Want to become a nurse but feel like you’re too far along in your career to go back to school? Perhaps this student story will inspire you to apply to our accelerated nursing program for career changers.
After spending 30 years in medical sales, Greg Smith decided to retire from this profession and pursue a new career in nursing. He started our 16-month ABSN program in August 2017, and today he is well on his way to becoming a leader at the bedside.
“I wasn’t ready to stay home,” Greg said. “I wanted to do something that made a difference. My wife, who is a nurse, encouraged me to go to nursing school.”
Given his personal and professional ties to nursing, Greg has long felt deep admiration for the profession, referring to it as “the most respected occupation in America.” Therefore, he looks forward to getting his BSN in December so he, too, can give back and take care of people. “I have an interest in medical missionary work. My wife and I have talked about being travel nurses and going around the country.”
Greg was an ideal candidate for our ABSN program. Not only did he come to us with significant experience in the medical field, his undergraduate degree in biology showed a strong grasp of the sciences, which is key in the nursing profession.
He said he chose our ABSN program for several reasons. “I could get my BSN in 16 months. Not to mention, my daughter and son-in-law are both Xavier graduates.” He also liked the fact that our ABSN program only has four prerequisite course requirements, whereas some have as many as 15. “I don’t have all the time in the world, so it was important that I get into a program that would allow me to start nursing as soon as possible.”
Our four ABSN prerequisites comprise human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology, and statistics, which Greg completed online through Xavier. “The internet didn’t exist when I first went to college,” he said. “Completing the prerequisites online really helped me out because it got me familiar with Canvas, the online learning platform we use in the ABSN program.”
A significant portion of our nursing program for career changers involves online accelerated coursework that teaches the fundamentals and theories of the profession by way of reading assignments, interactive activities, and video content, to name but a few.
While instructor deadlines still apply, our online courses allow ABSN students to study at their own pace. Students can go back and review content as many times as they want. And, even though students are not on campus, it’s easy for them to connect with our nursing faculty.
“My professors are usually reachable by text or email,” Greg said. “I’ve never had a problem getting in touch with anyone that I’ve needed to talk to.”
By the time Greg graduates from our ABSN program, he’ll have completed 21 online courses, ranging from pathophysiology to research to pediatrics.
As a student in our 16-month ABSN program, Greg attends nursing skills and simulation labs at our ABSN Learning Center several times a week. Here, under the guidance of faculty, he and his peers get hands-on practice in a safe, contextual learning environment.
During skills lab, students learn how to safely and effectively apply core nursing skills, such as administering intermuscular injections and inserting NG tubes, without the fear of harming a patient. Because students practice these skills on clinical task trainers and/or full-body medical manikins, it’s OK for them to make and learn from their mistakes.
In simulation lab, we challenge students to think and act like a nurse by having them integrate nursing theory with practice while making clinical decisions in real time. We also create scenarios where students can see things from a patient’s point of view.
“We had a really neat simulation where we learned what it was like being an Alzheimer’s patient,” Greg said. “I got to experience what it’s like for someone trying to concentrate during a delusional episode.”
By the end of the ABSN program, Greg will have completed as many as 12 nursing simulation labs, which cover everything from adult health to mental health to pediatrics. Students do not receive grades for their simulation performance. It’s strictly about building their confidence and growing their skills.
Unlike most nursing programs, our ABSN students begin their clinical rotations in semester one and have access to more than 90 patient care locations across the Greater Cincinnati area.
“I have to give Xavier credit because a lot of nursing programs make you wait a long time to get your clinical experience,” Greg said. “I was amazed. We were in the hospital doing clinicals the very first week in the program.”
Greg describes clinicals as active learning environments that allow him to perform the tasks a nurse would typically do in a given situation. Clinicals start out fairly simple, such as taking patient vitals. In time, students perform more complex skills, which may include starting an IV line.
During the final weeks of the program, students complete what we refer to as a role transition experience where they work alongside a registered nurse, playing an active role in patient care.
By the time Greg graduates from the program, he’ll have gained practical experience in a variety of health care sectors and specialties, from adult care to medical/surgical care to women’s health.
Having been out of the collegiate environment since 1976, Greg says he was surprised he got accepted into our ABSN program. When describing his nursing school experience up to this point, he says it’s been both challenging and rewarding.
“I’m kind of the most non-traditional, of all non-traditional nursing students, but [Xavier] has made it very easy for me to transition back into college,” he said. “I would recommend the Xavier ABSN program to anyone who is thinking about a career change.”
Want to follow in Greg’s footsteps and join our accelerated nursing program for career changers? Contact our admission team to begin your 16-month transition to nursing.