Nontraditional pathways to Nursing

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by Alpine, Apr 8, 2022.

  1. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Elmhurst Univerity located in Illinois is now offering a 20-month distance learning master to entry (MENP) as an RN for those residing in a limited number of States. Pre-requisites particularly in some basic sciences such as anatomy and physiology as well as a Bachelor's degree are required. Two-week limited on-campus residency required. 800 hours of clinical rotations.

    Online Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing | Elmhurst University
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
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  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    The BSN curriculum is pretty packed.

    Even full-time do you think that they can fit that curriculum into a 20 month program, online, and produce capable nurses? I note that it mentions "The online MENP is a rigorous, full-time program requiring your 100% commitment. It’s strongly advised that you don’t work, even part-time, but exclusively focus on the program for its 20-month duration."
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  3. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    The school posts a 100 % pass rate on the NCLEX-RN which is the required examination for licensure as an RN. The program is "Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)" which means the curriculum is approved albeit 20 months in duration. Remember some schools offer 2nd accelerated BSNs that lead to an RN in 12 months so this program is 8 months longer and includes 800 hours of clinical experience.

    I have no reason to believe this program produces "incapable" nurses. New graduate nurses of all programs ASN, BSN, and now MSN have to demonstrate competencies to enter the profession. Does that mean a new graduate can function immediately in an ICU or ER? Probably not, but many hospitals are now offering fellowships or longer orientation programs for new graduate nurses because they recognize the need to train "capable" nurses!

    Quality education always requires hard work and sacrifice from the student. Professionalism can't be granted by a rubber stamp. Learning to prioritize is the key to success, especially in nontraditional pathways to becoming a nurse.

    I have no connection with Elmhurst University and encourage prospective students to do their own research. However, as a nurse of 20 plus years, I am certainly fascinated by the evolution nursing education has taken through nontraditional pathways.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Excelsior (and its predecessors) have been awarding nursing degrees non-residentially since the mid-1970s.
  5. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Understood but Elmhurst nursing degree is unique as it is an entry-level to practice at the Masters degree, not associates or bachelors RN. Very novel concept coupled with the non-traditional learning modality. Additionally, Excelsior College requires a Paramedic, LPN or Military Hospital Corpsman credential to apply whereas Elmhurst requires a Bachelors with pre-requisite science courses.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
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  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Direct-entry MSN programs have been around for years with several being mostly online. I thought about applying to some, but I couldn't afford to leave work for the clinicals.
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  7. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

    i noticed there's both an ABSN (50k USD) and a MSN program (60k USD) online.

    price difference is about 10k + 4 months more studying for the masters

    but workwise, does it matter alot? for an RN.
  8. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    It depends on your goals. Do you want to be an APRN with a fast track to a post masters NP program or DNP? Do you want to be in administration? Would you rather obtain the Masters level than a second bachelors? Are you interested in an education track?
  9. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    I titled the thread “ Nontraditional pathways in nursing” so please feel free to post your findings for the benefit of DI viewers. Elmurst University only accepts distance learning students from a limited number of States.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
  10. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    An interesting comparison between Excelsior nursing program and direct entry programs is the clinical hours component. Excelsior only accepts students that have clinical experience whereas direct entry students need to obtain the clinical experience while in the program. Becoming a Paramedic or LPN is at least a one year process. Becoming a Military trained medic with a year of hospital bedside experience is not a walk in the park route either! To me, the Excelsior track appears more challenging than these direct entry programs.

    Western Governors University has a pre licensure program at the BSN level and has been mentioned before on DI but once again only accepts students from a few States.

    Interestingly, Excelsior College has instituted policies that now limit enrollment of students from only 19 States:
  11. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Another pathway that recognizes the hard work and experience of the certified nurses aid (CNA) is California CNA to LVN pathway that requires 51 months of bedside experience and a pharmacology course.

    Once you hold a LVN, there appear to be many LVN/LPN to RN programs.

    The LVN doesn’t appear to accepted by other States and is only good for employment in California or Federal hospitals.

    I’m hesitant to mention this pathway but there may be readers on DI with years of CNA experience that may benefit or not.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
  12. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    I think I've seen programs titled LPN/LVN to RN programs that if you look closely state that they can also admit paramedics. There are hybrid part-distance routes to paramedic for the general public. There may well also be accelerated routes to paramedic for candidates with applicable military training or experience.
  13. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    The healthcare sector is certainly embracing the hybrid and online learning paradigm. The real challenge is getting clinical hands on experience for distance learners. Arranging clinical rotations with hospitals and clinics seems to be problematic. Especially when a school may be from a different State. The paramedic track probably requires clinicals in Emergency rooms, ambulances and fire departments. Not sure how difficult arrangements are for that track. Nurses however require multiple clinical experiences within approved training hospitals and are usually filled with students from the local schools. Couple this with nurse burnout, there may not be many nurses willing to take on the added responsibility of mentoring students.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Not sure why the "...but..." is in there. I simply stated a fact and I advocated nothing.
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  15. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    "Nontraditional pathways in Nursing" would certainly not be complete without mentioning Excelsior College. Thank you for your contribution and please don't be offended. Did you or anyone reading this thread complete the RN program through Excelsior College and have some valuable advice to offer? It seems that this nursing school is diminishing in its ability to offer its' "nontraditional" program. More restrictions on acceptance, fewer students from fewer States, less recognition from State Nursing Boards. Not a good sign!
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
  16. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Is the NCLEX pass rate a good indicator in choosing a school? Excelsior College NCLEX first-time pass rates are 5 to 8 percent lower than the national average and lower than all other New York schools for the past decade. Nursing Degree Learning Outcomes | AAS / AS Nursing | Excelsior

    "We are currently accepting applications to our Associate Degree in Nursing program from the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. " State Board Requirements - Excelsior College

    Also check your State: "Direct licensure: The Kansas Board of Nursing does not allow licensure by examination for Excelsior College graduates."

    Some people get licensed in a state that allows Excelsior College graduates to take the NCLEX and then after a period of time apply to another State through the "endorsement" process but even that process may have some additional requirements.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
  17. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Regents up to the 90s or so allowed several more categories of students than they do today into the professional-entry RN program. If I remember correctly potentially eligible students included a long list of allied health professionals including chiropractors, and internationally-educated physicians with ECFMG certification but without U.S. license. A student in this extended category would have to be working in a clinical health environment that permitted on-the-job learning of certain procedural skills.

    But the expert about this college is Rich.
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    They used to allow EMT-Bs, certified medical assistants, and certified midwives. I think they also admitted respiratory therapists. The CPE failure rate was so high that they eventually eliminated those categories. Excelsior has also given up its nursing accreditation, which further hurt its acceptance in various states.
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  19. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Excelsior College is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) with the next site visit Spring of 2024. See: Search ACEN Accredited Nursing Programs (

    School of Nursing

    7 Columbia Circle
    Albany, NY 12203

    Nurse Administrator:
    Mary Lee Pollard, PhD, RN
    Dean, School of Nursing
    Email:[email protected]

    Accreditation Status

    GOV ID: 496
    Initial Accreditation: October 2002
    Date of Most Recent Commission Action:
    March 2019

    Current Accreditation Status: Accredited
    Accreditation Stipulations: None

    Date of Last Visit:
    March 31-April 2, 2016
    Next Site Visit: Spring 2024"

    Where did you hear this school lost accreditation? I do agree some State Boards of Nursing may not accept EC Nursing graduates but EC fully discloses this on their website. With that said, the Bachelor and Master degrees appear to be accredited by ACEN but we need to find out about the ASN!
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2022
  20. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Okay, I went to NYSED website and it says the Excelsior College (EC) associates is accredited and recognized by the State of New York with last review in 2020 and an upcoming review this Spring of 2022. Accredited Programs in Nursing Education (

    So this means that the ASN and AASN entry to practice RN degrees are accepted within the State of New York and apparently a few other States accept it as well. I am still researching accreditation with CCNE or NLN or some other national accreditation.

    It's important to differentiate between institutional accreditation, state recognition/accreditation, and program accreditation like (ASN, BSN, MSN). So far my research indicates EC is institutionally accredited at the Regional with programmatic accreditation for BSN and MSN at the national level and State authorization/accreditation at the ASN level.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2022

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