Here at Columbia nursing, 72 credits in graduate Master's level courses earn you a MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) and eligibility to sit for the NCLEX boards exam to become a licensed RN in just 15 months.
Having completed the Master's curriculum just a few weeks ago, I thought I would share with you all what my schedule looked like.
MDE SUMMER I (19 credit points) -->
Students were grouped together (Groups 1-8). These corresponded to when you would be in the hospital for clinical work or in physical assessment (PA)/skills lab on Wednesdays and Thursdays. For me, I spent Wednesday afternoons in PA and skills lab, and Thursdays I was in the hospital for my clinical day (YES! You already start hospital experience during your first semester of nursing school here!) I had about 9-10 students in my clinical group over the first Summer session. I know some of these courses were either changed or omitted in the cohort after me, but I believe if you search around the Columbia Nursing website, the schedule of classes are available online for public viewing.
The Summer I semester is incredibly intense. I've told people that it's not necessarily that the exams are super difficult, but the amount of content that you are expected to study and learn is overwhelming, so you find yourself needing to study all the time.
MDE FALL (21 credit points) -->
The Fall semester is the start of 5x5s! Students are broken up into smaller clinical groups (about 6-8 people) and we start hospital rotations in specialty areas. 5 weeks spent rotating through 5 specialties (hence the name 5x5). My rotation --> Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Psych/Mental Health (Fall Semester), Med-Surge, Community/Population Health (spilled into Spring Semester)
Groups of students started off in various specialities and rotated every 5 weeks so that the classes would be smaller and it would be less congested of Columbia nursing students in certain departments at hospital clinical sites. Mondays and Fridays were spent in lecture for the specialties, and Wednesdays and Thursdays were spent in the hospital for that specific rotation.
MDE SPRING (21 credit points) -->
It basically looked like the Fall schedule, except the last two rotations in the 5x5 (Med-Surge and Community Health for my specific rotation) were finished up in the Spring Semester.
The remaining 6 weeks after those two rotations were finished is called INTEGRATION. Some other programs call it something different (like immersion, or a preceptorship).
INTEGRATION was where students were solely immersed in clinical. We didn't have any other class to really focus on. And that's because our integration consisted of being one-on-one with a nurse preceptor and working basically their exact shift. It's not really known to a lot of people before nursing school that a nurse's shift is 12 hours. Three 12 hour shifts. That's what a nurse's week looks like. And for a new nurse, it's mainly 7pm - 7am night shifts. Some of my classmates had those hours. Some were also lucky to have a 7am - 7pm day shift.
Integration is also the last clinical experience for the MDE curriculum.
MDE SUMMER II (11 credit points) -->
The last semester of the MDE curriculum! I would ignore the "Integrated Testing" on Monday, Tuesday, Friday. Those blocks of time are for students who didn't finish some mandatory practice exams during the Spring semester. Essentially, my classes this semester were from Tues 4pm - to Thurs 5:50pm. Pretty nice only having 11 units right? However, a lot of students started picking up side jobs, involving themselves in other extra-curricular activities, and starting to study for the NCLEX during this semester. Adv. Pharm and Adv. Clinical Assessment were also really heavy and intense courses that required plenty of time in advance to study for exams.
Anyway, so that's that! That's what my academic life looked like for the past 15 months. It was a whirlwind and went by fast. Accelerated nursing programs are a full time job and then some. You sit on your butt for hours during lectures, and then for more hours after that trying to study all that information more for exams.
I'm still waiting on an exact DNP schedule when I start in the Fall, so I don't really have anything to show exactly.
I will be sure to update y'all in the near future!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!