While completing her biology degree from the University of Delaware, Chandni knew she was laying a foundation upon which to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her next step came in finding the right nursing program that would offer her the right education, in the right format, and in the right timeframe.
“I was looking for nursing, accelerated second degree programs, and I found Utica College.”
Chandni knew she wanted to take her biology degree and turn it into a new future. She wanted to go into the health care industry, eventually deciding on nursing.
“I chose nursing because it gives me ample opportunity to excel — getting your master’s or doctorate, whichever pathway people choose,” says Chandni. “I was looking for nursing, accelerated second degree programs, and I found Utica College.”
She discovered the accelerated nursing program was offered in St. Petersburg which was perfect since her family lived there. “I was like Tampa, wow, I have so much family there,” she says.
The biggest factor for Chandni was the online coursework Utica College offered. “When I was narrowing down schools to apply to I was like online makes it something I can handle,” she says.
“Online coursework gives me the opportunity to work at my speed, on my time.”
Like many students nowadays, Chandni is an independent learner, so Utica College’s ABSN program’s online coursework gives her the flexibility she needs to be successful.
“I like online classes. Online coursework gives me the opportunity to work at my speed, on my time,” she says. “It gives me the opportunity to review as many times as I want versus sitting in a classroom where if you miss a day then you’ve missed the lecture.”
Online coursework doesn’t mean she is left on her own to struggle. She receives much needed help through a program called Canvas. It allows students like Chandni to communicate with other students as well as her professors.
“All of my professors have gotten back to me in a timely manner. And they have this thing on Canvas that says ask the professor- you post a question, and within 24 hours or less than 24, your professor will answer them,” she says.
“Everyone gets nervous.”
Along with online coursework, Chandni is getting hands-on experience through Utica College’s foundation skills lab. The lab’s simulation manikins help prepare students before they start training on real patients in their clinical rotations.
“They can do everything. It puts it in real life,” Chandni explains.
“Personally, the skills I’ve taken into my clinical rotations with me are all because of the lab,” she says. “We learn one skill then three weeks later we get tested on it. Everyone gets nervous but you get so much practice so when you are in the hospital you are able to perform the skill properly.”
“I can say it changed my life.”
Chandni began her clinical rotations during first semester.
“It’s your basics — how to make a bed, how to do bed baths, how to speak to patients,” she explained.
Having clinicals during the first semester has been important for Chandni because it allows you students to ease into working with patients.
“A lot of schools do your clinicals during the last semester, or the last year. This way, as you’re learning along the way so you can better show your skills,” she says. “You’re exposed to real people. So it’s not like, okay let’s just wait until the end and then get you to see real people because then you’re just freaked, you freeze. This makes it easier.”
Now in her second semester, Chandni is getting her med-surg and OB experience. So far, it’s been life altering for her and is helping her define her future in nursing.
“I had OB and I was in the NICU, and I can say it changed my life. I’ve had elderly patients in my Med-Surg but the difference between having an elderly patient versus a newborn baby, it makes a huge difference,” she says.
“This is your opportunity to get the nursing degree you wanted. This program is intense. You have to understand, it’s condensed into 16 months. But it’s doable. I made it. If this is something that you want, you have to put in the work.”