What You Should Know About Going Back to School for Nursing

A Quick Summary: Going back to school for nursing is no easy feat. It takes time, effort and dedication. Before putting your life on hold to pursue your bachelors of science in nursing (BSN), there are some things you need to think about first.

Your Back-to-School for Nursing Survival Guide - stethoscope laying on book

Are you no longer passionate about your career path and ready to invest in something new? Given the growing demand for registered nurses, going back to school for nursing is a move many people like you have considered, but fears and unanswered questions have kept you from making a move.

Your concerns are justifiable – changing career paths can seem like a scary move to make, especially if it means putting your life on hold to learn a whole new profession. Yet, if you’re serious about going back to school for nursing, you shouldn’t waste any time. After all, your curiosity for making a change could very well mark the beginning of a rewarding, lifelong career in healthcare.

At Madonna University, we’re here to help put your plans in motion and provide you with the answers you need to start your nursing school journey with confidence. Plus, we offer people like you an opportunity to transfer your 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. But how do you know if it is the right move and the program for you? Let’s go through some questions to ask yourself to make a determination.

Why am I choosing a career in nursing?

Your decision to pursue a career in nursing is just the first step. Now, you need to get to the root of why you’re doing it. Perhaps a profound personal experience has triggered you to make this change, or maybe you’ve just always had a calling to become a nurse. Whatever your intention may be, it’s important that you have a firm understanding as to why you’re choosing a career in nursing. Knowing your why for nursing can help you stay focused and motivated throughout the duration of your nursing education.

Why our students chose nursing.

Chas Sloan

The flexibility that nursing allows is really unprecedented in a lot of other careers and was really important to me in my decision making.
– William “Chas” Sloan, Graduate December 2019

Steve Simmons

I was drawn to nursing because I really liked the amount of direct patient care nurses had in comparison to any other healthcare professions.
– Steve Simmons, Current Accelerated BSN Student

Cassidy Sandercock

I’ve always been a person that loves to help others and a career in nursing allows me to do just that.
– Cassidy Sandercock, Current Accelerated BSN Student

What are my nursing school wants and needs?

Before making the transition to a nursing career, you have to find the right program that fits your needs. To do this, you’ll find it beneficial to create a personal inventory outlining your nursing school wants and needs. Knowing what these are can help you determine if Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program is right for you. The following examples can help you in your thought process.

Your Wants

If you want to invest in faith-based nursing education, one that is rooted in compassion and empathy, then you may categorize “faith-based education” as a nursing school want. Having this type of education under your belt can bring much value to your career as a registered nurse.

Let’s say, for example, you’re dealing with a resistant patient who is calling you names, or maybe one of your favorite patients just passed away and you need to tell their family members. It’s during these times when you can pull from your faith-based nursing education.

Our ABSN curriculum is framed within the context of Catholic and Franciscan values, can help you obtain this personal requirement. Next to learning the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed to excel in the nursing profession, our program will equip you with a deeper purpose that extends beyond your patient’s illness. You’ll learn to care for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.

Chas Sloan

Above all, I wanted a faith-based education. When faith is part of your education, it becomes part of your career. So when you have those really difficult days, you have faith to fall back on, and you have faith to help you in the care that you provide.
– William “Chas” Sloan, Graduate December 2019

Your Needs

If you’re looking to enter the nursing profession as soon as possible, you may consider “flexibility and speed” as a nursing school need. Fortunately, our ABSN’s online nursing theory coursework, which makes up one part of our blended learning model, can provide you with just that.

For example, since you’re not tied down to a specific schedule, you can learn nursing theory concepts at any time of the day or night, while meeting deadlines set by your instructors. This gives you the flexibility to study and complete coursework when it best fits your schedule.

It’s also important to note that because our curriculum runs on a 16-month time frame, you can earn your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree sooner than most nursing graduates.

The most important thing I was looking for in a nursing program was to get into the field and start working as a nurse as soon as possible.
– Alexandra Darr, Accelerated BSN student

6 things you should know before starting nursing school

6 Things You Should Know Before Starting Nursing School infographic

You’re clear on your nursing school intention(s), but there’s a good chance you still 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. To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of six things you need to know before going back to school for nursing.

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

As touched on earlier, when it comes to going back to school for nursing, 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 handful of 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.

“My cohort is very diverse in terms of age, background, family status, and personality,” says Steve Simmons, current accelerated BSN student. “It’s been fun to see people from all walks of life bring their different methodologies into nursing and learn from them.”

How long does it take to become a nurse if you already have a bachelor’s degree?
Going back to school for nursing 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.

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 school or program.

Nursing students working in simulation lab

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 or fax (248) 281-1967. 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.

What our students say about prerequisites.

Prerequisites help you learn the basics and progressively move onto more difficult subjects that pertain to nursing.
– Kyle Stopa, Graduate December 2019

Prerequisites help you prepare for the program by giving you the knowledge of important concepts related to a patient’s health. Success in courses like pathophysiology, chemistry, and anatomy gave me a better understanding of the nursing process.
– Ed Avena, Graduate December 2019

Prerequisites gave me a basis of knowledge before starting the program. I came into the program with a well-rounded education, therefore I was prepared for the rigorous coursework and schedule of the program.
– Taylor Kroeze, Graduate December 2019

The prerequisites are so helpful in being prepared for the program. Without pathophysiology, there’s no way you can get through the first semester of the ABSN program. You have to have that understanding of body systems and know-how everything is working with each other.
– William “Chas” Sloan, Graduate December 2019

What prerequisite courses do I need to complete?

To be eligible to apply for our ABSN program, you will be required to earn a grade of “C” or higher in the following prerequisite courses:

  • Microbiology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Pathophysiology
  • Intro to Life Chemistry
  • Probability & Statistics
  • General Nutrition for the Health Professional
  • Therapeutic Nutrition for the Health Professional
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Lifespan Development Psychology
  • Intro to Sociology
  • College Composition
  • College Composition II

Your previous field of study will determine how many of the 13 prerequisites you’ll need to take. Biology degree holders tend to complete their prerequisite courses quicker than most because they’ve already completed most of the prerequisite courses, which include microbiology, chemistry, and statistics.

Support and Signature Courses

Alongside the prerequisites listed above, you will need to complete the following support and signature courses:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Spiritual & Ethical Considerations Palliative/End of Life Care
  • Health Care Informatics (must be taken before or with NUR 3480)
  • Medical Ethics
  • Two religion courses (One of which is called Madonna Heritage and must be taken at Madonna University. The other religion course can be taken anywhere.)
  • Diverse Perspectives
  • One upper literature class

You will have the opportunity to complete these courses during the ABSN program. They are crucial to your success as an ABSN student because they give you the knowledge and skills needed to connect with patients on a more holistic level.

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

Group of Madonna Accelerated BSN students studying together

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 our 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 up to 40 hours on your nursing studies. With that said, we don’t recommend that you work full time. Though, 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.

Other factors to consider:

How will I pay for a second bachelor’s degree in nursing?

Earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree is a significant financial decision, which may lead you to wonder 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.

How will I survive nursing school with a family?

Nursing student using laptop

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.

6. You have a growing support system.

Your support for nursing school doesn’t stop at 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.

Madonna University ABSN - Admissions representative

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

“Professors at Madonna are, in my experience, incredibly helpful,” says Chas Sloan, Accelerated BSN graduate. “If you take the time to reach out to them, they will be there for you, to help you understand the material and help you figure out different ways for you to learn.”

The students in your cohort will help you stay engaged with the coursework and motivate you to succeed. If you’re having a hard time with a nursing concept or assignment, your classmate can share their insights and help you with your study strategies.

“I love my cohort,” says Cassidy Sandercock, current accelerated BSN student. “We do everything together. Everyone helps each other and is there for each other through all the hard tests and some bad grades. Together, we make it through.”

Are you ready to begin your nursing school experience?

As you can see, going back to nursing school 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? 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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