There will forever be a debate about which type of program is better; a front-loaded or an integrated program. Things have changed a bit since the transition to all programs being doctorate degrees. What's the difference? Let's talk about it.
First, let's break down the definition of a front-loaded program. This means that you spend at least the first year 100% in the classroom. You'll be doing all of the bookwork up front, maybe with some simulation lab built in, but you won't enter the clinical setting till at least your second year.
With a true integrated program you'll be doing the classwork and the clinicals hand-in-hand. You will take your Pediatrics class, and then do your Pediatrics rotation.
With all programs transitioned to Doctorate Degrees, some programs that were integrated programs have taken more of a hybrid approach. If your program is truly integrated, you'll start clinicals within the first 6 months. Many programs are adding on their research classes at the beginning of the program, so students are able to knock out that DNP project earlier in their training. In doing so, this will add more time on the front end before starting clinical. These pseudo-integrated programs will start clinicals maybe around 9 months or so. It's best to check with your programs to see when they actually start clinicals, if they are calling themselves and integrated program.
Here are some pros and cons of each:
I went to a front-loaded program and loved it. I love getting all of the coursework out of the way up front. I also personally do better when I can sit and focus and study day after day, without being interrupted by stressful clinicals and commuting to different hospitals. I couldn't imagine coming home from a day at the hospital and having to study or write a paper.
I personally don't think eliminating schools because they are front-loaded or integrated is the right move. I think the type of clinical experience you get, the faculty support, and the types of sites you rotate to is far more important, which based on each program, regardless of if they are front-loaded or not.
Hope this helps shed a little insight to the difference! Regardless of which program you choose, you'll be glad to know that we have a CRNA school database loaded with every single CRNA program. In addition to letting you know whether it's integrated or front-loaded, you can also find out how many years of critical-care are required, what specialty experience is desired, class size, and so much more!
In 30 seconds, you'll have a tailored plan, 3 free downloads, and resources hand-selected for you.
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