Anyone attend RACC's (Reading Area Community College) RN program....help!!

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    I've been on their waiting list for over a year and hopefully will finally start the clinicals this coming fall. In the mean time I've been taking care of my sciences....Anatomy and Micro which I've done pretty well in. I'll be finished all other classes by May so when it's time for the clinicals it is all I have to focus on. I am anxious to begin clinicals but am very nervous as well. How are clinicals setup? How are the professors? How is the schedule? Is it possible to handle a full time job on top of the clinicals. Any tips or advice or any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  2. 18 Comments so far...

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    I went to RACC and graduated this past May. Overall, it was a very tough program. I would highly recommend getting all of your non-nursing classes done while you are on the waiting list, even if you have to take summer classes. Once you start the actual nursing program, it will consume your life. I don't know if you are married or have children, but if you do, it will be even more stressful. It can be done though - I am married with 3 kids and I graduated cum laude. Working full time will be impossible after the first semester. Every single classmate that I had that tried it flunked out of the program.
    The instructors were very smart, but I would say mostly old school. They did a good job of teaching the basic skills and theory, but seemed to be out of touch with the real world of nursing, the way it is today. They seemed to be overly nit-picky, but maybe that was for our own good, I don't know. Some of these instructors have since retired.
    Clinicals were super-stressful, but a good learning experience. And I got to see many things that people not in the medical field would never see in their lifetimes - babies being born, surgery being performed, and many fascinating procedures and skills at the bedside. Make sure you get lots of sleep, be very prepared, and do your best. You will be expected to think and act like a real nurse, with none of the perks and no respect! Be humble....
    Exams are challenging, all based on N-Clex (2nd semester on). You must have a 78 to pass the exams, (and the course). Easier said than done. There were tears after every exam, and plenty of times where the highest grade was < 78.
    We graduated into a terrible job market - Reading Hospital had a huge hiring freeze and would not hire even their own students! I had a job lined up before graduation, and it was because I applied to jobs before the rest of the herd. I put my first application in four months before graduation. I had an interview and had the job lined up to start 3 weeks after graduation, and I got day shift on a med-surg floor in a hospital. I took my NCLEX in July and passed with 75 questions.
    LMK if you have any other questions and good luck!
    michelle2369 likes this.
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    Thank you so much for replying with that. It seems like everyone in my classes are going for Lab Tech or Respiratory Care so I've had little association with any nursing students. I've been kind of clueless on what to expect. We have a meeting next week which I believe we get forms for clearances and cpr...etc. Right now I have a 3.7 gpa and will definitely have all my classes finished by May so when the time comes for clinicals that is all I will need to worry about. Luckily I do not have kids, and have a very supportive boyfriend (with school and financially if needed). I would hope that I could at least waitress or something on the weekends to make some extra money, but if it's that intense I do have the option to not work. Will have to see what I can handle. I will be 100% committed to nursing though.

    During clinicals what are the hours like? How much is class time? How much is clinical time? What is taught in the first semester, 2nd, 3rd, 4th?
    What are the book costs? I try to take a look on RACC's bookstore website...It seems that the first semester you buy most of the books you need throughout the program? Am I right with that?
    Did you feel well prepared?

    I haven't heard much about the program but the few stories I did hear were horror stories of students who got kicked out of the program "because the professors are horrible." I'm sure thats not the case but it has me nervous

    Thanks!!
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    Another question....after the first semester of clinicals are you able to work as a cna?
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    I could write a book on what it was like to be in RACC's nursing program, there is so much I could say. I will try to condense it down to the most relevant. As for working on the weekends, I did this myself actually. I did it part time though. I waitressed, as it was the only job I could get with hours that were flexible enough. Especially, toward the end, you will be at clinicals for an 8 hour shift 3 days a week. Plus lectures, plus exams, plus papers to write, plus extra work to prepare for clinicals, and on and on. The downside to working nites/weekends is that is your study time. You will be burning the candle at both ends, but where there is a will there is a way. We needed the money so I had no choice.
    After the fist semester, you will be qualified to sit for the cna exam. You can go on the PA government website under education, and it will give you the procedure. Basically, PA will let you waive the cna courses and sit for the exam if you have completed a the first semester of an ADN program.
    As for the nursing program, it has been changed since I graduated. Our class was the one that had out first year in 3 terms, and the second year in 2 semesters. We were the transition class when RACC transitioned to semesters from terms. Our instructors told us that after us, the program would be heavily revised. I am not sure what that entails. I imagine that our first semester will be lectures on history of nursing, basic nursing math, and fundamentals. The skills you learn will be basics - bed baths, changing beds, bedpans, ambulation, taking blood pressures. Some skills you have to perform one-on-one with an instructor and are graded pass/fail. If you fail, you have to repeat it, and they only let you do this once. I failed at taking blood pressures the first time and I was so upset!! I laugh about it now though because I have become an expert with practice!
    Clinical time starts off slow and ratchets up in time and difficulty as you go. You will be in a clinical group of 8-10 students and one of the instructors will be your clinical instructors. You will be in uniform, and it must be impeccable. They are very strict with this. The first clinicals will be just one day a week, from like 8AM till about 1-2 PM and they will be at a long term care facility, like Phoebe Berks. You will have one patient the whole time. This is when you get to practice your skills, and learn to read a chart. You will have lots of prep to do , especially when you start to give meds. You will only give oral meds at first.
    The next clinical will be at a hospital, on med-surg, and you will have one day of clinical, and one patient per week. As time goes on throughout the nursing program, you will have more clinical days, in increasingly acute areas (critical care by the end), and will have more patients (4-5 per day by the end). You will also get some "special" clinical experiences thown in, like OR, ER (possibly), pediatrician's office, NICU, and others. These are one-day experiences. There is a lot of at home work to do to prepare for clinicals. In the beginning, you have to go in to the facility the night before and look up your patient. You have to know a lot about the patient, their conditions, meds, treatments, etc. Later in the program, you will no longer have to go the night before. You are expected to hit the ground running.
    You will have a pre- and post- conference each clinical day (to start). Eventually, preconferences are eliminated, you will just have postconference. These are little informal get togethers with your clinical group and clinical instructor somewhere at the facility, but off the unit, usually in a conference room. Some are actually like a mini-lecture, most are just debriefing sessions relating to clinical experiences.
    I hope this helps to answer some questions. If I cn think of any other relevant info, I will let you know!
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    Forgot to post about the books. Yes, most of them you buy the 1st semester, but then some are added as you go. They are very expensive, try getting them used. Half.com and amazon.com are good bets. You may be able to sell them again when you're done - I did. New versions come out all the time though, so that can be difficult. Be sure to get the right version!
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    Thank you so much for such a good response. It's finally given me a good idea what to expect!!
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    I would not recommend RACC RN program to anyone. There are other schools to go why nerve wrecking RACC. Before it is too late just switch to another school. Students without medical background flunk no exceptions. It is pure hell a nightmare. It does not have to be that way but unfortunately it is.
    Last edit by bozkurt on Mar 14, '10
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    did you flunk out of the program? what was it like??

    are you being a bit over critical?

    i know it's going to be tough...as any program is...but really that bad?

    i really dont have any other options...i've taken out so many loans on a previous pursuit and a community college is all i can afford.
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    I know you want to hear good things about RACC but 50 % of the students flunk out of the program. Nursing 3 and Nursing 5 is the most difficult ones. Can you imagine to fail the Nursing 5 when you are too close to graduation. Anyone can tell you how stressful it is. Clinical can be nerve wrecking depending on your instructor. There was an instructor when I was student that she would threaten the students all the time. She would pull the student aside and tell them "I am going to report you to your school, I am going to fail you" Luckily she is no longer instructor there. She was fired for being terrible instructor. Another thing I would not recommend Reading hospital for clinical either. Saint Josef would be better choice. If you really have no other choice then I wish you good luck and do not let any instructor get under your skin and keep quite if you want to survive.


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