The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

Got Punk’d?

Posted by isntshelovlei on August 26, 2009

106ca7d1630b9072The only nursing program I applied to but was not accepted was “Sage of Monticello University” (you’ll notice that at least for now I use a lot of codenames; but if you read between the lines—or do a bit of googling—they’re fairly easy to figure out). It wasn’t that I wasn’t qualified or anything (I mean I have a 4.0 GPA what else could they have wanted from me—blood?), but the program is so competitive that the class was full by Christmas and so I was waitlisted. And on the waiting list I stayed from January until…today— August 25, 2009. For months the waiting list candidates received monthly emails stating that no, no one had come off the waiting list…if a spot becomes available they will call you (don’t bother calling them)…if you still have prerequisites to finish—they suggest you finish them…and they still encourage you to complete the pre-matriculation requirements such as their $77.00 background check even though you may not be offered a spot and of course none of these expenses are refundable…etc., etc. Every month, I would open one of these templated emails with one eye shut and the other squinted open hoping that this time I would glimpse some good news—and always nothing. I just received one of these emails as recently as August 11th.

After months and months of this routine, I had accepted the fact that I just wasn’t going to SMU. Besides, it’s not like I didn’t have plenty of other options—with my grades I could go anywhere (else) I wanted to. I had just about forgotten about SMU and their maddening monthly emails. So imagine my surprise when I came home to find a message on my answering machine from their Assistant Director of Admissions. Why else would she be calling unless a spot had opened up?

At first I hesitated before I called her back—I needed time to think. In the program I currently plan to attend I will be working AND going to school—I have a mortgage to pay. But of course I would LOVE to be able to just go to school (you’re not “allowed” to work during SMU’s program and so they certify your financial aid to include a “living expense loan”). I would LOVE to be able to abandon the daily grind as a gofer and to not have to go to work an hour early just to get a damn parking spot. Sounds great!—where do I sign?? …But wait a minute! It’s frickin’ August! The end of August at that! School starts in a week! You want me to just quit my job and pull some miracle financial aid package out of my ass a hat in a week?!? I don’t have some long lost relative who recently died and left me a stockpile of cash or a trust fund. And last time I checked it was still illegal to sell your organs on eBay—and my blood type is O, so I’m sure I’d get a nice amount of bids. Wasn’t the kidney that was posted on eBay back in 1999 going for about 5.7 million before eBay yanked the auction down?  Man, what I wouldn’t give for that kind of cash right about now…

So basically that woman got me all excited for nothing—trying to sell me a pipe dream. I think I just got Punk’d…

Needless to say, the economy sucks and the financial aid situation is bungled around here. To add insult to injury, we’re not getting any PHEAA grant money until the PA state budget is passed. And these colleges and universities want us to apply for (like we’ll actually get approved for) these insane amounts of student loans—it’s ludicrous!  I’m about to have to set up a lemonade stand or sell plasma just to pay for books.

And I don’t know if Ashton Kutcher was behind that phone call I got today but as Sagat would say…”Man…funk dat!”

9 Responses to “Got Punk’d?”

  1. Kim said

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I got linked to your site on a “100 Blog Posts You Should Read…” site and I am going to be going through all this very soon. It’s really interesting to hear other folks going through the same mess. It sounds like from your posts that you are starting with a BSN program and not an AA program – I am thinking about doing the latter very much because of cost.

    That said I will follow your blog with interest!

    • isntshelovlei said

      Thanks for checking me out! Yes, I’ll be in a BSN program–the hospitals around here are starting to not want to hire anything less. As far as the costs, I tried to cut them down by taking all of my prereqs at a community college and then tranferring into a four-year (aka more expensive) school for the second half of the nursing program. Good luck to you!–keep me posted!

      • Kim said

        Argh! that’s so the last thing I want to hear right now. 🙂 I feel like with the shortage, hospitals are going to have to continue to take AA RNs for a little while longer – hopefully long enough that I can find a way to get my own BSN funded. Thankfully I already have a BS degree in something else so it won’t take FOREVER. I do plan to get advanced degrees, just right now I want the fastest path to RN… and to spend the least amount of time unemployed!

      • isntshelovlei said

        Hon-neee bunches of oats! There is no nursing shortage!! There are way too many nurses and not enough jobs! At least it is in the big cities like where I live. This crappy economy has finally caught up with all of the people who ran off to nursing school thinking it was recession proof. I think for specialty or graduate nursing it may be a little different. But ground zero nurses–and new grads especially–are having a hell of a time finding a job. If you’re going to do nursing, do it because you feel it’s genuinely your calling–not because you think there’s a bottomless pit of need.

        But you’re in a little bit of a different boat. You have already have a BS–what are you doing looking at ADN/AAS programs??? You should be doing an accelerated ONE YEAR program for students that have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree–when you graduate you will get a BSN. It’s the best of both worlds–a short program AND a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Check out the programs in your area and see what they offer…

      • Kim said

        Believe me, I have looked all around my area. I am in the DC/baltimore area and I’m applying to both kinds of programs. The problem is paying for them. The AA is 15 months but the local BSN programs either are not accelerated or are on shaky ground, with bad reputations. OR they are Johns Hopkins and cost $60,000 or MORE a year. There is no way I am getting in over $100K of debt to start with. I’ll save that for when I get my master’s from JHU. 😉

        Believe me, if I could get both a short program and and a BSN and not be in debt as large as my mortgage, I’d do that.

        UMD does have a 2nd degree Masters program that gets you an RN and a generalist masters but it makes no sense to me to do that when I know I will want to pay for a specialization MSN later.

      • isntshelovlei said

        Wow…you would think that in a metro area like that you would have a lot of options…

        Georgetown has a 16 month accelerated BSN program ( And they’re offering an 80% tuition scholarship for it–can’t beat that with a stick! Of course there are a few–ahem–strings attached…

        But I definitely hear you on not wanting a generalist master’s degree–no way, no how…I want to do pediatric critical care.

  2. E.J. said

    Just a few thoughts that may or may not help you:

    – I work as a NICU nurse in one of the largest US cities. A couple of hospitals here won’t work with ADN’s, but most still have no problem with it. On the unit, no one should care once you’ve been a nurse for more than about three shifts. Some regions may be different, but I don’t think the ADN is going anywhere in the near future.

    – In many places, there is a shortage, but it’s primarily a shortage of nurses with 2+ years experience. Those of us with satisfaction and good working conditions are in small numbers, so many nurses are diving away from bedside jobs and toward advanced practice and education, even if those jobs involve an MSN and then possibly a cut (!) in pay.

    – You’re right about heading toward advanced practice without having experience as a nurse. However, there are post-masters certificate programs for nurses wishing to change specialties/functional roles. These programs make it so that you wouldn’t have to redo an entire MSN just to shift directions.

    – Check out RN-to-MSN programs for licensed nurses wishing to earn the MSN without completing a BSN program. Your options for these are even broader if you have a non-nursing BA/BS.

    • Kim said

      Thanks, EJ! Your comment is comforting, in that my plan is not too far off base. I am really hoping to go RN to MSN after I have a little experience working as a nurse. There are more options for that locally than there are accelerated BSN programs – I don’t know why!

      I should also note that I think our Associate’s program has a really good reputation locally. There are about 5 Associate’s programs in driving distance, but the quality does vary, and I think employers know it.

    • isntshelovlei said

      Thanks for your comments E.J.–definitely some good food for thought. I actually volunteer in my hospital’s N/IICU. I’m thinking of possibly pursuing NNP after my BSN.

      In reference to RN-to-MSN just a little story…I was at a conference this month and even though I’m not a nurse yet I always try to network with the nurses. 🙂 I was talking to a nurse educator from a local hospital and I mentioned that one of the schools that I was accepted to was a diploma program–excellent reputation, extremely competitive, high NCLEX pass rates, part of a magnet hospital…sounded like an all-around good deal–people thought I was nuts to not accept. But I just could not wrap my head around going to school for two years and “just” getting a license vs. going to school for the same length of time and earning a BSN–especially when I knew I’d be pursuing graduate studies. She looked at me in all seriousness and said “A diploma school?!? Who would go to one of those??? I didn’t know they still had those types of programs. At XYZ hospital, we only hire BSN nurses.” And I’ve checked their website–their nursing positions do state “BSN required.” But still, her clear disdain for diploma nursing schools totally blew my away. This hospital is one of the top 10 in the nation and has magnet status so anyone hoping to land a job there would have to adhere to their standards.

      My personal opinion? A good nurse is a good nurse–whether he or she is “just” an RN or a BSN. The fact that I took a couple extra classes like art history and western civ and am therefore supposedly more “well-rounded” probably won’t make me a better nurse than the RN on the next unit over who has been doing patient care for twenty years. Please do not think I am not trying to judge–I am only trying to increase my marketability in my area. I look forward to working with ALL nurses–good ones, the best ones–and I am less concerned with the letters behind their names.

      But where I live and work the BSN is becoming the standard. I don’t make the rules–I’m just trying to follow them.


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