From EMT to RN: A Utica College ABSN Student Shares Her Journey

From EMT to RN: A Utica College ABSN Student Shares Her Journey

Emergency medical technicians serve an important role in society. But despite being a noble profession, the average career expectancy of an EMT is five years. Studies show that EMTs often leave the role because they are dissatisfied with the pay or desire a career change. In fact, many opt to make the transition from EMT to RN. That’s what this Utica College ABSN student did, and she wants her story to inspire others who are thinking about changing their careers to nursing.

Growing up in Queens, New York, Jessica didn’t set out to become a nurse. She attended college in the Tampa Bay area, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology. After graduation, she moved back to New York and became an EMT—a job that inspired her to go back to school for nursing.

Jessica admired her fellow EMTs, but she also respected the nurses she interacted with while dropping patients off at different hospitals. Seeing the level of care these nurses provided to patients was the motivation she needed to make a change.

“The nurses were always on top of things and really cared about their patients. Being a people person, I wanted that same type of patient interaction,” she said.

Finding a Nursing Program

After spending a year in emergency medical services, Jessica started researching accelerated nursing programs. She came across our 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which has site locations in Syracuse, New York; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Miramar, Florida.

She was familiar with our college because several of her friends studied at our main campus in Utica, New York. “I had heard Utica was a reputable college where the professors were invested in student success.” So, she made the decision to attend our college.

While Jessica could have stayed in New York to attend our ABSN program, she relocated to South Florida for a change of pace. She also liked the fact that we had just opened our Miramar site. Why? Because it gave her the opportunity to develop her clinical skills in a new facility with state-of-the-equipment. Not to mention, she would be part of the first cohort to graduate from this location.

But overall, Jessica said she liked the accelerated nature of the program and the level of flexibility that came with being able to complete some of the curricula online.

Starting Nursing School

Jessica described our admission process as straight forward and one of the best experiences she has had with a higher learning institution.

“My admission representative was always in contact with me, making sure I was getting everything done. I never felt like I was alone in the process.”

Because of her biology degree, Jessica came to us with a solid understanding of the natural sciences. As a result, she met all but one of the ABSN prerequisite course requirements. However, she was able to conveniently complete that course online through Utica College.

Her EMT job also put her at an advantage. Having witnessed firsthand how nurses react in different patient care scenarios, her emotional preparedness was higher than most incoming students. “My past experiences have helped guide me through nursing school, especially when it comes to interacting with patients during clinicals,” she said.

Slated to graduate from our ABSN program in December, Jessica feels confident in her ability to sit for the NCLEX-RN® exam and enter the profession as a practice-ready nurse.

Four Utica ABSN students

Jessica (wearing stethoscope) with fellow classmates.

Explore Your Accelerated Path to Nursing

While the admission requirements for our ABSN program differ slightly by location, you must have non-nursing college experience to be eligible to apply. We leverage this education so that it becomes possible for you to earn a quality Bachelor of Science in Nursing in as few as 16 months.

Take note that while Jessica’s biology degree proved beneficial for her in terms of meeting most of the prerequisite requirements, you don’t need a science or healthcare background to enroll in our ABSN program.

After you complete our ABSN prerequisite courses, you’ll have a solid understanding of the sciences and be able to enter nursing school with the same footing as everyone else. The ABSN prerequisite courses are:

  • Statistics
  • Life Span Development Psychology
  • Anatomy & Physiology I + Lab
  • Anatomy & Physiology II + Lab
  • Chemistry + Lab
  • Microbiology + Lab

It’s also good to know that when you agree to complete your ABSN prerequisites through our 100% online Prerequisite Priority (PREP) program, you receive provisional admission into our accelerated nursing program. So, as long as you meet all of the specified requirements, you’ll have a guaranteed spot in our ABSN program for your target start date in January, May, or August.

As a student in our full-time, four-semester ABSN program, you can expect a rigorous blend of:

  • Online coursework that will teach you the fundamentals of the profession, from nursing theory to nursing informatics to clinical research.
  • Nursing labs at our facility provide you with a realistic, risk-free platform to develop your hands-on skills and critical thinking under the guidance of faculty.
  • Clinical rotations at various local healthcare facilities provide you with more than 588 hours of real-world experience working with diverse patient populations, from babies to senior citizens.
Utica ABSN students in a skills lab

ABSN students in a skills lab.

Overall, you should plan on devoting between 40 and 60 hours a week to your nursing education. And, anytime you have a question about the material, our faculty will be there to support you. Upon your completion of the program, you’ll have the ability to:

  • Assimilate theories and concepts into applied nursing practice.
  • Provide safe, competent patient care across the lifespan.
  • Incorporate moral, ethical, and legal standards into practice.
  • Show leadership in patient care and healthcare delivery.

“This is a very fast-paced program, so you need to have good organizational skills to succeed,” Jessica said. She also noted that Utica College has a family oriented vibe because our faculty takes the time to get to know students. “I’ve had good experiences with my professors here.”

Ready to Apply?

If you think you have what it takes to apply to our ABSN program, contact our admission team today! And when speaking with a representative, be sure to ask about our three program start dates a year and our Prerequisite Priority (PREP) program―both play an important role in getting you started on your nursing education as soon as possible.

Don't Wait on Your Nursing Future

Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.

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