If you are thinking about starting nursing school, you’ve likely spent a good amount of time researching how to get into a nursing program. You’ve also probably realized that most nursing programs, specifically Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, have varying requirements of their applicants. But what exactly is the purpose of these requirements?
Nursing is a highly technical career that requires scientific knowledge, emotional intelligence and excellent communication skills. To ensure their graduates possess these qualities, many accelerated nursing programs seek applicants who demonstrate promising experience, such as successfully completing previous college courses and prerequisite courses. Nursing school requirements are not meant to be obstacles to gaining admission to nursing school; instead, they ensure that you are prepared to be successful in a rigorous and fast-paced training program (Utica University’s ABSN program, for example, can be completed in as little as 16 months) as well as in your future career as a nurse.
What are the requirements to get into nursing school?
Before we can go over exactly why nursing school requirements are important, let’s take a closer look at what the requirements are. Since they vary from school to school, we will use Utica University’s ABSN program requirements as an example.
Applicants to Utica University’s ABSN program are required to have at least 65 credit hours of past college experience or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. We also require our applicants to hold a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8 overall and a science GPA of at least 3.0. This shows us that you are capable of successfully completing college-level coursework. Additionally, we require several prerequisite courses to be completed with a grade of C or better. Although these are the minimum requirements, it’s always a good idea to aim higher to help your application stand out.
Why nursing school requirements matter
While each program’s requirements may differ slightly, all such requirements exist to ensure that you are prepared to succeed in nursing school. For example, ABSN programs have different requirements due to the accelerated nature of their curriculum. Although the specifics can vary, nursing schools set up these requirements for similar reasons that we will explore below.
They ensure that nursing students have broad perspectives
Why does Utica University’s ABSN program require its applicants to have previous college education? The short answer is that, as an accelerated program, it is designed to build upon a student’s previous education. But there are even deeper reasons than that, too.
Because our program requires previous college credits, our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are recent college graduates who have decided to pursue nursing; some are transfer students who may have changed their minds about their future career path; others are career changers who decided they wanted to switch things up and pursue their passion for healthcare. Regardless of your background, your success in previous educational endeavors proves that you are prepared to take on the challenges of an accelerated nursing program. Moreover, our students’ diverse educational backgrounds provide a wide range of perspectives that enrich everyone’s learning experiences and produce well-rounded, understanding nurses.
They allow students to keep up with an accelerated curriculum
Another important requirement of Utica University’s ABSN program involves completing prerequisite courses. These courses ensure that our students have a firm academic foundation in the sciences, so they can be successful in higher-level science and nursing courses. After all, a student cannot be expected to excel in pharmacology without first understanding the basics of chemistry, biology and anatomy. As a nurse you may encounter complicated cases; thus, to successfully treat your patients, it is essential that you have a comprehensive grasp of math and science.
While these prerequisite courses may seem overwhelming at first, Utica University makes it easy for you to complete them. With our Prerequisite Priority Program, you can be granted provisional admission into our ABSN program given that you complete the prerequisite courses. These courses are offered online through Utica University, so you don’t have to worry about whether your credits will transfer.
Nurses need advanced writing and communication skills
In addition to hard skills and technical training required to be successful as a nurse, it is important for you to be proficient in soft skills such as communication, navigating interpersonal relationships and knowing how to work as part of a team. For this reason, we also require ABSN students to take 60 credit hours in liberal arts courses at Utica University. We want our students to be able to communicate and connect with their patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals. These skills are just as critical as clinical knowledge for a successful nursing career.
As a nurse, you will work with your patients during some of their hardest, most vulnerable moments. Knowing how to relay important information clearly and sensitively is a vital skill. Making sure your patients feel comfortable being honest about their health is critical to your success in treating them. Each patient has a different background, worldview and set of experiences, and understanding those factors is crucial for forming genuine connections with them.
You must also be able to work well with physicians and other healthcare professionals. Treating a patient is a team effort, and clearly communicating what is going on with your patient is necessary for the whole team to be effective. Additionally, since nurses are required to keep meticulous records for their patients’ medical files, you will need to be proficient in both verbal and written communication.
Patients need confident, practiced nursing leaders
Patients entrust their health and their lives to their nurses. While this is part of what makes nursing such a rewarding profession, it is no small responsibility. That is why nursing schools deliberately set requirements for prospective students: they want to make sure that the students they admit into their programs will be able to provide quality care for their future patients.
At Utica University, we train our students to become well-rounded nursing leaders through our thorough curriculum. Our program is comprised of three components:
- Online coursework: All your nursing theory coursework will be completed in an online format. This allows a certain level of flexibility in your schedule without sacrificing the rigor of traditional in-person classes.
- Skills and simulations labs: These labs will be completed on site at your ABSN learning facility, all of which are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and medical manikins to allow our students to practice nursing skills in a realistic, yet low-risk environment.
- Clinical rotations: During your clinical rotations, you will see how your education applies to the real world. We partner with local healthcare facilities to expose our students to a variety of nursing specialties.
Once you graduate from Utica University’s ABSN program in as little as 16 months, you will be a well-rounded individual prepared to take care of your patients’ needs.
Take the first step toward a BSN degree
If you are ready to tackle these nursing school requirements and get started on earning your degree, contact us today to speak with an admission representative about our ABSN program.