Choosing between RACC and Reading Hospital School of health sciences

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    Help! Any students or alumni from either of those schools on here that could help me? I have been accepted to both programs and I can't decide which school to attend. There are pros and cons to both options it seems! I heard some horror stories about RACC so i'm leaning toward RHSHC but then again, i haven't heard much of ANYTHING about Reading Hospital's program. I need information on what my schedule would look like at both schools but I can't seem to get answers from either school on these questions. Would one look better than the other on my resume? RACC would give me an associates (but I already have a previous B.A.) and reading hospital would only be a diploma. If I were to someday go for my BSN would that matter?

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  2. 22 Comments...

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    i went to racc for one semester, and from my personal experience i would say go to reading hospital. the people at racc that run the nursing program are heartless and purposely weed people out. our first semester class started with 90 and ended with 46. im not saying its impossible, but i think it would be a more pleasant experience to go to reading hospital. i transferred out to st luke's hospital (in bethlehem), which is also a diploma program, and i love it. the faculty are much more supportive, and diploma programs give you a lot more clinical time, which is nice, because you get more experience.

    dont worry about "only" graduating with a diploma. it does not matter when you are getting hired, an RN is an RN. and if you plan on bridging over to a BSN, any school that has an "RN-BSN" program will take diploma RNs.. which is most places that have BSN programs. and since you already have a BA, you probably will only have to take a few more nursing classes and be done with it.

    as for the schedule, i can tell you what mine was like at racc for the first semester:
    Mondays- class 10-12
    Tuesdays - Lab 11-3
    Wednesdays - class 11-12
    Thursdays and Fridays - Clinical 8-2:30

    *the lab time varied depending on what group you were in. some people had lab on Wednesdays after class so they had nothing on Tuesdays, and some people had lab on Tuesday at a different time. (i forget when)

    im not sure how the reading hospital schedule is.
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    Ashley - thank you so much for your response! I have been leaning toward reading hospital but its so much cheaper at RACC (like $16,000 less!) that it is hard for me to not factor that in! On the other hand, I am a mom and though my grades so far are really good, I don't want the extra unneccesary headaches because I know it's going to be super tough doing this as it is! It would also be nice knowing my clinicals will be right there at RH instead of potentially having to go all the way to lancaster or something (which is pretty far for me!). Also, as far as schedule goes, it usually gets more and more involved by the final semester right? Should I expect basically full time hours taken up during the week by my final semester at RACC?
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    yes, at racc it is more and more the farther along you go. i understand where you are coming from, it is a lot cheaper.. i dont know, i just really do not like raccs nursing program. it might be worth it,if you can really tough it out, bu youve got to be really strong to make it through. good luck whichever you decide... oh and the farthest you would have to go would be ephrata, which is like 20 minutes from reading, but it was far for me.
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    If you already have a degree, why would you spend that much to attend a diploma program? You could attend Cedar Crest College for probably somewhere around the same price and earn an actual degree from a much more reputable program and instantly be more competitive by already having the BSN in hand. Or DeSales. I think there are some other good programs in the Lehigh Valley as well. Oh, or Bloomsburg. I would explore all options before signing onto RH's program. My mom's a nursing a professor and has told prospective students the same thing. Good luck!
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    kdrose - I completely understand what you are saying about doing a second degree program for my BSN. I looked into that and really wish I could but I live in Birdsboro (between Reading and Pottstown) and Allentown is about an hour drive (plus however far I may be sent for clinicals) and West Chester (the other program I looked into) is an hour drive the other direction. I REALLY considered it but I have a 2 year old (and plan to become pregnant with my second in the middle of nursing school and taking a year off) and I just don't think I could manage an accelerated program PLUS the long drive! I could end up at Brn Mwyr Hospital (1.5 hrs away) for clinicals and have to go in the night before to research my patient. Maybe i'm stupid for not considering that anyway or looking too much for the ideal situation. I understand nursing school is going to probably be the hardest thing i've ever done in my life so I guess i'm looking to keep those hardships to a minimum to decrease my chances of dropping out! And then sometimes I wonder if i'm really cut off for this if i'm not willing to accept those challenges? Maybe I don't want it bad enough. I just don't want my family to completely forget I exist I guess i'm hoping once I get my ADN/Diploma (whichever I go for) i'll work toward an RN-BSN bridge program if I feel it's necessary still. I know Drexel has an online one for that.
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    That is definitely a tough situation and I wish you the best. How about Alvernia? They're in Reading and may even have a part time program. I'd definitely talk with professors/instructors at all the schools to get a better idea about the work load and how to juggle it with a small child and one possibly on the way. An accelerated program definitely won't work for you, but maybe a part-time program would work best. Best wishes!

    P.S. Check with local hospitals to see if they hire non-BSNs before you enter either Reading or RACC. I know a lot have not been hiring ADNs.
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    kdrose- thanks for the reply! I've looked into alvernia as well...and honestly thought that would have been the answer I was looking for but....they are EXPENSIVE!!!!! I can't get financial aid because this will be a second degree for me and I did the math yesterday. If I took all the classes I possibly could at RACC and ONLY the nursing courses at Alvernia, it would still cost me $37,950!!! For 55 credits!! So that's out.

    At this point if hospitals really aren't accepting ADN's at only option might end up being quitting the nursing thing altogether . I just took a unit clerk position part time at reading hospital and during my interview the nurse manager asked me if I planned on ever getting my BSN. I told her that eventually that was in my plans but that the only programs in the area were just too far. She did tell me about Drexels online RN-BSN program which I didn't know about...but that will still require me to become an RN first. That is definitely something i'm considering but it still comes down to money then! If I went to Reading Hospital (my first choice) it will be 22,000 and then another 18,000+ for my RN-BSN. I could do RACC (if I don't fail out or quit!) for 6,000 and Drexel for 18,000 which is much better....but again, what if i don't even make it through RACC's program?

    Anyway I am pretty certain that both Reading Hospital and St. Josephs in my area still do hire ADN's BUT they prefer a BSN. I guess i'm sorta hoping that having a part time job at Reading Hospital, AND going for my Diploma at Reading Hospital, will result in me getting a job at Reading Hospital?

    I definitely have a lot to think about still and it all just makes me head spin.
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    Well, you already have a good in as a unit clerk. Would they pay to send you to school? It's worth considering! You could even start by just doing the prereqs if you haven't already and some you can even do online (A&P, Micro, nutrition, stats, etc.) and get that out of the way. I wouldn't give up. Where there's a will, there's a way. But I'd definitely consider seeing if 1) the hospital you're currently for will foot the bill, and 2) if they're likely to hire you afterwards without a BSN. They may even pick up the bill for the RN-BSN later. You have lots of options, so don't panick yet and don't let your head spin!
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    Hi, I am in the exact situation as you! And I live in Birdsboro with young children too, how ironic. I am currently at RACC and have been for 1 year, I like RACC but have heard horror stories about their clinical program. So, i applied at the School of Health Sciences and I got in. Now I dont know what school to go to. So I can relate to you! I will give you this advice, I really like RACC and have had a nice experience so everyone that says they're horrible I would disagree with (except clinical~I dont have any first hand experience with)RACC is very affordable also. But please keep me posted on any new things you get info about, and I will do the same. Good luck on your decision, maybe I will see you there whichever we decide

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