Nursing Experiences Help Students Launch Careers

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Valuable Nursing Experiences in Our ABSN Program Help Students Launch Careers

We’re proud of the paths Marian University accelerated BSN students take once they graduate from our program. Most go on to become nurses at top healthcare facilities, demonstrating the kinds of empathetic qualities and practical expertise nurses need to be successful.

We may be biased, but we don’t think that’s by accident. In fact, many Marian University ABSN alumni have told us that the nursing experiences they had as part of our program not only helped them land their first nursing jobs, but that their education gave them the confidence to thrive in their careers.

That’s certainly the case for two former accelerated nursing students — both now have rewarding careers they love, and credit our program for helping them get there. Below, we illustrate how the nursing experiences they had as students in the Marian University ABSN program helped forge their professional paths.

Vanessa Haslag: Obstetrics Nurse at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital

Vanessa Haslag, Marian ABSN student, in pink scrubs

Vanessa spent five years applying her business marketing degree to a job at an insurance agency before deciding it was time to change course toward a career she was passionate about. She had a passing interest in medicine since childhood, but the amount of time she’d have to commit to going back to school always put her off from pursuing a career in healthcare, especially since she also wanted to start a family.

For all of the reasons above, nursing became Vanessa’s logical second career choice. Given the facts that she sought a nursing program that would work with her schedule and that she could complete quickly, Marian University’s 16-month online-based ABSN program in Nashville emerged as the best option for her to get her nursing degree.

How our second-degree nursing program helped her launch her career

As an ABSN student enrolled in our satellite program in Nashville, Vanessa reaped the benefits of our clinical partnership with Saint Thomas Health, a leading not-for-profit hospital system in Tennessee that is part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

For one, our program site — where ABSN students go to attend skills and simulation labs — is located inside Saint Thomas West. That meant she could start networking with hospital staff starting her first day of the program. Those connections ultimately led her to an extern position and now as a nurse on the mother-baby unit at Saint Thomas Midtown.

Her leadership clinical rotation gave her an insider’s edge

Because Saint Thomas is such a large and respected hospital network, Vanessa had access to a wide range of diverse clinical scenarios and one unique to the Marian University ABSN program: her leadership clinical rotation.

As part of that experience, she had the chance to shadow a nursing leader within Saint Thomas and get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on with the administrative end of a hospital. Vanessa describes this experience as invaluable to her career.

“I attended meetings with managers and administrators and heard about things they were planning for the hospital,” she says. “It was a great experience being able to see what eventually, as I worked my way up through the hospital system, my job could be.”

Her instructors had connections to Saint Thomas Health

The fact that many of Vanessa’s professors and clinical instructors worked for Saint Thomas Health previously or currently also helped her with finding a job after graduation.

“One of my instructors worked on the unit where I first became a nurse extern, and she had put in a good reference for me. Based on my experience on that unit, I was able to transfer to the mother-baby unit,” she says.

Thanks to the relationships she made with her instructors and the valuable nursing experiences she had in the ABSN program, she now has a career she loves.

“I love caring for people. I love being able to use my brain to solve problems,” she says. “I love teaching moms how to take care of their baby and helping the babies in their first few days of life.”

Ashley Piercey: PICU Nurse at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital

Ashley, PICU nurse as Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in Indianapolis

Like Vanessa, Ashley had always wanted to work in healthcare; she just wasn’t sure exactly what that looked like for her when it came time to choose a major as an undergrad. To cover her bases, she decided to pursue a business management degree, figuring it could serve as a solid foundation for any area of healthcare she decided to pursue later. It wasn’t until her senior year that she started giving a nursing career any serious thought.

“I heard once that doctors diagnose; nurses heal. That always stuck with me — the idea of the care that nurses give and making an impact in the lives of adults and children,” she says. “That’s what really drew me — the care.”

How our ABSN program helped her with her career

From participating in on-site simulation and skills labs to networking with clinical instructors, Ashley says the Marian University online-based ABSN program in Indianapolis has helped her land — and excel at — her current career.

Simulation labs prepared her for real-world situations

The aspect of the program that helped Ashley navigate the day-to-day patient care scenarios at her job the most was the simulation and skills lab. This portion of her nursing school education allowed her to have hands-on simulated nursing experiences that mimicked a hospital setting — real medical equipment and lifelike medical manikins and all.

“When you’re in school, you think, ‘oh, we’re just acting,’ but now that I am working, stuff happens and you’re by yourself for a minute, but everybody comes together and works together just like a simulation,” she says. “You’re practicing a real-world situation for when that day comes when you are faced with that certain situation.”

Our clinical partnership presented her with networking opportunities

Ashley says our ABSN program’s clinical partnership with St. Vincent has been useful for her career, especially since she now works for a hospital within the same hospital network. With her end goal of launching a career in mind, she did what many of our students do: treat clinicals like a 16-month job interview.

“Every time we went into clinical we’d meet a new nurse. To me that was a new open door to network, to get to know, to ask them questions on what they think about St. Vincent,” she says. “Every time you go into a clinical, you have to have your best face on and be prepared because it could potentially be an interview.”

She points to following the fourth floor manager at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital during her leadership clinical rotation as the perfect example of that.

“Being able to go to meetings, the managers saw my face. In one of my interviews with the PICU, the manager recognized me. I was able to tell her I followed the fourth floor manager and I’d been in meetings with her,” she says.

Her bonds with faculty members remain strong — even after graduation

Ashley interviewed for her new graduate residency position at the PICU at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in June and received an offer in July — a full month before her graduation date.

“Before I graduated from nursing school I already had a job waiting for me,” she says. “It was very quick, and I was very excited about that.”

After starting her position that September, she continued studying for the NCLEX. She finished the test in 75 questions.

She says she felt so prepared and confident to take the exam large in part to the support she received from her instructors, but knows they’re not far away if she ever needs reassurance.

“As I become a more experienced nurse and I have questions, and need some encouragement, I without a doubt know I could reach out to certain professors and certain clinical instructors,” she says.

Where will a BSN take you?

By earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree, you’re opening the door to several possible career paths. Which route will you follow? Contact an admissions advisor to find out how you can begin pursuing a rewarding career as a nurse, and how our accelerated BSN program can help you get there.