The biggest question future nursing students have is always What is nursing school like? To understand best, you’ll want to hear from individuals who have faced the rigors of nursing school firsthand. Take, for example, the current students enrolled in Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in metro Detroit. Their personal experiences can help you learn more about the program and give you an idea of what to expect.
What is a nursing school like? At Madonna University, it’s accelerated. Unlike traditional nursing programs, ABSN@Madonna makes it possible for you to earn a quality Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as few as 16 months. How? By leveraging your non-nursing bachelor’s degree or existing 60 college credits.
For current Accelerated BSN student Steve, this quick timeframe was a significant advantage. “I wanted to hit the ground running,” he says. With three start dates each year (January, May, and August), Steve was able to begin his nursing education at a time that worked best for him.
Plus, given his existing biology degree, he was able to start the program sooner than most. This is because most of his past credits met the required ABSN prerequisites.
Secure your seat through rolling admissions.
Through rolling admissions, your ABSN admissions representative can examine your application as it comes in versus reviewing it at a specific deadline. This provides you with an admissions decision within a few weeks of applying. The benefit? You can secure your seat for a particular term before other ABSN students apply.
Madonna University’s Accelerated BSN program runs on a blended learning model, which consists of online nursing theory coursework, hands-on labs, and in-hospital clinical placements. Collectively, these learning elements grant you the confidence needed to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), the nationwide nursing licensure exam, once you graduate.
Online courses at Madonna University play a pivotal role in your success of becoming a registered nurse. Since the curriculum is blended, you will be responsible for completing a lot of online coursework on your own time. This will be done through Canvas, the online learning management system you will use throughout your ABSN education.
In other words, you can think of Canvas as your virtual classroom. Here, you will find an array of interactive activities to match your personal learning style. “Each class has a tab and within that tab are your assignments and lectures, so you can work ahead if you want,” says current Accelerated BSN student Cassidy.
From discussion forums to video content, Canvas allows you to engage with course material at your own speed. However, it will be your responsibility to meet the instructor’s deadlines.
“You have to have the motivation to sit down every day and spend hours using the resources that you’ve been given so that you stay on track,” says Chas, an Accelerated BSN student.
Take Canvas on the go!
The Canvas by Instructure app is the mobile version of Canvas, which helps you stay up-to-date with your courses on the go. Madonna Accelerated BSN student Kelsey uses it to access weekly conferences, led by instructors. “Conferences are like an interactive lecture,” she says. “It’s where our instructors review the material for the week. They record them, which is helpful because I listen to them, through the Canvas app, as I drive to clinical.”
In addition to online learning, it’s vital that you gain valuable hands-on experience before caring for patients in a hospital environment. This is where skills and simulation lab comes into play. Though these labs come in two parts, they both work together to teach you how to safely and effectively put nursing concepts you’ve already learned into experiential practice.
Skills lab is where you practice the application of nursing theory across the patient lifespan. “We build up our skills from bottom to top,” says Steve. With the help of faculty, you will learn how to perform a variety of skills – from physical assessments to measuring blood pressure to administering medication, and more.
Depending on how serious the activity is, some of these skills can be executed on your classmates. “We split up into groups and practice with our classmates to make sure we covered all the steps and then we have a validation where we are tested on that skill,” says Cassidy.
The best part is, there are no adverse consequences, so you can spend as much time refining your practice as you would like. “Being really good at those skills makes you a better nurse and makes you more confident when you move into the clinicals,” says Chas.
The simulation lab is the closest you will get to dealing with simulated real-life clinical situations. “You have one room that looks just like a hospital room, and then you have a bed with a manikin that breathes, has a heartbeat, and talks,” explains Steve. “From the observation room, your instructors will control what the manikin does while taking notes and monitoring how you react to different situations in preparation for the real world.”
In-hospital clinical rotations
During your first semester, you will experience what it is like to work as a registered nurse during clinical rotations inside top area healthcare facilities, including Ascension’s St. John Providence. This will grant you real-world experience in a variety of settings. For many ABSN students, this is their favorite part.
I’ve learned a lot of different things from each of the clinical placements I’ve been in.
Clinicals are your time to shine – they not only help you grow as a nursing student, but they let you showcase the nursing skills you’ve already learned online and in labs in a real-world setting on actual patients. “When we go into clinical we have a lot of interaction with our patients,” says Cassidy. “We go in and usually get assigned one to three patients, and we can do total care under the guidance of faculty members.”
Best of all, clinicals teach you how to multitask effectively and think critically. “We’re doing everything from assessments to vitals to daily routine things that patients need for comfort – it’s fully hands-on,” says Steve.
Begin your ABSN education today!
Sometimes hearing from others who have experienced an accelerated nursing program like Madonna’s ABSN firsthand can help prepare you to take the next step. Now that you know what nursing school is like, it’s time to experience the ABSN program for yourself.
Contact an admissions representative to learn more about Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program today.