Just be certain to ascertain that the "clinical" is actually clinical time. I was a student at Washington Hospital diploma school for one year of the 2-year nursing program
, under their old curriculum (28 months but the first 4 were all college prereqs). I can assure you that I didn't get the strong clinical experience that I expected, and here are some examples:
1. no actual peds work with actual live children, it was all computer simulations and manikins after Ruby Hospital in WV and TWH SoN parted ways
2. lots of mother/baby/labor/delivery and OB, it seemed like all we did, but no new grads get L/D or nicu jobs so wth
3. insufficient med-surg, imo, not nearly enough considering that new grads are med-surg floor nurses
4. observe Head Start kids for a 4-hour morning, and do a little teaching skit / presentation / game on nutrition & exercise and write a paper about it
5. observe occupational therapy and PT at nursing home and /or hospital and write a paper about it
go to a local church on a weekday afternoon, for 4 hours, and waste time participating in a "Poverty Study" and then write a paper about it
6. observe wound care and hyperbaric chamber at TWH woundcare facility but never do any in a year
7. observe woundcare and woundvac at hospital but never do any in a year
8. observe children's therapy, like PT and stuff for learning disabled, and write a paper about it
spend maybe 3-4 days in hospital's psych ward, practicing interviewing patients and then spend a full weekend writing up all the papers that they wanted for that
9. The instructor who taught the skills labs started off EVERY single skills lab I ever attended by saying "Let's hurry up and get this done because I want to get out of here." Every single lab, same message: "You students are an inconvenience to me." And every lab was rushed through. Then, the students who hadn't instantly picked up the skill were put through a remediation process (an embarrassing repeat) to get them up to speed. I told the school it was the school's fault, not the students'.
Honestly, I feel we were completely cheated. I expected hands-on clinical work, but there was far more "observing" and killing day of time on the floor without actually learning any skills. I should have expected that, though, because on Day 1 Orientation, they told us "We don't teach you how to be nurses. We teach you how to pass the NCLEX-RN."
Of maybe 60-65 people in my cohort, there were 35 grads in that class. Of those, 5-6 were either failed students from the year before who resumed the program where they had failed out, or transfers-in from Pittsburgh diploma schools.
The area vo-tech LPN programs have more and better equipment, more and better clinical hand-on training than I got from that RN school. Seriously, I should have gone to my local vo-tech LPN school and not wasted time and money at disorganized and outdated TWH.
I left after the first year. (Actually, I was thrown out for poor conduct, for voicing my opinion that the program was a total time-wasting ripoff of observations + hours of yapping lectures, all potatoes and no meat. LOL.) I knew from talking to 2nd year students that the second year was going to be absurdly grueling as they crammed in all the useful acute care and med-surg and cardio that we didn't do in 1st year because we had spent Year 1 putzing around observing stuff and writing papers about it and playing with manikins but never actually doing much. I saw my 2nd year housemate routinely running on 2-3 hours sleep every night, due to the demands of that poorly-designed "integrated" curriculum that was designed around the hospital's facilities, not well-designed to facilitate learning.
Hardly ever having a day off was another annoyance of diploma vs. college programs. Personally, I can teach myself nursing theory just fine from a textbook and there is no reason to make today's students sit in a classroom all day and listen to people read boring Powerpoint slides word for word, 5-6 hours per day, with only 5-10 minutes of pee break per hour of yapping lecture.
Talk to grads of any diploma program before you commit to it. Find out what was well-designed and useful, and what else just wasted their time. College programs are much more standardized, with block schedules and well-established units of topics. Diploma schools are, first of all, whatever curriculum the hospital could get the BON to pass, and second, don't seem to be as closely supervised by regulatory agencies, to make sure that students are getting the education that they are paying for. At TWH, we might as well have been teaching ourselves.