One student had plans to play professional basketball but decided to pursue a healthcare career instead. Another was a data analyst who grew tired of sitting in front of a computer 10 hours a day.
The Utica College ABSN program represents a diverse student cohort with myriad life experiences, but all have at least one thing in common: a desire to care for others and pursue a stable, rewarding career on an accelerated timeline.
That’s what leads so many students to enroll in our accelerated nursing program: Just as there’s no average nursing student, we’re no average nursing program. Our online-based hybrid learning model is anything but a traditional form of education when you take into account you can earn a B.S. in Nursing in as few as 16 months.
It’s this blended curriculum that so attracts non-traditional students to enroll in our program, including a mom of two who wanted to diverge from her human resources background and a cinema photography major who found inspiration from nurses to switch fields.
Learn more about the diverse backgrounds of four Utica ABSN students below.
Utica ABSN student Edwin’s first degree in business management led him to a job as a data analyst, but he soon discovered he wanted a more hands-on career.
“I realized that sitting in front of a computer for 10, 12 hours a day wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to be doing something that was actually contributing to people,” he says.
After researching his options, it became clear to him that “something” was nursing.
Because nursing was his second career path and he lacked a science background, Edwin desired a supportive accelerated nursing program to ease into his transition into the field. He found that with Utica College’s ABSN program in Syracuse.
At Utica ABSN, we understand that just as nursing is such a diverse field, no one nursing student’s path to the profession or end goal is the same. Our online-based accelerated nursing program sets you up for success, no matter the nursing specialty you choose to pursue.
In fact, Edwin says he gained so much from his diverse clinical rotations at top area healthcare facilities. Coming into the Utica ABSN program knowing little about nursing, he now has a few semesters of clinicals under his belt and aspires to work in an intensive care unit.
“It’s like ER in that it gives the nurse the autonomy to think critically, but it’s a little more controlled,” he says.
Did you know?
Men comprised 10.1% of the 3.2 million registered nurses working in the U.S. in 2017 up from 2.7 percent in 1970, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sometimes someone’s path to nursing drifts over time; for others, it takes a sharp turn due to a dramatic event in their lives. In the case of Utica ABSN alumnus Lester, who had plans to play professional basketball, the defining moment on his nursing journey came when he saw a cab running over a couple in Manhattan.
“I remember somebody screaming, ‘Is anybody a nurse or a doctor?’, and I felt useless after a bunch of us lifted up the car,” he says. “I knew I needed to get into this field because I could be able to further help people. …So I chose to become a nurse.”
The Utica College ABSN program in Syracuse appealed to Lester because he already has a bachelor’s degree — he didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary to become a nurse — and he could focus on the task at hand.
The determination and drive Lester picked up on the basketball court paid off for his nursing career: Today, he works at Upstate Medical University in the cardiopulmonary ICU, and his nursing career shows no signs of slowing down.
“I came to this program with a goal in mind. I think it’s the athletic mindset, like I am going to get this done no matter how hard it is,” he says. “So when I passed the NCLEX, it was like I did it, I achieved my goal, now on to the next goal.”
Because they have more at stake by changing professions, second-career nursing students tend to have more motivation to excel. They also crave workplace challenges and have excellent problem-solving skills.
Research backs up those facts. So does Utica ABSN alumna Jill’s story. She admits she had doubts if her first major, rehabilitation services, suited her or that she applied herself as much as she could have as an undergrad several years ago. Finishing college in four years just felt like what she “should” do.
Years later, however, the mom of two started to contemplate jumping into nursing from her job in human resources. Yet still she kept reasoning with herself that the time to change paths had already come and gone.
Then she had an epiphany.
“If I could do my life over again I would do something in the medical field. It finally hit me…why can’t you do something now? … If I’m going to be working for another 20+ years, I need to do something that gives me a sense of accomplishment and makes me happy,” she says.
That’s why Utica College’s ABSN program in St. Petersburg stood out to her. Its three start dates per year and online-based curriculum meant she could start pursuing her new degree sooner and complete the theory-based coursework portion from anywhere.
“I’m like a new college student this time around. I love learning; I’m much more dedicated. The things I’m learning are of interest to me,” she says. “If you’re learning something that speaks to you, you’re going to learn it.”
Did you know?
17,725 students were enrolled in second-degree ABSN programs nationwide in 2016, up 6.4 percent from the year prior, per the American Association of Colleges in Nursing — indicating that second-career nurses are also a growing trend.
Utica ABSN alumna Stacy describes her background as “very different than most people” who choose to pursue nursing. Indeed, her pre-nursing school experiences run the gamut.
With a degree in cinema photography, she minored in biology and health but started her career in an accounting firm before taking a job as a surgical sales representative, selling medical devices in operating rooms.
There she met and worked with nurses, catching a glimpse of how they interacted with and cared for patients. So inspired by their passion for caring for others, she decided to look into how she could become a nurse, ultimately enrolling in Utica College’s ABSN program.
As a Utica ABSN student, she interacted with patients herself through her diverse clinical experiences at top area healthcare facilities — working on bariatric, obstetric and oncology floors as well as a medical-surgical unit.
“The more exposure you get to different settings the better, because you get a feel for what fits you best,” she says.
That’s also partly why she chose to pursue a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree to enter the nursing profession: it opens so many doors.
“The great thing about nursing is you can imagine what your future holds, but there are so many avenues you can take to get there,” she says.
Just as there’s no average nursing career, there’s no such thing as an average nursing student. At Utica ABSN, we welcome qualified students from all kinds of previous career paths and backgrounds. Let one of our dedicated admission representatives help you determine if our 16-month accelerated nursing program is the right fit for you. Fill out this form, and someone will contact you soon.
Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.