If you’re considering a shift to nursing, you may be asking yourself, “Are accelerated nursing programs worth it?” On the one hand, you don’t want to spend more time than needed to switch gears to nursing if you don’t have to. On the other, you know nursing school is notoriously rigorous, and completing such an intense curriculum on an abbreviated timeframe would require serious commitment.
To help you decide if enrolling in an accelerated nursing program is right for you, we’re sharing the experiences of two students who recently completed Utica College’s 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Each says that while the going got tough sometimes, graduating from our accelerated nursing program was worth it because it helped them launch their nursing careers.
During the ABSN program
The dividends of the Utica ABSN program for your nursing future start to pay off before you even graduate from the program. From our three-part hybrid approach to learning key nursing theory concepts and hands-on nursing skills and clinical judgment, you’ll see the Utica ABSN program offers immense value.
Flexibility of online learning
The Utica ABSN program was the perfect fit for Jenn Barber, a self-described “self-learner,” because it includes an online learning portion, which allows students to study and complete nursing theory coursework when and where it works best for them.
For Jenn, that meant during the day in the comfort of her own home with her four dogs. While online learning allowed her that elasticity in her weekly schedule, she still had to meet instructor deadlines and sit for weekly exams at the ABSN Program Site.
The online course structure gave me the flexibility I needed to have a home life while I was going to school,” says Jenn, who graduated from the program in 2016. “It allowed me to study on my terms.
Hands-on skills and simulation labs
Another key benefit that makes the Utica College accelerated nursing program worth it for your nursing future? Skills and simulation labs give you in-person face time with nursing instructors and classmates to practice nursing skills in a risk-free, hands-on environment.
In nursing labs, which take place at the ABSN Program Site, you’ll practice such nursing procedures as starting IVs, dressing wounds and taking blood pressure. You’ll then apply these learned skills on high-tech medical manikins in simulated high-risk scenarios, which transfer into your experience in the clinical setting with actual patients.
Simulations and labs helped me get acquainted with patient interaction,” says Adele Bish, Class of May 2019. “They start you on day one building a foundation but then as you go on through the program building on that, you hone in on your clinical skills with patients.
Diverse, real-world clinical shifts
One of the best ways to become the best nurse you can be is to put your nursing skills and knowledge to the test in a real-world clinical setting. We at Utica ABSN know this; that’s why clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities local to our ABSN program sites start the first semester.
During this critical time of your nursing education, you’ll gain exposure to the real world of nursing sooner than you would in a traditional four-year nursing program. This is by design; the sooner you learn to interact with patients, the more time you’ll have throughout the program to build on your clinical skills in myriad real-world settings. That way you’ll be ready for whatever clinical scenario the working world of nursing throws at you.
Jenn explains how completing clinicals in a variety of healthcare settings prepared her for caring for one of her first cases as a licensed RN: a patient who had a kidney transplant rejection with “a Christmas tree of IV’s running,” she says.
We had a lot of patient interaction during clinical rotations in nursing school and could build a rapport with them,” she says. “I learned a lot with supporting them and making sure they were safe.
Set Up for Success
Both Adele and Jenn say they felt the Utica accelerated nursing program was worth it because it prepared them not just to pass the NCLEX, but also for a bright future in nursing.
Each credits the Utica ABSN program for successfully launching her nursing career. Adele works as a nurse on the cardiovascular telemetry floor at Morton Plant Hospital, where she coincidentally completed a clinical rotation during accelerated nursing school. Jenn now works at Crouse Hospital as a certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse.
Nursing school is hard, and being a floor nurse comes with lots of challenges, but I could take it in stride because of the high intensity of the Utica ABSN program,” Jenn says.
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High-quality NCLEX preparation
Adele passed the licensure exam on her first attempt with 75 questions, the minimum number required to pass. From the NCLEX-style questions on all her nursing school exams to the Kaplan resources available to her throughout the ABSN program, she says she felt confident she had done well.
“Utica has a rigorous reputation. That helped with taking the NCLEX and helped me feel prepared,” she says.
Jenn also completed the NCLEX in 75 questions and says she felt overprepared to sit for the exam.
“A lot of what’s covered in the Utica ABSN program is more difficult than what is on the NCLEX,” she says.
16-month job interview
Not only did their nursing school clinical rotations help prepare them from a patient care perspective; they also helped them land their first nursing jobs.
Adele says every day you’re in a healthcare facility for clinical rotations is like a job interview, and Utica ABSN’s stellar reputation helped her ace hers.
“It helped that the nurses and faculty we worked alongside took notice of us. Most of the nurses would look at our scrubs and ask what school we were from. I’d tell them the Utica College ABSN program, and they’d say, ‘Oh, absolutely. You can work with me any day.’”
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Are Accelerated Nursing Programs Worth It?
ABSN programs do require immense dedication and hard work, but they are worth it because once you complete it so many doors will open for you. Once you graduate from our 16-month ABSN program, you’ll be well equipped to launch and succeed in your nursing career in a fraction of the time it would take in a traditional nursing program.
“Your experience will be so rewarding, and you’ll come out doing well as a nurse,” Adele says. “For me, accelerated nursing school paid off. I had a phenomenal experience and landed a job after graduation.”
Are you ready to find out if you’d be a good fit for the Utica ABSN program? Reach out to one of our dedicated admission representatives today!