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A First for Nursing

(L-R) Cynthia Cadigan, Pamela Woolridge, Leslie Drover and Natalie Dale are all graduates of the first fast track BN program.

The first graduates of Memorial's new fast track option in the bachelor of nursing (collaborative) program received their degrees at the fall 2004 convocation. The program, which began in 2002, allows students with an undergraduate degree or advanced academic standing to complete a BN in two years of concentrated study. The regular BN is a four-year program. The fast track option was introduced in response to the increased demand for nursing graduates. In September 2002, 21 students began the fast track option -14 students at the Memorial site and seven at the Western Regional School of Nursing.

It was a hard two years, but there was a great deal of satisfaction with the program. "I chose this option because I had already obtained a degree and the option of completing nursing in two years was much more appealing then spending another four years in school," said Cynthia Cadigan. "The work is the exact same as the regular option except that the courses are not offered in the same sequence. It was not 'harder' but did require a lot of dedication and perseverance. Each of us had to kiss our family life, social life and many of our extracurricular activities goodbye for two years and concentrate on becoming a nurse."

Leslie Drover also chose the fast track option because she had already completed four years of university and wanted a quicker route to get into the workforce. "This program came at the perfect time for me."

Ms. Drover said she had to do more studying than students in the regular program because many of the more difficult courses were in the same semester, whereas for the regular BN students these courses were more spaced out.

Do these students have any regrets about accelerating their nursing education? With employment already obtained, or imminent, there is a general satisfaction that the program has worked to their advantage. However, said Ms. Cadigan, there was some difficulties in being the first group to go through the fast track option

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"There were many kinks and bumps along the way, which led to some frustration, but we were each other's support systems. I don't think I'd like to be the 'first class' again but I'd do it over if I could have the same classmates."