[Infographic] What is Nursing School Like? What to Expect Third & Fourth Semester

What is Nursing School Like? What to Expect Third & Fourth Semester

If you are reading this blog post, you likely already read about what to expect during the first two semesters in our ABSN program. You also discovered that as a student in the 16-month Utica College Accelerated B.S. in Nursing program, you will be learning the same nursing theory concepts as you would in a traditional nursing school setting, but just on an accelerated timeline.

So, what is your nursing school schedule like during your third and fourth semesters as a student in our accelerated nursing program? To get through everything you need to learn and master to become a nurse in 16 months, expect the fast pace to continue.

Your main challenge during the last half of accelerated nursing school is that you still will likely be racing the clock constantly to stay on top of balancing assignments for your online didactic courses, clinical rotations and scheduled on-site lab appointments. Hang in there! You can take comfort in knowing you will be graduating and nearing the end of your journey to become a nurse in the less than a year — the last half of the program happens over the course of eight months.

It is a lot to do and learn in not a lot of time, but our students tell us repeatedly: If you are dedicated to accelerated nursing school and find and stick with the methods of studying and organization that work best for you, you can succeed. That is why, in addition to the schedule breakdown below, we also included student advice for how to excel each semester.

Third Semester: Immerse

A breakdown of the third semester of Utica College's ABSN program

Go deeper in your research and interaction with patients

You are deep in the program now, with a keen understanding of nursing skills and concepts. This semester is when you take an even deeper dive. In addition to working on more specialized clinical rotations, you will also delve into research methods employed in clinical settings.

Alumni advice

“It was nerve-wracking to start administering medications to patients, or even for a lot of people, just talking to patients, but our instructor helped us to transition into that role and was willing to help us get to that level of comfort and confidence.” —Alexandra, ABSN Class of December 2016
“The specialties have been my favorite clinicals because I enjoy seeing the different things you can do. Knowing that most of my clinicals would be at hospitals was very helpful to me because that is where most nurses work and where you are going to get a lot of experience and see first-hand the things that you are learning. That is the environment where there is a large variety of the patients you get to see and work with.” —Dia, ABSN Class of August 2017

To be successful this semester, you should:

  • Understand expectations >> Part of what sets a B.S. in Nursing program apart from an associate’s degree program is the research component, which involves writing cited papers and completing patient care plans, Utica College ABSN success coach Jessica Dvoracsek says. Make sure you know what instructors expect to avoid any surprises in your project grades.
  • Prepare for working in specialized units >> In your role as a nurse, you will not only need to know theory and skills, you will also provide support and empathy for patients going through a tough time. As you head into your Psychiatric and Pediatric clinicals this semester, be ready to help patients in emotionally trying situations.

Fourth Semester: Imagine

A breakdown of the fourth semester of Utica College's ABSN program

Prepare for the NCLEX and a bright future in nursing.

The finish line is near! After months of maintaining a grueling study and clinical shift schedule, you can almost officially call yourself a nurse. The first 10 weeks of this semester you will complete clinicals, labs and online courses; the last six weeks you will work with a preceptor to hone your clinical skills. Your work is not done after graduation, though. After your pinning ceremony, set your sights on passing the NCLEX, receiving your nursing license and applying for jobs.

Alumni advice

“You have to be prepared for whatever they throw at you, which is why I went into nursing. Not everyone is going to be the exact same and you get to see and do the interactions with even the little things, which makes it worth it.” —Stacy, ABSN Class of December 2017
“From Day 1, our tests were in the NCLEX style. Every semester, we have a Kaplan test we have to take for each course that is part of our grade. It is just another way for us to practice and see how we are doing. I am so thankful, because I knew how to answer those questions on the exam.” —Jill, ABSN Class of April 2017

To be successful this semester, you should:

  • Network, network, network >> Your first post-graduation nursing job may very well end up being at the hospital where you complete clinicals, so now is the time to fine-tune your floor skills to impress your supervisors. Even if you end up working somewhere else, keep in mind your instructors are also happy to serve as references for you if you have been putting in the work the past 16 months.
  • Prepare for the NCLEX >> You are gearing up for graduation and the start of your nursing career, so now is definitely not the time to develop senioritis. Take time not only to study for the NCLEX, but also prepare yourself for test taking. If you utilize the Kaplan tools provided to you and the study strategies that have worked best for you throughout the program, come exam day you will feel confident and ready to take the test.

Now that you have learned about what to expect during the first half and last half of our ABSN program, take the next step to start planning your accelerated nursing school journey. Contact one of our admissions representatives today to begin!

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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