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ABSN curriculum - am I learning what I should be?

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Hi all! I'm in an ABSN program at the flagship public university in my state. It's frequently lauded as having the "best" BSN program in the state (whatever that means), so I've had nothing but high expectations up to this point. I'm starting my second semester, two weeks in now, and a few things have come to light that strike me as fishy:

1) I learned today during a skills lab that we would not be taught or permitted to administer medications during clinical this semester. They admitted that they were changing the curriculum around a bit and that we were the guinea pigs, but I found it unsettling to know that I wouldn't be allowed to practice one of the most important skills that nurses have until the program was more than half over. This does not seem to be standard for nursing programs. We are still taking a Pharmacology course this semester.

2) There are NO individualized skill check offs in any way, shape or form. This was the case for our first semester as well. This week we learned a lot of important skills (i.e. IV placement, IVF admin, CVL dressings, etc), and when I asked one of our instructors when we would be tested on these, she indicated that the skills lab was the extent to which we were "checked off." She said, "Of course we hope you'll be able to do all of these at least once in clinical," but implied that this was not a contingency of passing the course. I fully expected this to be part of my curriculum and am a little upset that I won't be formally tested on these procedures - what if I'm doing it incorrectly and not realizing it? What if my classmates observing me aren't catching my mistakes either?

3) I feel like some very important concepts are being left out of our curriculum. For example, in our discussion of administering IVFs, we did not go over the difference between 0.45 NS, 0.9 NS, LR, dextrose, etc, their indications, their admin (other than working the infusion pump)...nothing! Perhaps we'll learn this later in the semester, but doesn't this seem like the logical time to teach it?

The administration at my university has a "BSN Curriculum Transformation Committee," which some of the faculty have hinted exists because the NCLEX pass rate from our program in recent years has been slumping (they aren't forthcoming with this information). Clearly they are trying to change it up to see if other educational strategies work better, but I can't help but feel that some things are inadequate, missing or are not emphasized.

So my dilemma is this: do I have sufficient cause to voice my concerns to the administration, or am I panicking a little too early? Does this seem "off" enough to be concerned about? We take our mid curricular HESI in November, so that will be a good indicator as to whether we're on the right track...but I thought putting a line out there to get some opinions would be beneficial.

shibaowner, MSN, RN, NP

Has 1 years experience.

Why don't you talk to your advisor? They might be able to address your concerns. Or talk to a professor you are on good terms with.

Why don't you talk to your advisor? They might be able to address your concerns. Or talk to a professor you are on good terms with.

I certainly don't mind doing this, but I'm just trying to gauge whether the things I've mentioned are actually abnormal, or if I'm being paranoid...I've never been to nursing school anywhere else, so it's hard to know what's typical.

shibaowner, MSN, RN, NP

Has 1 years experience.

I certainly don't mind doing this, but I'm just trying to gauge whether the things I've mentioned are actually abnormal, or if I'm being paranoid...I've never been to nursing school anywhere else, so it's hard to know what's typical.

You said your school is changing the curriculum to improve NCLEX pass rates, among other things. Therefore, the rest of us can't answer your question usefully - your best bet is to go straight to the source.

You're only in the 2nd week of your 2nd semester. It is too soon to panic w/o talking to someone in the know at your school.

Mavrick, BSN, RN

Specializes in 15 years in ICU, 22 years in PACU. Has 30 years experience.

I agree, sounds fishy. What are they replacing these basic nursing constructs with? Test taking strategies?

Take the cash, shove more students out the door and let the employers (regular working nurses) do the job of training those minimally competent new grads.