January 21, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Cardio and machines at the Y today. I am now down 7 lbs since I started. I was hoping I'd lose more this week--I only lost 0.7 lb. But my scrub pants are fitting a little better than they did at the end of December, so if I'm not losing the poundage I'm at least changing the shape. Hell, I'll take the small victories.

My former DON moved on to an educator role at the RN-BSN program that I had to withdraw from. So out of idle curiosity--and to see if the program did ever get its CCNE accreditation--I popped over to the school's website. It turns out that with the exception of one class, the program is now all online. They also streamlined the curriculum considerably.

I'm mulling over applying for readmission to their RN-BSN program.

I looked and figured out that if I were to re-enroll, I would only need 5 classes to have my BSN (I had already completed the one class that is in-person). That does sound more appealing than settling into an intense program with 10+ classes ahead of me, some of those not even nursing classes. Having to take only 5 classes would be a lot more cost efficient. Plus being a graduate of their program would give me a leg-up when it came to applying for jobs at their affiliated hospitals.

And I have to say that the classes I took were well-designed and thorough. The faculty is very supportive and they are determined to see both the program and its students succeed.

Now here is where things get sticky.

Sticky point 1: I do not see that my former program (let's call it "Former RN-BSN") received CCNE accreditation...well, at the least, they are still listed as candidate status. They were expected to have their site visit this past fall, and I'm not sure if accreditation if earned would have been awarded then or of they are waiting for the first class to graduate and pass the NCLEX. Keep in mind that the RN-BSN program was just one part of a whole new BSN program that the school was doing, and they also had traditional and LVN students enrolled. But there's no indication anywhere that says if they passed or failed the site visit, if it was postponed, whatever.

Now this program is accredited by ACICS, but I'm not sure how this would translate in credits being accepted by post-graduate nursing schools.

Sticky point 2: the state's BON has given them provisional approval, which may have recently been downgraded to conditional approval depending on what website you check. Now, conditional approval doesn't sound bad, until I looked up what conditional approval meant...and in this specific state, conditional approval means that the program was once approved but failed to meet the standards to maintain approval. Whether this was because the program changed from diploma to BSN or whether there were deficiencies--or even whether someone didn't know the difference between provisional and conditional and just used whatever word sounded good--I don't know. Point being, Former RN-BSN is not fully approved by the BON just yet.

Sticky point 3: It may only take me 5 classes to graduate, but if I were to graduate at the same time as in the current program I'm in, I'd have to take 4 classes concurrently. It could be possible that I could spread them...but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that if I was able to readmitted if I would have to retake any of the classes I had taken.

Now, my current program (I'll call this "Current RN-BSN") is CCNE accredited, regionally accredited, is a well-established program at a well-established state university, and with an excellent reputation. No issues at all with its state BON. I did look ahead past the APA week in my class and found the rest of it to also be well-designed. The administrative staff hasn't been on par with Former RN-BSN's, but the faculty seems to be.

I'm currently in class now; the next cycle of Former RN-BSN classes doesn't begin until May. By that point, I would have knocked off 4 of Current RN-BSN classes and just have started #5. I don't get as much non-class time in Current RN-BSN that I would get in Former RN-BSN, but I also don't have to take 3-4 classes at once. I do have to take 10+ classes (13 to be precise) total at Current RN-BSN, but rarely two at once, and never more than two at a time. If I kept on schedule I would graduate in March 2013, actually finishing earlier than Former RN-BSN by 2 months.

Class for class, the tuition costs are comparable, and both programs are fantastic value-for-money. But consider that I had already taken a lot of classes at Former RN-BSN, whereas I have to take a few additional ones at Current RN-BSN that either didn't have equivalents for transfer or that I never took in the first place. So yes, to finish the degree at Current RN-BSN would cost more because I have more classes to take.

Better half thinks that I should stick with Current RN-BSN because it's proven and a sure bet, whereas Former RN-BSN could go anywhere. It may work out its kinks, upon which I may or may not be kicking myself for not reapplying. Or it may not get accreditation and/or full approval, upon which I'll be glad I dodged that bullet.

To be honest, I'm leaning towards staying with Current RN-BSN because of their rock-solid reputation and accreditations, even though it'll be more work. Plus, I may find that readmission to Former RN-BSN is worth more headaches than it's worth and that I could have had less hassle and stress overall if I stayed with Current RN-BSN. And to be honest, I don't see my entire nursing future at Former RN-BSN's affiliated hospitals, as they just don't have that many psych opportunities across the whole chain...and for the psych opportunities that are there, I already know people there that could (possibly) hook me up.

But I still want to think about this decision...after I finish my homework assignment. I'm not pulling out of anything until I make a final decision.


Medic2RN said...

Congrats on your weight loss!
Hmmm....there were a lot of points to follow, but perhaps staying with the Current program may behoove you by the fact there is no question as to their standing within the academic community.

Meriwhen said...

It's a tough decision. I got to know a lot of the faculty at the former program, both through being in the program and when they would bring students to my site for clinicals. There's no question that they want to have an excellent program, but you're right--there's just such an unknown factor there, at least right now.