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Alverno DEMSN 2021

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Just now, londonflo said:

I have extensive experience in B& M institutions and online course work. Would you say a college accepting these credits from a Straighter line, etc, "implements a screening test to verify acquisiton of knowledge?" Cite that please. Online courses are not 'de facto". If so we would not have any Bricks and Mortar colleges. 

Straighterline is incredibly rigorous and thorough. A&P 1 & 2 include physical labs and cover the entirety of Seeley’s Anatomy. Microbio, when I took it, went through Pearson’s Microbiology cover to cover. Again, with physical labs. Their statistics courses (introduction and business) again utilize recent books and are robust. The tests are a nightmare. The finals are all proctored.
 

I’m not sure why you would knock Straighterline. SUNY takes them, university of Maine at pressure isle, Tennessee state, university of Louisiana Monroe, etc. Tons of public partner colleges have reviewed them and consider it solid education.

As for Alverno, I’m pretty sure they let Patho and Pharma in the first semester act as the filter. If you lied and cheated your way through prerequisites instead of putting the actual work in you will not make it past the first semester. 
 

I would personally advocate an entrance exam; because people cheat at brick and mortar too. 

Londonflo,

I'm now in my third semester. My first semester was 100% online with some of the courses rearranged between the second semester and the first semester to accommodate that it would be online. 2 of those 5 courses, pharmacology and pathophysiology, had pretty good lectures recorded to watch on your own. My pharmacology class was very disorganized though! 2 of the other courses, evidence based practice and nursing ethics, had a few pop up zoom meetings for clarification on topics. I really felt like ethics and the remaining course, nursing essentials, were just busy work and were self taught.

My second semester was a hot mess. We took our clinical skills the same time we took our first clinical (at a hospital) and because we hadn't passed each skill yet, we weren't allowed to do anything in practice. We never made up the clinical section we were displaced from the first semester, other than taking the math exam, but we paid for it in full and received credit for it. Many of us were really unhappy about missing the experience and being so limited in the experience we did have. My clinical instructor and my skills instructor had never taught a single class before, and correspondence with the rest of the department to figure things out was beyond stressful for everyone, teachers and students. There truly was a new issue every week. Those classes did meet in person, though one was very bad about practicing COVID guidelines, particularly in the classroom setting (too many students, no social distancing, people taking masks off during class, not disinfecting tables, dummies, etc). The remaining classes I had were totally online with the exception of some exams being done in person. 2 of the lecturers were pretty good, the other 2 were extremely uninvolved, 1 of which was also brand new to teaching.

Now that I've begun my third semester, I can say the course material has shifted away from science and skills. 1 class meets in person for simulations, my "clinicals" meet in person (we are supposed to be a vaccine clinic but we have never gone), and the other 4 are totally online. There is very little interaction from the professors in most of these, and it is frustrating. You can tell that the professors did not design the courses or the online pages they are in charge of and there is a lot of disorganization and confusion. 

Most of the girls dislike the format and, in this BSN portion of the DEMSN, we were expecting more lectures or synchronous classes, online or in person. I am only the second cohort, the first cohort has not graduated yet so there is no info on NCLEX pass rates or anything else, but general consensus is we feel very unprepared. I don't know what classes would have met in person or how else the program would have been different if not for COVID, but I for one would not recommend it to anyone.

I hope this answers your questions.

 

Edited by bananochka

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

5 minutes ago, damianus said:

I’m not sure why you would knock Straighterline. SUNY takes them, university of Maine at pressure isle, Tennessee state, university of Louisiana Monroe, etc. Tons of public partner colleges have reviewed them and consider it solid education.

Their acceptance  for credit in many colleges is very limited, but I am glad you cited the programs that do accept them. I am not 'knocking them' just stating what I see are problems in higher education.

6 minutes ago, damianus said:

As for Alverno, I’m pretty sure they let Patho and Pharma in the first semester act as the filter

I have taught both Pharm and Patho in several colleges and I have assisted many to know the underlying education (poor foundation) they lack. But regardless, these students have spent money and time trying to acquire a foundational education to build on. Can I add the structure (in a tutoring session or a series of sessions)  they will need to understand how an organ failure effects the body and the necessary changes in diet and medications (surgery or more) needed to promote or regain health? 

While an entrance exam will help, the requirements needed to build the professional knowledge and practice on are vital. A program cannot start on a 'fact finding' mission to figure out who has the foundational knowledge to acquire a knowledge of a profession and indeed practice it.

As I said, I had a great deal of respect for Alverno. I just can't understand the actions and directions they are taking.

2 minutes ago, londonflo said:

Their acceptance  for credit in many colleges is very limited, but I am glad you cited the programs that do accept them. I am not 'knocking them' just stating what I see are problems in higher education.

I have taught both Pharm and Patho in several colleges and I have assisted many to know the underlying education (poor foundation) they lack. But regardless, these students have spent money and time trying to acquire a foundational education to build on. Can I add the structure (in a tutoring session or a series of sessions)  they will need to understand how an organ failure effects the body and the necessary changes in diet and medications (surgery or more) needed to promote or regain health? 

While an entrance exam will help, the requirements needed to build the professional knowledge and practice on are vital. A program cannot start on a 'fact finding' mission to figure out who has the foundational knowledge to acquire a knowledge of a profession and indeed practice it.

As I said, I had a great deal of respect for Alverno. I just can't understand the actions and directions they are taking.

Well, let’s agree on the elephant in the room. It’s a cash cow for the school and if they pull off producing decent nurses from it, it will help ensure the physical campus maintains the mission of their founders in perpetuity. 
 

But like other advanced DEMSN programs it does place 90% of the burden on the student to be self motivated to a high degree. 

4 minutes ago, bananochka said:

....

Nothing to do with the line of conversation, but I’ve read good things about UWorld’s NCLEX prep. That’s what I’m planning on using. 
 

https://nursing.UWorld.com/NCLEX-RN/?_ga=2.88802331.1689919682.1592888398-1572772771.1592888398

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

2 minutes ago, bananochka said:

ow that I've begun my third semester, I can say the course material has shifted away from science and skills. 1 class meets in person for simulations, my "clinicals" meet in person

While I am heaping criticism on Alverno here, I do have faith in their mission and practice in nursing education. Your cohort really hit an educational system at a time that has its hands tied in providing classroom and clinical experiences. I wish you all the best, and do know those of in education understand how difficult it is for you (or atleast we think we know)

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

2 minutes ago, damianus said:

but I’ve read good things about UWorld’s NCLEX prep. That’s what I’m planning on using. 

If you have read any of my comments here, I am always wondering why these types of remedial education exist If a student has met the objectives of a program. I guess (?) I am glad they exist but I wonder about the real world application  for graduates of questions asking for priority assessments etc, I have felt confident in the education my college(s) provided that students would meet minimal competency. I have tutored students that failed, reviewing the NCLEX print out and all passed on the next test.

Of the programs I taught in, we did not rely on these review programs to judge the knowledge of our graduating students. There are many measures available for colleges to evaluate the knowledge gained in their graduating class. Mountain Measurement is is very expensive service that details how your graduates did on certain measures of the NLCEX. Probably Alverno subscribes to this service. In addition each faculty had to review the ATI testing results (which we used)  of their content. Some programs use other subject tests or maybe none to evaluate their curriculum. These may be very threatening to some new educators but they are a good learning experience.

I have always respected Alverno but have developed some hesitancy in applauding where they and other nursing programs are going.

hostilebisexual, CNA

Has 3 years experience.

4 hours ago, londonflo said:

You may or not be aware that oncology patients' immune systems may be effected by the chemotherapy used to halt cancer cell division -- meaning some patients have a WBC of 0.00. That being said, in oncology we are alert and act on  the infectious agents a patient may experience who is neutropenic. We have instituted stategies that prevent COMMON infections. If we imagined our patients would be exposed to all the infections that occur on the planet in underdeveloped countries, we would be paralized to provide daily care with out hazmat suits. I do understand you are a novice in terms of health care but you do need to think in the 'real world picture' to plan and deliver care. Living in the world of reality will help when you start planning care for your patients. BTW we do have our own ICU to prevent our patients from encountering the infections from patients who are non-compromised but harbor normal flora and the common hospital infections.

I work on a Medical & Oncology floor so no need to educate me on the practices for common infections in immunocompromised patients. No where did I say that we need to prepare our hospitals to expect to be exposed to everything out there. I do live in the world of reality hun, which is why our department of infectious disease has an important role when we cannot quickly determine what a patient has because it isn't a common infection 🙂 

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Please remember to debate the topic of the thread, which in this case is the Alverno DEMSN 2021 Cohort, and not each other or take the thread off topic with side conversations that would be better suited to other threads and/or forums.

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On 2/23/2021 at 4:20 AM, greenbluegray said:

I’m in my 3rd semester of the DEMSN and I can assure you it is awful and it keeps getting worse. My grades are great so I promise you I’m not an angry, failing student- the program really is awful. Covid presents a lot of challenges but even outside of that, the program is extremely disorganized. There is poor communication amongst all the faculty and it affects students quite a bit. Most of your classes will be online and you will be teaching yourself. Many of the professors do not even provide a zoom class or a recording. There is very limited interaction, just sloppy powerpoints they took from the BSN curriculum and links to 20+ articles online. Many of the professors, especially for the first 2 semesters, are brand new to teaching and don’t know what they’re doing. The clinicals are an absolute joke and are basically like any other class in that you just write papers and do projects. You might get to go to a hospital a couple times in semester 2 but you won’t be doing much other than filling out paperwork. They made a lot of changes due to covid, but they still charged the full tuition price! It’s a lot to explain, but basically we paid for a clinical class we never actually took- we just got the credit for it. If you just want a degree then who cares, but if you actually want to learn? Not OK. They also cut 4 weeks (¼ of the semester) and material off all our classes but still charged full prices. 

It is a masters program but your first 3 semesters are BSN courses, doled out as 14-18 credits a semester. It is an unreasonable amount of work, and we all cut a lot if corners to just get it done. We are not truly learning, we’re just skating by until graduation. We all feel very unprepared. There is no NCLEX prep either. 
 

The cohort started with 55, and I know at least 7 have dropped. It’s a small group so we all talk, and everyone has the same complaints. Maybe of us have written the dean about issue after issue, but nothing improves. I could go on and on. Nurses schools across the country are in bad shape (from what I hear) but go somewhere else. This place is not worth the enormous undue stress. 

I have been accepted to Alverno as well as UMSON for fall 2021. I was told by the enrollment specialist at Alverno, they provide Kaplan test prep for NCLEX and that you would take the NCLEX BEFORE graduation. Is there any truth to this?

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

22 minutes ago, summer123 said:

that you would take the NCLEX BEFORE graduation.

I would question this as  to be eligible to take the NCLEX requires graduation from an approved nursing program

11 minutes ago, londonflo said:

I would question this as  to be eligible to take the NCLEX requires graduation from an approved nursing program

It’s a Wisconsin thing.

https://dsps.wi.gov/Pages/Professions/RN/Default.aspx

 

“If you are applying for RN licensure by examination through completion of the Pre-MSN basic nursing requirements, there is no guarantee that you will be eligible for an RN license in other states.  Graduates of non-U.S. schools: Successful completion of a qualifying examination is required.”

Katoo

Specializes in NHP.

OK, you guys are scaring me even more.🙆‍♀️😨 I'm starting next month! This Summer 2021! My orientation was 2 days ago, and I started questioning myself about it and the school. The orientation wasn't what I expected at all. I thought I would have zoom meeting where the professors would be talking live to us, but it wasn't that. It was a bunch of Youtube video links they took from other youtubers taling about nursing school, a bunch of pdf forms to download, 1 forum to say gi to everybody and that's all.

Does that mean my courses will be same ? No recorded videos or live online interactions with the professors ? Is that where my loans will go to?

Summer123, what does UMSON stand for?

39 minutes ago, Katoo said:

OK, you guys are scaring me even more.🙆‍♀️😨 I'm starting next month! This Summer 2021! My orientation was 2 days ago, and I started questioning myself about it and the school. The orientation wasn't what I expected at all. I thought I would have zoom meeting where the professors would be talking live to us, but it wasn't that. It was a bunch of Youtube video links they took from other youtubers taling about nursing school, a bunch of pdf forms to download, 1 forum to say gi to everybody and that's all.

Does that mean my courses will be same ? No recorded videos or live online interactions with the professors ? Is that where my loans will go to?

Summer123, what does UMSON stand for?

Pathophysiology will be your hardest class. (MODERATOR EDIT OF NAME) will be the lecturer. She is amazing. Offers 2 lectures a week at 4 hours each. She records. It’s amazing. 
 

Pharmacology is your next hardest. Good powerpoints with weekly zoom (usually) with the Professor. She makes up for it with incredible exam prep review sessions. We are almost all passing. 
 

Ethics is a breeze. Great interaction.

The other two courses were asynchronous with plenty of materials to get you through and excellent instructor feedback on assignments. 
 

make sure your cohort sets up a Google drive and an outside message app to group study and work together on study guides. It really helps get you through. Especially sharing multiple perspectives. 
 

I am wrapping up semester 1 now. Stressful, yes. Worth it? Oh heck yes. 

Edited by damianus
Names, groupme, quoted edited post

Can any current students provide any insight on the grading at Alverno? I have heard they are pass/fail and don't give letter grades for classes.

5 minutes ago, summer123 said:

Can any current students provide any insight on the grading at Alverno? I have heard they are pass/fail and don't give letter grades for classes.

It’s pass fail. Sort of. Hard to explain. There are points, but only for certain classes like patho and pharm. other classes it’s about demonstrating mastery of material. At the end of each semester you can ask for an equivalency report for future transfer that shows grades. You need a 70% to pass patho but also must pass 7 of 8 subject exams. 2 retakes and ample extra credit opportunities. They want you to learn.  Pharma and all nursing classes require 80% average. Tough but doable.

Katoo

Specializes in NHP.

@damianus, thanks. 

@summer123, I've heard that too. They did mention (indirectly) something like that during orientation.

summer123, 

They might say they offer NCLEX prep but it is not entirely true. NCLEX prep is done independently in semester 3 or 4 depending on how COVID has affected your class timeline. You do take the NCLEX before graduating, again after semester 3 or 4 depending, but to my understanding you do not have to pass it to continue in the program. If you are working as a nurse extern you might need to pass in order to keep your position, but if that doesn’t apply to you then don’t worry about it. You can always take the NCLEX a second time if needed.

Pass/fail is typical in a lot of graduate nursing programs. You will need a minimum of 80% in each class to pass (expect the first patho class, which is 70% because it is not part of the school of nursing). Grades are mostly based on exams, which are referred to as “assessments”. There are other assignments in each class as well, but these generally do not count towards your grade. Assignments are generally evaluated as either “satisfactory” or “in progress” and you will need to revise any “in progress” feedback to meet the requirements for “satisfactory”. What this means is that you must do well on your exams to pass classes.

Also, I am unsure of the "retakes" mentioned earlier in this thread. Neither my patho or pharm class offered any sort of retake for any assessment, nor did they drop the lowest score. None of my classes at this school have offered that. It might depend on the professor or they might have implemented it because a lot of people were failing. 

 

Londonflo,

We are required take the NCLEX before we graduate from the MSN portion of our program. It is not an option of eligibility to sit for it if we so choose.

 

Katoo,

I can tell you as someone who is wrapping up my 3rd semester that this program is largely self taught. Some of your classes will have Zoom meetings, some will provide recorded material for you to watch asynchronously, but many classes are asynchronous without any type of lecture or interaction with the professor. I have never seen 3 of my 6 professors this semester, 2 of which did not provide any sort of lectures, video, or audio recordings. There is a lot of Youtube, a lot of TED talks, and a lot of PDFs.

I find that the cost of this program is entirely unjustified. For $60,000+ I expected a lot more effort on the part of my professors, especially considering the complications of COVID. This was not offered as an online program so the fact that it has become one, and especially one with such limited interaction, does not sit well with me. COVID has made it difficult, but I and many other students feel like professors take advantage of it in a negative way.

Edited by greenbluegray

We were told the plan is to return to in person classes for Fall semester. I prefer self taught so I’m dreading it. To me sitting in a lecture is a waste of my time, effort, and energy.