If you are planning to make a significant career change, there may be several reasons behind your decision. You might be less satisfied with your current career than you thought you would be, or maybe you now have the time and resources to pursue work in a field you always wanted to be in. Choosing to switch careers to nursing means getting the right kind of education, and one way to do that is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through an online ABSN program.
“ABSN” stands for Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The ABSN program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. It is “accelerated” because students don’t have to retake all the general education courses they covered with their first bachelor’s degree—they can concentrate on nursing coursework exclusively and earn a second bachelor’s in little over a year.
Three students who are enrolled in Marymount University’s online ABSN program have shared some insights about their experiences. If you are thinking about pursuing an online nursing degree, continue reading to learn what you can achieve with an ABSN and how to become a registered nurse.
Getting a top-flight education from your home base
A great feature of accelerated BSN programs is that they are offered online. Online nursing programs from well-regarded nursing schools are a terrific way to get a quality education while staying close to home. This can help nursing students who have family obligations, such as Sarah Oney, who is enrolled in an online ABSN program at Marymount University. “I am an active-duty spouse and I am a mother of three. So, it gave me more time to be present with my family.”
Another online ABSN student, Gabrielle Bahou, also values being able to get her education remotely. “I wanted the flexibility of creating my own schedule and being able to work and be around my family,” she says.
Why people are choosing nursing
Some nursing students feel called to the profession. They have a desire to help others in meaningful ways and have developed a passion for nursing. Other students have encountered nurses in their lives—they had a family member who was a nurse, or a loved one who received significant nursing care—and were inspired by their example.
Through the pandemic, many of us have seen images of nurses doing valuable work with patients and in communities, and that has been inspiring as well.
Some people choose nursing—especially as a second career—because they are looking for job security and competitive compensation. Salaries for registered nurses (RNs) are very good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary for RNs of $75,330. The BLS also reports that there is steady job growth for RNs, which they estimate to be 9% annual growth.
Job growth for nurses is tied to what many experts perceive as a nursing shortage. For years, experts who study the health care workplace have seen the number of older patients with multiple chronic or acute illnesses increasing at a faster pace than the number of nurses joining the field. Luckily, new nurse candidates can take advantage of full-time programs in online education to help fill the gaps.
So many options for nurses
Another thing that is so appealing about nursing is that there are so many options available for members of the profession. RNs can do clinical work at the patient bedside or go into management or a non-patient-facing role, such as informatics, public health or occupational health.
Nurses can discover their particular interests through their clinical rotations as students or during their work experiences. As part of their education, nursing students rotate through several different types of clinical settings or hospital departments. One week they might be assigned to ambulatory care, the next week they are working in pediatrics. This exposure to different care settings and specialties can help set a student’s career path. As student Oney states, “By earning my ABSN, I want to pass my NCLEX and work in labor and delivery.”
View Sarah Oney's full testimonial below:
Registered nurses can also specialize in their nursing practice. In some cases, this may require additional education and certification for such positions as an oncology care nurse, certified dialysis nurse or certified emergency nurse.
An ABSN can be just one step in your nursing journey
Earning an ABSN and becoming a registered nurse may be just the start of what you’d like to accomplish in your nursing career. Bahou, who is enrolled in the online ABSN program at Marymount University, says, “By earning my ABSN degree, I would like to work in Virginia area hospitals and then continue my education and pursue advanced practicing in nursing.” Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) have furthered their education in a master’s program, then selected one of several roles, such as nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife or clinical nurse specialist.
View Gabrielle Bahou's full testimonial below:
The benefits of an online ABSN program from Marymount University
1. Study online
All courses and coursework will be completed online with classes being delivered primarily via livestreaming and occasionally a series of recorded lectures and assigned readings. Students appreciate the flexibility of diving into learning modules when it makes the most sense for their schedules, and they can revisit the material as needed. “I am able to learn at my own pace and get to focus on things that I don’t understand,” says Oney.
Online coursework will provide the foundations of nursing science and evidence-based practice with topics such as pathophysiology, pharmacology and the role of genetics and genomics in nursing care. The program also features instruction on community health considerations and research methods, among other topics.
2. Great professors
Drawing on a 50-year tradition of nursing education, professors at Marymount are committed to providing optimal learning opportunities for students—even those studying online. “The professors are all wonderful,” Oney states.
ABSN student Erin Griffin agrees. “My professors seem to really want me to succeed and are very helpful.”
3. On-campus residency to master hands-on skills
Learning the ins and outs of physical examinations, medication administration, wound care and more are vital to successful, competent nursing. Students come together on campus for this brief, intensive instruction.
“The most exciting thing for me is our two-week, in-person clinical skills labs,” Griffin says. “Through this two-week immersion, [the members of the class] have really gotten to know each other, and it’s been great to collaborate and learn off of each other. Getting that hands-on experience is really helpful.”
View Erin Griffin's full testimonial below:
4. Clinical rotations
Toward the end of their program, students will further their hands-on instruction through placement in clinical sites. Working under the guidance of experienced nurses and a preceptor, the student will get first-hand experience caring for patients and collaborating with other care professionals.
Marymount’s ABSN program includes clinical placement services, so students are free to concentrate on learning instead of worrying about finding clinical sites on their own.
5. Preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam
Marymount ABSN students receive thorough preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam, which must be passed to qualify for licensure to practice. The University’s programs enjoy a 92% five-year passing rate for the exam.
Speak with a Marymount admissions advisor today
Marymount’s ABSN program will prepare you for a career of nursing excellence. In addition to the academic and clinical education you will receive, the University makes available Student Success Advisors who support students throughout their decision-making, application and learning processes.
A few of the ways that Student Success Advisors will support you include:
- Advising you on your degree path.
- Working through the details of tuition costs and plans.
- Touching base via progress check-up emails and phone calls to help you stay on task.
- Providing you with expert answers to all of your course-related questions.
- Helping you prepare for your career goals.
- Building a relationship with you to provide positive encouragement.
Achieve great things. Pursue your passion for nursing at Marymount University. Fast-track your path to becoming an RN with our ABSN.