student in need of GREAT help!!

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    Hi...I am a student who has applied for RN programs all around virginia. I have a serious dilemma that i would appreciate any suggestions on.
    I have been accepted to NSU's associates degree program, TCC's associates degree program, and Sentara's certificate program. I have spoken with nurses that I know and have asked for suggestions and have come to the conclusion in speaking with them that Sentara's certificate program was the best program to attend because the nurses that come out of there are more prepared hands on and have a higher success rate @ passing they're boards. What i wanted to know is if anyone had any suggestions in regards to the differences between becoming a graduate from an associate's degree program or a certificate program. Is it true that as long as u have something and are certified it doesnt make that big of a difference?? i realize that later on i will need a BSN for management opportunities...but will it make a difference if i achieve the RN program through an associates degree or certificate? PLEASE PLEASE SOMEONE HELP!!! thanks so much
  2. 4 Comments so far...

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    Hiya. I just read your post and checked out the Sentara SON website. It sounds a lot like the diploma program that I am currently attending. First, I can highly recommend diploma programs--they are very much hand-on indeed. Sentara has an excellent NCLEX pass rate--100%...just like my school so obviously they are preparing their students very well. Sentara is also accredited which is very important as well and they've been educating future nurses since the 1860's (??). Very good track record I would say!

    I chose diploma for several reasons: Mainly I'm 51 years old and have no desire to further my education after my RN by obtaining a BSN degree. You're young and you might want to do this either by attending a BSN program straight away or going the diploma route and then going for a BSN afterwards. That is a decision only you can make. Second, the only prereq I needed for the diploma program is h.s. or college chemistry...which I had. All of the other associated sciences like anatomy, physiology, micro, psychology are all built into the curriculum. You take them while you are doing your nursing courses. And third, I learn very well with hands-on experience.

    I personally think diploma programs are great. If you learn well with hands-on experience you might want to consider this. There aren't too many diploma programs around anymore. I can absolutely guarantee you that you will be well prepared both for the NCLEX and for a graduate nurse position after graduation.

    Good luck to you on whatever you decide. If you have any more ?? regarding diploma programs, feel free to PM me.

    Cheers, Sue
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    I as far as I know it doesn't really make a difference either way. I'm a second yr student in TCC's nsg program and they are pretty tough, but with an excellent NCLEX pass rate. My only concern would be to make sure your credits are transferable to a BSN program from your certificate program. Also, cost is another factor...tuition at TCC right now is about $800/semester and I did spend $600 on books my first semester. PM me if you have any other questions....
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    Interesting question you posed. The choices are numerous, Certificate, Diploma, ADN, BSN. This is a question that has been debated over and over. It is not always clear what the "correct" answer would be. But let me give you my opinion and perhaps some advice.

    As a profession, Nursing really needs to look at what we do that NO ONE else in the healthcare field does. This multi level entry dilemma is hurting us as a profession. Are we technicians or are we professional, critically thinking Healthcare providers? I am actually surprised that there are certificate or diploma schools left in the USA.

    I came up through the ranks. I started as a CNA 1966, then ADN 1969, Then BSN 1984, then MSN 1988, now I am looking forward to one more year of post graduate schooling and I will be a nurse practitioner. The more I learn the more I realize what I do not know.

    I believe that what I learned from the ADN program was excellent bed side nursing. the BSN program taught me excellent Critical thinking skills, and the MSN program helped me to fine tune those skills and specialize in the field of Nursing that I love, pain and palliative Care. Each step has increased my professionalism and critical thinking.

    I can teach any one on the street to insert an IV or a Foley or NG tube BUT do they KNOW how to assess that tube..do they know when there is a problem? and would they know what to do? Yes, they can pass meds and change a dressing BUT these are all tasks that ANY ONE can do...what nurses do that no one else can do is ASSESS and DIAGNOSE response to disease and devise a wholistic plan of action to return the patient to as optimum functioning as is possible or realistic.

    I know too many nurses who can not critically think through a pt problem. They are excellent technicians but terrible critical thinkers.

    That's the long answer. Now for the short Answer. I think that if you want to be a technician, go be an LPN (LVN) If you Want to be a Professional nurse and cannot afford the 4 years of tuition then START with the ADN and then work toward a BSN. And if you want to specialize then MSN.

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    Used to work at Sentara Norfolk General-it has an awesome RN program. However, go with what you can afford and with what fits your schedule. NCLEX just isn't as hard as whichever program your have to go through to be eligable to take NCLEX.


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