Today, there is high demand for nurses. Many individuals are now changing careers to meet this demand. But can someone who already has a bachelor’s degree become a nurse without doing four more years? Absolutely. This is the exact situation Linda Vang, a current ABSN student at Concordia University Wisconsin, was facing.
What is the ABSN program?
Concordia Wisconsin’s Accelerated Second Degree BSN (ABSN) program is made for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and are ready to transition their career into nursing. The 14-month program combines online and in-person classes on our Mequon campus.
The program is geared towards giving you the skills you need to hit the ground running as a registered nurse. You will have hands-on experience with clinicals at Milwaukee area hospitals. When you graduate you will be ready to take on your new career.
After completing her bachelor’s degree, student Linda Vang, found her passion to become a nurse and is now almost finished with Concordia’s ABSN program. Let’s hear about her experience.
Why did you choose to enroll in your nursing degree at Concordia University Wisconsin?
I have a friend who was part of the first cohort of the accelerated nursing program and recommended it to me. She really liked this program and felt like it would be a good fit for what I wanted. I always knew I was going to be a nurse. I just didn’t know when that was going to be.
This program was built for working adults, and I think that just really worked well for me, allowing me to have a sense of balance in work/life/school. I felt like all these things were a sign from God, telling me this is the place for me. I trusted Him and followed.
Would you recommend your program to others and why?
Yes, I would highly recommend this program. My first time on campus, I was so lost and confused, but everyone was so kind and friendly, and I was able to get to where I needed. I felt like I belonged and that I mattered to the school. So, kudos to the entire Concordia staff. Everyone that I came across, stopped what they were doing and helped me get to where I needed to go.
It is a tough program, that requires you to think on your feet and rely on problem-solving skills. I felt like every aspect of the program prepares you for a career in nursing. I felt like it was an easy transition from working to going back to school, even juggling both at one point. Honestly, I have never felt the support that I have from the instructors anywhere else. It is beyond measure.
The expectations are high, but it’s not like they throw you to the wolves. The faculty and staff make themselves available to support you, pretty much all the time. They have been in your shoes, so they are relatable and understand that life happens. I have felt supported the entire time throughout the program 110%. I appreciate that so much. This program is designed for adults who have been in the workforce for some time.
What are you hoping to do with your degree when you finish?
With nursing, the possibilities are endless. Of course, I want to be a nurse. I want to be in a role where I’m able to advocate for those who feel like they don’t have a voice. To advocate for those who do not speak English as their primary language and serve underserved communities. And to be able to provide care for someone as if they were my loved one. I eventually would like to get my MSN in either research, public health, or education.
What advice would you give an individual contemplating a nursing degree?
It’s a lot of time and commitment like any other program. I would recommend interviewing and shadowing nurses to see if this is a career for you. Nursing is not for everyone. It’s not about knowing how to master skillsets. It’s about being able to understand the why’s behind the skills, medications, and procedures. But with a nursing degree, you can really choose to go any route with it.
What are a few challenges you encountered as a nursing student?
The program is pretty intense, and you don’t get a lot of breaks in between. The content/course material and work are pretty heavy and it’s a lot. It was hard to power through, but it’s doable.
The workload is a lot. I felt overwhelmed by it. As stated before, every aspect of this program prepares you for nursing. I looked at this from a standpoint of: you’re going to be under pressure to prioritize and organize your patient care accordingly and in a timely manner. You’re going to be pulled in many directions, and now is your opportunity to get it together, take a deep breath and complete your tasks (homework).
You know more than you think. Sometimes, I felt like what I was doing during clinical wasn’t always the right thing to do. However, after conversing with other nurses and the instructors, I felt more confident knowing that I did the right thing and needed to stop doubting myself.
What are the greatest benefits of CUW’s nursing programs?
- 110% support from nursing instructors
- Simulations and skills are taught in the best-practice form
- The standards are set high as a student, but you are given all the tools to reach or surpass these standards. I cannot stress how much support I have felt throughout this entire program.
- I like that the accelerated program is a hybrid program so that you are not always on campus all day long
What motivated/supported you through our program?
When I have my doubts and fears, I always pray. I know that this is God’s plan for me, and He continues to lead and guide me when my faith feels shaken or I am lazy. I wouldn’t be where I am without His guidance. What motivates me, is I hope one day that people will see the love of God, through me. All the glory belongs to Him.
My husband has been my rock throughout this entire program and most of my life. He is my biggest cheerleader, the positive to my negative. His selflessness is what drives me to keep pushing forward when I am tired or feel like giving up on myself. He put his hopes and dreams on hold so that I could pursue mine. His sacrifices and encouraging words remind me daily to keep being a better version of myself and to keep moving forward no matter the obstacles. This degree is not mine, but ours.
My maternal grandmother, Pam. She has been my muse and motivation throughout this entire process. When I reflect on the type of care she received up until the end of her life, I never want another person to get the poor type of care she received. I want to care for my patients with the care that I wish she would have received. Finally, of course, my family and friends who I cannot forget.
What is your advice to future students?
Choose, believe, and invest in yourself. Ask yourself, “Why not me?”
Want to become a nurse?
If you have your bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field but want to become a nurse in 14 months, we have your back. Check out more information about our program below.