While becoming a nurse is a calling, sometimes life can force you to put your passion on hold. However, it doesn’t have to be put on hold forever. If nursing is your true calling, there are opportunities that allow you to pick up where you left off. That’s exactly what Vickie did. After raising her kids, Vickie decided she was going back to nursing school. Now, she is a graduate of the Concordia University–Portland Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.
We talked to her about why she chose a career in nursing, how she got back on her path, and what it’s like going through nursing school as a mom.
Vickie always wanted to become a nurse. At age 18, she started to complete her prerequisites and began a family almost at the same time. She put her career plans on hold and worked as a stay-at-home mom to her five children for 10 years. Once she felt they were old enough, she decided it was time to get back to completing her goal of becoming a nurse.
“I got all of my kids in school full time, so I knew I wouldn’t be taking as much from them to start my career,” Vicki says. “I was starting to see my oldest was graduating, and it was time to start doing something for me.”
That is when Vickie decided it was finally her time to become a nurse. But first, she needed to find a program that fit her lifestyle, needs, and goals. She discovered accelerated nursing paths that would allow her to earn a BSN in less than two years.
“I was more excited for this route than the traditional four-year route,” she says. “I knew I wanted a BSN because I knew I wanted to be in the hospital setting.”
The Admissions Process
It was nice because there was an actual person talking to you, setting you up for the whole process.
Vickie, ABSN, Class of December 2018
Once she decided going back to nursing school was her goal, Vickie started contacting schools and found Concordia University–Portland’s ABSN program, which included online curriculum. After an email exchange, Vickie set up her first phone call with an enrollment specialist who helped her officially begin the admissions process.
“My first phone call was more like an interview,” she says. “I was asked why I wanted to become a nurse, what I was looking for in a program, and what my goals were. It felt like they wanted to get to know me.”
It was that extra-personal detail that really caught Vickie’s attention. “It was nice because an actual person talked to me,” she says. “I had gone through the enrollment process at other schools and never talked to anyone. Instead, you just submit paper and wait. But with this ABSN program, I had someone to hold my hand through the entire process.”
Vickie’s admissions process went quickly because she was able to transfer most of her previous classes to fulfill the ABSN program prerequisites requirements. Moreover, when she got that email to let her know the big news of her acceptance, she was ecstatic.
“I missed the call, but got an email that congratulated me,” she says. “I had to read the email probably three times just to make sure that I wasn’t misreading it. Then I ran downstairs to tell my husband and kids. I was just shocked that my dream was finally going to come true.”
Comprehensive Learning Model
One of the biggest benefits of the ABSN program for Vickie was the combination of online and hands-on learning.
“I liked the different learning modalities that were offered,” she says. “I don’t always learn one way, and a lot of programs put information in one way, but Concordia’s ABSN blended them into a comprehensive learning model that fit my needs.”
Going to nursing school as a mom, it is important to have a flexible schedule, which is why the online portion of the curriculum was beneficial to Vickie.
“I liked it because I could do it on my time,” she explains. “If I just wasn’t ready to sit down and process information in one moment, I didn’t have to. Plus, the online curriculum gave me the opportunity to go through the information so I could compare it with our books and the other resources our instructors gave us. So, it was a lot different than always being in a lecture.”
For the hands-on portion of the blended learning model, Vickie attended skills and simulation labs at Concordia University–Portland’s state-of-the-art ABSN facility. This is where she and her cohort were able to put what they learned online into practice in a safe, hospital-like environment.
“Skills lab sets you up for your clinical setting,” explains Vickie. “We ran through a lot of scenarios and skills that you need to know so when you walk into the hospital. From the very beginning, we learned how to assess vital signs, then we moved on to IV insertion and different OB techniques.”
Once she put some skills into practice, Vickie and her classmates would also participate in simulated scenarios during lab to help them prepare for real-world situations.
“For example, we went through a psych simulation where we had a daughter in the bed and a very upset parent,” says Vickie. “This simulation helped us learn how to talk to the parent and calm them down. To have that practice is a good thing to have under your belt.”
This time in the lab was crucial for Vickie, as this was where she could ask questions and practice in a risk-free environment, so she felt fully prepared when clinical rotations began.
“Labs actually prepared us a lot for clinicals,” Vickie explains. “When we walked in, and the nurse would say, ‘Okay, I want you do to this,’ I could do it. You remember. I’ve hung an IV bag. I know how to program a pump. The more you can show your nurse that you know what you’re doing the more they allow you to do.”
Clinical experience was a highlight for Vickie as it allowed her to work with real patients and see firsthand what her career would look like as a nurse in a variety of settings.
“The clinical experience was everything,” says Vickie. “It’s where you’re getting that patient contact, learning what a nursing day is like, and setting your skills in stone. Clinicals allow you to find what works for you and what settings you may want to work in. Through Concordia, I was able to work in long-term care, acute care, labor & delivery, and community care.”
Along with learning about all of the diverse placements healthcare facilities offer for nursing students, Vickie was also able to make connections that would benefit her after graduation.
“When I was in my clinical situation, they usually always introduce us to management,” she says. “You learn that those nurses want to advocate for you. If you’re there learning and doing what they ask they’re offering to precept you for your senior practicum because they do want to see you succeed. The clinical setting is really what prepared us.”
Advice for ABSN Students
If I hadn’t found this program, to be honest, I probably would not have gone back to nursing school.
Vickie believes if going back to nursing school is your goal, and you are willing to put in the work, then the Concordia ABSN program is the right fit for you.
“If you can do the online work and you can have that self-control to pace yourself, this is a great option, especially if you’re going to nursing school as a mom,” she says. “This is a great program when you do have kids because you can work around that schedule. Having five kids, I was still able to make sure everyone got to school, to their activities, and I also still volunteered in their programs. I could do all of that and stay up on my coursework.”
Get Started Today
If you are ready to go back to nursing school and believe Concordia’s ABSN program is a fit for you, contact us today and learn what you need to get started on your path.