1. Hello All,
    I have been reading this forum for weeks, but this is my first post. I did a search and while I come up with questions that are close to what I'm looking for, my situation is a little more unique so I thought that I would start a new thread. My apologies if this has been asked/answered a hundred times.

    First of all, let me say, I am a married 39 year old woman with 4 kids and two B.S. degrees (a B.S. degree in communication disorders, and a B.S. degree in Information Science). This will be a 3rd career change for me, and I believe, my last. My mother was a nurse and always talked me out of being a nurse because while she LOVED being a nurse, she felt like it was a very difficult career for many reasons. I listened to her for my first 2 degrees but now have decided that I know what I want to do, what I've always wanted to do, and I'm going forward. She and I are different people yet very much alike. The good thing is, I am definitely prepared for the 'bad' in the field! I've also talked to my friends in the field currently and they all love their jobs...although not always without frustration. Then again, what job is without frustration?

    So, here I am with 2 degrees. I earned a 3.9 GPA from Pitt for my second degree. 3.0 from Penn State for my first degree (what can I say...I was young and much more interested in my social life then!).

    I will be going to Westmoreland Community College in the fall to start taking some of the science courses that I don't have (A&P, Chemistry, etc...) to prepare myself for nursing school.
    My initial options now are (1) an accelerated BSN, (2) ADN program at local community college or (3) Diploma hospital based program in the city.

    Both of the accelerated BSN programs in Pittsburgh require intensive study througout the summer - which I cannot commit to with 4 kids. So, I think that is out - for now. I may return after I have my RN to get my BSN in the even that I wish to move up in my career and it's needed. Otherwise, I have no desire for another B.S. degree. My last two prepared me for overall work in my field, but were not focused, so someone coming from a computer tech school was most certainly a better programmer than me initially. But I was of course able to recite Presidential History, which came in handy ;-) Considering I have two degrees, I'm not sure I need another one...but if I absolutely do I will do that in the future.

    So that leaves me with a community college program (Westmoreland - even though I live two minutes from CCAC, I live in Westmoreland county and will drive 30 minutes to their campus to save nearly $150 a credit), or a hospital based diploma program.

    I've heard good things about the WCCC program, but am concerned because all of their clinicals are at local regional hospitals and I think I would prefer clinicals at some of the larger hospitals in Pittsburgh or a level I trauma center, etc...However, I am wondering if an ADN is 'better' than having a diploma in the job search.

    I have talked to the people at UPMC Mercy SON and I really liked what they had to say. But I am very concerned that this is a diploma program. I know I will have no trouble getting a job at UPMC (which, let's face it...is everywhere)...but if I want to leave UPMC then I am concerned that the diploma might hurt me. The UPMC schools of nursing have a terrific reputation - better than WCCC in my research - and higher exam pass rates as well. But it's that pesky diploma thing that's getting me....
    Otherwise, the UPMC program looks positively perfect for me. July and August are their off months (perfect), they have Clinicals at Mercy which is a level I trauma center (perfect) and they have a tuition forgiveness program in which I pay the first year and UPMC will pay the second if I agree to work for them for 2 years. So, cheaper tuition and a secured job (perfect, perfect).

    So, the nuts and bolts question is - will the diploma hurt me when trying to get a job outside of UPMC, OR if I wanted to pursue an RN-BSN or RN-MSN program in the future?

    Has anyone attended either of these places where they could reccommend (or not) one of the programs over another?

    Basically - Help! I am driving myself nuts with the BSN vs. Diploma vs. ADN!

    Sorry to be so long winded - but I'd love some insight, input, advice, etc...

  2. Visit jlpsu profile page

    About jlpsu

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 155; Likes: 200


  3. by   jlpsu
    You know what? Nevermind! After that incredibly long winded question (sorry about that, I tried to edit it but it was after an hour and it wouldn't let me!), I found a link to the NCLEX pass rates.
    WCCC's pass rates are much lower than Mercy's (78% vs. 88% for 2010) so I think I'm going to stick with my gut and go with Mercy's program.

    Thanks for reading!
  4. by   PghRN30
    Also one thing to consider especially if you are considering doing tuition forgiveness and staying with UPMC, or at least staying with UPMC for a while, I am pretty sure unless a job requires/prefers a BSN or MSN, once you are a RN with experience, I don't think anywhere is going to care much at all what school you went to and if its ADN or Diploma. Quite honestly from my cousin (who graduated from mercy several years ago and has been working both in AGH i believe, as well as in San Diego and Florida in a traveling nurse program) as well as my uncles gf who has been an RN for many many years, they say the floor nurses tend to prefer working with new nurses coming out of the diploma schools over the CCs and the 4 year programs for the most part just because of the clinical experience they have, and most seem to know what they are doing better. I am currently in my second term at UPMC St Margaret's SON and love it so far(most days at least). I have a classmate from MI.....she has an uncle in the area, but did relocate just to come to our school. she said even as far as Michigan, the name of UPMC is known......Mercy may be a little diploma school, as is St Margaret's but add the UPMC on to the front of that, and we are trained by a good hospital system that is recognised outside of just Pittsburgh.

    I think the only place you might want to reconsider is if you really were set on following up with a BSN from a very particular school, like Pitt. Some are more picky about what they might accept and what they might not, so if you had a VERY specific long term plan, you might want to make sure a diploma doesn't set you back and add classes you would have to retake. But many schools it would not be an issue at all. If you don't care much about getting a BSN, or what school it would be from if you did, its not an issue. Me personally I don't mind much where my BSN would be through, so thats a non issue, I knew there were many options available for me to progress, and thats all that mattered for me.
  5. by   jlpsu
    Thanks so much for the response! I don't exactly care where my BSN is from...in fact, I think I am going to go straight for the RN-MSN since I don't really care to have a THIRD BS degree!
    But I'm going to work for a while before I even consider that.

    My mom was a nurse for 40 years and she said the same thing about the diploma grads...they loved working with them.

    I don't know much about St. Margarets SON. Do you go all summer there? I have 4 kids, and the summer school issue is my biggest one. Once I'm working, I'll only be working a few days a week...but at this point, I can't be at school 5 days a week in the summer with 4 kids. Just won't work!
  6. by   jlpsu
    Oh..and one more question. How hard was the PSB entrance test? I'm studying for it now and the sciences have me freaked out. It's been 20 years since I've had Biology or Chemistry. The math and verbal I seem to be ok with. But there is so much to know in the sciences, it seems very difficult to focus my efforts.
  7. by   PghRN30
    Yes we do go all summer....3 week break in august, 2 week break at christmas, and 2 week break in spring, that is it other then a couple long weekends and days off like thanksgiving memorial day, fourth of July. And it is 5 days a week, first term isn't is much clinical, but the rest of the program is 3 days of class, 2 days of clinical. And the last term is mostly just working with a precepting nurse, whatever hours they work...only a little class time.
  8. by   PghRN30
    The PSB isnt bad at all, though I have heard there are 2 versions, and have heard one is harder then then other, and that St Margaret uses the easier version, that Shadyside uses the harder version, and I do not know about Mercy. I do not know if that is true or not. Seems odd if it is.

    but my experience it isnt bad at all

    Science is mostly basic scientific methodology/ bio/anatomy type questions, a few basic chem. A few basic physics. A few historical science questions. Mostly establishes that you have some scientific understanding. If you have already taken A&P it will help, but it will not crush you if you haven't.

    Academic aptitude section is 1/3 Math....simple algebra skills....can you manipulate numbers both from equations, and word problems. 1/3 verbal....they give you 4 words, 3 mean the same thing more or less, one is the opposite, select the opposite. 1/3, non verbal.....was "this is to this as this is to this", type problems.....all done in pictures.

    Reading comprehention is just that, read a few things and answer questions.

    Spelling is they give you a word spelled 3 different ways, and you chose correct spelling.

    And then vocational aptitude, which is just i agree or i disagree about different statements about attitudes about nursing, and work in general, like "I think tardyness should be tolerated by my coworkers" or "I think understand other cultures is important in nursing"
    Last edit by PghRN30 on Jul 14, '11
  9. by   PghRN30

    RNSAE is the one you want to look at
  10. by   jlpsu
    Thanks so much for the info! I'm going to just keep studying..I even thought of taking the PSB at Shadyside, even though I don't want to go there...as a practice test. I'm not sure if they share their PSB results with the other UPMC schools of nursing though...Hmm....maybe I can call and find out. Because if I take it and do ok at Shadyside, then at least I know what to expect. If I don't do well, I will know what to work on.

    I started the barons book yesterday and the verbal section is ridiculous. Words I've never heard of in my life and I read constantly and have two degrees! Scared the crap out of me ;-)
    So, study, study, study...
    My first and really, only, choice is Mercy. If I don't get in there for some reason then my option is WCCC, but with them I'd probably get a job out in Greensburg - which is not where I want to work. Step one...get in. That's what I'm worried about now!
    Thanks again for your help! Good luck!