What Is an ABSN and Are You an Ideal Candidate?

four nursing students

An Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is a fast-track education option that allows you to leverage your non-nursing college experience to start your career sooner. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or some college experience, this option could be a fit.

You have decided you want to change career paths and become a registered nurse, but now comes the most important part — finding a nursing program that’s right for you. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or some college experience, one option that could be a fit is an ABSN program.

What is an ABSN program? ABSN stands for Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It’s a fast-track option that allows you to leverage your non-nursing college experience (usually 60 credits or a non-nursing Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science) so you can earn a B.S. in Nursing in as few as 16 months. How soon you can start depends on what classes you have previously taken. If you need to take more general education classes, you may have to complete some prerequisites successfully before we can accept you into the program.

That’s the overview, but how an ABSN program works is even more important to understand as you weigh your options.

Let’s use Madonna University’s accelerated nursing program in Michigan as an example to determine if an accelerated option would be the right fit for you.

Madonna University’s accelerated nursing program leverages your non-nursing college experience to expedite your nursing education. With the mix of blended learning curriculum, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations, our ABSN program provides you with all the experience you need to be successful in your nursing career.

The Blended Curriculum

Madonna University’s ABSN program uses a blended learning format that combines online and hands-on learning. The blended curriculum allows students to have some flexibility when it comes to completing their online nursing theory coursework. Then they can put what they’ve learned online into practice during hands-on skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations inside top area hospitals, including Ascension’s St. John Providence.

Online Learning

Our dynamic e-Learning platform offers a high level of learning convenience, teaching you about nursing theory anytime, anywhere. While you must complete assignments under the deadlines set forth by instructors, the flexibility of studying when it best fits your schedule makes this an ideal option for many busy adults who have decided to change career paths.

ABSN student studying on laptop

Top instructional designers developed the online nursing curriculum, which Madonna University’s trusted faculty members lead. While the online portion of the curriculum isn’t in a classroom, you still have the support of your instructors and classmates through chat rooms, email, and other forms of communication.

Nursing Skills and Simulation Labs

Skills and simulation labs allow you to put your online work into practice in a safe environment that features state-of-the-art hospital equipment and high-fidelity patient simulators.

Skills Lab

Under the guidance of nursing school faculty, students learn how to apply various nursing skills safely and correctly on patient simulators using advanced medical equipment. Skills lab allows students to get comfortable with objects like vials and needles before having to use them in a real-world environment.

Simulation Labs

Simulation labs put students in real-world patient scenarios, allowing them to collaborate and problem-solve through various situations without harming an actual patient. During simulations, students may play different roles, acting as a nurse or family member, so they can understand fully all the skills needed to be an effective caretaker.

nursing student working with sim manikin

Clinical Rotations

Diverse clinical rotations inside top area hospitals, including Ascension’s St. John Providence, give students a chance to use their online nursing theory and hands-on lab experience to help real patients in need. Clinical placements also provide students an opportunity to build relationships with members of the local healthcare community.

Students are able to gain a deeper understanding of nursing through a variety of practice areas that may include:

  • Adult and Older Adult Health
  • Maternity and Pediatrics
  • Acute Care
  • Mental and Behavioral Health

The first clinical experience for Madonna ABSN students happens during the first semester.

What are the benefits of an ABSN program like Madonna University’s? If you already have some college education or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, the two huge benefits of an ABSN program are speed and accessibility.


Because qualified students must have 60 prior college credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative 2.8 GPA, they are able to transfer credits for general education courses and start right with their nursing classes. This allows students to earn their BSN in as few as 16 months.


While many programs only can offer a limited number of seats to nursing students and offer one start per year, Madonna University’s ABSN program makes earning a BSN more accessible for students. Madonna offers three start dates per year and has seats available now to qualified students.

Now that you have a better understanding of what an ABSN is, you need to ask yourself if it is the ideal program for you and if you have what it takes to be successful in an accelerated program. While no secret formula for success exists, many successful ABSN students possess consistent traits. They include people who are:

1. Previous Non-Nursing Students

In order to graduate in as few as 16 months, you must have previous college experience with a minimum of 60 credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

Explore more on how you can turn your previous bachelor’s degree into a nursing degree.

2. Highly Organized

It’s important to stay organized so you don’t fall behind. Aside from just your nursing curriculum, it’s important to stay organized in your nursing career as well, so being in the habit now will only help you in the future. If you are someone who keeps a calendar and stays on top of projects, this may be the program for you.

Group of Madonna Accelerated BSN students studying together

3. Critical Thinkers

If you can solve problems easily and think on your feet, you may be successful not only in an ABSN program, but as a registered nurse.

4. Driven

Determination is key to making it through an ABSN program. If you are someone who never gives up, then an ABSN program would be a great fit.

5. Able to Study Full Time

Becoming a registered nurse is a full-time job so it’s best to be a full-time student. You will want to stay focused so you can earn your BSN in as few as 16 months so we recommend not working during the program if possible.

Madonna Accelerated BSN student

The question “what is an ABSN” may have been answered in this blog, but now it is time for you to decide if an accelerated program is the right path for you. There’s only one way to find out. Contact an admissions representative by phone or through our online form to get started on the journey today.