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UNC vs Watts School of Nursing

School Programs   (324 Views 3 Comments)
by tennis_girl tennis_girl (New Member) New Member

119 Visitors; 4 Posts

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I am graduating high school in a few weeks and I have been accepted into UNC as well as Watts School of Nursing (WSON) but can't decide which path to go. I understand that I will get the complete college experience by going to UNC, that is not my college goal. My goal is to go to nursing school where I will best be prepared for a career in nursing. My aunt (a nurse) recently retired from Duke which is where I hope to work. She is encouraging me to go to Watts since Watts is owned by Duke and students do their clinicals at Duke facilities which creates a network for future employment (and she claims that managers love Watts students). If I go to Watts, I of course plan to continue school and get my BSN. Honestly, I am somewhat concerned that employers would view Watts as an easy school since it is not a 4-year (BSN) program. The only knowledge I have of either school is that it is very difficult to get into UNC's nursing school and per the information session, Watts has strict rules along with a weird grading scale. After working a few years, I would also like to go to graduate school. I am trying to the determine the pros and cons of each program. I am seeking other's opinions, thoughts and experiences.

  • Is Watts a good nursing program?
  • Are Watts graduates as prepared for a nursing career as UNC nursing graduates?
  • Do Watts graduates have as many clinical hours as UNC?
  • Is the starting pay for UNC graduates the same as Watts graduates?

Thanks for your thoughts!

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zoidberg has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN.

13 Likes; 6,380 Visitors; 243 Posts

I grew up in the area. UNC is a nationally recognized school of nursing, and a BSN from there will set you up for a future in graduate work. That said, in NC, Watts is known for producing high caliber nurses. It is a diploma program, so your work will be cut out for you in transitioning to BSN, MSN and so forth. Of course there is no reason why you couln't go to Watts and then do a diploma to BSN then go to a graduate program as well. It depends on what you want to do. I am now not living in the RDU area so I am not sure if Duke, UNC, Wake, etc are only wanting BSN grads or not, so ask around and see about that. I graduated from an ADN program in 2015 and a classmate was hired at Duke. Things could have changed, though. Not sure on clinical hours, but both will prepare you well.

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119 Visitors; 4 Posts

Thank you for responding. I am leaning towards Watts after talking to a people from both places. Several Nurse Managers that I have talked to from speak highly of Watts nurses as you mention high caliber nurses and many prefers Watts nurses. I spoke with a Nurse Practitioner acquaintance who did exactly as you mentioned, graduated from Watts then got her BSN at UNC-G and continued graduate school as well. She pointed out the reality of going to UNC and not being accepted into the Nursing school as planned, delaying the time of becoming a nurse. Whereas, at Watts, go through the diploma program, work and get BSN. She also mentioned the reality too of repeating a semester at Watts, as it is not easy just because it is a diploma program and the grading is different (78 is the lowest passing grade). Also, as I understand, Duke and UNC will give you 5 years to get your BSN as a new hire which seems like a long time but works great, allowing you to work and get BSN at a comfortable pace. Any thoughts from anyone that has done this? How long does this usually take?

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