Starting nursing school can be thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time, especially when you are diligently searching for the right nursing program. But with the right advice, you can begin your nursing school journey with ease.
If you’re changing careers, or already have some college credits under your belt, why not leverage your academic experience and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 16 months?
We understand – you have much to consider before starting nursing school. What is your true purpose for becoming a nurse? Is there a particular field of nursing you wish to pursue? And, most importantly, will you have a support system while in school?
To help you with your decision, we’re providing advice from Utica College ABSN students who were once in your shoes that may inspire you get started on nursing school, right away.
1. Organization is key.
Nursing school is no easy feat, especially when you compress your nursing education into a 16-month time frame. Before enrolling in our accelerated BSN program, practice an organizational routine that works best for you. You can start by collecting your transcripts for your admissions representative – this helps her determine what prerequisite classes you will need to take before beginning the program.
Once you start your first semester of nursing school, along with being organized, you will need to find a school-life balance; be sure to set a schedule for the week.
Begin by planning portions of time for study, family, eating, exercise and other tasks you need to finish. Observe which times work best for you to study and make time for breaks in between. Also, find a comfortable place to study where all of your materials are at hand so you can truly focus.
“It’s been a challenge to balance school and home life; however, I’ve made it work,” says Jill S., Utica College ABSN graduate. “I do my school work when my kids are at school. When the kids go to bed, I study at night. Although this program is challenging, it is definitely something you can manage with having a family and a life outside of school. You have to be organized and take the opportunities when you have them.”
2. Treat your time in the ABSN program like a 16-month interview.
Because this program is rigorous and fast-paced, it’s best to view it as a full-time job. Our most successful ABSN students are dedicated, self-motivated and excited to learn. They understand the stressors that come with a busy schedule and are able to think critically on their feet, especially during their clinical rotations.
Our program has been consistently successful as SUNY Upstate Medical University recently offered RN positions to nearly all of the graduates from a recent graduating class (34 to be exact).
This is because, our clinical rotations present third- and fourth-semester ABSN students with the opportunity to learn from and network with healthcare professionals at various central New York healthcare facilities (including Upstate Medical), and BayCare Health System, in the Tampa Bay Area. In turn, these hospitals have an opportunity to train and recruit the most qualified, BSN-educated nurses.
“Every hospital is always hiring nurses, so it’s neat to see that that could be your potential future job when you get out of school and pass the NCLEX,” says Logan, Utica College ABSN student.
3. Get to know your cohort.
Orientation day will allow you to get to know the classmates in your cohort. These students will be by your side throughout your 16-month journey, and just like you, they share your nerves, fears and goals for nursing school success. Most importantly, they are the people you can lean on for support when the going gets tough, so make sure you communicate with them because they will not only become your friends, they will become your family.
“Within the cohort you will meet a lot of friends… be there with each other for each other,” says Lee, Utica College ABSN graduate. “You are making those contacts and connections in your cohort and once you come out of it you see you can do anything you put your mind to.”
4. Lean on your support system.
Having a strong support system throughout your nursing school journey plays a critical role in your ability to succeed. It’s important that your support system understands that you are committed to a full-time, 16-month nursing program.
Perhaps you meet with your family and friends to discuss your expectations for nursing school and inform them of your demanding schedule so they know when you can’t be disturbed. Delegate household duties to your spouse, roommate(s) or children based on your schedule and contribute when you can.
5. Utilize the resources provided.
Throughout your time spent in our ABSN program, you will experience a strong culture of support. Not to mention you will work with a success coach who will be by your side to keep you going strong throughout your online nursing classes, hands-on skills labs and nursing clinicals.
Along with your success coach, you will have dedicated clinical instructors. If you are having trouble understanding something, schedule one-on-one time with them and ask them questions right away so you don’t fall behind. They appreciate the ABSN students who go above and beyond to understand a nursing topic.
“I never felt like I couldn’t contact my professors here,” Lee says. “That’s what separates Utica College from the other schools; they give you their phone numbers so you can text them. I’ve spent many Sundays here and staff members were available. That quality is important.”
6. With hard work comes great reward.
If you are truly passionate about direct patient care, our accelerated BSN program will be a perfect fit for you.
Once you embark on your nursing career, you will not be worrying about the tests you had to take to get there – your main focus will be on the patient in front of you. You will be using the tools nursing school ingrained in you to help your patient in their most vulnerable state.
“I value the education I received from Utica College,” Lee says.
7. Stop waiting.
Making the decision to pursue nursing as a second career is a major decision. But now that you have valuable insight from current ABSN students who were once in your position, it’s time to take their advice and pursue your true passion for a nursing career.
“At the end you’re going to be a nurse. It’s a great reward, it’s a great program. You’re going to get through it; you have support,” Jill says.
If you’re ready to begin your nursing journey with Utica College’s ABSN program, contact an admissions representative today.