Your decision to change careers to pursue nursing was certainly a smart one. Now it’s time to consider your nursing school options. While there are a variety of pathways you can take, if you have a non-nursing degree or non-nursing college credits, an accelerated nursing education may be a good fit for you. This not only saves you time but also allows you to begin your nursing career sooner.
According to The American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN), accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs are gaining momentum nationwide. The reason for this is simple: our country is facing an acute nursing shortage, the baby boomer population is aging, medical technologies are advancing, and conditions like diabetes and obesity are on the rise. As a career changer looking to become a nurse, this provides you with many opportunities.
Concordia University – Portland’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program can prepare you for a lifetime of rewarding work in as few as 16 months. Let’s explore what other benefits Concordia’s accelerated nursing education can offer you as a future nursing student.
1. Blended Learning Model
One misconception regarding accelerated nursing programs is that they are 100% online. However, the online component is actually just one portion of the program – as a non-nurse, you need hands-on experience. The foundation of the curriculum is a blended education model that is made up of online coursework, hands-on labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations.
Online Nursing Theory Coursework
Online nursing theory coursework will provide you with some flexibility to complete coursework from anywhere with internet access. Concordia’s user-friendly online portal offers a combination of media including discussion forums, interactive activities that let you engage with course material at your own pace, video content, and more. Every piece of material you interact with is made to accommodate your specific learning style.
“Whether you are an auditory learner, a visual learner, or a tactical learner, our online learning management system has something for you,” says Seth Kerney, E-Learning Program Administrator. “For example, our adventitious breath sounds learning object lets you listen to a variety of breathing patterns and then tests you on the respiratory conditions they represent,” he says.
Hands-On Skills and Simulation Labs
Nursing labs allow you to practice what you learn in your online coursework and prepare you for clinical rotations. Labs provide students with hands-on practice in a risk-free learning environment and come in two parts: skills labs and simulation labs.
The skills lab is unique because it blends the atmosphere of the hospital environment with cutting-edge learning technology. You can think of the skills lab as an open discussion – as you become familiar with the complex nursing equipment, your instructor will explain when, where, and how to use it adequately. Under the guidance of nursing faculty, you will practice fundamental skills including how to:
- Monitor blood pressure
- Give intramuscular injections
- Setup oxygen delivery, and more.
On the other hand, the simulation lab is where you can put the equipment you’ve learned into practice, using high fidelity medical manikins, a simple task trainer, or even a classmate (depending on the activity).
In-Hospital Clinical Rotations
Your accelerated nursing education wouldn’t be complete without real-life clinical experience. That’s why Concordia’s ABSN program lets you begin clinical rotations in your first semester, which is sooner than most accelerated BSN programs. Most importantly, your clinical rotations will take place at some of the best healthcare facilities in the Portland area. This allows you to learn complex nursing techniques from seasoned scholars and network with them for potential job opportunities after graduation.
2. Leadership Qualities
There are many skills and personal characteristics that make up a great nurse and, at Concordia, we believe servant leadership is at the top. Therefore, our ABSN curriculum blends faith and reason with intellectual rigor so that you graduate as a caring nurse leader. The environment in which our ABSN program offers will inspire you to:
- Think outside the box
- Be proactive
- Advocate for patients
- Adapt to changing situations
- Become a change-agent in the community
These are qualities that will separate you from other graduates and may land you a position in management later on.
While the demand for competent registered nurses is on the rise, access to nursing school is limited for many students due to the lack of qualified nursing faculty and clinical space. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, nursing schools rejected over 56,000 qualified applicants from undergraduate nursing programs in 2017. Knowing this, it’s no surprise students are attracted to Concordia’s Accelerated BSN program – it offers three start dates per year.
This gives you the freedom to complete prerequisites at your own pace and start the program when you are ready. Remember, how soon you can start the program depends on what classes you have previously taken.
4. NCLEX Preparation
To have a career in nursing, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This comprehensive test calculates your critical-thinking skills and ensures that you have the essential knowledge and skills to care for patients in the most effective way.
As you search for the right program, it’s important you choose one that emphasizes NCLEX preparation. Your score on the NCLEX examination may provide you with great employment opportunities for the future. At Concordia, we start preparing you for the NCLEX on day one. We also provide thorough test preparation during the last few weeks of the ABSN program.
Enrolling in an accredited nursing program is crucial because it ensures you are receiving a high-quality nursing education designed to make a difference in the lives of patients. Healthcare employers will actively seek out graduates of accredited nursing programs because they know the curriculum has been properly examined. If the accelerated nursing education you choose is not accredited, you may face barriers to degree completion and career mobility.
The two main organizations in charge of accrediting nursing programs in the U.S. are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). All of the nursing programs at Concordia University, including our 16-month ABSN program, maintain CCNE accreditation.
What Will You Offer?
As you can see, Concordia’s accelerated nursing education has a lot to offer. If you’re serious about becoming a registered nurse, think about what you offer as a nursing student.
If you bring passion, problem-solving, attention to detail, flexibility, and empathy to the table, then our 16-month ABSN program may be for you. Contact an enrollment specialist to learn how you can get started.