How to Seamlessly Switch Careers to Nursing

How to Seamlessly Switch Careers to Nursing

It’s becoming increasingly common for individuals to switch careers to nursing. So, if you’re considering an occupational change, there’s a way you can seamlessly transition into this highly rewarding health care profession in as few as 16 months. And, while the switch may seem scary at first, this student story will inspire you to take the plunge and pursue your true calling.

Before she became a student in our 16-month ABSN program, Ayana was a financial analyst in the aerospace and defense industry. When her focus wasn’t on helicopter builds and never-ending Excel spreadsheets, she volunteered at a homeless shelter—an experience that prompted her to do some soul-searching.

“I discovered I had a passion for helping people and decided to switch my career to nursing,” she said. “I felt like I had to make the change now. Because why wait? I’m young.”


Living in Connecticut at the time, Ayana came across our Cincinnati-based ABSN program, a discovery she attributes to her research-savvy librarian friend. Drawn to the fact that our ABSN program has four prerequisites and three start dates a year, Ayana didn’t hesitate to reach out to our admissions team.

Working with 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 was volunteering when she learned of her acceptance into our program. “I went into the stairwell and cried because I knew it was the start of my journey to live out my purpose.” She immediately put in her notice at work and began the relocation process. “I wasn’t apprehensive about going back to school. I found it to be an exciting move because it’s something I really wanted to do.”

With the help of her admission counselor, Ayana found a place to live in Northern Kentucky, which is a hop, skip, and a jump from our ABSN program site in downtown Cincinnati. She says it usually takes her 10 to 12 minutes at any given time to get to our site.

“Cincinnati has been good so far. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here, and I’m getting just what I thought I would.” Ayana also commented on how the health networks across the Greater Cincinnati area provide great opportunities for clinical rotations and jobs post-graduation.

Slated to graduate in May 2020, Ayana believes that her BSN from Xavier will open the door to a vast number of opportunities. She would like to begin her career as a medical-surgical nurse to build her experience and then work in women’s health.


When Ayana was going through the admission process, she looked forward to learning alongside others who didn’t have any previous nursing experience. Designed as a second-degree option, our ABSN program caters to individuals from a non-nursing background.

Our ABSN cohorts typically include students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. While biology and psychology majors are among the most common, we also have students who previously studied accounting, business administration, marketing, and political science to name a few.

Our ABSN program leverages your non-nursing bachelor’s degree so that it becomes possible to earn a quality BSN in 16 months. Bear in mind, you must satisfy four prerequisite requirements before entering our School of Nursing.

As a Xavier ABSN student, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of online coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and clinical rotations in diverse areas of nursing practice. Together, these learning components give you the academic foundation and clinical preparedness required to sit for the NCLEX-RN® exam and enter the profession with confidence.

Ayana wishes someone would have told her that our ABSN program isn’t as intimidating as she thought it would be. Nursing school is hard, she says, but you just have to breathe and relax.


While assignment deadlines still apply, our online courses bring a level of flexibility and convenience to the learning process. Because there’s no specific classroom schedule, you can learn the fundamentals and theories of the nursing profession whenever and wherever it best fits into your daily routine.

These courses set the foundation for the hands-on skills you’ll develop at our ABSN Learning Center and area health care facilities. With 21 online courses in all, the number you’ll complete per semester varies.


Plan to attend skills and simulations labs at our ABSN Learning Center almost every week. Labs are where you get to apply the nursing concepts you learned online in a safe, contextual setting. Essentially, labs are the bridge between online coursework and clinical rotations.

During skills labs, we teach you how to safely and effectively perform interventions such as giving intermuscular injections, inserting nasogastric tubes, and dressing puncture wounds.

“I was nervous coming into the lab,” said Ayana. “I had never used a stethoscope before and ended up wearing it backwards the first week.” As it turns out, her clinical instructor and peers were very helpful and supportive, making her fears seem less scary.

What Ayana experienced is common for a lot of students. The good news is that it’s OK to make mistakes during nursing labs. Instructors see errors as valuable learning opportunities.


Nursing simulations are essential in preparing you for clinical rotations, adding a high level of realism to the learning process. Either a manikin or trained individual carries out the patient role.

Overall, simulations challenge you to problem-solve, collaborate, and think critically in realistic patient care scenarios. Simulations also allow our faculty to see how well you integrate theory, practice, and reasoning in real-time clinical situations.

“My first simulation was scary. The patient (manikin) was vomiting profusely,” Ayana said. “It was a good learning experience because sometimes you go into a patient’s room and never know what you’re going to get.”


During the program, you’ll complete supervised clinical practice in a variety of settings across the health care continuum. Instructors will teach you how to effectively interact with patients from all walks of life in disciplines such as adult health, community health, mental health, and pediatrics.

“Clinical rotations provide so much real-world experience,” Ayana said. “Whether it’s changing bed linens or dispensing medications, we’re getting in there and getting involved with our patients.”


If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7, we recommend contacting our admission team today! When speaking with a counselor, be sure to ask about our two ABSN program locations in Ohio—one in Cincinnati and one in Columbus.

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

ABSN 101 Guide

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