Howdy doody aspiring Commodores!
Sorry I haven't been able to get back to you all until now- we're entering the first round of exams, so things are getting busy here. Will try to answer all of your questions to the best of my ability- if i miss someone, please let me know!
What a pre-specialty's day-to-day existence is like... BUSY, to say the least. In the first semester you typically have two full days (read: 6-7 hours) of lecture and seminar stuff on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a 3 hour class on Wednesday (this goes away about 2/3 of the way through the semester). Thursday or Friday you will have skills labs from about 8-4- whichever day you do not have lab, you have off! Lab ends about mid October, after which you have two major practical exams that you must pass in order to proceed to clinical- one consists of doing a full head-toe physical and writing up the findings from memory (much easier than it sounds with adequate practice, i promise), and one "interventions" practical, in which you are up in the sim lab and are given a scenario in which you have to perform certain skills (inserting a Foley, G-tube feeding, NG tube placement, enema, etc.) Your first clinical rotation is a general med-surg rotation and starts around the first week of November, and continues for 5 weeks until just before finals. Clinicals are typically from 0630-1500 and consist of 5-6 students on a unit with one instructor; most of this time is on the floor, but a few hours will be spent in post-conference. First semester is very intense, but totally doable.
Second semester is a bit different in that you don't have that pesky lab day at the end of the week, but rather go straight into clinicals. You will complete 4 rotations in the spring (one of which is actually part of summer semester). These rotations are in adult health, OB, peds, and psych-mental health. I have had nothing but fabulous clinical faculty thus far. Same can be said for most of the didactic faculty as well. You will also have lecture from about 8-2 or three on Monday and Tuesday, then clinical either wednesday and thursday or thursday and friday. Whichever day you do not have clinical (monday or friday), you will have community health. For the first few weeks this consists of more lecture (but only about 3 hours), and then you split into smaller groups and meet at various sites around nashville for community health clinical and other activities.
Clinical sites at a distance...I personally have not experienced this, but I know some students are assigned to clinical in Hendersonville, which is a bit farther than most clinical sites. When Vandy tells you that they can send you up to two hours away for clinical, I think for the most part this refers to master's year students, and most of those sites- to the best of my knowledge- are for primary care specialties, such as FNP, ANP, and midwifery. ACNP as I understand tends to stick to major metro areas immediately around Nashville. Most all pre-specialty year students live quite close to campus because of the amount of time you spend on campus. Depending on your specialty, you may be forced out of Nashville for the second year due to limited clinical sites. So basically plan to be in Nashville your first year, and have some flexibility your second year.
ACNP popularity... I have to laugh a little bit as I see this phrase on my screen ACNP is not very common among the pre-specialty students, as most of the ACNP people at Vandy are RN direct entry applicants. I think there's about 15-20 of us in the (non-nurse) pre-specialty class (out of 140). FNP is by far the most popular specialty. I did not have an interview, BTW. When I applied, they were only interviewing Psych applicants, so this interviewing thing is news to me. FWIW, I was wait listed in February last year, and got my acceptance call on June 9... this elicited much screaming, crying, jumping up and down and having strangers on the street give me weird looks, lol . The moral of the story is: don't give up hope even if you don't get an immediate acceptance. Simply follow up with admissions (without making a pest of yourself) and express your continued interest...then pray like hell.
Also of note (and not to burst anyone's bubble) but that financial aid packet is sent to all applicants. You may now go cry in peace, or stop having a heart attack And speaking of heart attacks...this is no cheap venture. My loans for this first year total about $75k. Whether that pile of dough is worth it to you is a very subjective matter, however, having the Vanderbilt name on your record will ALWAYS be a great asset to you. Just my
I hope I covered everyone's questions, but please feel free to ask more! I wish you all the best.