If you live in Florida, then you know that just because you’re in the same state doesn’t mean you’re around the corner from everywhere. Florida is one of United States’ larger states at 360 miles wide and almost 450 miles long. To put that in perspective, it take over 9 hours to drive from the Pensacola in the panhandle to Miami.
Fortunately, Utica College’s Accelerated BSN program is located in St. Petersburg, making it closer in proximity to nearby cities Orlando and Fort Myers. The program is a unique, niche offer for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field to receive their bachelor’s degree with a major in nursing after only 16 months. So far, it has not been uncommon for Utica’s students to commute to St. Petersburg for their labs and clinicals from Orlando, FL.
What is Commuting from Orlando to Tampa Bay Like?
Depending on where around Orlando you’re coming from, your commute could take an hour and a half or closer to two hours. Traffic volume can vary, but it typically keeps moving. Only when you get closer to either the Tampa area or Orlando does traffic start to back-up, but even that is determined by the time of day. After making the drive a couple of times, you’ll know when to avoid what part of the highway.
Utica’s accelerated nursing program students take FL-400, or I-4, to I-275. I-4 starts in Tampa where it meets with I-275. Traveling east, it’s about 60 miles to reach Orlando’s I-429. From there you can either continue into downtown Orlando or take I-429 north.
Because I-4 is such a well-traveled corridor between the two cities, there are gas stations all along FL-400 located at exits 1, 3, 5, 10, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 25, 32, 44, 48, 55, and 58.
Or, if you’re the type of driver who likes to take quicker breaks, there are rest stops located along FL-400 in between mile 47 and 48 for both east-bound and west-bound commuters. You can pull over, stretch your legs, and/or use the facilities if you need to.
When it comes to driving conditions, Florida weather is always great, so there’s not much to worry about there. You may need to pay attention to some occasional fog in between exits 38 and 55 caused by the Green Swamp. Just pay attention to Florida’s variable message signs and you’ll be fine. Compared to New York’s snow and icy roads, Utica’s Florida Accelerated BSN program students won’t have to worry about adverse conditions when commuting from Orlando to Tampa Bay.
If you would like a first-hand look at what your commute from Orlando to Tampa would be like, follow along Google’s street view of FL-400:
Making Your Commute Productive
When you’re in an Accelerated BSN program, you don’t have a lot of time to waste. The 16-month curriculum is packed with over 60 nursing credits of lesson plans and clinicals. During these months, you probably won’t have time for a job or much of a social life outside your cohort. So your time spent commuting from Orlando to Tampa Bay can become “me time,” and there are a lot of different ways you can spend it.
- You can sit in silence and just relax. There’s nothing wrong with spacing out after a long day. This can even be a great stress reliever.
- Reflect on what you learned that day. Or reflect on what you learned on a previous day. You learn a lot in 16 months. Take the time to think back on the day’s lesson plan to further ingrain the information.
- Listening to music. You have so many options for music. There’s the radio, Spotify, Pandora or your local library may have some options.
- Listening to an audiobook. Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read, but haven’t had the time? Get it as an audiobook. Sometimes your local library will have some you can check out or there are several apps you could download.
- Learning a new foreign language. Listening to lesson plans on tape can be a great way to turn your commute into a productive learning exercise that could also boost your resume.
- Making phone calls to friends and family. With a packed schedule, your commute can become time spent with friends and family, catching up on the day’s events.
- Make a study plan for your next exam. Plan ahead and think through how you need to prepare for your next exam. Get a voice recorder for this one so you won’t forget everything when you arrive at your destination.
- Listen to podcasts. In case you didn’t get enough of nursing, you can listen to education podcasts for nurses. Anyone of these 50 nursing podcasts can help you pass the time and get better in tune with your future career.
- Catch up on the news. When else will you have uninterrupted time to look up from your accelerated nursing education and find out what’s going on in the rest of the world? Tune in to a new radio station and catch up on the news of the day.
- Stretch and exercise. Sitting for long periods of time can wear on the body. Check out this car workout to help you stay healthy and alert.