The University of Alberta? - page 3

Is there anyone else out there that will be going to this program in the fall or that is already going there? I'm so grateful for finally having gotten into this program but now I'm a little... Read More

  1. by   CodeteamB
    Ok, I like the rest of you I can only give my personal experience but here goes.

    I graduated from the U of A ADP. The criticisms noted here have some validity. The U of A program when I attended was certainly not very organized in terms of administration. The drop-out and flunk out rate was pretty high as well.

    Academically the program is challenging, and CBL definitely contributes to that. When I was in the program I would have agreed with every criticism that anyone could come up with. I disliked having to depend on the (often low quality) research of my peers. I thought if one more nursing instructor said to me "that's a good question, why don't you research it and tell us about it next time" my head would explode. My solution was I did my own research.

    Now, for the upside. I have to some degree changed my mind regarding CBL. I will tell you that as a nurse you can't just memorize what you need to know an have done with it. When I don't know an answer in practice I am never stumped. I know where to go for reliable information and I know how to pick out the salient facts.

    I only went to nursing school in one spot so I can't tell you how it compares. I have, however precepted students from other programs and been met with blank stares when I asked them to research something instead of me spoon feeding the answer. There is something to be said for having the confidence to search out your own answers.

    For self motivated learners CBL is an excellent model, the issue at U of A is many students don't know how to learn this way and it is frustrating until you learn how. The idea that your teacher isn't going to give you bupkis is hard to adjust to.

    I left Edmonton after graduation, never practiced nursing there. I agree with the above poster that no-one will give a flip where you went to school once you are out in the real world.

    For what it's worth the U of A must have good press outside of Edmonton because I have been told in interviews "wow, that's a great program." Or maybe the U puts out good grads after all, I certainly think so.

    So U of A students don't despair, it gets better, and in the end you will be an RN, hit the floor and learn on the job, just like everyone else; and when a group member hands in her research copy and pasted from Wikipedia with the links still in, take a deep breath and consider that you may have a leg up on independent learning.

  2. by   petethecanuck
    You should see if it's possible to move to Calgary for 2 years and do the after degree program at the U of C.
  3. by   sonwic
    Oh no, I'm not liking what I'm seeing. I'm working on applying to the U of A after degree program and this thread is a little discouraging. GMU doesn't have an after degree program though.. Anyone have anything good to say about CBL? (which I had never heard of before now..). My background is in engineering so I'm really not sure how that style of learning will work for me.
  4. by   sonwic
    Oh no, I'm not liking what I'm seeing. I'm working on applying to the U of A after degree program and this thread is a little discouraging. GMU doesn't have an after degree program though.. Anyone have anything good to say about CBL? (which I had never heard of before now..). My background is in engineering so I'm really not sure how that style of learning will work for me.

    ETA my first degree is from the U of A. Any idea if that would transfer over to Calgary easily?
  5. by   CodeteamB
    See my previous post re: CBL on this thread. I will say that I think you do CBL properly (make a real effort to complete high quality research) you may have an advantage when it comes to independent learning in your career. I have never met anyone who likes CBL and my comments are probably the nicest thing you will hear about it unless you are talking to a prof who teaches it. But I really don't think it is without merit. It is the tough love approach to learning. The ADP in Edmonton is not easy but it is short and you will come out an RN just like everyone else, CBL won't kill you and really shouldn't be your deciding factor when picking a school IMO.
  6. by   sonwic
    I guess its not CBL itself that's actually my biggest worry, but the less clinic hours compared to GMU. Any thoughts on that? Thanks for taking the time to reply.
  7. by   CodeteamB
    I don't have anything to compare it to. Obviously the after degree program has less clinical hours, it's a 2 year program. Here is how the program was laid out when I took it.

    1 semester surgery 2 days a week
    1 semester medicine 2 days a week
    1 semester community 2 days a week
    1 summer session psych (4 weeks full time)
    Preceptorship 300 and something hours

    From my discussions with co-workers and students I believe in a 4 year program there is a LTC placement as well. I don't know the exact numbers but I have been told that there isn't that big a difference in the number of acute care hours. I suggest that you contact the programs you are interested in and ask them for the number of clinical hours, as I have been out of school for awhile and my info may be off.

    I can only tell you my own experience but over all I enjoyed my time in nursing school and I came out of the program ready to hit the floor. Good luck!
  8. by   mross1127
    sonwic: The U of A program is garbage. It's not a program of education, but a thinly veiled attempt at political indoctrination (although I think that most nursing faculties will have their fair share of washed out old feminists influencing the curriculum). It doesn't have enough clinical hours and mandates that way too much time be spent in seminar discussion, where you don't learn anything about being a real nurse. You learn to be a nurse on the floor, not sitting around with a bunch of other people who aren't nurses speculating about whether midwives should have hospital privileges or whether or not it's PC to say that men who have sex with men have higher rates of HIV infection.

    The problems with CBL are that it's incredibly time consuming, it ignores the wisdom of clinical experience, and it focuses on peripheral, contextual factors, rather than foundational knowledge (they forget that you need knowledge to solve problems well). You're left with the choice of either not learning the things that you actually need to know, or never sleeping or seeing anyone you love for two years. It's been the worst two years of my life by far. But I worry that I could actually cause harm to a patient as a result of my ignorance. If you're someone who's comfortable just jumping into a situation and pretending to know what you're doing, U of A probably won't bother you too much.

    Also, I don't know how U of C is, but at U of A clinicals are not pass/fail -- you actually get a grade (that I think is determined by drawing from a hat) that goes on your transcripts. Coupled with all the group assignments in the core courses, this can seriously mess up your academic future.

    McGill has a three year graduate program in nursing (you don't have to be a nurse to get in), which will open up more opportunities for you than a bachelor's from U of A or U of C would.

    Also, if it's not nursing specifically that interests you, but health care generally, look at PT, OT, or SLP (they're 2.5 year grad programs and you'll never have to work a night shift!), or look at respiratory therapy or sonography at NAIT. I went to the U of A ADP because it was the quickest health care program for me (no prereqs and a two year program) and I seriously regret it.
  9. by   helterskelter22
    I guess I should start off by saying that I'll echo most of the negative sentiment expressed in this thread. I'm about to graduate from the ADP (actually counting down the days till it's over on my calendar) and if you're considering going into this program I'll be blunt - DON'T! I'm sure if you've attended the U for your previous degree you're well aware of the notorious CBL teaching style that the nursing facility idolizes. Again, I'll be blunt, it's absolute ********. Most of your time is spent wondering if you're on the right track or discussing irrelevant things that have little or nothing to with the topic, LITERALLY. If you're like me you're left wondering "did we cover everything? to which you'll get a reply like "well, what else would YOU like to cover?" Oh and when you actually get the exam it'll feel like a foreign language.

    The faculty is beyond disorganized - they'll have you running around for days just to get a straight answer. Oh, and god help the student that actually questions an instructor if you want to succeed in this fascist program you'll learn your place and smile and nod your head.

    Student morale in my cohort is extremely low, most people have dropped out either because they weren't able to cope with do-it-yourself teaching style or because they simply couldn't put their lives on hold for 2 years. If you want to succeed in this program you'll have to cut all human contact outside of the Nursing faculty.

    Clinical time is also hugely deficient in this program as well. I'm still baffled at how learning about some abstract nursing model/theory going to help me at the bedside. It's not that I'm against abstract thought in nursing it's just given waaaaaay to much emphasis. Call me crazy but it's like the faculty slowly wants to phase patient contact out of nursing entirely.

    All in all this program was colossal failure in preparing me to be a competent nurse. During my time in the ADP I've thought many times about dropping out since it takes a HUGE emotional toll on you to keep up with the politics in the faculty. I'm not ashamed to admit I've cried myself to sleep on multiple occasions. If you preserve it can be done. If I had to do it all over I would have bit the bullet and attended a four year program or a program with no CBL. Goodluck ~
  10. by   Fiona59
    I'm just a working floor grunt. I can honestly say the worst new grad RNs I've worked with have been the two year after degree victims.

    No time management skills. An intense desire to pass on all "dirty" direct patientd care to any LPN or NA on the unit. This is most notable in those who took their first degrees in Computer Science and Engineering. Both are not the most people based degrees.

    There is just a general air of they don't really know what they are doing on a unit and expect a lengthy orientation period. They just can't hit the floor running as easily as a four year BScN or a two year PN grad.

    I've worked with six over the last four years and it's just left my coworkers shaking their heads.
  11. by   CodeteamB
    Ok, one more reply here. Again I will disclaim since I graduated years ago so I'm not up on exactly how the program works nowadays. But my experience was different and I think in all fairness we can't throw the whole program/faculty under the bus because some people didn't enjoy or succeed in this program. I personally worked two part time jobs to pay for school, maintained a great relationship with the man I am now married to, spent time with family and friends (many of whom I met in the program) and graduated from the program with distinction. I worked really hard, and I was overwhelmed at times but just like everything in life you gotta take the good with the bad. I enjoyed Nursing school, we all rolled our eyes and b-d about the bad things in the program (which have been mentioned here) but we made it through and I think the implication that everyone would be a substandard nurse after going through this program is insulting to me and to the many fine nurses I know who also graduated from it.

    You will get out of school what you put into it, it's not a cake walk wherever you choose to go.

    Ok just read that and it sounds kinda sanctimonious but I'm going to leave it.... Not trying to belittle anyone, just want to show another perspective here... It is not always easy to uproot and move to another city, nor is it practical for some to spend another two years in school past the time they really NEED to be there... So I want to ensure that people who are interested in the ADP are aware it doesn't have to suck and it's not going to make you a bad nurse.
  12. by   Pink Tulip
    Is the UofA ADP really that bad? I'm originally from Ontario, and so I've also applied to Western and UfT's ADPs. I applied to Alberta as a back-up in case I didn't get into Ontario as I have family in both provinces, and it seemed a lot easier to get into UofA (which I guess is true since I've already got Early Acceptance). I actually wanted to go to Alberta BECAUSE of the CBL learning style, as it's similar to McMaster's PBL style. I learn a lot from doing things myself, and the thoughts of being in many seminars and not on the floor is very worrying for me as I learn nothing from seminars about my profession. I attend seminars now and I still don't see the point of them and often just daze off into dreamland until it's time to learn something practical. I wish I had known this about the UofA program before I spent all that application/transcript money.
  13. by   CodeteamB
    When I was in the program seminar was 4 hours a week and clinical was 16 hours. You are not losing out on clinical hours in favour of seminar, rather you are losing out on lecture hours (I think it was 2 hours/week, usually guest speakers)

    It is a different teaching method. Instead of going to class and getting a lecture on, say, diabetes you will, with your seminar group, get a scenario about a family affected by both type one and type two diabetes. Then, the 8 of you will decide "what do we want to know about diabetes?" One person may do the pathophysiology, one the pharmacology, one pt education on lifestyles, one may do a nursing care model etc. then you come back together and share your research.

    I think what people really don't like about this program is you can feel a bit anxious about whether you are learning the right things. I often heard the complaint "how can the make a standard exam for us! We're all learning different things." If you are very exam focused and used to lecture style delivery it will be a really big adjustment. That being said, it sounds like you like PBL.... And the program is based on the PBL at McMaster, so if PBL Works for you, you should have a leg up on this program. Also, only the nursing theory courses are CBL. A&P, patho, pharm, MMI, etc are traditional lecture based courses.

    In addition to your clinical hours you will spend a lot of time doing patient research, and will learn a lot from this as well. My patient research was generally 6-8 pages for each patient.

    It isn't an easy program but I don't think it should be, nursing isn't an easy career. Believe me, your employers, clinical educators and colleagues will expect you to know your stuff and be able to figure things out on the fly. As far as psychomotor skills we didn't start IVs until second year and got very few opportunities to practice until preceptorship. I think this makes a lot of students feel unprepared, but consider, you will have an entire career to develop these types of skills.

    I think the biggest shortfall of the program is time management. The maximum number of patients we took in clinical was 3. We were never really forced into the reality of 4-5 med surg patients until preceptorship. My first job was 5-6 patients and 8 on nights.

    So there you go, MHO on the program. It's not that bad.