From Military to Civilian: One Nursing Student’s Career Change to Nursing

There are many roads that may lead you to join the healthcare industry. For some, it’s the career you’ve dreamed of since childhood, and for others, it may have been a matter of circumstance. For Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) student Tim Walker, the call for a career change to nursing came to him in an unexpected way.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Washington, Tim’s first exposure to the critical role of nurses came when his niece was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was five years old. Throughout his frequent visits to the ICU, he noticed that the nurses seemed to have the greatest daily impact on patient’s well-being. They were not only caring, but maintained an attention to detail and a warm professionalism that he admired.

His interest in medicine led him to join the U.S. Navy immediately after graduating high school, learning basic nursing skills along the way. Two years later, he joined the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan where he gained even more medical experience.

Transition from Marines to Nursing

Tim Walker, Concordia ABSN student

Following the rigors and stress of his deployment in Afghanistan, Tim returned to his home in the Pacific Northwest to start his civilian life. He knew that the most rewarding career path would find him caring for others, and nursing school was the way forward. Plus, his nursing knowledge would make his transition from military to civilian easier.

He decided the best path toward his nursing degree was Concordia University’s Accelerated BSN program because it combined online coursework, simulation and skills labs, and clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities. For Tim, an accelerated nursing program’s blended curriculum was exactly what he needed to balance school with real life.

Like many incoming Accelerated BSN students, Tim took his prerequisites at Concordia University, and joined the very first ABSN cohort at Concordia University – Portland in January of 2017.

“It’s been a perfect program for me,” he says. “Nursing school is hard, but with the ABSN program, I don’t have to commute to school every day. The online classes are helpful. The staff and professors are helpful. I’m not all by myself, I’ve gotten close with my classmates in the clinical environments.”

Supportive Environment

Tim was pleasantly surprised to find out that the nursing and hospital community in Portland worked hand in hand with Concordia’s ABSN program and students. The clinical partnerships help students gain immersive experience with diverse areas of patient care, and each one helps galvanize the information gained from the online and simulation courses. Tim’s clinical rotations found him providing long-term inpatient care, and he discovered that the staff employed by our clinical partners understand the needs of nursing students and go the extra mile to teach, support and accommodate them.

“The staff at the hospital where I have clinical rotations is awesome and receptive to having students,” he says. “They are patient, accepting that students take longer than nurses.”

For Tim, caring for patients in the ICU – where patients are often the sickest and most vulnerable – is a challenge he loves, because the lower number of patients means he can use his keen attention to detail to give patients outstanding, more one-on-one care.

Advice for Future Nursing Students

His advice to prospective students? Apply to the Accelerated BSN program if you’re an independent learner, self-motivated, disciplined and good at working with computers and media. He also advises that any previous medical experience can also benefit students in the accelerated nursing program.

Ready for a Career Change to Nursing?

If your journey feels like it mirrors Tim’s, Concordia’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing might be the perfect nursing program for you.

The ABSN program blends online coursework, hands-on labs, and clinical rotations inside top area healthcare facilities so you can gain the diverse experience needed to become a career-ready nurse.

If you’re coming back to school after some time away, the blended curriculum allows you to maintain your normal responsibilities at home while completing coursework at times that are more convenient for you. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep up with strict deadlines, you just are able to complete assignments on your own schedule.

If you’re ready to make the change to nursing, like Tim, Concordia offers three start dates each year so you can get started sooner. Contact an enrollment specialist today and see how soon you could start making a difference as a Concordia nurse.

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