Student Perspective: What You Do in an Accelerated Nursing Program

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Student Perspective: What You Do in an Accelerated Nursing Program

In January 2017, Erin Celesti, Brianna Prescott, and Lauren Weaver made university history as members of our inaugural ABSN program cohort. Today, one year later, they’ve gone from trying to make sense of what you do in an accelerated nursing program to being four months away from graduating as confident, practice-ready nurses.

We sat down with Brianna, Erin, and Lauren and asked them to tell us what it’s really like to be in Xavier University's accelerated nursing program.

ABSN student Lauren Weaver

I knew that I would become very close with the people in my cohort because of the whirlwind we were about to start.” ―Lauren Weaver

Program Orientation

Just like Erin, Brianna, and Lauren, your journey as an accelerated nursing student begins on orientation day, which typically takes place at our ABSN Learning Center a few days before classes start.

During orientation, you’ll meet the other students in your cohort, receive your student ID badge, go over program basics, and get an overall lay of the land.

Cohort Composition

But no matter the field of study, you’ll find that everyone in the program shares the same goal, which is to work hard so they can accelerate into a rewarding nursing career. There’s a real team spirit in this type of learning environment and a mindset of “we’re all in this together.” Because this is a second-degree nursing program, your cohort will comprise recent graduates and/or career changers who’ve studied everything from biology to psychology to zoology.

For example, Erin, Brianna, and Lauren joined our ABSN program having previously studied health sciences, human biology, and evolutionary anthropology, respectively.

Given the rigorous nature of our accelerated nursing program, we advise students to create study groups within their cohort. Studying together helps everyone keep pace as well as lets you know if you’re learning a concept properly.

Dedicated Space

Less than five miles from the main Xavier campus, we opened a state-of-the-art ABSN Learning Center just for accelerated nursing students. It features advanced nursing skills and simulations labs with real hospital equipment, medical supplies, and patient simulation technology. It also has testing rooms, study areas, and a student lounge. You’ll come here a couple times a week to develop your hands-on nursing skills and take proctored exams.

The fact that we have this dedicated space for the ABSN program is a huge selling factor for a lot of students, which, as it turns out, included Brianna and Lauren.

Online Courses

Erin Celesti, Xavier ABSN student

“I like being able to learn at my own pace. However, I don’t want to give the impression that because the courses are online, they’re easy, because they’re not. You have to be on it.” ―Erin Celesti

During the accelerated nursing program, you’ll complete 21 online courses that focus on the fundamentals and theories of the profession.

You’ll complete these courses via an intuitive, highly dynamic online learning platform that features a series of modules with assigned activities, such as:

  • Reading Assignments
  • Video Content
  • Interactive Activities
  • Case Studies
  • Class Discussions
  • Quizzes

While you’re required to meet the deadlines set forth by your instructors, online coursework lets you learn at your own pace. You can go back and review content as many times as you want, and everything is organized and easily accessible at your fingertips.

With each passing semester comes a new round of online courses. We make the modules for these courses viewable on the Friday before classes begin, giving you three days to become familiar with the subject material so you can hit the ground running come Monday. You also have access to an e-Learning specialist who can help you navigate any technical aspects of the online learning platform.

New students, which included Brianna, are often concerned about the minimal face-to-face time with online instructors. But like Brianna, you’ll find our instructors are here to help you succeed, no matter the course format, and they make it easy for you to get in contact with them. “I LOVE the faculty. I’ve never had a problem getting in contact with a teacher or professor. They’re always quick to respond,” she said.

Nursing Labs

Brianna Prescott, Xavier ABSN student

“Skills labs are incredibly helpful. You have the opportunity to come in and practice outside of class, and it’s OK to mess up until you get it right.” ―Brianna Prescott

During nursing labs, you take what you learned online and begin to apply that knowledge under the guidance of clinical instructors at our ABSN Learning Center.

On average, these hands-on labs require two days to complete and cover topics such as:

  • Infection Control
  • Vital Signs
  • Hygiene
  • Cardiovascular Assessment
  • Communication and Delegation

Erin mentioned that labs give you the opportunity to practice certain skills that may never present themselves during clinicals. For instance, there’s no guarantee a hospital patient will need a nasogastric tube when you’re learning how to insert them in class.

Clinical Rotations

Once you’ve developed a specific set of nursing skills, you complete a corresponding clinical rotation that lets you see how these skills apply in real-life patient care situations. For Brianna, Erin, and Lauren, their first clinical occurred during week five of the ABSN program.

Early in the program, clinicals cover the basics of nursing practice, such as patient safety and physical assessment. As the curriculum progresses, so do the rotations—so much so that in the final weeks of the program, you’ll work right alongside a registered nurse (your assigned preceptor) and have the opportunity to take an active, if not primary, role in patient care.

Because you’re working with different patient populations in diverse practice settings, our clinicals also let you see what area of the nursing profession best suits your personality and/or career goals.

“Everything flows really well. You learn a skill online, apply it in lab, and then go to clinical to see how that skill plays out in real life. We get to experience diverse areas of nursing practice, from mental health to pediatrics.” ―Erin Celesti

NCLEX Preparation

Every nursing school graduate, no matter the university, must take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to be able to legally practice the profession.

Unlike most college exams, the NCLEX isn’t about recognizing facts, it’s about seeing how well you can analyze and apply your knowledge when making patient care decisions.

Our ABSN program provides the education and support necessary to earn your nursing licensure after graduation. According to Brianna, when she graduates in May, she’ll leave our School of Nursing feeling well prepared to take the NCLEX, thanks to the way we structured the ABSN curriculum.

Final Words of Wisdom

As someone who might follow in their footsteps, Brianna, Erin, and Lauren have this advice for you.

  • Know what it takes to become a nurse before you apply to the program.
  • Set a strict schedule because it’s tough balancing school and work.
  • Stay organized because the curriculum moves quickly.
  • Be prepared to hit the ground running on day one.
  • Ask faculty for help, they are there to support you.
  • Expect to become best friends with your classmates.

It’s obvious life was very different for Brianna, Erin, and Lauren this time last year. In just 12 months, they went from not knowing what you do in an accelerated nursing program to being four months away from graduating with Xavier BSN degrees.

What kind of difference can our ABSN program make for you? Contact our admissions team today to find out!

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

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