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Well, this is always an interesting question. The answer depends entirely on you and what responsibilities you have in your life. The majority of our students have full-time nursing positions and many care for their families as well. However, it is not easy to have a full-time job, be a full-time parent, and go to school full-time.
One of the factors is the amount of time you must devote to your studies. If you choose to take a full load of courses, keep in mind that you will be taking 14-16 credit hours of upper division course work. Most students find that this course of study is significantly more demanding than what they have ever done before. There is a great deal of reading and writing and although most of the concepts you study are familiar to you, some are entirely new and take variable amounts of time to comprehend.
One of the strengths of our program is that most of the time, you are NOT required to attend class or be in a structure clinical setting. Although we do have some set class times, most of your work can be done on your own schedule - sometimes that might be in the middle of the night! You can do your assignments and E-mail them to your instructor and you can work with your faculty and clinical site to set up your experiences at times that are best for you.
Another factor that affects how much you can work is the flexibility of your work setting. Most of our students have employers who are delighted that they are going to back to school and are willing to work with them on a flexible schedule. Other students are not quite as fortunate. It is wise, before you make a decision to attend school, to talk with your manager and determine how he or she will work with you. Some students work only on weekends, while some decide that nights are best for them. You can tell your employer that you will be required to attend classes only one evening a week and can arrange your clinical experiences with your clinical instructor, but that you will have assignments and exams as you would in any college course of study.
Now back to your original question - How much can you work? The answer involves several choices you must make regarding your personal work and family situations, as well as your educational needs and goals. Feel free to talk more to your OU College of Nursing counselor and/or faculty to help you make your decision.
No, you don't have to go back to the hospital and repeat what you already know. What a waste of time! Clinical experiences in our program are really different than they were in your basic program. The entire program is designed to build on the knowledge and experience that you already have. Although you have some required assignments, we will help you tailor your clinical courses to meet your individual learning needs and career goals. Clinical experiences focus on community nursing and leadership/management skills in nursing. You may even be able to complete some of your learning objectives in your own work setting. Check out the information on clinical courses.
What a wonderful question! Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it is true. Faculty at OU have worked many years with nursing faculty and administrators from other schools and the State Board of Nursing to develop a course of study that builds on students' knowledge, gives as much credit as possible, yet maintains the integrity of our program. From experience we know that associate degree and licensed practical nursing programs prepare students very well. In addition, working nurses have a wealth of knowledge. At OU we are committed to recognizing this experience and academic preparation by giving as much credit as we possibly can.
In order to receive a degree from OU (127 credit hours), LPN students must complete all prerequisite courses (67 credit hours). These courses can be completed at any college or university, but keep in mind that they MUST meet our requirements - check with a College of Nursing counselor about this. After one year of nursing experience, LPNs are eligible to take National League for Nursing Mobility Profile II examinations. A passing grade on these exams is the ticket to 30 hours of undergraduate nursing course credit. The additional 30 hours of credit are the courses that all career mobility students take.
In order to receive a degree from OU, RN students must also complete all prerequisite courses (67 credit hours). Then RN students, who graduated from an NLN accredited associate degree program within the last 5 years, can articulate directly into our nursing program - no NLN exams to pass - and they receive 30 hours of credit! This articulation agreement was developed through efforts of many nurse faculty and administrators to help best meet the educational needs of nurses in our state. The additional 30 hours of credit are the courses that all career mobility students take.
Even though this is complicated, we have found that it works very well for our students. Be sure and talk to an OUCN counselor if you have other questions.
Education makes you more marketable! While in some employment settings there is no difference in pay for nurses with bachelor degrees, in many settings employers do pay more for nurses with more education. In fact, some offer tuition reimbursement as recruitment and retention incentives. Another reason for getting a BS is that doors often open to you - doors that you never even knew existed! In school you are exposed to different new roles in nursing that you may have not considered. You also learn to look at nursing in a different way. Many of these roles are open only to nurses who have a BS or higher degree. The BS degree prepares you for graduate school as well. Although that thought may be the farthest from your mind right now, you never know what interesting and exciting paths your life might take. It is wise to consider improving your education level at this point.
Absolutely! We welcome diploma nurses. We will evaluate transcripts and give as much credit for academic work as possible. Check with an OUCN counselor for an individual evaluation.