Sunday, December 11, 2016

SUNY Downstate Accelerated Nursing Program!

After nearly 4 months of waiting and torture I finally got my decision from Downstate and I am in! I could not believe it when I saw the email link saying I was offered a place in the 2017 accelerated nursing program. I really wasn't sure which way it would go because I was not sure how competitive my grades and test scores were (remember I got B+ in both anatomy classes and my reading score on the TEAS was a mere 83%). In any event, other factors must have been in my favor, especially since I tried my best to give more than what was asked knowing that my grades were not super competitive. Submitting my application early probably worked in my favor as well. This is a really big accomplishment for me, especially since I was able to get into a program that accepts roughly 10-15% of their applicants. I must say I am very proud of myself because it was not easy for me to get to this point. I have to remember to thank the professors that submitted recommendations for me.

Downstate My Choice School

Since I have now been accepted to Downstate, I will no longer attend Lehman after I complete HIN 269 in about a weeks time. Lehman only accepted me for the generic program which is 2 years; I would much rather complete my BSN in 15 months, especially since I am already "old" and don't want to be out of work so long. Downstate is closer to me anyway, although BK traffic can be a beast at times. I have not ignored the fact that the accelerated program at Downstate has had mixed reviews but it also has a high NCLEX rate, not to mention one of the lowest tuition in the state so I will be working it out. I still haven't worked out the financial and childcare kinks as of yet but I already accepted my place in the 2017 class so I have 6 months to save as much as possible, make some budget cuts, and train my "tween" (who will be a teen) to take on a little more responsibilities. My real concern now is my job. I was hoping to take a leave of absence but since my reason for taking a leave is neither medical nor childcare related, my only option may be to resign which is going to be a lot more difficult than I expected since I will have been in my current profession for nearly 12 years by the time I leave.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Stressed Out

So this semester I registered for HIN 269 for Lehman College's nursing program and Pharmacology through Cayuga Community College (I was able to register even though I was not a nursing student at the school) and I must say I don't know if that was the best idea. I mean up until now I have been taking one course at a time and with good reason: I got a lot of @#&* going on. Now with two courses I am definitely overwhelmed, especially since pharmacology isn't exactly a fluff course. While I am optimistic in general, I am also a realist a I do not see me getting an A in either course; in fact I am hoping at this point for low B or high C. The good thing is that neither course will hinder admission for either Lehman generic nursing program or SUNY Downstate's accelerated nursing program, although may overall GPA (whatever it is) may drop some if I obtain just passing grades and the courses would be needed in the nursing portion of the programs. I was actually going to withdraw from pharmacology at around week two but opt to continue and now I am trying really hard not to regret my choice.

As far as the TEAS exam goes, I passed the reading and math with at least 80% which is the minimum for Downstate but I barely passed the reading with 83%. The TEAS was harder than the HESI to me for some reason but I still expected a little better of myself, at least in the upper 80s. The only "in" for me at Downstate is my math score (92%), my three letters of recommendation (only two were required) and my long, progressive work history in social services (not healthcare but definitely a nursing complement). I submitted my application since August in the hopes of getting an early decision but it seems like early is not going to be before December. In the meantime I'll just stress on until the semester is over.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Recommendation from Online Instructors

Is it possible to get letters of recommendation from an online instructor? Yes! I recently requested letters of recommendation from three professors, two of them being from online course instructors and at least one agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on my behalf! Honestly the interactions (at least for me) in an online course is almost identical to that of a brick-and-mortar course. The main difference obviously is the mode of communication but it goes to show that the quality of the interaction is more important than the type. As long as you "stand out" in some way the instructor can remember you. It also doesn't hurt that I received an A in the course either. I am kind of relieved because I have been very hesitant about requesting a letter of recommendation from my place of employment. It's not that I think a recommendation from my job would be bad or anything (in fact it would probably be very good I think) it just seems so awkward requesting recommendation from my employer when acceptance into the program could mean my potential resignation as well as me "spilling the beans" before I am ready to.

I was accepted...

but I was accepted into Lehman's generic nursing program, not the accelerated. I wasn't exactly surprised especially since everything I have heard and read up to now indicated that I needed roughly a 4.0 GPA in my prerequisite in order to gain admission into the accelerated program. In any event I decided to postpone/defer my application for Fall 2017. This will give me enough time to get some things in order (like finances and childcare), as well as put in my application for SUNY Downstate accelerated program for summer 2017. I really would rather do an accelerated program anyway but if the generic is all that is available to me, I would have to accept. At least I was accepted somewhere and the generic program may allow me to work part time and/or during the summer.

SUNY Downstate Accelerated Nursing Program

The SUNY Downstate application is massive! In addition to letters of recommendations, I need to take the  TEAS V exam, complete a personal statement and upload a whole bunch of stuff like transcripts, resume, etc. Volunteer experience seems like a big deal as well but I simple don't have any (at least not recent experience) so I am hoping that my long term work experience, even though its non-healthcare related, would suffice. I am also planning to get BLS certification (which I would need anyway as a nursing student) so at least I have something "medical" to include in my application. My plans to do EKG/phlebotomy training may be on hold because honestly its costly and I already have to pay for HIN 269 which I am taking in the Fall at Lehman as well as register for TEAS V exam, which is $115! That's over $1000 for both course and exam (not including books for the course) and all of this I am paying for out of pocket! EKG/phlebotomy is certainly not necessary for entrance into nursing school but I don't think these skills are stressed upon in nursing school. I do NOT want to be the nurse who continually pokes my patients with a needle because I don't know what I am doing (I had a nurse like that before and let's just say it wasn't pretty).

Friday, February 12, 2016

The HESI A2 Exam

I have only a couple of weeks before I take the HESI A2 exam and I am so nervous! I bought the Elsevier practice book and have tried taking practice tests both in the book and online but I still have some work to do, especially in anatomy and physiology which is my "weakest" science to date. I was actually not sure if I was going to take the test or not since I was on the fence about applying to Lehman's nursing program this year for personal reasons, but I only have one prerequisite course left (currently taking organic chemistry) and would be therefore eligible to apply for Fall 2016 generic nursing programs (both the accelerated and the generic). I spoke to someone in the nursing department and they assured me that my HESI score would be good for next year (assuming I pass with 75% or above) so about two days before the deadline, I registered for the exam! The math and the reading seems to be going OK (forgot some math formulas though) but the anatomy, not as much. For starters I took A&P I and II almost 2 years ago and I already forgot a lot of things, not to mention I struggled in both courses simple because I had difficulty memorizing the volume of information. With organic chemistry its hard to put as much time as I would like to practicing for the HESI but I have to find a balance because I paid over $100 for the exam and I am not taking it again! I am just going to have to work it out. The good news its a long weekend and I am OK with organic chemistry so far (got Khanacademy for backup just in case) so I can focus most of my time on HESI practice. I just need to make sure my kids stay occupied and quiet, which basically means they will be on their tablets half the weekend.