ABSN Program Online due to Covid - Huge Negative?


Hi all,

I am looking at ABSN programs, most of which start in January but one school might have an opening in their August cohort. I would love to start sooner than later, but with some schools already starting to move their fall terms online due to Covid I am a bit concerned about the potential for classes to be online with virtual clinicals if I start in August. Of course, January could have the same issue, but then at least I would only have 1 semester (hopefully) online (vs. 2 if I start in August). My concern is that with how short ABSN programs are, missing 1-2 semesters of in-person clinicals would put me way at a disadvantage when I enter the workforce.

My gut is kind of telling me to wait and start in January, but at the same time, if I'm coming out with the same degree either way (even if it's with less clinical experience), doesn't it make as much sense to finish earlier if I'm able to?

Can somebody gut-check me here? Would you try to start ASAP, or wait to ensure you've maximized in-person instruction/clinicals?


26 Posts

Hey! I’ve been accepted to some programs and plan on starting in Fall 2020 (August) I’m definitely keeping a close eye on everything that’s happening and hope I can start in the fall. I don’t feel like the classes being online would be too bad. I mean that’s why hospitals have new grads go on orientation for like months. They don’t expect perfection. I feel like having in person clinicals would be ideal but it’s not like we wouldn’t learn those skills we missed out on eventually or have forever missed out on those skills.

Specializes in BSN student.

Hi! First of all, CONGRATS on being accepted into nursing school! Regardless of the current global health situation, it is a phenomenal accomplishment which many people can only dream of achieving.

I have just finished my first semester of BSN school. Due to COVID, I did not actually get to attend a facility for my clinicals. As the previous poster said, in-person clinicals are ideal but you will still acquire the knowledge you need on the job. IMO, the biggest thing to come out of nursing school is clinical reasoning rather than technical skills. Anyone, nursing or non nursing, can learn to set an IV or insert a Foley - those skills are fairly intuitive and straightforward. I am a PCT and if we undergo a few days' training we are even allowed to perform tasks such as phlebotomy/venipuncture and sterile dressing changes. Learning the clinical reasoning that goes along with nursing is the most important outcome of school. Unfortunately, most clinicals treat students as free labor rather than an actual learning experience. Sure, you may get to watch a few procedures and develop 10+ page care plans, but you are a warm body to mainly perform PCT/CNA duties while you are on the floor. The clinical reasoning and critical thinking that is vital to nursing care is acquired through theory classes and case studies. Everything else will be learned on the job, to my understanding. My aunt is an RN and she said she learned more in her first 6 months as a practicing nurse than she did in all of nursing school.

So don't be discouraged! Go for the fall start, and get to your goal of being an RN, BSN sooner. Nursing school is there to get you to think like a nurse and have some basic exposure, not turn you into a Florence Nightingale in one shot. ?