NM Nurses and Nursing Students: SFCC vs CNM?
- 0Sep 25, '11 by whitescrubs2012Hi, New Mexico Nurses (and Nursing Students):
I'm looking for graduates or current students of the ADN programs at both CNM and SFCC (Santa Fe Community College) to pitch in their two cents about the programs. Is one better than the other? Are there advantages to choosing one over the other, even just by virtue of location? What was the program like? What was your experience w/ peers, instructors, admin, and clinicals? What were job prospects like when you graduated? If you've experienced either program, I'd be grateful to know your thoughts.
I live in Albuquerque and have taken my prereqs at CNM, so I'm hip to the rumors: CNM grads have a great reputation, but, reportedly, there's huge turn-over among instructors because they're not happy. This unhappiness, I've heard, is often directed at students. (Personally, I had a mind-blowingly bad experience w/ one of them in a CNA class there.) I've heard they're unfair and catty, and that the program is absolutely brutal. True?
I haven't heard *anything* about SFCC's program, but my experience w/ the school so far (just e-mailing to ask q's, etc.) has been totally positive. Also, the campus is gorgeous (and CNM, to be fair, looks a bit like a county prison). I do know of an SFCC grad who got a job right out of school. While CNM's program is "tuition-free," SFCC, by comparison, doesn't seem hugely different, given the amazingly reasonable tuition. I'm also interested on hearing people's experiences of living in SFe vs. ABQ. (I'm not so hot on commuting.)
Thanks for any insight you can share!
- 0Sep 26, '11 by nurselianeHi There: I just graduated from the SFCC program. I had a great experience overall (there were some bumps in the road, but I doubt that is anything to do with the program and just a normal part of life, and the school resolved the problems succintly). I'm actually a little bit in a daze right now....2 years ago I was starting my pre-reqs and now I am an employed RN. I completed the accelerated program, hence the fast turn-around. I know nothing about CNM's program, so I can't give you any comparison.
Feel free to message me with any specific questions. Whichever you choose, your real education is on the job and you'll be learning for a lifetime.
- 0Sep 27, '11 by whitescrubs2012nurselaine,
Thank you SO very much for your response. I'm thrilled to hear that you had a positive experience at SFCC (some bumps, I agree, are inevitable in any program) and that you have a job so soon after graduation. Congrats!
I wholeheartedly agree that the real "education" happens on the job. I've found this to be true in every work situation I've encountered. In fact, I have two degrees already, neither of which proved to be very useful. (Obviously!) I'm hopeful that nursing will be the career that endures. How do you feel about it thus far? I'm sure the first few months of working after graduation can be overwhelming.
I can relate to your daze. It still feels a bit surreal that I'm applying to nursing school. Definitely one of those "never say never" experiences.
I do have quite a few questions (if you don't mind answering them...) so I will send you a private message.
- 0Sep 27, '11 by whitescrubs2012Hi nurselaine,
It appears that because I'm a new member, I can't yet send private messages. Sorry! I'll just post my questions, instead, until I earn some allnurses credibility. Hope that's okay.
-Did you do all of your clinicals at St. Vincents, or did you get to have some variety?
-Did your clinical experience lead to a job? Did you have any difficulty finding a job post-grad? (The market in ABQ is saturated with new RNs. CNM grads report that finding work after graduation is increasingly tough. Was this the case for SFCC grads, too? Based on a tiny sample of people I know/have heard about, SFCC grads have better luck finding work.)
-How many days/week were you in school? Was there time for a PT job?
-Did you live in SFe while you were in school? I've lived in ABQ for years now and am a bit hesitant about moving, but I'm enticed by it, too.
-How did you feel about your fellow nursing students? Cool, smart people?
Sincere thanks for sharing your experience! I really appreciate it.
- 0Sep 27, '11 by nurselianehi whitescrubs:
i, too, am a new member, so i guess we can have this conversation in a crowd :-) i'll take your questions in order.
no, most clinicals were at st. v, but we also went to the state mental health hospital in las vegas, the va in abq, unmh, and several community experiences like healthcare for the homeless, following a diabetes specialist, following a wound care specialist, a day of rounds with a hospice agency. a few students, though not me, went to presbyterian.
yes, i believe my clinical experience helped me find a job. i made that the focus of my resume, so it was unavoidable. however, it was not through connections made at clinicals that i landed a job.
as far as difficulty finding a job, i have been extremely fortunate. my prior career was hr/recruiting, so i had no problem just busting into offices and asking for work. i just graduated in august, took nclex at first available date and was granted my license on 9/1/11. i blanketed sf in resumes and knocked on doors like a stalker. i had 1 interview for a job i didn't want and didn't even get a courtesy phone call afterwards telling me i wasn't selected. after that, i tracked down the manager and director of the unit i really really really wanted to work at and, per my new boss, sheer tenacity got me the job. on the other hand, i have not heard of any of my other graduating class getting a job yet. many have not taken the nclex yet, and a few are really really close to working. summary: it's a mix, timing and tenacity help a lot!
the school schedule was not always consistent. classes are typically 2-2.5 days per week, clinicals 1 full day, and lab work is sporadic but almost every week. i treated it like a full time job and used my "regular business hours" outside of class/clinical to do school work. many people did work part time. i did not and i think that immense luxury afforded me the time/sanity to pull good grades and keep stress minimal.
yes, i live in sf. i actually live within walking distance of sfcc, but i lived here before applying for school :-)
fellow students?? coolest, smartest bunch of colleagues i've ever had. particularly in the accelerated program, there are only 12 of us (8 normally, but we had some exceptional circumstances for this class) and to be in the program you have to have a ba or bs already. so, the result is a batch of folks from very different backgrounds, but all starting a new career, professional, competitive, really dynamic folks. at graduation, one of the speakers read our list of accomplishments and it was breath-taking to hear what we've all done in our lives.
hope that helps. feel free to fire more questions at me. i start my job in less than 2 weeks, so i am free free free until then!!!
- 0Oct 4, '11 by whitescrubs2012Hi Liane,
Sincere apologies for taking such a long time to reply! At the moment, I'm working the hours of a nurse without actually being one. At least I know I'm cut out for 12+hour days! Six days a week, however, is a bit much.
I'm encouraged by your message and by your experience at SFCC. Thank you for answering my questions!
I'm especially thrilled that you have such a positive impression of your peers, and that they were cool, smart, diverse folks from an array of backgrounds. That's what I'm looking for. I'm probably an oddball in the nursing community and have often felt like the sore thumb in some of my CNM classes. (My background is motley, but most of my work has been kinda bookish. I was a doula for a short time, but that's the extent of my work in health care.) That said, I took the CNA course at CNM with a group of extraordinary people, most of whom were prospective CNM nursing students. I'm hopeful that my nursing class, wherever I end up, will be equally awesome.
I'm crossing fingers, toes, and eyeballs that I get into the accelerated program. I had heard that they accept only eight people; yikes! I hope I can hack it! How was the TEAS? My grades are ultra-nerdy, so it's the test that concerns me the most.
I applaud your stalker-ish tenacity! Well done! It certainly counts for a lot; more than half the battle, I think. I read a quote this week (where it was, I can't remember...) that I thought I should pass along: "Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: My strength lies solely in my tenacity." -Louis Pasteur. You're a testament to it. I'm glad that your career in HR served you well. :-) It's also good to know that there are jobs out there, and that you earn points for persistence. (Noted!) I'm excited to hear how your first days go!
This might be somewhat of a non sequitur, but what's your take on living in Santa Fe? I often go up there to visit friends, hike, and eat (Pink Adobe, San Pasqual's....yummm), but it definitely has a different vibe than Abq. That said, my gut tells me I'm ready for a different vibe. I guess I'm a little nervous about possibly living in SFe because I'm young-ish (@30...is that still young?!) and single. My few friends in SFe are much older and that seems to be the dominant demographic. (Not that I don't absolutely love them. I do. But I often feel like more of a daughter than a friend.)
Also, this might be jumping too far into the future, but I wonder: do you have plans to continue your education in nursing? I think I might like to pursue the NP track...or maybe something else. Of course, it's enlightening to have a bit of experience before making these big decisions!
Huge thanks, again, for your help. It's great to hear from you. I'll look forward to hearing how your new job plays out. Good luck!
- 0Oct 30, '11 by jjnRNI will place my vote for SFCC as well, and say hello to nurseliane whom I had the pleasure of completeing the program with. I live in the ABQ area and commuted the whole time. I rode the railrunner a couple of semesters for class days and it is cheap but will make for a longer day than if you drove. Buy tickets online with student discount and it is about $30 or less. The drive isn't too bad and usually there are a few people from the area that are willing to carpool.
The instructors were very fair in my opinion and will help in any way they can for the most part. I felt they were interested in seeing you succeed and not trying to see who they could belittle or make life hard.
I too was fortunate enough to get a job right away that pays for the bills, gets me experience, and isn't that bad but, not what I want to do in nursing so I have another opportunity that I am waiting to start in January. The job market is tough right now because everyone is wanting experience and there are a lot of experienced nurses moving from place to place or working multiple places at a time. Another reason is that employers don't have the budgets to hire more nurses even though they need them. But be assured there are jobs and the hospitals are expanding.
As far as CNM vs SFCC, SFCC students have a good reputation as well. I know people in the CNM program and they all talk about the instructor shortage they are experiencing. In the end it is about getting face time with the recruiters and making good impressions during clinicals not what school you went to.
My understanding of the difference in the TEAS vs HESI is that the TEAS has earth sciences on it so you need to know some things about tektonic plates, types of rock, etc... On average I believe you need to score at least in the 80s on the TEAS to be competative. If you have taken the HESI you can judge what you need to study to prepare for the TEAS from that.
Good luck, hope this helps.