Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Can Nursing Prerequisites Be Finished Part-time & How Long Will it Take?

If you are concerned about how long it will take to complete nursing prerequisites part-time, then perhaps you would be interested in the accelerated nursing program at the Columbia University School of Nursing. This combined BS/MS program is especially designed to hasten the pace from school to licensure, particularly for students who do not already hold an undergraduate degree in nursing. However, applicants must already hold a Bachelor's degree and must have passed the following courses:

* English Composition, (1 course)
* Life Sciences, (3 - 4 courses; required: human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology) Applicants interested in the Nurse Anesthesia specialty: two semesters of chemistry (at least one organic course) and one semester of physics
* Psychology, (1 - 2 courses; intro, life span or developmental psychology)
* Humanities, (2 - 3 courses)
* Statistics, (1 course)
* Social/Behavioral Sciences, (1 - 2 courses)

Students whose specialty is Nurse Anesthesia, must also take the following courses in addition to the ones listed above:

* General or Intro to Chemistry, 1 course
* Organic Chemistry, 1 course
* Physics, 1 course

When applying for the combined BS/MS program, the following are required for admissions consideration:

* Satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
* Three references attesting to applicant's academic ability and potential
* Personal goal statement that is congruent with program goals (two pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font)
* Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Since Columbia does not offer a four-year undergraduate degree in nursing, students who enter this accelerated nursing program should be committed to completing the entire program through the master's level. The school does allow students to complete nursing prerequisites part time for the BS/MS program, with the exception of the pre-licensure curriculum portions of the Entry to Practice Program and the Nurse Anesthesia Program. Pre-licensure study begins in late May and lasts three semesters. Students must complete 60 credits full time during this period before they can complete the remaining nursing prerequisites part time. Afterward, specialty studies begin in the fall. Generally, the remaining courses can be finished part time - usually in approximately 3 years.

It is possible to apply for exemption from some of the course work, even if it applied towards an earlier degree. However, exemption is granted only if it is determined by the school to be similar to the Columbia University School of Nursing course requirements.

After completing all nursing prerequisites of the pre-licensure curriculum, students can choose from the following specialties:

* Acute Care
* Anesthesia
* Midwifery
* Neonatal
* Oncology
* Women's Health
* Psychiatric Mental Health
* Primary Care of adults, family, geriatric, or pediatrics

Students in the pre-licensure phase of their education are not permitted to hold outside jobs. However, after completing all nursing prerequisites and enter their specialty phase, students are permitted to work as a registered nurses. Clinical experience and training is usually gained at New York-Presbyterian and the Mt. Sinai Health Care System, although other affiliated facilities such as out-patient clinics, home care, community centers, or schools in the New York City area are also acceptable. It is advised that students interested in applying to the BS/MS program and any other programs offered by Columbia University School of Nursing check the school's website for changes in admissions and program policies.

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