One ABSN Alumna’s Journey from Physical Therapy to Nursing

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at (866) 892-6463.

One ABSN Alumna’s Journey from Physical Therapy to Nursing

Students enrolled in the Marian University ABSN program start their nursing journeys from a variety of diverse backgrounds and for a variety of reasons.

Whether they felt stuck in their current career or simply wanted to make a living out of caring for others, they decided to apply their existing bachelor’s degree to earn a nursing degree in as few as 16 months.

Take ABSN alumna Shelbi Auman for example. She made the switch from physical therapy to nursing because she felt like something was missing in her previous career path.

“I hit a plateau in that field and didn’t feel like I was helping people the way I wanted to,” she says.

Fast forward almost two years later, and Shelbi’s transition from physical therapy to nursing is complete. A December 2017 graduate of our program, today she works as a nurse at Duke University’s pulmonary intensive care unit — a job offer she accepted before even graduating from our ABSN program.

Shelbi is proof that just because you started your career or undergraduate studies in one field, it doesn’t mean you can’t ever change course.

Why Shelbi Chose Nursing

Shelbi’s decision to change paths from physical therapy to nursing solidified when she saw professional caregivers nurture the tiniest member of her extended family.

“My youngest niece was born in the NICU,” she says. “Seeing the nurses interact with her inspired me from a different perspective.”

Shelbi recalls the NICU nurses showing compassion and putting her and her family at ease in an otherwise scary situation.

“We couldn’t hold her much. My sister was terrified; we were all scared and didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “It was then I realized these nurses weren’t just there for the job. They really cared. They took such good care of my niece and showed her so much love. …It gave me a different outlook on what nurses actually do.”

Why Shelbi Chose Marian University

The compassionate care side of nursing drew Shelbi to the profession, so it’s no surprise she landed on Marian University, a faith-based institution that focuses on treating the whole patient — mind, body, and spirit — to begin her career change from physical therapy to nursing.

Shelbi also sought an accredited, accelerated nursing school with a stellar reputation. Marian University’s ABSN program in Nashville checked all those boxes for her.

“Since it’s accelerated, it fit into my schedule,” she says. “I already have another degree and I didn’t want to spend another four years going through school.”

Her dream to change paths to nursing became reality when she found out she got into our ABSN program.

“I saw my acceptance into the program as an opportunity, an open door,” she says. “I was super excited. Nervous, but excited.”

Why You Should Choose Marian University

Shelbi credits her experiences through the Marian University ABSN program for achieving her goal of changing careers from physical therapy to nursing so quickly. If you’re like Shelbi and ready to accelerate your career change to nursing, here’s what you can expect as a student enrolled in our ABSN program:

Online Nursing Theory Coursework

Through our online, accelerated nursing coursework, the textbook learning portion of your nursing education takes place whenever and wherever you want. More of a self-described classroom learner and less of an online learner, at first Shelbi didn’t know how those nursing theory classes would work.

Once she worked within our e-Learning management system, completing assignments and quizzes, socializing with peers in a discussion forum and participating in scheduled chat sessions with instructors, she adapted and caught on.

“The Marian University ABSN program opened the door for a different outlook on online learning,” she says.

Another benefit of our online-based nursing school model? Access. Shelbi says she found immense value in the online course format.

“We have the didactic courses based in Indiana and our clinical instructors here in Nashville,” she says. “I communicated back and forth through email with my professors, and they always gave us their phone numbers so we could call them.”

Nursing Skills and Sim Labs

Of course, you can’t complete all aspects of your accelerated nursing education online. On-site nursing skills and simulation labs comprise a large portion of the Marian University ABSN program’s curriculum, too. As a student enrolled at our Nashville location, Shelbi completed her labs inside our learning site located on the fifth floor of Saint Thomas West Hospital.

Simulation manikin of a mother with child

During the skills portion of her nursing education, Shelbi fine-tuned basic nursing skills, such as hand washing, bed changes and nasogastric tube placements working with small groups of her peers. Later, she applied those skills using medical manikins in mock clinical settings during nursing simulation labs.

Simulation as a teaching strategy not only lets you hone your clinical skills in a risk-free environment, it also allows you to practice working as part of a patient care team and apply critical skills in mock high-risk trauma scenarios.

For example, a mock clinical situation may involve calming a family member upset with their father in the hospital when you’re coming into the room or explaining medications to patients.

“It seems corny at first because it’s not a real patient, but it does get your familiar with what you’re dealing with before going into a real clinical setting,” Shelbi says.

Clinical Rotations

Another critical component of your nursing education as a Marian University ABSN student, clinical rotations offer valuable experience providing holistic patient care in a variety of healthcare settings starting your first semester.

Shelbi in front of a Saint Thomas Health sign

Shelbi’s clinical rotations paint a good picture of the diverse experiences you can expect as a Marian University ABSN student.

Her clinicals ranged from hospital settings on a medical-surgical floor, in the NICU and pediatrics floors to a mental hospital and a wound clinic.

“The instructors work hard to get you to see as much as you can,” she says.

Besides having the ability to “try on” different medical specialties, Shelbi says her clinical rotations were a vital part of her nursing education because they helped her gain confidence interacting with patients.

At first I was terrified. It took me a long time to go into the patient’s room to say hi,” she says. “Then once you realize that they’re a person, your confidence begins to develop.”

Make the Switch to Nursing

Thanks to her experiences in our ABSN program, Shelbi knew she could enter the workforce confident that she would succeed in her new nursing career, which ended up starting before she even graduated — she received a job offer two months before completing the program.

“You build a family here and you might have some time away from your family at home, but know that they’re going to support you and you’re going to get through it in 16 months,” she says. “In the end, you’re going to be an RN and be so proud that you did it.”

Are you like Shelbi and ready to transition into a rewarding career as a nurse? One of our admissions advisors would love to help you determine if the Marian University ABSN program is right for you. Contact us today to get started!