What is Nursing School Like? How to Prepare for an ABSN Program

Madonna ABSN student working with sim manikin

One of the most common questions future nursing students have is, “What is nursing school like?” The answer to this question will depend on the type of nursing program you choose as well as the institution you attend. Regardless of your nursing educational path, you’ll face challenges. However, with an accelerated nursing program, the faster pace intensifies your learning.

To gain a greater understanding about what nursing school is like, we’ve compiled a list of what you should know before you start. Remember that with Madonna University’s 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in metro Detroit, you’ll have the guidance of supportive faculty to help you each step of the way.

What Nursing School is Like in an ABSN Program

The environment of nursing schools varies across universities, but for students pursuing a degree through Madonna University’s ABSN program, they will experience an accelerated curriculum that provides the same nursing education as a traditional four-year degree program.

Additionally, Madonna’s ABSN blends online and in-person learning. In this educational environment, bolstered by supportive faculty, students will come to understand what nursing school is like. Here are some of the factors that make an ABSN program unique.

1. It’s a Fast-Paced, Accelerated Experience

Unlike traditional nursing programs, ABSN at 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 non-nursing college credits.

closeup of Madonna ABSN student blue scrubs

For many students, this quick timeframe can be a significant advantage. With three start dates each year — in January, May, and August — students are able to begin their nursing education sooner. Having the ability to pursue your nursing education and begin a new career so quickly can be a massive boost to a student’s career trajectory, and we’re proud to be able to make that happen.

2. ABSN Incorporates a Blended Curriculum

Madonna University’s Accelerated BSN program runs on a blended learning model, combining the upsides of online and in-person learning. The ABSN online coursework is delivered through a dynamic digital learning platform, granting students plenty of adaptability. Students can easily access instructor support when they have questions about the material. In-person skills and simulation labs as well as clinical rotations, on the other hand, allow for the best of “traditional learning” to shine through.

Online Learning

Online courses at Madonna University play a pivotal role in your success with becoming a registered nurse. Because the curriculum is blended, you’ll be responsible for completing most online coursework on your own time while still meeting deadlines.

You’ll use an e-learning platform called Canvas throughout your ABSN education. Through this system, you’ll encounter lessons and assignments catered to a variety of learning styles. If you need assistance, our faculty is ready to provide answers and guidance along the way.

three Madonna ABSN students using laptop computers

Hands-On Labs

In addition to online learning, you need valuable hands-on experience before caring for patients in a clinical environment. This is where skills and simulation labs come into play. Skills and simulation labs work together to teach you how to safely and effectively put nursing concepts into practice in a mock clinical environment.

In skills lab you’ll apply nursing theory by practicing hands-on nursing techniques. With the help of faculty, you will learn how to perform a variety of skills — from performing physical assessments to measuring blood pressure to placing IV lines and nasogastric tubes.

Simulation lab, meanwhile, prepares students to deal with complex clinical situations as they arise. In these labs, you will perform tasks on a fully functioning manikin. Then, from the observation room, your instructors will control what the manikin does while taking notes and monitoring how you respond to different situations to prepare you for the real world.

In-Hospital Clinical Rotations

During your first semester, you will experience the clinical nursing environment during clinical rotations at regional healthcare facilities, including Ascension’s St. John Providence. Clinicals let you practice the nursing skills you’ve gleaned online and in labs in a real-world setting with patients. This clinical experience in a variety of settings helps prepare you for working as a nurse after graduation.

3. It Can Be Difficult

Traditional four-year nursing programs are rigorous because of the complex nature of nursing content, and an accelerated nursing program can be even more difficult because you’re getting the same education, just on a quicker timeline.

You will learn complicated nursing concepts and then put those concepts into practice in a variety of settings. Nursing school can be difficult because it requires more than simple memorization. Plus with an ABSN program, the coursework is done primarily online, so it requires dedication and motivation in order to be successful.

4. It Requires Lots of Studying

With so many new concepts to learn and exams to prepare for, studying will seem like a never-ending task. However, it’s a very important task if you’re hoping to be successful in the nursing program.

Madonna ABSN student on laptop studying

Everything you learn in the ABSN helps prepare you to be a safe and effective nurse, so it’s vital to absorb this knowledge. Recognize the time commitment required for nursing school, and dedicate enough time for you to master the material.

It’s very possible to feel overwhelmed at times, but know that it’s okay to feel this way. Although it may seem like a profound amount of new information, what you experience in nursing school will prepare you for a successful career in the future. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support.

3 Tips for How to Prepare for Nursing School

Nursing school can be stressful because of the intense workload, especially if it’s on an accelerated timeline like Madonna University’s accelerated BSN program. It’s important to know these expectations going into nursing school so you can feel prepared and confident as you tackle the program. Additionally, there are a few things you can do to combat this stress and make the process a little easier.


1. Find Your Motivation

One way you can prepare for nursing school is to find a sense of motivation inside yourself. In the ABSN program, the coursework moves quickly. Because the coursework is online, you won’t have people pushing you every step of the way to get things done. Self-motivation will help you stay on top of your work and ultimately find success as a practicing nurse.


2. Establish Good Study Habits

Although you can expect to study a lot while in the nursing program, there are ways you can prepare and hopefully make the process more efficient. One thing you can do is establish good study habits. Whether you learn best through repetition, self-quizzing, or outlining, knowing how you study best will make you more productive. Effective studying can reduce the hours you have to dedicate to studying and ease your stress.


3. Develop a Support System

Developing a support system can be helpful in managing the challenges of nursing school. Having a strong support system you can rely on makes the transition to nursing school easier, as it gives you someone to talk to when you are feeling overwhelmed. Loved ones can also help to put things in perspective and ease your mind as you face these new challenges.


Begin Your ABSN Education Today!

Now that you have a better understanding of what nursing school is like and how to prepare for it, it’s time to experience an ABSN program for yourself. Contact an admissions representative to learn more about Madonna University’s ABSN program today.