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Which school to go to ?


I really need some advice. I live in NC and wanted to go Indiana State University. Well. recently the BON of NC decided that they will no longer recognize ISU. I was will to go to a border state to complete the program, but the BON recognizes Excelcior. Which I don't get because you get more clinical experience with ISU. That is the only thing that makes me nervous about Excelsior. Clinicals are 3 days which they call the CPNE. Pass or fail. What do you think ?


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

Do you already have some type of clinical background? Excelsior is for those who already possess a clinical background such as LPN, Paramedic, Respiratory Therapist, or some type of military equivalent. I loved the ASN program through Excelsior College. Make no mistake, though. The CPNE is a 3-day exam, not a 3-day clinical learning experience. A lot of people worry needlessly over Excelsior because of formulating an uninformed opinion about the CPNE. By the time you make it to the CPNE, you should feel so motivated and accomplished that you will tackle it with flying colors.:D

There are quiet a few steps to be taken before becoming CPNE-eligible. But for some reason, as soon as the name Excelsior College pops up, people INSTANTLY skip to the very end of the program and scare the daylights out of potential students. :nailbiting:

Just so you know, when you get to that point, you can take as long as you like (even an ENTIRE year) to prepare for that 3-day clinical if you want AND you receive a 500+ page study guide that tells you everything you need to know in order to be successful. I hope that helps to answer your question, somewhat.

I don't have any med-surg or acute care. Just LTC. But how can you remember a 500 + page study guide ? I know it is a test, but how many mistakes can you make before you fail ?


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

You don't remember the entire study guide. Back when I went, the main chapters were 2 and 4. The others were rules and regulations to assist you in closing a location, prior testing such as urine drug screens, information on the assessment centers, what you need to do after you pass OR fail the CPNE, how to file an appeal, etc. You don't need any med-surg or acute care experience. Having a clinical background means (for the purposes of acceptance into the college) that you have the required credentials (license) to enter into the program. The workshops will show you how they expect you to do the IV drug calculations and pushes and those instructions are within the study guide as well. But you will need to study before attending the workshop. Also, EC offers the supplies that you will need to prepare with a low cost (I think that the wound and IV skill set was $110 back then). With my many years of hospital experience, I still purchased it because those skills have to be performed as they say, instead of how it's done on the job.

In LTC, you do wound care, injections, and IV antibiotics. But even if you don't, they offer what you need in order to learn. Depending on your state, you may be required to do additional clinical hours before they give you a license...check with your Board of Nursing and/or the EC website. They list those states with additional requirements.

Also, there are lots of CPNE learning resources out on the World Wide Web that can give you insight into how those lab stations are performed as well as the patient care scenarios. Even though some are excellent in helping you prepare, they are not affiliated with Excelsior College. NOTHING purchased outside of the EC website is affiliated with EC. But you must let that CPNE manual guide your preparation if you chose those other resources. There are CPNE groups on Facebook that you can join. There are tons of support, and as you become eligible, you will become a part of the CPNE conversations and how best to prepare, not to mention have links added to your EC page that guide you to your path to CPNE success.

Trust me, me, by the time you make it to your actual weekend, you will have received everything that you need, and then some, in order to pass that weekend. It's up to you to take advantage of, and the time to use all that is offered to prepare. They even offer the opportunity for you to write your care plans and submit them for feedback on what your doing wrong and where you need to improve. When you are confident that you have mastered those tasks, you register for your weekend exam. You apply once you are CPNE-eligible even though your are not ready. Then you start studying. Throughout your studies, they will email you or call you with CPNE dates. You either accept that date or you don't. Whichever you do, you still keep studying. If you decline a date, they will contact you with other dates. They will do this until you finally accept one, which you do when YOU feel you are ready.

Keep in mind, nursing school, no matter where you attend, is just a theory-based introduction to the field of nursing. Brick and mortar schools (classrooms) do offer you the change to experience 'some' things that you will do once you become a nurse. The real training on how to BE a nurse comes with on-the-job training. Even now, after 28 years of nursing, we are required to attend MANDATORY inservices on Foley catheter insertions, IV insertions, NG tube insertions, etc., and we have to do this every single year on Skills Day. They care NOT which nursing school we went to. Every nurse has to do this.

Now, if you feel that your skills warrant more clinical exposure in order to ease your apprehension, by all means, seek other avenues for your training. Excelsior College is not for everyone. It requires a lot of motivation, determination, and initiative in a self-paced, online learning environment. I recommend that you call and speak to an admissions advisor AFTER you write down your list of specific questions that you have handy when you speak to them. I absolutely loved their ASN program and I'm finishing up my BSN with them in 5 weeks. Everything that I told you is subjective information, meaning that all of the above has been my actual experience. They may tell you ONE thing that makes you head for the hills when that same ONE thing may be right up my alley. But you won't know unless you make the call...in fact, if you're considering an ASN, you should make quite a few calls to quite a few locations, having your pen and paper ready to take notes for comparison after you're done. There may be other online options out there, but I was sold on EC, obviously.:D


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

With that very long post, I still forgot to answer your other question.:blink: You can completely bomb EVERYTHING that they test you on during that weekend and still pass because they allow you one repeat on everything that you are unsuccessful with. But, if you fail any ONE area twice, then you're done (fail). That's why you accept a date that you feel you will be ready by.

THANK YOU SO MUCH !!! You are so awesome !! Your post really helped . I started looking around , and read different things around the web. Some good and some horror stories but none of what I read was as good as yours. Is it ok if I PM you, if I have any questions ??

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

Here are a couple of links to articles that you might find helpful:



There are many current and past EC students in the EC forum:

Excelsior College Online Nursing Degrees

Good luck, whatever you decide. :-)