Anyone get diploma from Baptist Health System Nursing Program in San Antonio? - page 2

One of the other threads sparked my interest in diploma programs, and I'm hoping someone can give me some firsthand (or even secondhand) info about the one in San Antonio. In the other thread, it... Read More

  1. by   dreamon
    Is this still a diploma program?

    Is there a waiting list for applicants?
  2. by   TxStudent82
    I graduated as an RN from BSHP in 08. My sister graduated from the San Antonio College RN program the same year. I have first hand knowledge of both programs so here's my long, hopefully informative, contribution.

    Enrollment:

    1. Why did I pick Baptist? (or why did they pick ME?)
    I went to SAC (which is a community college) for my pre-reqs. I had 5 C's and my GPA wasn't that stellar. I hadn't even considered the baptist program at all so I never applied to it. When I took all my pre-reqs, I applied to the SAC RN program and got denied (because of my GPA), and they suggested I re-take classes and get my GPA up.

    I spent 2 semesters re-taking classes so I no longer had any C's. This time around I applied to SAC as well as Baptist and I got accepted into both programs. What I actually did was apply to baptist for RN and LVN program hoping to get in either one...and, as a male, I got accepted to BOTH schools for the RN program. I say this because I had friends who had NO C's, and hence a higher ORIGINAL GPA than me, and didn't get accepted, or only got accepted to the LVN program. When I tell people this, they automatically assume there's a gender bias/preference for me, being a male, getting in. Can I confirm this? No, but get this: the Baptist school bases your RN school's continuing GPA based on the grade you scored THE FIRST TIME you took a class. That means that I possibly could have NOT retaken my classes (wasted time/effort/money) and still gotten accepted.

    I'm not speculating anything, but what I am saying is if you are not sure whether to retake classes you made C's in here's the answer: For Baptist-no. For SAC-yes (only after you are denied). I'm still puzzled how I managed to squeeze in. Like I said, I have friends who, with a higher GPA than me, applied the same time as me, and got denied, or only got in LVN program.

    Tuition
    SAC: Accepts payment plans.
    BSHP: Accepts payment plans (50%, then 25%, then 25% I believe).

    Both schools drop you for not paying. Well, not really. SAC does it automatically through the computer. BSHP doesn't. They tell you you'll be dropped, but I know first hand people who didn't pay for MORE THAN a semester and didn't get dropped. I know one person had extenuating circumstances and possibly got away with this because he/she talked to someone. But I also know another person who didn't pay because he/she knew he could get away with it, and did. (of course he paid it eventually, but he/she got away with unofficial extra time which a lot of us where jealous of).

    Expenses
    Books:
    - SAC students benefit from LOTTTSSSSS of used books available since their school has a higher student capacity (and dropout/weedout) rate for their RN program. My sister had no problem getting used books and also a good amount of free books from friends who graduated before her.

    - BSHP I had to buy all my books new. For one, only a handful of used books exist in only 1 book store in the city that sells our books. They go by QUICK so don't even bother trying. Amazon or Ebay is your only hope. If you make friends with people in the school a semester ahead, they'll sell you some of their books for cheap. To make matters worse, you have to buy almost ALL your books for the ENTIRE PROGRAM the first semester. That's a CONSIDERABLE cost I was not expecting. On the bright side, the following semester I either had to buy no books at all, or maybe one or two.

    In hindsight, I could have not bought some of the books they told me I had (but never used or read). Either way, it was expensive. At SAC, you buy only the books you need for that semester so it was cheaper for her in that respect. I recommend asking students a semester ahead of you what books you REALLY need to buy and what books you can just read at the school library. Penny pinching but when you're a student, every penny counts.

    Supplies:
    - Both schools require scrubs uniforms, medical equipment, and cost about the same. My sister and I had no problems finding scrubs approved for our schools all over town.

    Traveling:
    - This is an interesting point and one of the main reasons I prefer and now in retrospect recommend Baptist over SAC.

    SAC: Students have the option to 'request' day or night classes. That said, your guess is anyones bet if they do (and they wont). That said, my sister's scheduling was HORRIBLE for her entire nursing program. Some days she'd have a class at 8am...5 hours break, then a class at 4. The next day she'd have clinical at 6:30am and out by noon. Next day she might have a night class at 6...next day another pair of classes with large breaks in between. Basically, she had NO CHANCE to hold a part time job except for weekends. She was lucky that she didn't have to, but for people who have kids or live by themselves and don't have a scholarship, this can be a scheduling NIGHTMARE. Lets compare that to my 2 years. Students can opt to take summer classes off and work to save money...or take summer classes in order to take LESS classes during spring/fall to be able to work and stay employed. Not an easy thing to do and god forbid something happens.

    BSHP: Lets see, I went to school Mon thru wed from 9 to 1pm. Thurs and Fri Iwent to clinicals from 6:45-noon. I EASILY held a part time job (I actually did 40hrs a week both years of school). Moreover, Baptist doesn't have summer classes so I was off for almost 3 months to work and save MORE money. Everyday I had 2-4 hours before most people have to go in for night time jobs. (I was a server and had to go in by 4:30 or 5:30 but my job was flexible and let me come in late if I had a test or study group).

    My sister had a hard time setting up study groups because of the erradic scheduling. She couldn't settle down and have a daily study routine and constantly battled stress before tests. She WANTED to work but COULDN'T, in her mind, and was pretty miserable.

    I, on the other hand, had an easy time, had a part time job, extra money, and a daily schedule that was balanced. I don't know how SAC students, especially parents, finish school in 2 years, honestly.

    Clinicals:
    - SAC: as far as I know, my sister was assigned to hospitals and nursing homes to do her clinicals. They have too many students in too many schedules to let them be picky. She didn't have much input and being that she didn't work, she didn't care where she was assigned because she had a car for herself and didn't worry about driving to job on time after classes.

    - BSHP: AWESOME. Baptist hospitals are located all over town and almost everyone who requested a location near their home or work got it. The 2 or 3 people per semester that didn't get where they wanted always found someone to trade and the teachers were fine with that. This also has an additional benefit: If you like a hospital, you can request it (and almost always get it) from then on out. This way you get to know the floors, the staff, the HR and hospital directors and if you go multiple semesters, you feel like you already work there making you really really want to finish school and work there. Likewise, if you didn't like a certain hospital that you chose because of its location, you can request and GET a different hospital the next time around.

    I had friends who were LVNS and already worked in the baptist system. They choose the hospital they already worked at for clinicals so they could travel less. The staff, in turn, where very friendly, and embraced them and her student friends and had awesome hands on experiences.

    It seems to me that a lot of baptist employees go to the baptist school and end up working for baptist when they come out. This loyalty is very reassuring, especially when as a student, you hear horror stories about newbie nurses starting out. I graduated with 100 % confidence that any baptist hospital would embrace me and take me in as family.

    My sister, on the other hand, never had a 'favorite' hospital or clinical site. It was more of a get in get out nothing more to see here experience for her. When she graduated, she had no clue where to apply, no preference, and simply applied to every hospital in town. It's sad that she didn't even CARE where she'd get hired and spend the next 2-3 years of her daily life at. I had narrowed my choices to 2 places and knew I'd be perfectly happy with either one...but I choose them specifically for a reason. I picked my employer. My sister's employer picked her.

    I'm not saying SAC clinical experiences are not memorable or anything, I'm just saying that I had a great time. My sister seemed to be overwhelmed by her scheduling conflicts that she wasn't very happy and just grinded along every semester and by the end, she was just glad it was over with. I graduated and was sad it was OVER.

    Schooling Method
    Here's another big difference between SAC and Baptist people may want to know about.

    SAC: INFINITEpower points, INFINITE worksheets, rinse and repeat. My sister had piles and piles of worksheets she had to fill out and turn in every day. I'm talking vocab, definitions, essays, clinical worksheets, research...THE WORKS! They grind you to death with that stuff! We recently moved and we both compared our piles of worksheets and powerpoints for our entire RN programs. Mine was NOTHING compared to hers. It was amazing to see in retrospect. On a positive note, this is my sister's preferred method of studying. Worksheets and writing everything down. Over her school period she probably bought 2 - 3 books and practice books every semester and filled those out too. Her method of studying was grind and grind she did!

    BSHP: Grinding optional. Lets see, we had no homework that took more than 30 minutes (if we even HAD homework). Practice books were optional though recommended (most students did not bother). The teachers made their own tests so if you bought extra books at amazon or whatnot, they were for your own knowledge and benefit but didn't really help answer more than 1 or 2 questions on an actual exam. Personally, I'm about studying smart, fast, efficient. I hate grind, thank god I didn't got to SAC because I would have dropped out or failed for sure. I don't have photographic memory and I'm no genius or anything (remember? 5 C's for me?) but let me tell you I never studied or did any homework I didn't have to. I never went to study groups and I always worked 30-40 hrs per week. I'd simply read the book a day or two before the test and take it and I always made B's or higher. The teachers teach from the book, but make their own tests based on the READINGS. No test questions came from the official study guides made by the same publisher, nor even the end of chapter questions in the book itself. That means any 3rd party book from barnes and noble or whatnot was gonna be, to me, more grind but no in-class benefit. If I didn't have a job like my sister, I would have enjoyed reading other books, but I had a real life and a real job and to me, if the least I had to do to get a B was simply read a single book...then that's all I was going to do and I go though fine. I can guesstimate that half the students who where like me, read the book and passed. The other half of the students in my class did homework, read other books, and grinded like my sister, and also passed. To each their own. On another note, because my sister knew her routine, she got smart and started asking for worksheets ahead of time to get started on them. I too could study ahead because our syllabus had the readings for our test since day one. I did this and it helped to read before a lecture...but I stopped doing this and didn't feel like it hurt my learning.

    CONCLUSION: WAS IT AS HARD AS THEY SAY IT IS?
    My sister's response: yes, and worse. She failed and had to retake classes. If you fail twice they kick you out of the program and that added more stress.

    My response: Not at all. My nursing classes were just as hard as any other class I took in college or university. I could honestly say my math classes (personal finance class) was EASILY harder than any nursing class I took.

    Nursing is about what's BEST, not what's RIGHT. There's no right or wrong answer, only the BETTER answer. The NCLEX is like this and both schools teach you to think that way. It's a hard transition to change your mindset to that mentality, but not impossible. Once you realize you'll NEVER know everything and there IS no perfect answer, then you don't feel hopeless or feel like you don't know anything. At that point, you realize that you know MORE than you do because you only have to eliminate the worse answers from the better ones. Then you narrow down whats best out of what's better. It's a gray scale and when you see things in a gray scale and can see the brighter side of things, you've made it. All you have to do is finish strong and stop doubting yourself.
  3. by   sch1109
    Wow! Thanks for writing all that down! I've applied to the Baptist Nursing Program for the fall and after reading everything you wrote I feel a lot more confident that this is really the place I'd like to go. I considered SAC as well because I've heard great things about their program too but I've heard the same thing about schedules sometimes being a nightmare. I have a one year old that will be in daycare when I start nursing school so I really need something more stable. Of course I won't know if I've been accepted until May or possibly June so for now I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
  4. by   dreamon
    TxStudent82 this is for you:
  5. by   LindaRosa713
    Hi vsh1109,

    I also applied to the Baptist program for the Fall semester and recently found out I got accepted. I also debated on whether or not I should wait and apply for the SAC program instead. But then I'd have to wait until the Spring to start. I don't think I should pass up this opportunity. Anyways, did you get accepted also? I'm just trying to get to know who will possibly be attending and maybe see if we could have the same classes. Not sure how the class scheduling goes but I'm excited already. If you'd like please let me know your status. I don't know anyone else that applied or got into the program. Take Care!
  6. by   sch1109
    Quote from LindaRosa713
    Hi vsh1109,

    I also applied to the Baptist program for the Fall semester and recently found out I got accepted. I also debated on whether or not I should wait and apply for the SAC program instead. But then I'd have to wait until the Spring to start. I don't think I should pass up this opportunity. Anyways, did you get accepted also? I'm just trying to get to know who will possibly be attending and maybe see if we could have the same classes. Not sure how the class scheduling goes but I'm excited already. If you'd like please let me know your status. I don't know anyone else that applied or got into the program. Take Care!

    Congratulations on getting accepted! Are you going to do the day or night program? I got accepted into the evening program.
  7. by   haleyjo22
    WOW TxStudent82!! Thank you SO much for that! I applied for both SAC and Baptist for Spring 2011. I'm really hoping to get into Baptist. We'll see. Thank you again for giving the run down on both programs!! You rock!

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