10 Things You Should Know About Going Back to School for Nursing

Madonna ABSN student standing in hallway smiling

10 Things You Should Know About When considering going back to school for nursing, it’s important to know that you don’t need any previous healthcare experience, you may need to fulfill some prerequisite course requirements, you will need to make a financial plan, and you’ll have support along the way.

9 min read

At Madonna University, we’re here to help put your plans in motion and provide you with the answers you need to start your journey of going back to school for nursing with confidence. Plus, we offer people like you an opportunity to transfer your college credits or non-nursing degree, so you don’t have to wait or start over. That opportunity is our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in metro Detroit.

If you have questions, such as how and when to apply to nursing school, what’s needed, and how you can be successful in the pursuit ahead, keep reading. To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of 10 things you need to know before going back to school for nursing.

1. It’s never too late to become a nurse.

When it comes to going back to school to be a nurse, many prospective nursing students have a hard time initiating the first step. A big reason for this is because they think it’s too late to complete their BSN. Whether it’s because you already started on your degree path, earned your degree in another profession, or have been working in a career for some time, the idea of starting over is scary.

Sometimes an age factor can keep people away, especially from an online-based program like Madonna’s ABSN.

The truth is this: Whether you’re just out of college or have spent years working in another profession, you’re never too old to go back to school for nursing. In fact, the American Association of College of Nurses (AACN) reports that the average second-degree nursing student tends to be more driven than traditional entry-level nursing students are.

At Madonna, we’ve found this study to be true. Since the launch of our program in 2018, we’ve seen a numerous adult students find success. Next to being highly motivated and focused, adult learners bring a certain richness to the ABSN program – they ask tough questions and hone in on the relevance and quality of what they’re learning.

2. You have access.

While the demand for competent registered nurses is on the rise, access to nursing school is limited for many students due to the lack of qualified nursing faculty, brick-and-mortar space, and clinical opportunities. In turn, prospective students are being put on lengthy waitlists until a spot becomes available in their desired nursing program.

nursing students studying together with whiteboard

Access to nursing school is where the Accelerated BSN program excels. Here at Madonna, we have the staff, faculty, clinical space, and hospital partnerships needed to make your nursing education happen. Plus, thanks to our three ABSN program start dates (summer, fall, and winter) we can accept a higher number of qualified ABSN students into our program, giving you the opportunity to begin working toward your nursing degree sooner.

3. You don’t need any healthcare experience to apply.

It’s easy to assume that prior experience working or studying in the healthcare field is needed to apply to a nursing program. While some nursing programs hold this strict requirement, you do not need to have a healthcare background to apply to our Accelerated BSN program. This is a huge benefit that sets Madonna’s ABSN program apart from others.

To be eligible for our ABSN program, you must have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or a minimum of 60 college credits.

If you meet these qualifications, then your next step would be to contact an admissions representative. This person will work one-on-one with you to make an admissions plan unique to your needs. He or she will also figure out if your past credits and GPA meet Madonna University’s eligibility requirements and determine the number of prerequisite courses you will need to take.

Get ahold of your academic transcripts!
Before your admissions appointment, send your academic transcripts to transcript@absn.madonna.edu. This gives your admissions representative a good idea of where you stand in the process and what your next step should be.

4. Prerequisites set the tone for your entire nursing education.

Prerequisite courses play a significant role in your success as an Accelerated BSN student at Madonna. This is especially true if you’ve been out of school for a few years. Why? Because, they not only bring you back to “student mode,” but they help sharpen your study skills and introduce you to online learning if you’re new to it. The information you’ll find within these courses is at the core of everything you’ll be learning as a nursing student and serve to ensure you start the ABSN program with the educational foundation needed to succeed.

Build your nursing career on a solid foundation - Madonna ABSN student in scrubs

Are you wondering, “what are the prerequisites for nursing school?” Get more information here.

5. Nursing school requires a lot of time and dedication.

Nursing school is not for the faint of heart — it’s challenging and will push you out of your comfort zone. This is even more so true in the case of an accelerated BSN program like ours.

Since Madonna’s program packs a traditional BSN curriculum into 16 months of course study, you’ll want to treat it like a full-time job. “The course load is very heavy,” says Kyle Stopa, accelerated BSN graduate. This may require you to put parts of your current lifestyle on hold to keep up with its rigorous pace.

“The professors are not lying when they say you will eat, breathe, and sleep nursing school,” says Kyle. While some weeks don’t require as much time energy as others, there may be weeks where you spend 40 hours or more on your nursing studies. With that said, we don’t recommend that you work during nursing school, although some of our students have managed to make it work in the past.

“For me, not having the ability to work full-time was a stretch, but I was at a point in my past career where not a lot of doors opened for me,” says Steve. “I knew with a nursing degree, all the doors would open for me. I thought to myself ‘hey, it’s only 16 months, I’ve got this. This is a great opportunity,’” he says.

6. It doesn’t have to take years to become a nurse.

Going back to school to become a nurse doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Thanks to your previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree or your existing college credits, you can pick up where you left off. Our ABSN program will put your existing credits to work so you can earn your BSN in as few as 16 months.

No matter where you are at in your career, going back to school for nursing is an incredibly rewarding experience. While our ABSN program is rigorous and fast-paced, if you’re dedicated, self-motivated, and eager to learn, it can be a great option for you.

nursing student working with sim manikin

7. Financial planning is key.

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a significant financial decision, and you may be wondering how to pay for a second bachelor’s degree in nursing. While federal, state, and university grants/scholarships may be limited when you’re a Madonna ABSN student, you might still be able to finance your education via federal and/or private loans.

We encourage you, no matter your income level, to apply for financial aid first by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the only way to know what type of loan you’re eligible to receive. Our Financial Aid Office can help you identify the best options for financing your accelerated nursing education and answer any questions you may have. You can contact them at 734-432-5663. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to pay for nursing school, be sure to reach out to a trusted admissions representative.

8. You can be successful in nursing school even if you have a family.

As an accelerated nursing student, you’ll have a lot on your plate. In addition to completing online coursework, hands-on labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations, you’ll need to make time for reading assignments, writing papers, learning about medications, and more. So, how can you manage nursing school and everything else going on in your life? You find a stable support system.

Where do you start? First, you need to inform your loved ones about your plan for going back to nursing school, what your end goal is, and what that will mean for them. Prepare your family for all the changes that will take place when you begin nursing school. Sit down with your partner, kids, friends, or parents and explain what support you need from them to be successful in nursing school.

While it may be challenging for your family and friends to adjust to a new routine, it’s crucial that you remain patient. Just keep reminding yourself, family, and friends that nursing school is only temporary. It’s only 16 months.

Open new doors with a BSN degree - door opening to hospital

Why is having a BSN in nursing important? It offers opportunity for you and your family.

9. You have a growing support system.

Your support for nursing school doesn’t stop with your family and friends. At Madonna University, you’ll witness first-hand how our entire college of nursing has your best interest at heart. We’ve helped a lot of students overcome their fears of going back to school for nursing by offering them the support and encouragement they need while applying to and participating in the program.

Our admissions representatives will work exclusively with you at the very start of your journey. As mentioned earlier, these individuals know the ins and outs of the program and can help you figure out if an accelerated nursing education is the right option for you.

Our faculty and staff will be an invaluable resource to you throughout your 16-month journey and after you graduate. Whether helping you develop and maintain your professional network or writing you a letter of recommendation for a potential job, these individuals will have your back.

10. Now is the time to pursue your dream of becoming a nurse.

As you can see, going back to school for nursing is not a decision you enter into lightly. It takes a lot of thought and consideration. Now that you know what to expect, only one question remains: Are you ready to live up to the challenge and pursue a degree that changes the lives of many?

Student in Madonna University's Accelerated BSN program

It all begins with an initial phone conversation with one of our trusted admissions representatives. Contact us and get started on your accelerated nursing education today!

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