In looking over some of the FNP/MS programs available, I've seen some that claim to be online/distance programs, with limited visit's to the campus and clinicals done in your own community.
Are these legitimate programs?
Have any of you gone through this type of program...what was your experience like -would you recommend or not recommend any of them?
How much assistance was given in securing clinical placements, if any? Thanks in advance for your input.
Nov 19, '06
You're asking good questions. Keep asking them and be sure you have all the information you need before investing your time and money.
As someone who coordinates clinical placements for nursing students at my hospital, I believe that this aspect of some online programs is a disgrace to the profession. I have seen schools take the student's money and then offer them no help in finding the necessary clinical placements. The student is left "high and dry" to piece together whatever clinicals he/she can beg for. That makes you wonder about the quality of the education.
We get so many such requests from such students that we end up turning over 50% of them away.
Nov 19, '06
llg gives some excellent advice. I did a partial online program that is part of our hospital's college of nursing. It was hectic sometimes trying to come up with the clinical hours. This is a pretty rural area too so there aren't that many students. I would imagine in some of the bigger cities, the competition for preceptors is fierce.
Nov 20, '06
Quote from llg
I have seen schools take the student's money and then offer them no help in finding the necessary clinical placements. The student is left "high and dry" to piece together whatever clinicals he/she can beg for.
I attended an in person program and still had to find my own preceptors. The ER docs I worked with were more than willing to help, but I had to find office placement for 8 hours each week and it wasn't easy. Lots don't wish to perform this service to the next group coming up.
Nov 20, '06
I am currently in an online program, each class meets only once per month (they all are timed together, so it's a full day x 2 days once per month). It's nice and convenient, but isolating at the same time. That is the hardest part for me. I am going full time to get done in two years and lucky enough not to work too much (in regards to school) but I miss people. After the first month I balanced things out better so I am working my casual job at least once per week (when my schedule isn't too bad) to get that "face time" with people. I haven't started clinical yet, will be dealing with that next semester to get lined up for summer. I live in close proximity to the school I attend and have some connections, so I am not too worried, they usually get them lined up for us. Many of the folks in my program come from a distance so they may have more issues (?).
Nov 26, '06
I am currently in an online program through Indiana State University and have had a terrific year so far. At first I thought finding my own preceptor would be a huge pain. However, it wasn't a problem at all! In fact, I've had several MDs and NPs agree to help out as they remember what it was like going through clinicals and are very reasonable when it comes to setting up hours.
Meanwhile, a fellow coworker is in a FNP program at a large state university here where the school sets up her clinicals. She's being sent all over the place and has complained that she has to drive long distances for weeks at a time.
So, your mileage may vary. I'm exceptionally happy with the program despite the amount of work and intellectual challenges.
Nov 27, '06
I attend Florida State University's online FNP program and have had a wonderful experience with it. I have had no trouble finding preceptors (both NP and MD).
Dec 3, '06
Most NP programs I have looked at (both online programs and classroom -- and both very reputable programs to not so reputable programs) -- the majority of them require you find your own preceptors. However, most of the more reputable programs give you assistance with looking for a preceptor and they provide you with lists of hospitals/clinics/independent NP's who have in the past worked with their students.
So if the program you are looking at is making you find your own preceptor, it doesn't imply they are a horrible program. Also, not all schools that are based online are not horrible schools. A lot of NP programs (very reputable programs) base a great deal of their classes online.
Dec 6, '06
I am going to the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. It is a great program, the instructors are reachable any time, and the pass rate for boards at this school is 100%. Might want to check it out.
Dec 8, '06
I'm doing FNP online, though I haven't started clinicals yet. Our school gives you a list of all places where students in the past have had success with preceptors, and at the same time you are free to set up your own if its more convenient. They seem to be very on top of the situation and organized about it, but I guess time will tell.
I like the online aspect that allows me to contine working full-time, but at the same time I wonder if I would learn more face to face in discussion. The school has a great reputation so it must be successful some way. For now I'm studying and studying and studying... and I enjoy it!
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