It’s a question every potential nursing student asks: How hard is it to get started in accelerated nursing school? As the demand for nurses increases, more and more people are looking to change careers and earn a nursing degree. But there are many things to consider and accomplish before you can even begin, like finding the right school, completing prerequisites, applying, and being accepted. So are you ready to take this challenge on?
While there is no mathematical equation to help you come up with that answer, one thing is certain: accelerated nursing school is not easy. But in the end, it’s worth it. A nursing degree—particularly a bachelor of science in nursing—provides you with more opportunities than you can imagine in the healthcare industry, many of them extending far beyond the bedside. And becoming a nurse will provide you with more than job security: it will give you a sense of purpose and a rewarding opportunity to truly care for others.
At Xavier University, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program requires you to have an existing non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 in your prior studies. If you start off meeting both those key requirements, your chances of getting admitted to the program are much better.
Another factor that influences your likelihood of getting accepted into nursing school is the level of competition for a spot in the program. Traditional on-campus bachelor of science in nursing programs are typically far more competitive because they have limited seats available for students and a large number of applicants for those seats.
In order to meet the increasing demand for nurses, Xavier University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program offers multiple start dates per year—in January, May and August—and more seats in each class, so there are more spots available for you to begin your nursing school journey.
The fast-growing demand for qualified nurses has created a bottleneck for nursing programs. Since nursing programs only have so many spots available, many qualified students end up on a wait list. There is no set length of time these students can spend waiting for their opportunity; it may take months or years before they can even begin their coursework. So if you’re looking to get into a nursing school now and get started on your career sooner, accelerated nursing programs like Xavier’s ABSN offer the opportunity to begin as quickly as possible.
Even with an existing bachelor’s degree, there still may be a few courses you need to take before you can apply to Xavier’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. These are called prerequisites. Since being a nurse requires a strong aptitude for science and math, if your existing bachelor’s degree is not in a field with these kinds of courses, you will most likely be required to complete some prerequisites.
But here’s where Xavier University stands out from other accelerated nursing programs: while many may require up to fifteen prerequisites, Xavier’s ABSN program only has four.
You got through the application process, and you’ve been accepted. Now comes the real challenge of accelerated nursing school: time management.
Xavier University’s accelerated BSN program combines online coursework with hands-on skills and simulation labs, as well as clinical rotations at top hospitals. It’s a rigorous schedule, and it’s up to you to complete your work and stay on top of your deadlines.
Many potential students ask if they can still work while going through the 16-month program. While it may be possible for some whose jobs offer a high degree of flexibility, it is not recommended because of the pace and intensity of the coursework. Online courses do allow you some flexibility, but you’ll also be participating in labs and clinical rotations, which have set hours. And you need the self-discipline to set aside regular times to complete your online coursework and to stick with a study schedule. For many ABSN students, this is the hardest part of nursing school. Fortunately, programs like Xavier’s are designed to offer plenty of support from faculty and fellow students who understand the challenges.
Once you graduate from nursing school, there is one more step before you can become a practicing RN: passing the NCLEX-RN, the exam required for nurse licensure.
How difficult is the NCLEX-RN? It’s certainly not easy, but Xavier University’s accelerated BSN program and its faculty make sure the curriculum is designed to prepare students for the exam, and ultimately, for a successful career as a practicing nurse. Faculty use preparation assessment tools throughout the curriculum, and they regularly test students’ nursing skills after clinical rotations. By the time you graduate from the ABSN program, you will have gained the experience and skills required to approach the NCLEX exam with confidence.
If you are looking for a rewarding career as a Xavier nurse, where you can care for patients mentally, spiritually and physically, then yes, it will all be worth it. You just have to remember that changing careers and becoming a nurse isn’t impossible. It’s within reach. It takes work, discipline and some sacrifices, but after 16 months as an ABSN student, you will have achieved your goal and will be armed with a degree in nursing that is well-respected by employers.
If you’re ready to change careers and become a nurse, contact an admissions counselor at Xavier University for more information about the 16-month Accelerated BSN Program.