Summary: Our eight tips for accelerated nursing students include not underestimating the time commitment, staying organized, using your resources, and connecting with your professors and peers. Gaining support from friends, family and classmates can also help you succeed while in nursing school
Whether you’re a recent college graduate or an invested parent, our 16-month Accelerated BSN program can fast-track you into the profession. And no matter what stage of life you’re in, you’ll need a strong support system to help see you through the ups and downs of nursing school. Check out these helpful tips for accelerated nursing students.
1. Don’t underestimate the level of commitment required
The Xavier ABSN program fits the curriculum of a traditional four-year nursing program into 16 months. You’ll need to master a lot of content in a very short amount of time. To do this successfully, you’ll need to be all in. This means you may have to miss out on events or social activities you’d otherwise attend and dedicate a lot of time to studying and grasping new concepts. Our program is intensive, so much so that we do not recommend holding down a full-time job in conjunction with the program, but rather treating your time in the ABSN program as a full-time job.
2. Stay organized
Staying organized will be vital to your success in the Xavier ABSN program. Because you’ll be learning so many new concepts, skills and taking a lot of different courses, we recommend buying a planner or creating an online schedule to keep everything straight. You’ll need a place to keep track of deadlines, labs and tests and being organized will help everything run smoothly.
3. Use available resources
The Xavier University ABSN program is committed to your success. That’s why our faculty and staff are available to help you on your journey toward becoming a nurse. From planning which prerequisites to take to studying for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), we’re here to help you put your best foot forward. We even created a handy guide to help you navigate anything and everything you may encounter during your time in the program.
Once you’ve got those three things covered, another area that is key to your success as an ABSN student is finding support.
4. Find your accelerated nursing support system
As an accelerated nursing student, you’ll have a lot on your plate, spending up to 60 hours a week on your education. You’ll face a rigorous blend of online coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and in-person clinical rotations. So, unless you have special superpowers, it’s best that you not tackle all this alone.
Giving and receiving support is a basic human need. We need people in our lives who listen to us, understand us, and are there for us in good times and bad. In fact, studies have shown that when people have a support system they can depend on, they experience higher levels of well-being and have better skills for coping with stress.
Support comes in many forms. It can be emotional, physical, or financial. Therefore, it’s important for you to have a variety of resources in place during nursing school. For example, your dream team of nursing school supporters might include family, friends, classmates, professors, and maybe even a financial aid advisor.
5. Consider these cohort studying advantages
As an ABSN student, your cohort will comprise individuals of different ages and backgrounds. Some students might be recent college graduates, while others might be making a career change.
Though many incoming ABSN students have a background in biology, health sciences, or psychology, there’s also a lot of academic diversity within our cohorts. We’ve had students who previously studied anthropology, elementary education, finance, public policy, and more.
Regardless of what our ABSN students previously studied, they all come to us sharing the same goal, which is to work hard and graduate from nursing school in as few as 16 months. You’ll find a real team spirit in this type of learning environment.
Gaining support from your peers in your cohort can really pay off. Here’s just a few advantages to consider:
- They’re facing some of the same challenges as you and can empathize.
- They understand the pressure of meeting deadlines and balancing schoolwork.
- They have firsthand knowledge of sacrifices needed to finish the program.
- They’re likely studying for the same classes, and for the NCLEX-RN®.
Another advantage is that from studying together and bonding over everything you go through in the program, a great friendship might come of the experience, just like it did for Lauren, Xavier ABSN program graduate, class of May 2018.
“As we got to know each other, we definitely grew as a family because we were all going through the exact same thing. Whenever someone was struggling with something, someone was there to pick you back up. We all really focused on all of us being successful,” she says.
Forming friendships with other students in your cohort will help you stay engaged with the coursework and motivate you to succeed. Furthermore, if you’re ever struggling with a nursing concept, your classmates can share their insights and help you with your study strategies.
And finally, these are the friends you’ll want to discuss the “yuck factors” of nursing with, not your best friend from high school.
6. Prepare your family for your nursing school schedule
Prepare your family for all the changes that will take place when you start nursing school. Daily routines will change, household responsibilities will change, and sacrifices will be made.
Sit down with your significant other, kids, parents, and the like to explain what support you need from them to be successful in school. Perhaps your significant other will need to start picking the kids up from school. Maybe your mom and dad will need to step in at times to help with cooking and cleaning.
It can be tough for a family to adjust to a new routine, so be patient. Just keep reminding yourself and your family that it’s only 16 months. And when you do have some extra time, be sure to spend it with them, reminding them how much you love and appreciate them.
“My wife, who is a nurse, encouraged me to go to nursing school after I retired, telling me I could do well with it,” says Greg, Xavier ABSN program graduate, class of December 2018.
7. Communicate your nursing school commitment to your friend group
Being a successful nursing student requires a lot of time and energy. So before embarking on the accelerated path to nursing, be sure to tell your friends what you’re up against.
Explain to them that while you won’t see them as much, you still very much need them in your life. It might help to plan a celebratory outing with them after you graduate — giving everyone something to look forward to. If they’re good friends, they’ll understand and be there for you when you need them.
However, when you have time to step away from your studies and meet up with them, it’s best not to talk shop. Focusing your thoughts on something other than school can do wonders for your mind. Plus, your friends might not be eager to hear about the various bodily fluids you encounter.
Another valuable piece of advice is to limit the time you spend with a Negative Nelly. Negative people can rob you of the energy you need to stay focused on your studies. Your time is better spent with those who make you feel good about yourself.
8. Connect with professors and academic success coaches
It’s a good idea to connect with your professors on a regular basis to make sure you understand their expectations in terms of the ABSN curriculum. By doing so, you’ll get to know them better, making it more comfortable for you to ask them for help when you need it. Not to mention, when a professor gets to know you, he or she is more apt to connect you to jobs and serve as a reference after you graduate.
“I absolutely loved the nursing faculty. They were good at making it so you didn’t feel overwhelmed by complex concepts, breaking things down so you could understand it. They want you to do well and succeed,” says Brianna, Xavier ABSN program graduate, class of May 2018.
As a Xavier ABSN student, you also have access to an academic success coach. It’s the job of this individual to make sure you receive the best learning experience possible. Essentially, he or she is your bridge between admissions and academics, advocating for whatever you need to succeed, from billing questions to test-taking strategies.
Want more tips for accelerated nursing students?
If you are thinking about applying to our ABSN program in Ohio, be sure to contact our admission team to see if the accelerated path to nursing is right for you.