RN Refresher Programs in Virginia

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    I've been out of clinical nursing for 10 years and am considering going back- not interested in hospital work....outpatient, home health, etc. I actually just want to work part time.

    I'm looking at two nurse refresher programs- George Mason and Northern Virginia Community College. Both are expensive - $1200 and $2400. I also work full time and for the NOVA program would have to take off two weeks (TOUGH TO DO) to do the clinical component.

    I'm also considering several online training programs (no clinical, just content and video review). Those programs are around $700. Looking at Greenville Tech, Mount Carmel College, Sigma Theta Tau because they have online programs- online, anytime reviews.

    Does anyone have any experience with either of the Virginia programs or any of the online programs listed or other programs, or know someone who does? Or, experience with any other online refresher programs.

    Or, has anyone taken the skills refresher courses at NOVA? Health assessment, IV, etc....

    I'm sure the review would be useful personally but if it isn't going to be enough to secure a job in the current employment environment.....

    So, to the last question.... is it worth the time/money or are the jobs to scarce with too many people applying?

    THANKS!
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  4. 7 Comments so far...

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    Have you decided what you're going to do yet? I have, basically, the same exact questions as you. We live in V.A. and the two I'm considering are GMU and NOVA. I just don't see why NOVA would be twice as expensive. But, it does make me wonder if it might be a better program! What I really want is a really, really good clinical refresher. I feel like I can do all of the book learning on my own. I talked with the support people for the sigma theta tau one and that is only $350. But, if you want a clinical, you have to set it up on your own. I've sent emails to several nursing homes and INOVA and talked with someone at VHC, but no luck finding a place that let's you coordinate your own clinical yet.
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    I don't have experience with GMU program. But I know that NOVA has web based program with Hands on skills classes on weekends. Nova can set up your clinical in Richmond, Harrisonberg, Fredericksberg, Warrenton, Chesapeake as well as Northern Virginia area.
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    I took the GMU course in January of 2009. I thought it was a good review of med-surg info. We did our clinicals on the weekends at INOVA Fairoaks, but I think they might be doing them at INOVA Fairfax now. I think most of the people from my group that actively persued employment eventually found it. We "graduated" at one of the worst possible times. Sadly, I have not found a job...yet. I think being in a class with a group of people that are in the same boat as you is helpful, I don't think you would get that with NVCC. We also received a lot of encouragement and support from our instructor and each other.
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    I do also have been away from nursing clinical for 6 years and I have looked into the different programs. I am not sure though if we spend the money, it will be worth it. My biggest concern is: are we going to find jobs after finishing? I am looking other options than bedside clinical nursing.
    Good luck to you!
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    I talked with a lot of nurse recruiters before starting the NOVA program and they all said do the program and then I'll forward your application to the nurse managers. In my opinion, the only way to get a job in this economy is to make a personal connection with a nurse manager. Volunteering, shadowing, or maybe just setting up a meeting and asking for specific advice about how to get from where you are to where you want to be. It's definitely not like finding a nursing job a decade ago!
  10. 0
    Hi everyone,
    I've searched for the past two years for info on the nurse refresher programs in Northern VA and found very little info online and became very frustrated so now that I have re-entered the work force and taken a refresher program, I wanted to share my experience.

    First of all, I took 13 years off to raise my children, my background was telemetry, ER and ICU. I took the nurse refresher course at George Mason University. It is the only program now that has a class time and a clinical portion (NOVA just recently eliminated their clinical portion) so GMU would be the one I would recommend.

    There was no testing involved in the GMU program, very little online work (though they are planning to advance that portion) and the clinical instructors will give you a clinical recommendation at the end (assuming that you are safe to practice). There is an EXTENSIVE amount of reading involved so my advice would be to get ahead on that. (Also i would recommend the soft cover of the medical surgical nursing book, which comes in two portions, because it makes it easier to bring to class.) It is an expensive book but it is VERY good.
    We didn't use the second recommended book on assessments/skills....(sorry i can't remember the name of it)

    (We had nurses that came from PA and southern VA to take the course). NOVA has an online portion and two weekends of training I believe. GMU is cheaper than the NOVA program and gives you bedside experience. The clinical portion is going to make it easier for you to get hired.....you will be able to say you have some recent 'bedside' experience and it allows you to network for a job. Our clinical was at INOVA on a telemetry unit. I have spoken to a nurse who took the NOVA refresher and had a much harder time getting a job.

    Hospitals wouldn't even consider hiring me without the refresher course so if you are at the stage of wondering whether or not you need it to get hired (depending on how long you have been out), I would say you definitely need it. (I went to a nursing hiring event in DC and the recruiter wouldn't even take my resume since i hadn't taken a refresher course.) I took the refresher course and was quickly hired by INOVA (using the contacts I made there and by going to their open houses) and am now in a 16 week fellowship. It is awesome, and I highly recommend it !

    Right now the demand for nurses is not sufficient enough for hospitals to pay for the 'complete refresher' so although it is hard to pay that kind of money, it really it what you have to do right now.
    Good luck and I hope this helps!
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    purplemaster: so you would highly recommend the GMU RN refresher? I compared the NOVA CC course & the GMU, the cost is drastic at NOVA ($2400!) but after speaking w/the GMU instructor i'm leaning towards GMU. You have any other advice on this course? I spoke w/the GMU instrutor & she stated letters of recommendations & networking availability/assistance will be given, all sounds great!

    Reason being; I was just turned down yesterday just after being out of RN field shy of 3yrs, w/about a years worth of RN experience, & this was for a federal contract part-time family practice clinic position. (stayed home w/kids for 3yrs, HR rep was asking what I did during the time).

    However, i do understand HR reps have to stick w/basic contract pre-reqs. He seemed reaching, trying to find a way to over-look my "almost" 1yr RN experience (contract stated 1yr RN exp) due to my solid resume of 5yrs of healthcare experience in the Air Force & 2nd undergrad in Exercise Science. He spoke w/the program manager & said it was a no go. Very stringent criteria trying to defend/sell over the phone, plus w/out asking for references. Just amazed that this is work I did in the Air Force stated on my resume & still shot down.

    So, after a bottle of wine & some venting, it looks like I'm having to except the fact that I will need to spend the $1800 at GMU to begin filling my RN work gap


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