I spoke to someone at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing today (202-463-6930). They are the certifying body that give out the CCNE accreditation to nursing schools. I am told that CCNE is superior to NLN accreditation. Anyway, the woman told me that to be CCNE accredited, a nursing program
MUST have a clinical component, but the nursing programs
usually bury it somewhere in the curriculum (she said usually in the community nursing class and the leadership class) and schools advertise that they require NO clinicals because nobody wants to do them (especially after being a nurse for 30 years as I have). For example, UT Arlington is CCNE accredited and the way they sneak the clinicals in is during their 10 week Prof Nursing A/B class, during which you do assignments in your work place that count as clinicals. They want you to have a 24 hour a week job (at least during those 10 weeks) and I was afraid I might not be able to go there because I only work per diem. I spoke to the recruiter and she said that would not be a problem. The assignments in that class do count as a clinical (I spoke to the CCNE people directly about UTA and they confirmed this). For those of you thinking about UTA, I have heard that there is very little support once you begin your program. Apparently there is only access to course "coaches" and not to the actual instructors. You have to be a really motivated self-learner and follow the assignment instructions to the letter I am told.
I have been researching LOTS of all-online RN to BSN schools and I am really baffled about what to do next. I am leery of UTA now, but the price is right; Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA got a huge number of negative reviews (I am sorry I did not write down the web site, but it was one of those college review sites where you put in whatever college/univ you want to research.) Utica College also got bad reviews. Excelsior did okay, Chamberlain didn't have any reviews but I have heard it is a great (but prohibitively expensive) program.
I am now looking into University of Saint Mary in Nebraska, a tiny school with 1,000 students. Univ of St. Mary sounds too good to be true so far. I bombed my A & P years ago, and most places are requiring me to take it again. Not USM. They do not require A&P, Chem, or Micro as prerequisites. I have just started researching this school. Tuition is steep at $430 a credit hour, but they are giving me a ball-park figure of $12,900 to finish the degree if I can do it in 10 courses (I do have a BA in a non-nursing field and a Diploma in nursing). They have 6 start dates for their 8 week courses, and you can work ahead if you know you are going on vacation (they don't require twice weekly postings like many places). Class size is 15-20 Students. The down-side is that it looks like I will have to take some specifically Catholic courses and some things that I think will be a waste of time. I think it will take me at least 18 months to finish because of those specific classes that you must take at their institution. I will find out hopefully next week just how many courses I need. Also, their CCNE accreditation expires June 30th according to the American Assoc. of colleges of Nursing (AACN) web site. I asked the St. Mary's recruiter about that and she said they passed their re-cert, but I want to hear it directly from AACN. I will call them tomorrow.
One more thing -- if anyone was thinking about going online to Saint Peter's University in NJ, you might want to think again. They had a big scandal in 2011 when a bunch of their brick and mortar BSN students were not allowed to graduate because they did not pass a mandatory college nursing exam (similar to the NCLEX). I googled the college and found that news. Yeah, that would suck!
Best of luck to everyone and thanks to everyone who is posting. I am now going to check Purdue Univ Calumet, Univ of Wyoming, and Univ of Miami thanks to you folks.