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While there have been some positive and negative things discussed about this campus, it really is important to think about all that is mentioned when choosing the right PA program for you.  I was extremely happy with the school when I interviewed, and was excited to accept the offer from my second choice after being waitlisted by my top program.

 

When reading these posts about Nova Ft Myers, it’s easy to just think that these people are just jaded or always negative so it is simply reflecting in their opinion of the program. Despite your best intentions or your general personality type, this program will bring out negative emotions you didn’t even know you were capable of.  And not just in the general grueling way any PA program will. 

 

The biggest issue at the campus right now is the staffing. During the past 29 months they have never been fully staffed. There have been some phenomenal instructors, but all of whom have been pushed out by the school’s lack of unity.  The faculty as a whole does not see eye to eye, which makes things difficult for the students when there is lack of communication. There were probably a dozen instances during the didactic year (when you’re 100% in the classroom) when the instructor didn’t show up.  The common factor in those instances was that the schedule was changed by one and not communicated to the rest of the staff members. There are faculty members making appointments with their advisees and not showing up to campus without any notice to the student.  It is also a commonality for emails to remain unanswered for days or even weeks. And the discourse amongst them all is apparent and confirmed by involved parties.

 

It was mentioned in a previous post that “very few people feel this way but the ones that do tend to be the most ‘vocal’”.  I wish this were true.  Previous posts encourage you to get out and talk to former students rather than just reading a few here on this forum, and I completely agree. However, it speaks volumes when you can’t find any alumni saying “oh my god! It’s a great school. You’ll love it, they’re great”. Alumni of the program are encouraging potential students to consider their other options not simply because they may be jaded, but because we know how a program is capable of functioning and we want the best for future PA students.  I would love to put a seal of approval on Nova Fort Myers, but I would be doing you a disservice.  Would I have chosen this campus again if I could go back in time? Yes. But if I had another option I would have seriously considered taken it.

 

Any program you attend will inevitably have issues. However, “Some controversial issues have come up” as one user wrote.  However, there has been very little I would describe as “fair and transparent”. Students are not allowed access to their personal file, which contains information about themselves.  As pointed out in a previous post, the individual in charge of rotations and keeper of the personal information of the students is a convicted felon.  She served almost 3 years for identity theft at two separate universities, and the students at Fort Myers were never made aware of this. We found out by googling her name and realizing she has a published book about the ordeal, so this is not confidential information. 

 

Nova Fort Myers program does not have a good overall reputation in the community.  The preceptors are underappreciated and are tired of the lack of organization. Every 6 weeks you will be assigned a new rotation, but because of the lack of organization and timeliness on part of the school, you will usually have 3-7 days notice of where you are assigned.  Parents of young children really struggled to make arrangements and were even required to move hours away for multiple rotations in a row. However you are unable to say anything about this because they deem questioning as unprofessional and make note of it in your file (which you are not allowed to see). They are turning a blind eye to subpar clinical sites because they do not have enough to begin with for all of the students. The paperwork for hospital credentialing is often not completed in a timely manner which in turn makes the student miss out on surgery time, labor and delivery, and rounding with the providers.

 

Ultimately, if you go to Nova Fort Myers you will probably get through it.  And if you’re self motivated you have the potential to be a great provider.  Despite overwhelming patience and optimism it’s impossible to avoid their web of dysfunction.  Could this all change in a year or so? Maybe.  But with FGCU opening, it will just add more tension to an already stressed system.  You owe it to yourself to interview if given the opportunity as well as talk to as many alumni from various programs.  Maybe this may give you some things to ask about in your interview. However, just know if you accept a seat at Nova Fort Myers, you will be in for a bumpy ride.

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However you are unable to say anything about this because they deem questioning as unprofessional and make note of it in your file (which you are not allowed to see).

 

If you aren't allowed to see it, how do you even know this?

 

Also, do you really want a bunch of Type A personalities demanded to review their files constantly and whining about things they don't agree with? Not being allowed to see your files has been pretty standard (for me at least) in previous places of employment. 

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Its known because students have been called into faculty offices and been brought in front of the committee on student progress for the above things JohnDoe mentioned and they have been told that they are unprofessional (yes for asking things like why students with small children have to go out of town for a rotation several times in a row with less than a weeks notice, while others never had to go out of town at all). 

 

And yes, it is important to see your personal file. In order to receive licensure in most states the school must submit a form that says you're in good standing. This means that faculty can put anything in your file that they deem "unprofessional" without you even knowing it. This could prevent you from getting licensed, which means 27 months down the drain. 

 

All schools have their good and bad things. In my opinion, there's a lot more bad things going on at that campus with little improvement in sight, especially with FGCU opening soon. 

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This campus has a new academic director after having that position be vacant for over a year, so things might improve in the didactic portion of the program. If I’m being extremely optimistic I’d say they will be able to build up their faculty with quality professors, which will help offset the poor quality of education you will receive from the old guard, whose names I shall not mention. However, during my tenure there they overworked the good professors and eventually drove them away. The administration has been resistant to anything new and innovative, and seems to be content to let the old guard haul out their outdated slides and ramble on during lectures. I kid you not, one of the professors would use the first 10 minutes of class telling Bible stories. Let’s hope the new academic director puts a stop to all that nonsense and begins requiring a certain level of competency from the professors.

 

Even if the didactic portion improves this does nothing to better the clinical department. The school has a bad reputation in the community specifically because of the clinical team. There have been providers who say they have contacted the school to see about taking students and the school never contacted them back. Some of the ones who have gotten in touch with the school have used the words “incompetent” and “unprofessional” to describe the clinical team. This is why they are losing rotations. Multiple students who submitted out of state rotation requests several months in advance were unable to do those rotations because the clinical team waited until the last moment to begin the paperwork. If you dare ask about the status of your request you would be outright lied to and/or snapped at. You have to be careful, because asking questions can land you in front of the committee on student progress. Once FGCU opens there will be fierce competition for rotation sites. FGCU’s program director is well liked and respected in the medical community, so I cannot imagine how Nova Fort Myers will be able to compete. I would seriously consider going elsewhere if you have a choice.

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All the negativity is definitely concerning. My interview is on Oct 21st, but I'm attending another open house this weekend. I will say it's odd I haven't heard anything prior to this from alumns or on this board. Seems odd timing that all of this is suddenly flooding out with FGCU opening their program next year. 

 

The lack of support is less concerning than the staff complacency, I know i can push myself to do whatever I need to do. I would hate to imagine missed paperwork or the like by a faculty member being a defining point in my career. 

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lb1477, the comments from alumni have nothing to do with FGCU's opening. The timing has more to do with our recent graduation. Now we don't have to fear reprisals from the faculty. Like I mentioned in my original post, the didactic portion of the program is likely to improve now that Professor Bareja has become the Academic Director, but the clinical portion is continuing to have serious problems. I do not see how the school's reputation in the community will improve as long as the current clinical team remains in place, and that bad reputation has cost the school rotation sites. For example, there are no Emergency Medicine rotations available in any of the Lee Health System locations (unless you happen to have a personal connection with a provider there), which happens to have a monopoly in the Fort Myers area. This didn't use to be the case, and we lost those sites as a direct result of the actions/inactions of the clinical team.

 

If Nova Fort Myers is the only school that you get accepted to, then you should accept. You WILL become a PA if you can make it through your 15 months of didactic, but it is going to be a frustrating experience for you and I honestly do not know where they will get their clinical rotations from. Perhaps Fort Myers students will end up doing more rotations in the Orlando and Main Campus regions. God only knows.

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To the applicants,

 

We asked the faculty about why there were some issues with our rotations and what they are doing to improve it. The program and academic director are going to assist the clinical coordinators in improving the process more.  They stated that almost all the issues stem from preceptors not completing paperwork on time or responding to emails, especially during the summer when rotations are finalized - because they are all on vacation. Ever tried to get a letter of recommendation for a doctor or PA? Even the best of them still have a million things on their mind.  I know I had to remind mine constantly.  The lack of preparation for rotations falls mostly on the preceptors and this happens in many schools. In the end, everyone still gets a rotation and everyone still graduates.  

 

Regardless of where you end up, you will be a fantastic PA-C if you're willing to put in the work.

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lb1477, the comments from alumni have nothing to do with FGCU's opening. The timing has more to do with our recent graduation. Now we don't have to fear reprisals from the faculty. Like I mentioned in my original post, the didactic portion of the program is likely to improve now that Professor Bareja has become the Academic Director, but the clinical portion is continuing to have serious problems. I do not see how the school's reputation in the community will improve as long as the current clinical team remains in place, and that bad reputation has cost the school rotation sites. For example, there are no Emergency Medicine rotations available in any of the Lee Health System locations (unless you happen to have a personal connection with a provider there), which happens to have a monopoly in the Fort Myers area. This didn't use to be the case, and we lost those sites as a direct result of the actions/inactions of the clinical team.

 

If Nova Fort Myers is the only school that you get accepted to, then you should accept. You WILL become a PA if you can make it through your 15 months of didactic, but it is going to be a frustrating experience for you and I honestly do not know where they will get their clinical rotations from. Perhaps Fort Myers students will end up doing more rotations in the Orlando and Main Campus regions. God only knows.

 

-Thats fair, and I do appreciate the honest assessments. I don't mind traveling for rotations as I have people I can stay with pretty much anywhere in the state. Losing Lee Health is a massive blow, hopefully NCH is available. That being said, I suppose my concerns were high simply because Lee county is so small that losing any rotation site is a major loss. Especially once FGCU gets up and going. Paperwork issues are frustrating but acceptable, it was merely that some of the posts painted it as the staff/faculty were actively working against the students (intentionally or not). If worst case is that  I may end up seeking a residency somewhere to better hone clinical skills after passing boards in ways that perhaps better rotations would have mitigated, then I can accept that. Provided of course, Ft Myers is the only place I get accepted

 

Kind regards,

 

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The program and academic director are going to assist the clinical coordinators in improving the process more.

This is excellent news if true.

 

They stated that almost all the issues stem from preceptors not completing paperwork on time or responding to emails, especially during the summer when rotations are finalized - because they are all on vacation

This is 100% incorrect, but would you really expect the school to admit fault? True, there were some slow poke preceptors out there, but when a student puts in a request in January for a June rotation, you can't blame the preceptor when the clinical team procrastinates for 5 months. That is only one example of dozens. As long as those two individuals are in charge of it, it will continue to be a hot mess.

 

I guess you and your classmates will soon find out for yourselves that the clinical team is the weak point in the program, and maybe when you tell the class below you how awful it was they will believe you. Then again they might do as you are doing and chalk it up to a handful of bitter people complaining because they didn't always get their way. That is the same mistake our class made when 2015 tried to warn us. The faculty told us that the class of 2015 was negative and full of problem children, and to ignore everything they were telling us. They also flattered our class by saying we were the best class to come along in years. Many of us believed them and were still optimistic at the end of the didactic portion, but from the very first rotation all the way to the final one, the clinical team has continued to drop the ball, lie to our faces, arbitrarily enforce rules for some people and ignore them for others, and lose preceptors and clinical sites.

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Didn't get a great vibe from this school. I interviewed yesterday. There was no discussion of didactic and clinical years like at every other program out there. Simply a tour and a little on financial aid. No cadaver lab, faculty didn't seem too willing to help students succeed. Had I have been accepted somewhere prior to my interview with a certain male professor who I won't name, I would have walked out midway through. He was super unprofessional, very argumentative, and seemed to get off on being the bad guy. I've heard this from several others as well who had him. Current students who we spoke to were pissed about the lack of guidance for clinicals, and their website says only 70% of students get jobs within 3 months. All in all, this was my 3rd interview and so far is the only school that I feel doesn't care about their students. If it's my only acceptance, fine, but it's just about on the bottom of my list.

 

Sent from my Galaxy S6 using Tapatalk

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The students on rotation were not even on campus that day. The only students you could have spoken with were didactic year and have not been exposed to anything for rotations yet. I'm genuinely starting to question the credibility of these comments.

 

In any case I'm sorry your interviewer was hard on you, but medicine is not a cake walk.

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Just like I'm questioning the credibility of this school. And thank you for enlightening me that medicine isn't a cakewalk. I wasn't aware after all these years. In the end you'll be a PA regardless of what school is on your degree, but this place really seems to want to put that to the test.

 

Sent from my Galaxy S6 using Tapatalk

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I have been following this page for some time and weighing the benefits of sharing my opinion and experience. I can honestly say that every comment warning future students has certainly resonated with me and it would be wrong to sit in silence and not warn others about the sweeping void that is NSU Fort Myers.

 

I’ve seen a total of 2 commenters who vociferously support the school. However, they neglect to address the biggest complaints. PA school is hard. Didactic year is hard. That is a given no matter where you go, but the majority of the complaints about the Nova Fort Myers campus are in regards to clinical rotations, and that has nothing to do with ones “testicular fortitude”. Didactic year is up to you. Whatever BS minutiae they throw your way; you are the one with the power to fail or pass. During clinical year everything is out of your hands and you are at the mercy of a clinical staff that has, by and large, done a bang up job of alienating willing preceptors and bungling the assignments/implementation of what sites they do manage to maintain. As a result, they allow students to rotate at sites that are subpar at best.  So your reward for busting your tail to get through didactic year is that you can expect one of the following to happen to you or one of your friends:

  1. It is the day before you are to start a new rotation and you still have no idea where you have been placed.
  2. You’ve set up your own rotation and submitted the request 6+ months in advance and Nova staff tells you that your site dropped the ball, but you know that is a lie because the preceptor has done everything required.
  3. You have a family and/or pets and are told with a days notice your rotation is in another town.
  4. You are asked by the preceptor or their staff to violate the clinical handbook and you have two options: A. you do it. B. you don’t do it. End result of both: you were wrong and you are now in trouble.
  5. You might not have a preceptor at all and are told that it's your own fault, even though they won't accept the sites you set up for yourself and somehow don’t manage to find one for you. This in spite of the fact that securing you a rotation and the needed credentials is their ENTIRE job.  

The list is truly endless, but I think the point is made. 

 

Additionally, my experience has resulted in exceptional skepticism when reading glowing reviews, because faculty/staff have a super fun habit of infiltrating the various social media sites frequented by students in order to lurk, make comments, and bust students for the rule de jour. Consider yourself warned in that regard as well.

 

Honestly, maybe you’ll be the luckiest son of a gun on the planet and every one of your rotations will be exceptional, but you will watch the above happen to your friends and classmates. Are you comfortable taking the gamble that it won't happen to you?  Will it sit well with you watch bright hard working classmates do everything right only to watch apathetic and willfully vengefully clinical team cut off every possible avenue leaving them with no options? If you can answer yes to these questions, then welcome to NSU Fort Myers, the best place to cry is in the bathroom, but you might also get in trouble for that.

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