Hi, I'm currently an ABSN student at Samuel Merritt University (SMU), CA and I'm creating this topic to give prospective nursing students an inside scoop of what is currently going on at SMU. I strongly believe in transparency, especially when there's so much at stake in terms of money, time, and effort. Unfortunately, the current leadership at SMU has done a poor job of communicating with its students, so I hope that this will serve some good and give prospective applicants more information to make a more educated and informed decision before committing to SMU. TL:Dr Just get through nursing school. I would place SMU as a plan C/backup option behind ADN or State ABSN program. If SMU is the only one you got, then take the "L" and just get through the program. Don't involve yourself with the drama, don't rely on teachers or other students, don't look at your bank account/loans (you'll pay it back quick when you land a job in CA, especially Bay Area), and make the most out of your clinical experience. Good luck! I'll be frank, the image of SMU you see online is not the same as when you attend. 1. The faculty-to-student ratio is 50 students : 1 professor. 2. You're most likely not going to be meeting in person for lecture (online, asynchronous,review w/ prof over zoom or webex 1-2 times per week). In other words, expect to do a lot of self-teaching. Also, not all professors are good (you'll maybe have 3/10 professors who can actually teach) 3. You'll have skills labs at the beginning of the program and then the labs will gradually decrease in frequency as you progress (from 1 per week, to 1 every other week, to 1 per month, to whenever the clinical instructor feels like it). 4. Your simulation labs are even less frequent (0-1 per month) 5. There are SMU tutors available and they are typically students in the same program who are maybe 1-2 cohorts ahead of you. Typical block schedule for classes/clinicals Mon: Review Session hosted by professor (2hrs) Tues/Wed: Test days (can have 1-2 tests per day) Thurs/Fri or Sat/Sun: Skills/SIMs Labs (2-3hrs) or Clinicals (8-12hrs) *Any down time is typically used to catch up on lecture recordings, attend tutor/prof review, and study *You'll have 2 classes per section (5-unit class + 2-3 unit class). The 5-units can be challenging (Medical Care for Adults, Peds, Maternity, etc.) and require the highest investment of time. *You'll have 1 cumulative HESI test worth 10% of your overall grade by the end of the class section (week 4) and HESI Case Studies & Adaptive Quizzes *You may need to write multiple Care Plans (1 per week) for Clinicals, some CIs require additional projects/hwk, and you need to write midterm/final evals for clinicals (busy work) Tuition Costs For 2023-2024, SMU is going to increase tuition by 5.0%. For ABSN, this equates to $89,128 for the entire program (not including living, food, & travel expenses). This also does not include extra certifications that will be replacing the preceptorships (I.e. ACLS, PALS etc.). Looking at other ABSN programs, SMU charges one of the highest rates by far. This wouldn't be so much of a problem except we are paying more than alumni for less opportunities and experiences (I.e. no preceptorships, less skills/SIMs labs in some instances, no in-person lectures, not using any of SMU facilities, etc.). Preceptorship The #1 issue at SMU at the moment. SMU has decided to cut preceptorships entirely from their program. For those who don't know, preceptorships were 1:1 pairing with a preceptor nurse while you cared for a set number of patients. You would be the nurse making the decisions for patient care, documenting, and communicating with other healthcare providers (I.e. SBAR). The preceptor would be shadowing you to make sure you didn't kill the patient and guide you into hopefully becoming a better nurse. If you did well or showed promise, then you could potentially be offered a job position at your preceptorship hospital in the department you precepted (typically the department that you wanted in the first place). However, when COVID hit, a lot of hospitals shut their doors to everyone but essential personnel which also meant clinicals/preceptorships were put on hold. Many hospitals cut their preceptorships entirely during this time. According to SMU, as of 2022-2023 only 20% of affiliated SMU hospitals continued their preceptorship programs. Therefore, SMU decided to also cut it's preceptorship program due to "equity" reasons since SMU couldn't guarantee preceptorship placement to all of its students. This pissed off a lot of students. Some cohorts decided to sue the school for cutting programs and not refunding students. Others sent emails that were met with tone-deaf replies. We recently had one cohort send an email to the CEO of SMU which led to the replacement of the dean (ouch!). We've also had a couple townhall meetings where we met with program directors/dean and discussed our concerns and suggestions on how to improve the program (I.e. more SIMs, not having to pay for extra certifications, going out on our own to find preceptorships, etc.). They made a lot of promises, but so far nothing has been done to change anything. What next? Looking at the big picture, what can we do about this? Currently, SMU is the only ABSN program that exists on the West Coast that is able to expand and offer additional seats for students who want the fast track into the nursing profession. All of the ADN programs are backed up and use drawing/point systems for applicants. The other ABSN programs are run by state universities, so are capped in terms of applicant acceptance with no outlook of expanding. SMU is currently in a unique position to expand and capture the oversupply of applicants that are currently being waitlisted by other institutions. AND THEY KNOW IT AND ARE CAPITALIZING ON IT. They just got approval for a $139 million bond at the start of this year (Jan 2023) to build their flagship campus in Oakland City Center, and plans to utilize $120 million of its own reserves to complete the facility. What does this mean for you? Know what you're getting yourself into. If you're hoping for a high-end education experience and expect the school to tailor to your needs, you're gonna be disappointed. If you understand that you're gonna be dropping $100k (with rates most likely going to continue to rise) for a sub-par community college experience where you're gonna be self-studying 100% and have to fight for your experience at clinicals, then SMU is for you!