Becoming a nurse is no small decision. However, if you’re for a career that offers job security, job satisfaction, and job growth, nursing is a doable and promising profession. Regardless of when you decide to take the first step, there are a few things you should know before starting nursing school. Understanding what they are and how to implement them will go a long way toward ensuring that your nursing education is a success.
1. You will be in demand
We can’t blame you for wanting to pursue a career in nursing – the profession is the largest segment of the nation’s healthcare workforce. At the same time, projections show the field growing faster than the average of all occupations. What’s missing is the lack of qualified nursing candidates.
Earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree can help you stand out above the rest. As the population ages and chronic health conditions rise, such as diabetes and obesity, BSN-prepared nurses are gaining a second look from employers. This is because they have the pre-existing knowledge to care for patients with such complex healthcare needs.
A report published by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine recommends that at least 80% of registered nurses hold baccalaureate degrees by 2020. Although this goal has not yet been met, the workforce continues to move in that direction. Fortunately, our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track makes it possible for qualified applicants to earn a BSN degree in as few as 16 months.
2. You will not have to retake your science prerequisites
Before starting nursing school, you may have to complete a number of prerequisite courses. The number of courses you are responsible for depends on two things: the status of your previous academic history and the number of transferable credits you have. An important quality that separates our ABSN track apart from other nursing schools is that there is no expiration date on science prerequisites.
For example, if you have a previous biology degree, you may be eligible to start the ABSN track right away.
On the other hand, if you come from a non-science background, all is not lost; as long as you have a minimum of 60 non-nursing college credits, you can work to complete your prerequisite courses and enroll in the ABSN track at a time that works best for you. We offer three start dates per year in January, May, and August.
3. You will experience a blended learning model
When it comes to nursing school, it’s impossible for non-nurses to learn how to care for patients online, without any hands-on experience. That’s why our Accelerated BSN track is divided into three curriculum components that are all completed concurrently.
A lot of our Accelerated BSN students enjoy the flexibility and convenience that comes with completing their fundamental coursework online. While instructor deadlines still apply, you have the ability to study and complete your assignments at any time of the day or night.
“I really enjoyed having control over my online coursework,” says Carlee Dodge, Accelerated BSN Graduate, Class of 2018. “Instead of showing up for class, I was able to attend class according to my schedule.”
On-site skills and simulation labs
Hands-on labs connect the dots between online coursework and clinical rotations. According to Carlee, they are extremely powerful. “Labs give you a chance to try out all of the things you may have previously read or watched other people do,” she said.
In-hospital clinical rotations
Taking place at some of Austin’s leading healthcare facilities, nursing clinicals let you showcase the skills you’ve learned online and during labs.
For ABSN graduate, Ann Marie Nguyen, clinical rotations allow you to experience the intricacies of nursing, from checking a patient’s vital signs to communicating with colleagues. Essentially, clinicals will give you a real taste of what it’s like to step into the shoes of a registered nurse.
4. You are part of something bigger
For many of our Accelerated BSN students and graduates, nursing is not just a career – it’s a calling and ministry. That’s why our nursing students earn a BSN framed within the context of a Christ-centered education. This is important because along with learning practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed to succeed in the profession, you will also gain a deeper purpose focused on responsible stewardship and dignity of the human spirit.
“Concordia looks at nursing as a vocation, as a calling from God. We’re here for the joy of serving others. We’re here to take care of God’s people. We do more than just physical care. We recognize the wholeness of every individual.” – Robin Cook, Accelerated BSN Assistant Professor.
5. You have a growing support system
As you prepare to begin your journey toward becoming a nurse, you may be wondering “who can I lean on for support?” The answer depends on the nursing school and programs you to choose. At Concordia, you can rest assured that our entire college of nursing has your best interest at heart. “I felt like I knew most of the staff from the dean down,” says Carlee.
Our faculty and staff will be an invaluable resource to you throughout your 16-month journey and after you graduate, from helping you develop your professional network to writing you a recommendation letter.
“I 100% felt like my professors cared about me as a person and knew who I was,” says Carlee Dodge, Accelerated BSN Graduate, Class of 2018. “They were there to help me become a better nurse each step of the way.”
If you’re serious about taking the accelerated path to nursing, now is the time to make a move. Contact our admissions team today and start working toward an [email protected] start date in the spring, summer, or fall.