Not taking the traditional rout to nursing school...

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    Hello Everyone!

    I've been a user on this website for over a year now and for a long time I've had every intention of apply to an undergraduate nursing school. I graduated high school in 2010 and I've been earning my associates degree for the past two years while taking prerequisite courses for nursing school. I've also taken a CNA course at my community college. But now I've found a different path to nursing school...and I'm really excited about it! There is a school about 15 minutes away from my house called North Central College (its in the Chicago suburbs). Its a very high ranked school, but doesn't have a nursing program. However, they have a great biology program. To accommodate those who have an interest in nursing, they have created an affiliation with Rush University Medical Center (which is the best hospital in Chicago and one of the best in the nation) who has a masters degree program for people who don't have their undergraduate degree in nursing. It is a nursing program but also a masters program in clinical leadership. And since North Central has an affiliation with them, as long as North Central students who apply to the program meet all the admissions requirements, they are guaranteed admission to the program at Rush. Although I could just apply to an undergraduate nursing program, I've made the decision to go to North Central and get my undergrad in biology and go to Rush after! Rush is a hospital that I dream of working for one day and they put out the absolute best medical professionals. Since I decided I wanted to go into nursing, I've always known that I wanted to go get my graduate degree from Rush and now I'll get to do that! Their nurses get to work at the best hospitals and I'm just so excited for the future! I'm quite the science nerd...So I'm also happy that I'm going to get to complete a degree in biology because I would really love to do research while I'm an undergrad. Though the path that I'm taking to my nursing career is not like most others, I'm still extremely excited and I just felt like I had to tell some people that would actually understand how excited I am since my friends aren't nursing majors Good luck to all of you soon applying to nursing school and those of you who are just beginning your prerequisites!

    - Maddie
  2. 9 Comments so far...

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    didn't there used to be a little cheerleader smiley?
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    You're going to a 4-yr private school, then a 2(?) year master's program. While I ended up on a similar course (DePaul's MENP after a short stint of lab work following my BS in Mol & Cell Bio), I have to warn you that you're setting yourself up for a world of student debt, and tuition reimbursement is nonexistent in the area.

    Also, in future, please hit the "Enter" button occasionally. Large blocks o' text are hard to read.
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    From what I've heard, employers don't always like hiring nurses with a MEPN degree. So, check around at the places you would like to work before you saddle yourself with that debt. Good luck!
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    My hospital really likes them, as evidenced by (among other things) my current employment there. DePaul's program has a good reputation in the area, and I believe that Rush's does as well.
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    So, this is a new program, right? Going to a brand new program is chance-y, even one that is part of an established school. There are usually a lot of issues to iron out in the first couple of years. Claims by school recruiters (even those from 'established' programs) should be interpreted as marketing - because that is what it is.

    I'm glad that the PP said that direct entry MSNs can get jobs in that area... they certainly can't in my part of the country. In my organization, hiring managers have had some really bad experiences. An MSN without any clinical experience at all is essentially worthless in terms of any 'advanced expertise' but they seemed to feel they were worthy of higher-level jobs and salaries. Needless to say, that didn't work out. Rush does have a stellar reputation, but I believe that their MSN in Clinical Leadership is only open to RNs, it is not a pre-licensure program. (LOL - the idea of a new grad with an MSN in Clinical Leadership makes me chuckle).

    Has Chi-town recovered from the "new grads can't get jobs" situation yet? If not, I would really caution you against going with this 'non-traditional' route because it may make it even more difficult to find a job.
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    Quote from HouTx
    So, this is a new program, right? Going to a brand new program is chance-y, even one that is part of an established school. There are usually a lot of issues to iron out in the first couple of years. Claims by school recruiters (even those from 'established' programs) should be interpreted as marketing - because that is what it is.

    I'm glad that the PP said that direct entry MSNs can get jobs in that area... they certainly can't in my part of the country. In my organization, hiring managers have had some really bad experiences. An MSN without any clinical experience at all is essentially worthless in terms of any 'advanced expertise' but they seemed to feel they were worthy of higher-level jobs and salaries. Needless to say, that didn't work out. Rush does have a stellar reputation, but I believe that their MSN in Clinical Leadership is only open to RNs, it is not a pre-licensure program. (LOL - the idea of a new grad with an MSN in Clinical Leadership makes me chuckle).

    Has Chi-town recovered from the "new grads can't get jobs" situation yet? If not, I would really caution you against going with this 'non-traditional' route because it may make it even more difficult to find a job.
    If you go on Rush's website it shows that the masters program for non nurses has a concentration in clinical leadership. After graduation you are eligible to sit for a certification in clinical leadership. So far everything I've heard about the program is great. I'm doing this because I also want to put applications into other programs including med programs. I don't want to get my hopes up for med school and get crushed if I don't get in. The medical field is where I want to be for sure. The college I'm transferring to with the affiliation with Rush has had a lot of very successful students who graduated from the Rush program. Plus I got a great scholarship to go there. As for loans, I won't have very many of them after I graduate because I've been at community college for 2 years and I'll have a scholarship to the new school. I'm going to get my CNA license soon so I can get experience with patients.
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    Rush and DePaul's Master's Entry programs have both been around for around a decade, so neither are "new" programs, and both evolved out of successful prior ABSN programs. They're also both not APN programs (which have been conflated with master's-level work in nursing, the recent development of the DNP notwithstanding), though they incorporate some APN-level classes.

    Chicago still has the "new grads can't get new jobs" problem, but both Rush's and DePaul's programs are well-regarded by many hospitals (which new grads are admittedly under pressure to live up to). Not only did the vast majority of my classmates have jobs within 6 months (some went straight back to school for PhD or APN), but many are in the ED, ICU, L&D, Pediatrics at tertiary pediatric hospitals, and other places that posters love to tell nursing students that "you can't do unless you do two years of med-surg first." Recruiters and hiring managers in the area care more about the reputation of the programs than the degrees awarded by said program.

    Admittedly, part of the success of DePaul's program is that most of its students are coming back to academia after spending time working and not immediately matriculating from a baccalaureate program. Professionalism doesn't need to be indoctrinated when students have already lived it.

    My understanding was that Rush was dropping the CNL from its master's entry curriculum, since the CNL is (outside of the VA) a certification in search of a purpose, and definitely not appropriate for a new graduate with no experience as a nurse on a unit.
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    Quote from HouTx
    So, this is a new program, right? Going to a brand new program is chance-y, even one that is part of an established school. There are usually a lot of issues to iron out in the first couple of years. Claims by school recruiters (even those from 'established' programs) should be interpreted as marketing - because that is what it is.

    I'm glad that the PP said that direct entry MSNs can get jobs in that area... they certainly can't in my part of the country. In my organization, hiring managers have had some really bad experiences. An MSN without any clinical experience at all is essentially worthless in terms of any 'advanced expertise' but they seemed to feel they were worthy of higher-level jobs and salaries. Needless to say, that didn't work out. Rush does have a stellar reputation, but I believe that their MSN in Clinical Leadership is only open to RNs, it is not a pre-licensure program. (LOL - the idea of a new grad with an MSN in Clinical Leadership makes me chuckle).

    Has Chi-town recovered from the "new grads can't get jobs" situation yet? If not, I would really caution you against going with this 'non-traditional' route because it may make it even more difficult to find a job.
    HouTx, I encourage you to research the CNL programs a little more before commenting on them. Graduates do not plan to go directly into advanced practice or management roles. Students study at the graduate level, focus in on population-based health & evidence-based practice, & are prepared to be informal leaders at the bedside. Pursuing higher education should not be frowned upon, in my opinion. Using words like "worthless" & stating that we make you "chuckle" - remember that we are your colleagues, & we are on this website.

    OP, I challenge you to check with the program regarding job placement rates following graduation; this is a much more reliable indicator than what you'll hear in this forum. I completed the program at another university, & I can tell you that I never heard of any of us struggling to find employment. Look for insight from people who completed the program. Best of luck to you!
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    WOW sounds great! Could you tell me more about this program? What made you choose Chamberlain instead of North Central College


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