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See What It’s Like to Pursue Nursing as a Second-degree Student

Nursing as a second degree is not easy and serious commitment is required

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing, in-demand professions available today. As a result, we get a lot of career changers applying to our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Curious as to what it’s like to pursue nursing as a second-degree student? You’re about to find out from two students who are graduating from the program next month.

With ABSN sites in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Nashville, Tennessee, our second-degree ABSN program is for individuals who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8. So, whether you have a BA or BS, you can leverage this education to graduate from our Leighton School of Nursing in as few as 16 months.

Take note, however, you must meet several prerequisite course requirements before you can begin our ABSN program. Comprising science and general education courses, you can complete these prerequisites online and at an accelerated pace via Marian’s Adult Programs (MAP).

As an ABSN student, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of online coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and in-person clinical rotations. While an intense, full-time learning format, you’ll receive highly personalized attention from our faculty and staff every step of the way.

ABSN Curriculum

Spanning four, 16-week semesters, our accelerated nursing curriculum includes:

  • Online courses that allow you to learn the fundamentals and theories of the profession at your own pace and when it best fits into your daily schedule. Assignment deadlines still apply.
  • Nursing skills and simulation labs that provide a realistic, risk-free platform to develop your hands-on skills and clinical judgment under faculty guidance. You’ll attend labs at your ABSN site at least twice a week.
  • Clinical rotations comprise 700 hours of experience in diverse areas of patient care. Indianapolis students complete clinicals at St. Vincent, while Nashville students complete theirs at Saint Thomas Health.

ABSN Students: Going Back to School for Nursing

Jordan, one of Marian's ABSN students, is working toward her second degree in nursing

Jordan Unversaw, ABSN Class of August 2019

Previous Degree: Health Science

Why Nursing as a Second Degree?

Currently working part-time as a behavioral therapist, Jordan decided to earn her second degree in nursing because it’s a career that would allow her to give back to the community on a much larger scale. “I also like how you can grow as a nurse in multiple ways.”

While she admits it gets tough trying to manage school and work, she stays organized and manages her time wisely. “You just have to know what works best for you and make sure that school is your priority! My work managers are awesome and super flexible with my school schedule. I just let them know two weeks in advance if I have an exam or any conflicts in my schedule.”

Why Marian University’s ABSN Program?

Jordan said she chose our ABSN program in Indianapolis for several reasons. “My sister went through the program in 2015 and really enjoyed it. I also liked the 16-month duration of the program and the fact that the class sizes are smaller than others.”

While she appreciates the accelerated pace of the program, she explained it’s challenging to learn a tremendous amount of material in a compressed time frame. “If you make time to study every day, you can succeed. It’s also important to utilize the resources that Marian University offers, which includes tutors, academic success coaches, and clinical instructors. Everyone here wants to see you succeed and they’re willing to help in any way possible!”

Jordan’s Experience

Calling it her “lifeline,” Jordan uses a planner to stay organized. She writes everything down in her planner, from her work schedule to her exam dates. She also sets realistic goals for the week.“Keeping a similar routine each day has also helped me. For example, on the days I work, I’ll come home and study for an hour, go exercise, eat dinner, and then study a few more hours until bed.”

To help her stay motivated, Jordan likes to study with her classmates. “Everyone is going through the same thing, so study groups are a great way for us to motivate and support one another.” She also believes that taking time to practice self-care is crucial to preventing burn out. “Yes, studying is important, but so is your health.”

Overall, Jordan says her experience in the program has been excellent. “I have really enjoyed all of my clinicals.” She did mention, however, that applying any skill for the first time during clinicals made her nervous. “The first time I had to give a shot, I was afraid of messing up. But my instructor was really supportive and boosted my confidence significantly.”

After earning her RN license, Jordan would like to work in an intensive care unit (ICU), preferably in a trauma specialty. “ICU nurses are quick on their feet and really advocate for their patients, which is what I really like about this particular field.”

Take Note

While some students choose to work part-time during their 16 months in the ABSN program, our Leighton School of Nursing advises that ABSN students focus solely on their education given the time and commitment required to complete the accelerated nursing program successfully.

Marian ABSN student, Allysia, is seeking nursing as a second degree

Allysia Campbell, ABSN Class of August 2019

Previous Degree: Exercise Science

Why Nursing as a Second Degree?

Currently working as an emergency medical technician (EMT) at a children’s hospital, Allysia made the decision to go back to school for nursing after witnessing the close interaction nurses have with their patients. “I came to the realization that this is where I wanted to be.”

“I love the nurses that I work with and strive to be like them,” she said. “After all, nurses are at the front line of patient care. They are the ones who make the most out of a patient’s hospital experience.”

Having already been to college once, Allysia said she liked the accelerated format of our 16-month, second-degree ABSN program in Indianapolis. Plus, the program is close to her home. “It just seemed like the best fit for me.”

Allysia’s Experience

She says the first semester of the program requires making significant adjustments to your schedule, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. “It’s just a lot all at once. You’re doing assignments online, attending labs at the program site, and taking complex exams. It’s easy to get jumbled up by everything that’s going on.”

Allysia says she has managed to stay organized and on top of everything by using a planner to plot out every week in advance. “Knowing what I need to get done by the day helps me stay organized.”

She goes on to explain that good organization and time management are key to being successful in an accelerated nursing program. “There are students in my cohort who have kids, jobs, and family obligations,” she says. “It’s a doable program if you’re committed to your education.”

Once she graduates from the program and earns her RN license, Allysia says she wants to work as an ER nurse. “You really have nothing to lose. This program is 16 months—just go for it.”

Ready to Pursue Nursing as a Second-degree Student?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and are interested in learning more about our ABSN program in Indianapolis or Nashville, contact our admissions team today!

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