Where to start a carrer change to nursing-Pittsburgh

  1. I have finally made the decision to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse!! I have a 4 year degree in a non related subject. Any tips on how/where to start in choosing an accelerated BSN program. Do you recommend online options? How tough is the GRE? What was your process like from beginning the application up until starting coursework?

    As you can tell, I'm super green here, completely switching up my career. Any help/tips/recommendations are much appreciated!!

    Thx so much
  2. Visit Annie-pearl profile page

    About Annie-pearl

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 3
    former Executive, ASPIRING Nurse to be :); from US


  3. by   naturalgirl
    Duquesne university has a 2nd bachelors option (accelerated) for nursing. Or you could go to one of the UPMC schools for nursing, then move to your MSN? Lots of options out there.
  4. by   naturalgirl
    And good luck!!
  5. by   Annie-pearl
    Thank you so much! I have looked at both of those options. What are your thoughts on receiving a diploma vs a degree? My goal is to choose a program that is as hands on as possible with as much clinical experience from the start. Thx so much for your positive encouragement
  6. by   naturalgirl
    In my opinion, I think the diploma programs provide MUCH more clinical hours/hand-on experience. It's a 2 year program, and at the end of those 2 years, you sit for the same licensing exam that BSN students sit for, only you will be better prepared because of all the clinical hours. If it were me, I would go to a diploma program, then while I'm working I would do an RN to BSN program, or even go straight to the graduate degree since you already have a Bachelors. I think in my previous life I was an academic advisor/financial aid counselor...LMBO. Hope this helps!
  7. by   klc220
    Hello! I am actually in a similar situation. I already have a bachelors in finance and I am looking into nursing programs. I'm deciding between Duquesne's accelerated program or a diploma program. Have you taken your prerequisites yet?
  8. by   MAtoBSN
    Just a word of advice as far as diploma/associates vs BSN. It is EXTREMELY difficult for new nursing grads to find that first job. I have a BSN and I'm 4 months out of school with no call backs whatsoever, and I've applied to at least 100 jobs so far. An associates program may be more hands on during school, but it makes it that much more difficult to find a job. I'm at an advantage with the BSN and I can't find work. Just a heads up, it's really tough out there and the competition is insane! Good luck in whatever you choose, I just wanted to to be aware of that!
  9. by   MAtoBSN
    Oh and having a Bachelors or Masters in anything other than nursing means nothing to HR in the hospitals. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but just want you to have a heads up about what's going on in the world of a new nursing grad!
  10. by   Annie-pearl
    Thanks so much for the feedback! I am finding both naturagirls and MAtoBSN comments to be helpful. My hurdle so far is that it is really tough to get started ASAP in a BSN program. Based on the info I have been given from the hospitals, in the diploma program, they also insure you a position upon completion. I'm in it for the long haul, so for me, getting started ASAP and then working towards a BSN/MSN will most likely be my route. Calling end emailing recruiters at the hospital programs directly has been how I have had the most luck getting info. I will also be attending the Pitt Nursing school open house to further research their accelerated BSN program. Looking at all the options is key. Thx again for the feedback!!
  11. by   CoffeeRTC
    As far as jobs in Pgh, there are many good LTCs/ rehabs you might want to consider.
  12. by   laramyy
    I recommend a diploma program like St. Margaret's. You can take pre-req's/co-req's at CCAC before you start in order to have a leg up, but I do NOT recommend CCAC's nursing program. I am finishing it up in a week and it is so unorganized and frustrating. If you do a diploma program you will have more clinical experience, a higher pass rate on boards, and (basically) a guaranteed job at that hospital. Good luck!
  13. by   TC3200
    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.