Hello. Considering it is often difficult to find information on some nursing programs, I thought I would share my experience about visiting this school.
MCPHS, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is one of the oldest pharmacy (PharmD) schools in the country. They also offer a MASTERS in Physician Assistant, a 16 month accelerated BSN program (Fall start at the Manchester campus, Spring start at the Worcester campus), a MASTERS in family NP, and a traditional four year BSN at their Boston Campus (next door to Harvard). While it is a small school, they have the 6th largest endowment in the country. I recently visited the Worcester, MA campus to which I was accepted and this is what I think:
- The facilities, mostly located in about three buildings which sit across the street from a hospital, are absolutely immaculate. The buildings are new and gorgeous. The technology is STATE OF THE ART. The labs are set up like hospital rooms, with top of the line simulation "dummies" who do all the things a real patient would do. All the equipment you would find in a hospital room are in the labs and fully functional. The classrooms are also state of the art, with clickers being connected to the overhead projector so that students can answer questions Jeopardy style! Everything inside this school is clean, modern, and visually impressive. The staff are incredibly friendly and kind.
- This school is a school that focuses solely on graduate health professions. At the Worcester campus, all of the programs are accelerated, so the student body averages between the ages of 26-28 and everyone at the facility has a prior degree. There is an academic focus and BSN students have the opportunity to get published. As a part of the dress code, all students at the Worcester campus have to wear MCPHS white lab coats, including nursing students, which really conveys the professional impression of the nursing program.
- There are about 50-55 students in the accelerated BSN program. Only about 3 fall out of sequence a year (read: FAIL), which means they have to remediate in to the class a year behind them. The teachers are highly supportive and become close with students. The teachers work with the students and do not "leave them hanging". They go with them to their clinicals. They will advocate for you in the hospitals.
- MCPHS is front loaded. In each course, you learn all the classroom material for the first few weeks, take exams, practice in the lab, and then the next few weeks you are fully immersed in clinicals. Thus, you will not have classwork and clinical at the same time, and you will not be unprepared for clinical because you "haven't gotten to that chapter yet".
- According to the tour guide, if you are having trouble and seek out the teacher's help early, there is no reason why you would be failed. It seems that this is a supportive environment in which everyone wants the students to succeed and become excellent, proficient, respected nurses. Thus far, they have graduated 7 classes, and have full accreditation. For the past 2 years their NCLEX pass rate has been 100%. They do have the HESI exam system in place.
About Worcester, MA:
- Located near 7 other colleges: Clark, Assumption, Holy Cross, WPI and UMASS Medical School to name a few. The school is across the street from a new hospital (St. Vincents), there are other state and psychiatric facilities close by, and UMASS Memorial Hospital is a five minute drive. The area is heavily populated by biotechnology companies, so healthcare and science is what draws people to this city.
- It is 40 minutes from Boston and 40 minutes from Providence, RI, and there is a train station close to the school which can take you to these places. The drive from NY is about 3 hours. It is even closer to CT.
- A 3-5 minute drive from the school is Shrewbury St which is Worcesters "restaurant row". Lots of cute restaurants and bars and grills. A 5-10 minute ride from the school is a strip with all the amenities..movie theaters, best buys, k-marts, cell phone stores, supermarkets...
Downtown Worcester, where the school is located, SUCKS. Not too far down Main Street is a ghetto neighborhood (think hookers and crackheads). There are a plethora of liquor stores, check cashing, and pawn shops. I saw MANY drug addicts on the street - this was either due to the proximity to the ghetto neighborhood (copping drugs) or the proximity to the rehab facilities. There is definitely a shady element to downtown Worcester. There are beautiful buildings architecturally (like the court house and the churches and the park). There are normal working people walking around downtown during the day, but supposedly the area becomes desolate at night and most people recommend that you don't walk around alone. Overall, Downtown Worcester is the biggest drawback to what appears to be a FABULOUS school.
If anyone has any other questions, please let me know. I have not decided whether or not I will attend yet. As a disclaimer, this is based on my personal opinions :-)