For many seeking a college degree, relocating for school is just a part of the process — whether out of a yearning for new surroundings or out of necessity. The latter tends to be especially true when it comes to nursing school.
Despite the high demand for nurses nationwide, qualified applicants often find themselves stuck waiting to get into nursing programs, sometimes for many years, or even turned away outright.
The good news is that if you already have college experience, you may be able to earn a nursing degree sooner (and quicker) with an accelerated BSN program. You just may need to go to a nursing school out of state, as Kevin did.
Long before Kevin graduated from Concordia University–Portland’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from a private university in Idaho. However, as he says, “I always knew I wanted to be in medicine.” He just wasn’t sure what area of medicine. In the meantime, he worked odd jobs for a while, eventually realizing that nursing was the area of medicine that most interested him.
“In nursing, you get to have a really close relationship with your patients, and you get to be their advocate and their educator and a counselor,” Kevin says.
Picking the Right Nursing Program
With his mind made up that he would pursue a career in nursing, Kevin set out to find the right nursing school — and there were a few qualities that were especially important to him.
“I wanted to go to a smaller school. I really enjoyed the small student-to-teacher ratio at my last college, so that was important to me,” he explains.
Not only that, the Boise native was ready for a change of scenery. “I’ve lived in Idaho my whole life,” Kevin says.
All of this led him to Concordia University–Portland, and to the Accelerated BSN program. For Kevin, who already had a college degree, Concordia’s ABSN program was perfect. Designed for individuals who already have at least 60 credits from a regionally accredited college or university, the accelerated nursing program makes it possible to earn a BSN in much less time than with a traditional, four-year program.
With this hybrid program, which blends online coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs at the school’s state-of-the-art learning site, and clinical rotations at some of the area’s top health care providers, it’s possible to graduate ready to sit for the NCLEX in as few as 16 months.
Getting into Concordia University–Portland’s ABSN Program
Of course, depending on your previous college experience, you may still need to take a few prerequisite courses or meet additional requirements, such as obtaining your Basic Life Support (BLS) certification — and Kevin was no exception.
Fortunately, Kevin did not have to navigate the application and enrollment process on his own. Shortly after requesting more information, Kevin got a call from an enrollment specialist and in no time, he was assigned an academic advisor who remained in close contact with him throughout the process.
“It was a unique experience working with someone so closely. They would call you, email you … I was in contact with her pretty frequently, and I hadn’t really gotten that at any other school,” Kevin explains.
They were very communicative and made it very easy to keep on track so I could get my application in by the time that I wanted to submit it.
But the guidance Kevin received did not stop once accepted into the program. He even got help relocating for nursing school out of state.
“My enrollment specialist gave me a number of recommendation on places to live, let me know about public transportation here [Portland], told me about the accessibility of the campus and how close we were to a number of different hospitals in the Portland metro,” says Kevin. “They were very helpful in giving me recommendations for an apartment to rent, or stores and things close by that would be useful for me.”
Making the Move from Boise to Portland for Nursing School
With less than a month to go before the first day of classes, Kevin made the six-and-a-half-hour drive from Boise to Portland to check out apartments. He had allotted five days for getting to know the city better (he had visited in the past) and finding a place that would allow his two Boxers, thinking that if all else failed he would have to find a place online, sight unseen.
Luckily, his housing search turned out to be easier than anticipated and within three days, he signed a lease on a pet-friendly apartment just outside Portland in nearby Beaverton.
Thinking about attending nursing school out of state? Be sure to read our blog on the top five reasons to move to Portland for nursing school.
As for whether Kevin enjoys living in Portland, the recent graduate has much to say, noting that “Portland offers so many things and it’s a really inclusive place.” However, if there’s one thing he would warn prospective students about, it’s traffic. The city is notorious for rush-hour traffic, which was a big factor in his choice to live five minutes from the ABSN learning site. Also, it’s more affordable to live away from the city’s downtown area.
Succeeding in Nursing School
Now a graduate of the Accelerated BSN program, Kevin has some valuable advice for current and future nursing students, and that begins with taking care of yourself.
“I think anyone coming into nursing school should really prioritize self-care and getting good food, good sleep, exercise,” he says. “It’s really not going to make nursing school easier studying until 2:00 in the morning because you feel like that needs to be the case, and I think I was like that my first term and was overzealous.”
Also a critical success factor? Time management, which Kevin stresses “because you have to manage studying, and school, and labs, and clinicals.”
Earn Your BSN in As Few As 16 Months
Interested in pursuing your nursing degree in Portland, Oregon? Give us a call or fill out the form to find out whether our Accelerated BSN program is right for you.