test out of nursing school?
October 27, 2009 10:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm a nursing school student and I'm interested in testing out of as much school as I can.

I live in California, I have an extensive health care background, and I'm already in nursing school. Every nursing school I've researched offers a "challenge" option for each nursing course - where someone who is already experienced in that area can test out of the course. There is a paper and a clinical portion of most of these challenges. In practice, I've never heard of anyone challenging nursing classes or nursing school. If you have any experience with these challenge exams, or any ideas about where to talk to people who have actually challenged these complex courses, or any idea where to find the law that requires this challenge option, I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. Do you want to know what the challenges are like and if you have what it takes to pass them, or are you trying to get out of even having to take the challenges because you don't feel that they are legal?

I don't have experience with CA or nursing schools, but it's not uncommon to have to take some type of test in order to place out of a class. This isn't likely a law, but rather a guideline from the accrediting agency and/or from the school itself.
posted by dayintoday at 2:22 PM on October 27, 2009

To get your nursing license in many states, you're going to have to show that you received X number of hours of instruction in a number of areas. Your school's curriculum is basically designed to provide exactly that instruction. To be clear, these requirements are often worded as, for example, "25 hours of classroom instruction in cross-contamination containment, plus 80 clinical hours in sterile facilities; 40 hours of classroom instruction in wound care, plus 30 hours in a post-surgical, trauma, or emergency context; [etc.]".

The state is unlikely to count testing out of instruction as equivalent to instruction; and it sure as shit isn't going to count it for clinical requirements. You could test out of everything, get your degree, and then discover that no state in the union will take you because you didn't actually receive any education.

Nobody's testing out of these courses because nobody wants to jeopardize their career. Which pleases me greatly, since I'd request a new nurse if I found out mine tested out of school.

or any idea where to find the law that requires this challenge option,

There isn't a law.
posted by Netzapper at 3:50 PM on October 27, 2009

I haven't heard of this specifically for nursing programs, but I have heard of it before. I suggest talking to folks as your school (both administration and students) and see how it works. As it has been suggested, there many be only a certain number of hours which you can test out of. So you may be able to test out of all the courses but to get a nursing degree from that program you may only be able to test out of up to eight hours. Either way, I don't have specific answers for you and so it seems like your best bet would be to contact people who are specific to your institution.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 4:27 PM on October 27, 2009

I agree that the school's nursing component will most likely be what the state requires. I'm in school for education and our programs are similar- x hours of classroom time, x hours of student teaching, x hours of instruction required for the state, and the college offers exactly that.

However, you may be able to test out of the gen ed portion and skip your basic math, science, and English requirements. If the school itself doesn't offer the option look into if they accept CLEP exams. You would need to check with your specific school, though. They aren't required to accept them, and if they do there is most likely a maximum number of hours you can apply towards your degree.

I don't think schools anywhere are required to take any credits they didn't issue themselves (barring stuff like community college to four year state school programs some places have).
posted by Kellydamnit at 5:09 PM on October 27, 2009

In Canada I've heard of people testing out of the exam component of a class, or prerequisite classroom credits. They were required to complete clinical hours though- one friend had taken a math course that covered the written portion of her practicum so she spent the clinical hours at the hospital and spent the time she saved doing extra clinical.

It is worth considering that you may know the material already, and could test out if you wished, but you have never learned it as a nurse. Point of view can be everything. Also, if the job market is tough where you are, having excellent grades in those courses can only make you a better applicant.
posted by variella at 8:42 PM on October 28, 2009

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