Getting into an accelerated nursing program is completely attainable if you not only have the passion to become a nurse, but also the qualifications to apply to an accelerated program. One of the most popular accelerated nursing school paths is an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Accelerated BSN programs allow you to leverage your existing college credits or non-nursing degree so you can become a nurse in less than two years.
As you begin to research whether an accelerated nursing program is right for you, it is important to find out how these accelerated nursing programs work. For example, Misericordia University’s ABSN program, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offers a BSN degree in as few as 16 months to qualified students. But do not let the timeframe be the only reason to apply. You also must ask yourself four very important questions. Your answers will help you determine if getting into an accelerated nursing program is an option for you.
1. Do you know why you want to become a nurse?
Choosing a career in nursing takes a very selfless, compassionate, and determined person. That’s why one of the first qualities an accelerated nursing student should possess is a passion for the field. Not only will your passion help drive you through the toughest parts of an accelerated nursing program, but it will help you set clear goals. Why you want to become a nurse will also be among the first questions you will be asked when inquiring about Misericordia’s ABSN program.
Whether you are choosing the path because it has always been a calling, or because of a family who became ill, knowing why you want to pursue a career as a nurse is very important as you start planning your path.
Accelerated nursing programs are not a place for students who are unsure about entering this challenging-yet-rewarding health care field. That is why having a clear reason about why you want to begin this journey is essential before you even apply to an ABSN program.
2. Do you have the qualifications to get into an accelerated program?
You have the passion. You possess the character traits. But do you have the qualifications needed to get into an Accelerated BSN program, like Misericordia University’s?
Here are the admissions requirements for the 16-month ABSN program in Pittsburgh:
- Hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or have completed a minimum of 60 credits from a regionally accredited institution.
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 (based on all transferable credit).
- Complete all prerequisite courses within the specified grade requirements.
3. Do you have what it takes to get through an accelerated program?
As we touched on above, successful nurses must possess certain traits like compassion and selflessness. Those are also some of the qualities one must have in order to get into and through an accelerated nursing program, like Misericordia’s ABSN. But there are other important characteristics one must possess that will help in your accelerated nursing school experience.
In a study conducted by Lewallen and DeBrew (2012), nurse educators determined the most successful and unsuccessful characteristics of prelicensure nursing students, particularly in the clinical setting. Lewallen and DeBrew (2012) found that there were five identifying traits of a successful student. Those five traits were:
- Critical thinking
- Effective communication
- Positive attitude
These characteristics were found to be especially important during the clinical portion of nursing programs. During Misericordia’s ABSN program, the clinical experience includes simulation labs where students will safely practice real-world scenarios on medical manikins. Clinicals also include actual placements in area hospitals and health care facilities, where students work alongside experienced nurses and help actual patients.
Why are the above five characteristics so important to have during your accelerated nursing education? Let’s go through each of them and how they apply to an accelerated nursing program like Misericordia University’s.
Especially when it comes to clinical experience, you should always be ready for your simulation or placement. Being on time, taking notes, dressing appropriately, having questions ready, and going over previous coursework that may apply to the clinical setting you are placed in are essential to your success in the program.
Being prepared means you must be organized. Because Misericordia blends online and hands-on curriculum in the ABSN program, it is on you to keep up and stay ahead in your studies.
2. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is one of the most essential skills a nursing student can have. In the ABSN program’s clinical settings, this will allow you to be more attentive and ready to problem-solve at all times in order to best assist with patients. You must listen and be able to connect the issues to the potential problem and figure out a solution.
3. Effective communication
Communication is key for successful nursing students, as you must be able to communicate with your cohort, your instructors, your clinical nurse, and actual patients. You have to be patient, know how to speak respectfully to people at all times, be clear in your thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. The relationships you build with everyone can take you far, especially during your clinical placements.
4. Positive attitude
Keeping a positive attitude is key throughout an accelerated program. You have to seek out opportunities, stay driven, and remain engaged so you can get the most out of your 16 months. This will make you a much more competent nurse upon graduation and a great candidate once you start interviewing for nursing positions post licensure.
Being able to accept constructive feedback and apply that to your nursing education is extremely important. You have to be able to learn and grow as a nursing student, and that takes someone who can apply feedback to their coursework and clinical experience.
4. Are you ready to begin an accelerated program?
The last question you have to answer is, are you ready? If you have answered ‘yes’ to all of the questions above, then it is time to start your journey toward earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The easiest part of getting into an accelerated nursing program is making the first move. Contact an admissions counselor today and he or she will help you make a plan to start the Misericordia ABSN program.