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A Students Perspective – Vocational Nursing

Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program is the accelerated, full-time, accredited Vocational Nursing program available in the SF Bay Area today. Unlike Community Colleges and Universities, there aren’t a handful of pre-requisite courses necessary (such as Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Pathophysiology) just to apply, or even be considered, to their nursing program. Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program bypasses this lengthy step with its 3 week “crash course” in medical terminology. The crash course is plenty enough because it properly and adequately prepares the student for the 11 month long, three level, and accelerated nursing program.

Unitek College allows the eager nursing student to put his/her foot right in the door, without the uncertainty of the application process or the extra two year waiting list. But don’t be fooled by its easy admittance standards; the Vocational Nursing program is really a tough and demanding curriculum! As a 33 year old with a Bachelor’s degree and several IT certifications, I can honestly say that this is the most challenging (and most rewarding) learning experience in my academic career. The course materials include topics such as the fundamentals of Medical-Surgery, Pharmacology, and practical nursing skills. Each level is increasing more difficult and more demanding than the previous. The program is condensed and moves at a high speed! And yes, you will be a critical thinker & learner!

Having said all this, I’d like to share with you my personal insights for the would-be Unitek College Vocational Nursing student:

  1. Be prepared to study 3-5 hours a night! You, the student, will probably not have much free time on the weekends because you will either be reading ahead, trying to catch up, or cramming for a test on Monday. Before making the decision to pursue this endeavor, please have a serious talk with your family, boyfriend/girlfriend, or spouse.
  2. You, the student, will have 3-6 different instructors who share the responsibilities of lecturing and leading clinicals throughout the year. Currently, in my program, I have two “core” teachers who are both very supportive and great in their own way. They are available almost anytime that you need to talk to them and strongly encourage participation and questions during our times together.
  3. The grading system is very fair. Although you, the student, need to put in your hours of study, you don’t need to be a genius to get through! A 75% average score requirement is necessary to advance from each level. If you do not pass a section or a level, such as Labor and Maternity, then you may be allowed to “remediate” or “do-over” this section. If you do not pass an entire level, however, you may be able to repeat it and continue with a different, newer class at the next Vocational Nursing start at another Unitek College campus location. Can a community college or university give you a second chance like that?
  4. There are, on average, 2 exams a week. This will total over 100 exams by the end of 11 months. If you diligently keep up with your studies throughout the program (again about 3-5 hours a night), you should not have any problems passing every exam. Another great thing about Unitek College’s program is that by level two, there will be hundreds of NCLEX style questions incorporated throughout our lectures, further preparing you for the “big exam.”
  5. The tuition is high, and rising. Yikes! For this high cost, we students at the Fremont campus, have a clean facility, a nice, newly remodeled student break room, and access to a great big lab room with over eight beds and patient mannequins. There are a couple of small libraries that we always have access to. We also have nice projectors and large screens for lectures in our classrooms, something that most other schools may not have. However, we are currently using a classroom with PC computers and flat screen monitors that we have never used! It has been rumored that the desktops with internet access were once available and used as tools for learning, but the privilege has been taken away due to a few past students abusing the internet. So why have these PC’s around, occupying valuable desktop space, if we don’t even get to use them?
  6. If I was to change a few things about Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program I would change the following:
    1. Use the mannequins and lab room more often! We Vocational Nursing students have not had the opportunity to use all the tech machines and mannequins in the lab room as often as I hoped.
    2. Provide instructors with IT support since they are often dealing with slow PC’s when they are presenting their lectures on PowerPoint.

Another perk of becoming a nurse: You won’t have a hard time finding your first job!

Written on 3/15/2008 by Doan Tran
Vocational Nursing student, Unitek College
Graduation on July 2008

25 replies
  1. Michele Aceves
    Michele Aceves says:

    Are students put into actual long term care facilities or hospitals or have tours of these facilities?

  2. Unitek College
    Unitek College says:

    All Unitek College LVN students receive clinicals at various board approved medical facilities. Students will rotate through these clinical facilities throughout the length of the program. Over 60% of our training is clinical and lab, thereby giving plenty of hands on experience for our students.

  3. Maria
    Maria says:

    Im trying to decided on wether or not go to unitek. Also i just want to get it out of the way bc we’re in the air force, at beale and want it done before we move in a several years, & i really dont like the programs @ the yccd. I have two little ones, so i will have to commute , ehich im fine w/ and i already have most of my prereqs done at the comm. college. will sost less that way and take less time? and I have saved lots to.

  4. Eric
    Eric says:

    THanks so much for your post I want to break into the medical field but its been years since I have been in school let alone an intenst program. I am driven and determined but am curious as to how much math is involved and if one who is not so strong in math can squeeze through that portion with a little extra effort. PLEASE reply with any further informaiton or words of encouragement. Also just to clarify, I will not need to take an entrance exam to get into Unitek but will need to pass the “crash” course and then can jump into the LVN program??

  5. Unitek College
    Unitek College says:

    Our nursing program is challenging and certainly requires drive and determination. Math is covered within the program however the majority of what’s covered is health science related. We have a variety of students with different education and experience backgrounds but what makes a successful student is their level of commitment. If you really are committed to becoming a healthcare provider, we can give you the tools to do so. It’s up to you to use them!

    All students are required to take the entrance exam to become eligible for enrollment.

  6. Unitek College
    Unitek College says:

    Hi Kim,

    The exam is divided into three sections: Math, Reading, and Language. There are a total of 115 questions (60 Language, 30 Reading, and 25 Math). All material covered is considered high school level.

  7. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    I Live in the South Bay. Have any of the”BIG” Hospitals (Kaiser, Stanford, El Camino, Valley Med) hired RN’s that have graduated from Unitek?
    Thank you
    ..and Thank you for such an informative post.

  8. Unitek College
    Unitek College says:

    We have placed many of our students from all of our programs in hospital sites including the aforementioned hospitals. Our first cohort from our LVN to RN students just recently graduated. And most of our students have many choices to work as a RN.

  9. Diana
    Diana says:

    I wanted to know what the requirements of getting into the LVN program are? And also if Unitek provides Financial Aid?

  10. Jeanette
    Jeanette says:

    How many points do I have to get in order for me to pass for the entrance exam (LVN)? Is the entrance exam based on basic math, reading and language? Also, can you only take the entrance exam one time?

  11. Unitek College
    Unitek College says:

    Hello Jeanette,

    Correct, the entrance exam is based on basic math, reading, and language. You must pass each of these sections in order to pass the exam. The passing score for each section is roughly 70%. If you do not pass on your first attempt you can try again on the next available test date. If you do not pass on the second attempt, you must wait 30 days to try again. If you do not pass on your third attempt, the program is not recommended.

    If you have any additional questions, please visit us at http://www.UnitekCollege.edu

  12. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Is there the LVN to RN program in Sacramento area yet. I heard there wasn’t, but I hope there is

  13. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    Just wondering if you have to have all of the science classes before applying? (Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology)

  14. Jeanette
    Jeanette says:

    Hello I was wondering how much of your clinical time you have to work in a nursing home. Also what is the cost of the LVN program?

  15. Future Nurse
    Future Nurse says:

    As a nurse student in the philippines, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  16. Michele
    Michele says:

    Where are those first jobs at? Can you help me find one, I got my license in December and I am still looking for a job, I am getting so frustrated, any ideas? Please help
    Thank you

    • Christina
      Christina says:

      Please read today’s post. I researched this topic and hope you find this information helpful. Good luck!!!

Comments are closed.