I am in my last 4 months of DCN's BSN program with no prior medical experience and it has been a long journey. If you choose this school, use extreme caution and try to be as aware as possible of what you are getting yourself into. This school is for profit and it shows. You will receive a high level of education if you are able to make it through because they are constantly trying to haze students out. They only want students that will pass the NCLEX on their first try to help their NCLEX pass rate percentage. They do not care about how they treat students as long as it gets you to meet their academic standards. They will not help, support, or encourage you and do not care if you don't succeed (even though they say they do). They will bully you, make changes without warning, and intimidate you. They will not inform you of ways to advocate for yourself. You must fight for everything. Do not expect to make true friendships, you will need to befriend classmates to succeed, but students are often overly competitive.
As many negatives as I have to say about this school, I do feel that I received a quality education that will allow me to pass the NCLEX on my first try (I'll keep you updated). The positives are that it is fairly easy to get into the school (at least when I applied), you do not need a high GPA, prior experience, and pre-requisites are limited. Also, the program is considered "accelerated" (21 months). The Global Health Perspectives program is a huge plus as well. DCN has a "virtual library" that can be a helpful insight to the school. It is normally not provided until you are admitted but there is no username/password set up. Homepage - Denver Student Network of Denver College of Nursing
Things I wish someone would have told me before starting at DCN:
You are at an extreme disadvantage if you have no prior health care experience and/or do not have a previous Bachelor's degree.
Exam questions are not like exam questions you have ever seen before. They do test knowledge, but more heavily is weighted in how familiar you are with the exam style. YOU NEED TO PRACTICE NCLEX AND HESI STYLE QUESTIONS WHEN YOU STUDY. RATIONALES ARE VITAL.
If the content seems like common sense, do not expect the exam to be easy. There is a way to make things complicated.
If you have a problem, they go by a "chain of command" system. This circle will take weeks to complete and they count on you getting frustrated and giving up. They will ping pong you between 3-4 different people and you can count on having multiple meetings. It will waste your time but you need to persevere. You will get a no many times before you get a yes. Continue your way TO THE TOP of chain of command even after getting a no as an answer.
YOU MUST NETWORK. You will need to rely on classmates for information at times, even if you pride yourself on being self-sufficient or "the smartest."
Professors will pretend like they're hands are tied and act like they wish they could help. They will not give you tips on how to improve studying that are helpful. They will make recommendations but they are time wasters and will send you down a rabbit hole. You will need to refer to your class mates that are doing well.
They will fail you if you make a 77.9% (they do not round up). 78% is the pass rate and does not include assignments, only exams/quizzes. The only way you may win an appeal is providing paperwork with a professional's signature (M.D., death certificate, ect.). Do not bother to make an appeal if you do not have an "extenuating circumstance" without paperwork; they will deny it. The second time you fail a class you are automatically kicked out (they will not tell you this or give you any warning). If you find yourself wondering, what happens if ______ happens (such as any kind of failure), make sure to ask.
Get everything in writing. If your professor, program director (Shawn Elliott), or dean (JoAnna Hill) tells you something, make sure you have e-mails or a written statement to back you up. They will make a decision and reverse it within hours without logical reasoning. Do not take any employees word.
Staff makes many claims that are more often than not, false. They will lead you to believe that their word is "policy" but if it is not written in the student handbook or syllabus IT IS NOT and you have grounds to rebut.
Rules, policies, class requirements, distribution of clinical and simulation hours change ALL THE TIME from quarter to quarter. Usually not in the middle of the quarter, but sometimes IT DOES HAPPEN.
At times, it may seem as though the school is trying to sabotage you. While they do not go after specific students, they do change things to strain "weak" students out.
As a student at DCN, you need to accept early on that you are a slave to this school and they can do whatever they want to you as a student. You have very little rights and are always at their mercy. In the contract you sign, you will notice that terms are broad and can defined however the school chooses such as, speaking up for yourself can be termed "student misconduct" which is grounds for expulsion.
Professors will not email you back and are very difficult to reach in general. Office hours are extremely limited and I personally have been stood up on many occasions by multiple professors (even if I had sent out a confirmation e-mail hours before and they responded and confirmed).
Staff does not care about you. They may say that they do but I promise they don't. Their actions are stronger than their words.
You will be responsible for reminding professors for anything they tell you they will do. They normally "forget."
Professors will pretend like they're hands are tied and act like they wish they could help (especially Sue, the pharmacology professor). They will not give you tips on how to improve studying that are helpful. They will make recommendations but they are time wasters and will send you down a rabbit hole. You will need to refer to your class mates that are doing well.
Sue Hammerton is specifically a professor to be aware of. Do not waste time making an appointment with her, it will not help. For pharmacology, reference the tutor (tutors change quarterly so I cannot speak to their competence). She is nice and can be funny but her exams are the worst.
Trent Smith, an adjunct staff member, may seem personable and kind but has been known to be rude and moody. Overall, he will act very defensive and refer you to another teacher if you have a question.
Vicky Dehoff is an infamous simulation lab teacher. She is a stickler for the dress code and will use it to bully you if you do not get on her good side. She has been known to write an entire class up. She is rude, condescending, and plays mind games. Do not challenge her in any way because she will target you for the rest of the quarter. I cannot emphasize enough what a bully she is. She has had numerous complaints every quarter for years by students and remains employed at DCN. I have no idea how. If you have her for "lab check off" be confident and practice as much as possible. She will try to fail you. There are many horror stories I could site as examples but they are very specific and lengthy.
Mike Ruschival, director of student services, is one of the few people I found to be helpful when navigating the school's policies, requirements, and uncooperative staff. He can point you in the right direction.
Idk.... That's my overall review. Take it as you will.