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Re: “Merritt College Nursing Woes

I wholeheartedly agree with annurse's comment. I have never been treated as rudely, unprofessionally and quite frankly degradingly at any of the community colleges or the UC school I received my BA from (with academic honors) as I was treated in this program (in a previous year). I did end up leaving the ADN program, refusing to subject myself to patronizing instructors who refused to acknowledge mistakes in their teaching, not because I couldn't handle the academics.

I was told that the attitude of the instructors improved dramatically after the first semester, the idea being that they would ridicule and humiliate students as a boot camp style way of weeding people out with the excuse that it was for students' "own good". In my group, an example of apparent sabotage was how students were told that working, single parents especially would have priority for clinical rotation time slots to accomodate their schedules. When assignments were handed out, in many cases scheduling done for the times and days OPPOSITE of the request, with no possibility of trading with other students. No wonder that so many well qualified students left! The program does attract "top-tier students" but many of them choose to leave because of how they are treated alone. This year there is the issue of a new textbook that the ADN program decided to use that is full of errors, no wonder students did so poorly on their exams! Why not acknowledge that there was a problem and come up with a solution for it such as retesting? The ADN instructors and administration missed a huge opportunity to demonstrate accountability and show how to tackle and solve a major problem - skills RNs need in the real world.

Also, the contract between the College and Alameda County wasn't renewed in time to allow the second-year students to do their clinical rotations! How is it possible for those in charge to sleep at night let alone blame the students for the difficulty they are having?

It seems inappropriate to run a program this way in light of the current nursing shortage. In my group, the quality of the instruction was highly dependent upon which clinical rotation students happened to end up in. At least in the later semesters, students received good skills training offsite at participating institutions by people not actually employed by the College. It is unfortunate that people who teach nursing are so underpaid compared to their practicing counterparts; this might account for the burned-out, unsupportive people not particularly skilled in the art of teaching at this nursing school. Other instructional programs at Merritt College are very well run and staffed by enthusiastic, knowledgeable people who clearly enjoy teaching. The ADN program needs to acknowledge its shortcomings and take a lesson from the other successful departments on campus.

I will say that based upon my experience that any student who manages to hang in there and complete this program is exceedingly well trained to deal with disorganization, lack of support, and B.S. in general on a daily basis accompanied by egos and attitudes; in other words well suited to deal with working in healthcare in general among MDs and other health care providers. Any student who makes it through this program has lived through hell and survived, so would likely be a very competent nurse due to the determination they would have had to have had to get through such a nightmare of a program.

Too bad the administration didn't respond to the concerns the students brought up, apparently they forgot that the whole point of an institution of higher learning is to support students while they learn and to provide a professional example for them, of which they did neither. Wake up Merritt! Wake up Peralta! Got Accreditation? Not to mention, students pay your (in some cases 6-figure) salaries...

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mischa on 10/27/2008 at 3:06 PM

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