One way nurses can gain their qualifications and join the workforce quicker is by studying an Accelerated Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss how to prepare for studying the ABSN, as well as how to stay on the right track during your education.
Preparing for Nursing School
The ABSN is typically a 4-semester course that can be completed in your own time across a 16-month period. As well as the theory side of the course, you will also be required to work within a clinical scenario for a designated number of hours.
Researching the Profession
When preparing for nursing school, there is a lot to do, organize and consider. Nursing is an incredibly rewarding but often challenging profession, so the decision to study nursing shouldn’t be taken lightly.
It’s important to consider what your motive for joining the nursing force is. Is it because there’s a high demand for nursing and it can offer job stability? Or is it because you have a real passion for helping those more vulnerable?
Students should only consider an ABSN if they have a genuine interest in people. Sure, high wages, job security, and the fact it isn’t just a desk job might appeal to some, but these factors can easily be found in other professions. To be a great, successful nurse, your heart has to be in the right place.
On the flip side, there is also a lot of science, math, and problem-solving in the nursing field.
Another thing to think about; is exposure. Nurses are caring for the most vulnerable in society, meaning there is an element of risk within the role. Germs and bacteria can easily pass through the hospital, and nurses need to be accepting of the idea they might catch something while at work or get sick. Nurses can often suffer from compassion fatigue, back pain, and other joint issues related to always being on your feet.
It can have a huge emotional and physical toll on your body, and this is all worth thinking about before committing to your course. Some suggest nursing is more of a calling than a choice.
With all of this to think about, it’s worth doing plenty of research into the nursing field before applying for your ABSN. If you can, speak to those already in the industry to see how the job differs from their expectations and whether they would happily recommend nursing as a career.
Select a Great Nursing School
There are lots of nursing schools across the US – but some are renowned for being better than others. Finding a great nursing school will help ensure you graduate with a respected degree which can open doors into the world of work.
The ABSN can be studied online or on-campus, depending on your other life priorities and work engagements. However, do note that you will be required to do in-person clinicals and therefore need to travel to the school when necessary.
Marymount University is a well-respected college in Virginia with a 90% pass rate for the past five years. They provide holistic learning, support, and guidance throughout the whole course and guarantee their students a clinical placement that suits their interests.
Another thing to consider is the cost of the course. You can easily compare course costs online to understand a little more about what you can afford. While it’s easy to find the perfect course based on its content, you don’t want the additional financial stress that a costly course can cause while you’re studying.
Understand Requirements and Competition
Nursing courses are in high demand at the moment, meaning the competition to secure a place can be tense. Some schools do not have the resources available to increase their course capacity. When checking out courses, look for schools that offer multiple start dates throughout the year, as these will have high capacity available.
To apply for an ABSN, there are specific requirements you need to meet. For a start, the accelerated BSN is for students who already have a degree. This initial degree doesn’t have to be in healthcare, though.
More prestigious courses may also require you to have taken prerequisite courses in topics like Anatomy, Nutrition, Sociology, and Microbiology.
Research your Funding Options
Those looking to study nursing – accelerated or not – need to understand the financial commitment the course also requires.
Online courses are typically more cost-efficient than those on campus and offer the added flexibility of being able to study around your work schedule. This means you can earn while studying, thereby paying for the course as you go along.
As well as the course cost, though, you’ll need to invest in books, insurance, and equipment like a stethoscope.
ABSN students cannot get funding through University grants; you can apply for a private loan or a third-party scholarship to help you pay for your degree. Of course, loans come with a level of interest to pay, and this needs to be incorporated into your budget before signing up.
While this all sounds intimidating, this investment is your door to a new, fulfilling career with great pay and prospects.
First Day Preparation
Once you’ve done your research, found the right course for you, and completed the application process, it’s time to get prepped for your first day as a student.
The hardest part for ASBN students will be getting back into the academic mindset. Many ASBN students are choosing nursing as a second career, and as such, could potentially have been in a working environment for years since their last schooling experience.
As you step back into the learning environment, it’s crucial to build a good support system around you. Provide your family and friends with plenty of information about your course and the rigorous commitment it will require.
Perhaps you are the main caregiver for your children: There may need to be a shift in the family dynamic to give you time to focus on your course.
If you are studying your course around your current job, free time will have to be put on temporary hold. It’s worth mentioning to your friends that you are still there for them, but the opportunities to meet up and socialize will be few and far between.
If there’s one thing nurses need, it’s time management and organization – and this starts during your studies. Using a time-blocking organizer will help you get into the planning and prioritizing mindset, which will put you in good stead for your career.
Even if you’re studying a ABSN online, it’s still a good idea to attend an orientation day. On the day, you’ll get to know more about the course, meet your professors and be able to interact with other students on your course.
During the Course
Find What Motivates You, and Run With it
Online studies and studying later in life requires serious self-discipline. So finding something that motivates you will help you keep going even when it seems impossible. Whether it’s your reason for becoming a nurse, your kids, or a personal experience, find something to motivate you and run with it.
Join a Support and Study Group
While it’s important to have an external support system in place, students on your course are perfect support, too, as they know exactly what you’re going through. Create or join a study group so that you can support each other and work on assignments together. That way, everyone can work together towards success.
With an accelerated course, there will always be the expectation that you go over notes and presentations in your own time if you’ve not quite fully understood. If you’re struggling with a certain topic, take extra time to create your own study guide, flashcards, and notes to help cement the knowledge in. Ensuring you understand everything along the way will save you time and stress when it comes to practical trials and coursework.
With the combination of academics and practical placement, you should aim to treat your course like a full-time job. Present yourself with professionalism at all times, make sure coursework is handed in promptly and do everything to the best of your ability.
Make Time for Self-Care
This goes for during the course and your whole career. Nurses are expected to be selfless and empathetic to others throughout their work, and as such, downtime should be spent recuperating and practicing self-care.
Doing assignments on time will give you space to relax and rejuvenate before the next module. It’s also worth keeping your workspace positive, giving yourself regular breaks, and getting out into the fresh air as often as possible.
So, this is your ultimate guide to studying your ABSN. There is a huge amount to consider even before choosing a course and when you’re applying. And the stress doesn’t stop there. When you’re on your course, there will likely be a huge learning curve. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and within just 16 months, you could be working as a nurse and loving it.