University of Alberta after-degree BScN program



Does anyone have any thoughts on the University of Alberta after-degree BScN program? I have already seen the negative reviews of the regular 4-year program. I suppose the 2-year program can only be worse?...


Hello, I wont lie, I have heard absolute horror stories about the program, and have worked with some people in it. In all honesty I would not recommend it to any one after hearing one girls frustrations about her problems with the program and instructors. However, I guess you have to decide what is best for you, this is just what I have heard from only a couple people in this program. Best of luck!

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,755 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.


I'll move this to the Canadian section of our website so you can perhaps hone in on some locals.

Good luck.


2 Posts


That is very disappointing about the U of A. It sounds like Grant McEwan is a much better program, but it is too bad that they don't offer an after-degree program. I just don't think I can afford to take 4 years off to go back to school....


8,343 Posts

Has 18 years experience.

We get these students all the time at work. The instructors and students have had major attitudes. Too good to work the floor and they all plan on going "into management". It really shows in their patient care.

I don't care what you plan to do once you graduate, BUT until then you have to make beds, do dressing changes and clean up your own code browns. Nursing isn't all hanging IV meds and having conferences with social workers.


931 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Med-Surg..

I would bet that the programs here in Ontario are just as bad. I have heard many hospital nurses complain about the attitudes of students in many cases. I don't know why these schools give these students these ideas of going straight to management with no work experience. What we need are bedside nurses, not more managers.


18 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I am currently in the AD program at the U of A and while I agree with some of the above comments, I believe I don't have an "attitude". I have in fact encountered nurses giving me attitude about my program. Right now I have zero desire to go into management - I want to work with my hands and get busy!

I do feel that I could write less papers and spend more time doing clinical, but that is at the discretion of the university. They are constantly changing the program based on feedback from students. I've been very lucky with my clinical instructors, and as far as lectures/seminars go, well I'm glad that I'm very studious and self driven. We do finish in 2 years what other programs do in 4! ( we don't get the summer break from April to August off...)

Anyways, I graduate this summer and I'm very excited to start working!



1 Post

I'm in my second year of the after degree program (almost done, thank goodness!) and if you ask me about this program I would have to say...RUN IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!

I have heard that GMAC is much better and that they have more hands on time, better equipment, more actual teaching and more opportunities to perform skills. If I could do it over, I think I would do the GMAC program even if it is an extra 2 years.

The U of A focuses way too much on CBL to the point where the instructors teach you next to nothing and we are expected to teach ourselves everything and collaborate together. Considering most of us come from backgrounds completely unrelated to nursing, it's a bit like the blind leading the blind. I can see how CBL could be positive but I think there is an over reliance on it at the U of A to the point where we are graduating without a lot of the fundamental knowledge we should have because it wasn't taught to us!

I am extremely worried about when I graduate and am really disappointed to hear how practicing nurses and preceptors view students from the U of A... I myself have had to clean up tons of code browns and do basic care at the expense of getting to learn new skills. I wouldn't say that I have a 'superiority complex' because I go to the U of A but I will admit that there is a lot of frustration that the U of A students have. We pay a lot of money to learn how to become nurses and unfortunately are not getting our money's worth.

So yes, I would have to say that from personal experience I would NOT recommend the U of A after degree program.

If anyone has questions about the U of A's BScN-After Degree Program, please check out Information sessions and chatrooms for students who would like additional information or to ask questions are also held. Specifically at the informations sessions, Information about the program, admission requirements, etc, but also bring a current student and recent graduate to talk about their personal experiences in the program.

Regarding the difficulty of the program itself, yes it can be challenging since it is a BScN completed in only 2 years, however we have a student advisory council that provides us with ongoing feedback on the program and we have made many changes to the program over the past few years based on this feedback. I am more than happy to answer more specific questions about the program, please contact me!

If anyone would like more information about the Context Based Learning method that we use at the U of A, contact the university directly who are happy to discuss in more detail what this teaching method entails, why it is used, and the type of students that tend to have success with this style. CBL also means that the large majority of the time spent in our program is in smaller groups (i.e. less than 20) rather than in traditional larger lectures, allowing our students and instructors to get to know each other quite well.

In terms of hands-on opportunitites in the program, students receive lab experiences throughout the program using advanced learning methods and equipment, including cutting-edge patient simulation technology. In both BScN-Collaborative Program (our standard 4 year BScN program) and the BScN-After Degree Program students start clinical placements in year 1 and have a different placement every semester after that, and a final 10 week placement in their last semester. Check out for more information about the different components to our program!


8,343 Posts

Has 18 years experience.

Ah, but how mudh time do they reallly spend in clinicals? One of your new grads that we are trying to bring up to speed told us it's two days a week (roughly ten hours on the floor).

The sad fact is this woman is clueless. Paperwork is pretty much standardized across AHS and she just doesn't get it. Time management skills non-existant. Spoonfeeding is spoonfeeding. A unit shouldn't have to spend three months showing a new grad RN basic nursing skills.


18 Posts

Specializes in ER.
ah, but how mudh time do they reallly spend in clinicals?

one of your new grads that we are trying to bring up to speed told us it's two days a week (roughly ten hours on the floor).

during the school term, we do spend 2 days/week in clinical (~14 hours on the floor, ~2 hours in pre/post conference). this equals about 180-200 hours of clinical per semester. in our final preceptorship, we do 340 hours of straight clinical (no classes).

the sad fact is this woman is clueless.

i think that says it all. i'm not defending the program, but some people will be "clueless" no matter what school they go to.

paperwork is pretty much standardized across ahs and she just doesn't get it. time management skills non-existant. spoonfeeding is spoonfeeding. a unit shouldn't have to spend three months showing a new grad rn basic nursing skills.

i agree. we have plenty of time to pick up on basic nursing skills prior to graduation:)

It is correct that at certain points in the program our students are in clinical a few days a week, but this is actually also the case with our 4 year BScN-Collaborative Program as well, as the clinicals are interspersed with their lab and course work. In terms of total hours, currently our students receive a total of 1453 clinical hours in in the 4 year BScN-Collaborative Program, and 1164 in the BScN-After Degree. However both programs provide students with a final clinical placement (preceptorship) of 10 weeks (340 hours, which is the requirement by the Nursing Education Program Approval Board here in Alberta). Our After Degree students have been performing at least as well on the CRNE as students graduating from our 4 year BScN-Collaborative Program, and we also find that the additional experience that these students bring to the table (i.e. in terms of previous education, work, life experiences, etc.) contributes to their performance as students and enriches their nursing practice. If at any point you have one of our nursing students on your unit, if there are specific issues you are encountering please feel free to contact us so we can evaluate if this is an issue specifically with that student or if there is something in our curriculum or course sequencing that needs to be looked at.

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