for starters, i'm not in the sentara program, i'm over across the water at riverside which is still a diploma program. that said, a few thoughts.
they started that program about a year and a half or so ago. it is a 2.5+ program, you come in with 1.5 years of college credits and they finish it up with all the nursing specific stuff. they have yet to be accredited for a bsn, they are still accredited as a diploma program, they wont pick up the new accreditation untill they graduate a class or two. that is what i was told by one of my instructors a while back. due dillegence would be to ask them about that. like riverside, its a hospital based program so they get as much clinical time as they want since they own the hospitals. tcc and all the other non-hospital programs have to negotiate that time. i have heard only good things about the program, unlike some others in the area. they probably have a bit of a waiting list too, again ask when you go over there.
getting a bsn is a good idea, but i don't think it's the be all and end all, especially around here. there are some areas of the country where its the basic requirement for new grads, but here, you can still get hired with an associates or a diploma, especially if its the same system you train in. lots of folks go the associates or diploma route and then apply over at odu for entry into the rn transition program and pick up the bsn while they are working. if you are planning on moving out of state, i would research what that states requirements are so you arent surprised down the road.
from the board of nursing listing of diploma programs:
diploma programs (cont) for information, contact the program director
* riverside school of professional nursing - 28-397 deborah sullivan-yates, rn, msn
º (757) 240-2203 director, school of nursing
(757) 240-2201 (fax) 316 main street
newport news, virginia 23601
* sentara college of health sciences - 28-390 angela taylor, rn, phd
º (757) 388-2900 dean, school of nursing
(757) 388-2905 (fax) 1441 crossways blvd, suite 105
chesapeake, virginia 23320
this is off the nlnac website: http://www.nlnac.org/forms/directorysearch.asp
sentara healthcare diploma
sentara norfolk general hospital school of nursing
crossways 1, ste 105,
1441 crossways blvd.
chesapeake, va 23320
linda aleksa, edd, rn
year of initial accreditation december 1964
last evaluation visit:february 2004
most recent action:february 2008
next evaluation visit:closed june 9, 2011