How to Become an RN Fast

Summary: Given that nursing is a high-demand, highly rewarding profession, many people are looking to change careers and become a nurse. And for the right person, it’s possible to graduate from nursing school in as few as 16 months.

Accelerate Into Nursing.

Whether you’re a teacher who’s tired of rowdy kids or an accountant who’s tired of crunching numbers, changing careers doesn’t have to be a long process, especially if you’re considering nursing. So if you want to know how to become an RN fast, our Accelerated BSN program in Ohio is the answer.

No matter your current profession, if you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, our ABSN program makes it possible to earn a quality BSN in as few as 16 months. Plus, we’re a nursing program with no waiting list.

Our ABSN program has locations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, with each one enrolling students three times a year―January, May, and August. Also, our admission process is a lot more straightforward than most, and it’s because we assign a dedicated admission counselor to every prospective student.

All in all, by choosing the Xavier ABSN program, you could start your nursing career sooner than if you were to apply to other nursing programs in Ohio and beyond.

Accelerated BSN Programs With Minimum Prerequisites

Our ABSN program has only four prerequisite courses, whereas some nursing schools require 10 or more. And no matter the school, you must complete these prerequisites before you can begin professional nursing study. In other words, prerequisites are separate from the ABSN curriculum. So the more prerequisites you have to take, the longer it will be before you can start an ABSN program.

Accelerated Path to Nursing

Our 16-month ABSN program builds on your non-nursing bachelor’s degree to make the accelerated path to nursing possible. In other words, you don’t have to start your undergraduate education over from scratch. And it doesn’t matter if you previously studied accounting, biology, communications, teaching, or anything in-between, you have a shot at a successful nursing career.

“Students are drawn to our accelerated nursing program because we’re essentially condensing three to four years of nursing education into 16 months. It’s a timeframe that’s short enough for them to feel like they can get through the program, but long and detailed enough for them to enter the profession prepared,” said Courtney Moore, our ABSN program site director in Cincinnati.

Comprising four, full-time semesters, our ABSN program follows a blended, or hybrid, learning format. We divide the curriculum into a logical sequence of online coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and in-person clinical rotations in leading health care facilities.

Online Coursework

Known as the didactic portion of the program, the online coursework lays the foundation of your nursing education. In fact, the coursework is front-loaded, so you’ll be taking in a lot of new information in the first semester. It’s a situation where you must be able to understand and synthesize the information so that you can apply it throughout the program. While you may have been able to rely on memorization during your first degree, you can’t when it comes to learning nursing concepts.

A common misconception about online nursing coursework is that it’s a flexible learning option when in reality, it’s not. Sure you can study at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m., but given the rigorous nature of the program, you need to be able to keep pace and meet the assignment deadlines.

Nursing Labs

As an ABSN student, you’ll attend nursing skills and simulation labs at your location of enrollment—Cincinnati, Columbus, or Cleveland. It’s important to live within driving distance of your respective location because you’ll need to be on-site several times a week, especially during the first semester.

During your skills labs, you’ll learn how to safely and effectively apply core clinical skills such as catheter insertion, intramuscular injections, nasogastric (NG) tube insertions, and wound care. In simulation labs, you’ll participate in a variety of realistic patient interventions, all of which serve to build your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Clinical Rotations

We partner with leading health care providers in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland so that our students, no matter their location of enrollment, have access to quality clinical placements when available in diverse areas of practice, from pediatrics to mental health to adult care.

During your clinicals, you and members of your cohort work alongside experienced nurses to gain a real-world understanding of how nursing theory applies to the care of individuals, families, and communities. As you enter the clinical environment, it’s important to remember that you are a representation of both Xavier University and nursing excellence.

According to Moore, Xavier students have helped set the standard for how nursing education can change their lives and the lives of others. “We often hear how our ABSN graduates are going out into the community and providing excellent care to their patients.”

Each clinical rotation supports a specific learning objective, and we sequence them to follow a natural learning progression. For example, you’ll cover the basic foundations of nursing care in semester one. Then during the final weeks of the program, you’ll gain concentrated clinical experience working alongside a preceptor—a registered nurse trained to mentor students.

Lauren - Xavier ABSN program graduate

By the end of the ABSN program, you’ll be caring for patients as a whole. Your preceptor expects you to be doing things as she or he would do them. You can’t go into the role transition experience as a student, you have to go in as a nurse.
Lauren, 2018 ABSN Graduate

Labs and Clinical Disclaimer

Please be aware that due to COVID-19 restrictions and limitations, our labs and in-person clinicals could change at any time without prior student notification.

Typical ABSN Cohort

Because it’s a second-degree option, there’s really no such thing as a typical ABSN program cohort. Comprising recent college graduates and career changers, our ABSN students are highly diverse. Our students have studied everything from biology to theater.

According to Martine Weaver, our ABSN site director in Columbus, students who come from a non-science background tend to be a little more insecure than those who do. “I tell prospective students that no matter their previous field of study, everyone entering the program has the potential to be a great nurse,” she said.

Based on what she’s seen thus far, students tend to be nervous during their first eight weeks in the program, but after that, they are a lot more calm and confident. “We’ve had great retention rates here in Columbus and throughout the ABSN program.” But should a student be struggling in the program, our instructors and academic success coaches are there to help see them through.

Weaver also noted that in a diverse ABSN cohort, students come together and work off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “Generally speaking, I’ve found that students with a science background do extremely well in skills application, whereas those who studied the arts are amazing critical thinkers.”

Brianna - Xavier ABSN program graduate

I love the Xavier nursing faculty. They made it so you didn’t feel overwhelmed by complex concepts. They broke things down so that we could understand it. Ultimately, they want to see you do well and succeed.
Brianna, 2018 ABSN Graduate

Earning a BSN Degree in Another State

Nursing schools across the country have been turning away thousands of qualified applicants every year due to a lack of capacity—the number of applications far outweighs the number of seats available. To add insult to injury, nurses have and continue to be in high demand throughout the United States. So given the fact that our ABSN program can enroll a high number of students per year, we see a lot of individuals willing to relocate for nursing school.

It also helps that our ABSN program locations are within Ohio’s top three metro areas for nurse employment. Check out the most recent stats for Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland (2020 data).

Metro AreaRN EmploymentMedian RN Salary
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN24,750$67,380

Nursing in Cincinnati

Launched in 2017, our Cincinnati ABSN program continues to draw students in from across the country and around the globe. According to Moore, she sees a lot of students relocating to Ohio from states such as California, Colorado, and Texas. She has also welcomed students from as far away as Africa and the Dominican Republic.

“It’s really exciting to see how students are reaching our accelerated nursing program from around the globe,” she said.

Our clinical partnerships in Cincinnati include Mercy Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, The Christ Hospital Health Network, and TriHealth. While we can’t promise employment, Moore says several ABSN students have secured different employment opportunities with these partners.

Lauren, a 2018 ABSN graduate, is a great example. With a desire to work in oncology, Lauren completed her role transition experience in an oncology unit at a local hospital. During the experience, she brought her ‘A’ game to every situation, from performing her assessments on time to distributing medications properly. “I did everything I could to show my interest in oncology and how I could do the job as a new nurse,” she said. And her approach paid off because she was offered a job.

Nursing in Columbus

Established in 2019, our ABSN program near Columbus also brings in a good percentage of relocators. According to Weaver, she sees a lot of nursing students relocating from states such as California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

“A lot of relocators end up staying in Columbus after they graduate from our program. I’ve even seen students relocate their families here so they can work for one of our health care partners,” she said.

Our clinical partnerships in Columbus include OhioHealth and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. While employment is never a guarantee, you have the opportunity to network and build rapport with these health care providers.

“Our clinical partners know that our graduates are well-rounded and well-prepared, so they like hiring Xavier nurses because they know they’re getting a top-notch employee,” she noted.

Nursing in Cleveland

Launched in May 2020, our Cleveland ABSN program is in the process of welcoming its third cohort this month. According to Alayne Barrett, our ABSN program site director in Cleveland, more than half of the cohort is made up of relocators, with many of them coming from California—which makes sense when the nursing schools there have two- and three-year waitlists.

“A lot of times students are willing to relocate from across the country to attend our program because they know they’ll be able to enter the profession faster,” she noted.

Not to mention, Northeast Ohio is a major health care hub, with several leading hospital systems based in the area. Students in our ABSN program complete their clinical rotations within Cleveland Clinic.

The Power of Three

With Cleveland being our newest ABSN program location, you might be wondering if it provides the same education as our Cincinnati and Columbus programs—the answer is yes. All three ABSN programs are part of the Xavier College of Nursing. So while the locations are different, everything else is the same in terms of the curriculum and the supportive faculty that teaches it. In other words, our ABSN program isn’t new, we’ve just been building on the success of our inaugural Cincinnati location and making a quality Jesuit-based nursing education more accessible.

ABSN Relocation Stories

These three Xavier ABSN graduates refused to sit idle on nursing school waitlists in their hometowns. Instead, they took matters into their own hands and moved to Ohio to set their nursing education in motion.

Ayana, 2020 ABSN Graduate

Ayana left her career in corporate finance to become a nurse. She relocated to Ohio from Connecticut to attend our ABSN program—and it was for reasons that include our seamless admission process.

Ayana - Xavier ABSN program student

My Xavier admission counselor was great. She sealed the deal for me. I wanted to attend a university with a sense of community and where I was going to be supported.
Ayana, 2020 ABSN Graduate

Diane, 2020 ABSN Graduate

Diane left her real estate career of 18 years to become a nurse. She moved from North Carolina to Ohio to attend our ABSN program. She chose Xavier because she needed an accelerated program where she could start her education as soon as possible. “I didn’t want to spend another four years in college on a second bachelor’s degree.”

Diana S - Xavier ABSN program student

I wasn’t apprehensive about going back to school for nursing. It was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time.
Diane, 2020 ABSN Graduate

Sarah, 2018 ABSN Graduate

Sarah left her job as a mental health case manager to pursue a career in nursing. She moved from the state of Washington to Ohio to attend our ABSN program.

Sarah - Xavier ABSN program graduate

I wanted a program that would allow me to dive into the nursing profession as fast as possible. When researching programs, I discovered every school had different prerequisite requirements. The Xavier ABSN program only had four, some of which I had already completed as a psychology undergrad.
Sarah, 2018 ABSN Graduate

Know Your Why

Nursing isn’t the type of career you want to enter into lightly. So before you decide to leave your current profession, you need to understand your motivation for wanting to become a nurse. Why people choose this occupation is often very personal to them—maybe they were born into a family of nurses or they found themselves inspired by an experience with a nurse.

While nursing is a good-paying career that’s full of growth and opportunity, you shouldn’t choose the profession for such reasons. If you do, you’re bound to be unhappy with your decision. Individuals who thrive in nursing are those who are selfless and truly want to care for others.

Make Your Move

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, a solid cumulative GPA, and your heart set on a nursing career, it’s time to set your education in motion. Whether you live 10 or 10,000 miles away from one of our three ABSN locations, our admission team is here to see you through your journey to nursing school.

Our admission process can be summed up in four steps:

  1. Verify your program eligibility with an admission counselor.
  2. Work with your counselor on a personalized enrollment plan.
  3. Satisfy the four ABSN prerequisite course requirements.
  4. Complete and submit your application before the deadline.

As you begin the ABSN admission process, you should plan on developing a close working relationship with your admission counselor. Think of this individual as your nursing school champion. He or she will connect with you regularly to make your application is moving along smoothly—ultimately guiding you on how to submit the most competitive application possible.

Ideal Applicants

nursing student using laptop

Nursing school in and of itself is challenging. Now imagine completing it at an accelerated pace. As an ABSN student, you’re bound to face obstacles that are unlike anything you’ve experienced before. So as we review applications for our ABSN program, we’re looking for highly determined individuals who are problem solvers, critical thinkers, receptive learners and able to excel in an online learning environment.

  • Determination is what allows you to persevere in the face of challenge.
  • Problem-solving is what allows you to identify issues and develop solutions.
  • Critical thinking is what allows you to prioritize and make key decisions.
  • Receptive learning is what allows you to internalize new information.

While we have support measures in place to help students succeed, it’s important to understand the pressures of nursing school before you apply. Then, once you start the program, you’ll need enough grit to see you through the learning process. It also helps to continuously remind yourself that it’s only 16 months and bigger things are waiting for you at the finish line.

Application Advice

As part of your ABSN program application, you’ll need to submit your letter of intent, current resume, letters of recommendation, and official academic transcripts. You can work on your application materials over several online sessions, but you can only submit your application once.

Putting together a letter of intent can be stressful for some students. This letter allows us to go beyond your academic qualifications and get a sense of who you are as a person. When our staff reads your letter of intent, they want to know why you want to become a nurse and how you plan to get through nursing school at an accelerated pace.

“We want to see that you’re ready to make a serious commitment because 16 months of accelerated nursing school isn’t easy,” said Moore.

As you start to write down what makes you an ideal candidate for our program, consider the following:

  • Be memorable when you describe what inspired you to become a nurse.
  • Be passionate when explaining your commitment to the profession.
  • Be real and write from the heart when describing your motivation.
  • Be direct by using clear, concise language that gets to the point.

Your Future in Nursing

After completing our ABSN program, your next step is to register for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®). This nationwide exam determines if it’s safe for nursing graduates to practice as entry-level nurses. Once you pass the exam, you can pursue registered nurse employment in diverse areas of practice.

While hospitals are the most prominent employer of nurses, you can choose to work for a private practice, urgent care clinic, or long-term care facility to name a few. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that RN employment in Ohio will grow 7% between 2019 and 2029.

It’s also worth noting that Ohio is a hub of health care innovation, with researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors showing an increased interest in the state. And it’s due to all of the amazing work taking place within Ohio’s health care systems, from pediatric care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to cardiac care at the Cleveland Clinic.

Are You Ready to Become an RN Fast?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to make a 16-month transition into the nursing profession, contact our admission team today! We are currently enrolling students at our ABSN program locations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, with spring, summer, and fall terms available.

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