Hello current and future nurses!
I'm interested in picking some of your brains regarding choosing between Boston College's Master's Entry program and Simmons' Direct Entry Program for FNP. I received my acceptance to BC and was elated and knew that was where I wanted to attend. However, once I began speaking with nurses and nurse practitioners in the Boston area, I began hearing many negative comments about the program. In fact, they had practically nothing positive to say about the program. They said the program was too short to prepare quality nurse practitioners, that the program did not include enough clinical hours, and that the school discourages their students from doing the program part-time and gaining experience as an RN. I was also accepted to Simmons with a scholarship that makes the cost of the program equal to BC's. And the same nurses who did not have many positive things to say about BC had lots of wonderful things to say about the program at Simmons. I'm now somewhat conflicted. I want to go to a program that will provide me with enough training and experience that I feel comfortable practicing as an NP upon graduation. I would love to get some more opinions on the two programs!
Mar 4, '13
Moved to the Pre-Nurse Practitioner Inquiry forum for more of a response.
Mar 4, '13
I graduated from the BC Master's Entry program in 2009. I was also accepted to Simmons and other programs in Boston, and chose BC for several reasons. First, I needed to be out of the workforce for as little time as possible. The 2 year program enabled me to do that. Second, Simmons wanted me to take several courses over, even though I had passing scores on CLEP exams for intro Bio and Chem. That would have cost me more money and I would have had to quit my full time job several months earlier than I had planned. BC accepted those CLEP scores and I didn't have to take any courses over. BC was geographically easier for me to attend. I could park there, unlike at Simmons, Northeastern, and MGHIHP. Sounds like a silly thing, but public transportation is not readily available from where I live, and it made my life a lot easier with kids and a part time job.
To my knowledge, no one was discouraged from attending the program part time. Several students in my cohort did just that. I know these students did have difficulty finding a part time RN position, as very few places were hiring new grads from any programs.
BC's program was very intense. It is the hardest thing I've ever done, in terms of workload and time. I felt well equipped to practice as a novice NP after graduation. I took it upon myself to do extra clinical hours, because that made me feel more comfortable. The program is certainly not perfect. I felt there was too much emphasis on theory, but I hear that from a lot of people from different schools. I also think many students have the unrealistic expectation that they will be far more knowledgable at graduation than they really are.
You really have to be self-motivated to succeed in most DE programs. Some people do well with the level of intensity of the BC program. Others prefer more time in school. I have no regrets about attending BC. It was the right choice for me. Simmons is an excellent school and may be better for you. I'd recommend visiting both schools and speaking with faculty and current students, if you haven't already done so.
Mar 4, '13
Thanks for the reply! I'm so glad to hear some good things about the program! It's always been my top choice - and I would still very much like to attend BC.
I'm glad to hear some of your classmates attended part-time! When I spoke with a woman in admissions she said almost all students complete the program full-time. She said maybe 1 student from each cohort decides to attend part-time. Do you know, were the classes offered on a schedule that would allow someone to complete the curriculum part-time?
I'm curious as to how you did extra clinical hours? Did you have additional clinical placements or did you do extra hours in the clinicals you were already placed in?
Mar 6, '13
There are quite a few similar threads comparing Boston programs in the MA Programs section of the forums.
Simmons, in my opinion, has just about the best clinical reputation in MA/RI/NH for producing practice-ready NPs. I have a only few colleagues that are BC grads and I have heard mixed messages from them about BC with the biggest complaint being a lack of clinical hours/experience to accompany the intense academic work.
There are some important questions to ask about.
For pre-RN: Most of the undergrad education will be similar. Does the program offer a BSN? Can you get gradplus loans if they do? What's the NCLEX pass rate? How is the alumni network for getting a RN job? Those are the only real pressing questions related to the first half.
For graduate: This is where programs will really vary. Are they many track (like BC) or single track (like Simmons)? What is the RN work requirement? What percentage of student go part-time? Is their a standardized patient experience? Where are the clinical placements? Does the school find all your preceptors? What are the board pass rates? What is the avg time to find employment? How many clinical hours?
No program is perfect and every program will require a significant amount of self-discipline to do well or excel in. Be prepared to work hard. Remember all of your classmates will have had straight A's in Prerequisite classes but almost a third will fail a class or more in the DE program.
Mar 7, '13
I did extra clinical hours by working with my preceptors and coming in on extra days, evenings, weekends-whenever the practices were open and I had time. I also kept my normal clinical schedule over school breaks. This was a personal decision-I wanted as much clinical time as possible. I probably would have done this no matter what program I attended.
May 7, '13
I started the BC program in January and I love it. BC was recommended to me over other schools by 3 of my undergrad professors. My experience thus far has been wonderful. The professors are very nurturing and the admin staff is fabulous!
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