succeed in or out of the classroom. I have been to two large state universities and have found that the instructors at UNM CON are consistenly less versed at an educating than their colleagues. You may also find that the instructors are "burnt out" and have really lost their zest for nursing. Many appear to be doing this as a way to pass time before their career ends. Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of outstanding individuals in the CON, but this is the exception and not the rule. You will be required to attend many meetings (that you receive very little notice for) outside of class time, and you will leave these meetings unsure of why you were required to attend.

    The schedule is set up in such a way that the first two months of Level 1 is a breeze, then the last month is a living hell. You are required to do 48 hours of inpatient clinicals (this is after already having completed 6 weeks of two day per week clincials), in addition to community clinicals, home visits, and all of your coursework (papers, final exams, etc.) Needless to say, the work could be redistributed to make the schedule more manageable.

    With respect to working and attending UNM CON - I have consistenly worked part-time or more and am doing well in all of my classes. I have found that you don't have to do a lot of the assigned readings, however this varies greatly from individual to individual.

    I feel that you do great a great balance of both clinical nursing and theory driven, less clinical aspects of nursing at UNM CON. If you aren't so interested in the non-clinical nursing side of things then CNM or SFCC may be the place for you.

    Please don't let this discourage you from pursuing your dream, but certainly take all of the information that you receive into consideration. Be sure to talk with current students who are in the program, they will give you an insider's view. Take the time to visit each school and make an informed decision. I didn't do this prior to choosing to attend UNM CON. No nursing program is perfect, but you have to find the program with the imperfections that fit your needs You will be spending a great deal of your time at the school you select, so you want to make sure that it fits and meets your education/career goals.

    I know how stressful the process is and I would be happy to answer any additional questions that you might have!
  7. by   MDB1968

    Thank you for your insights! Most certainly appreciated! I am still in the "researching" phase of the second career....I will be attending the CNM informational session this weekend and have been in contact with SFCC as well. I may indeed apply to all of the colleges (UNM, CNM, SFCC) and go from there. You are not the first person I have heard comment similarly on UNM CON. At this time in my life, the clinical aspects of nursing are where my true desires are. Not that the "academic" side of the house does not interest me, however, having gone through 4 years of Bilology/Chemistry background in the past, the more "hands on" aspects of nursing are much more appealing to me.

    I will definitely be asking more questions in the future as I build my knowledge base! Thank you for the offer to pick your brain!!!!

    Best wishes in your studies!!!!