Accelerated BSN Advice

  1. Hi everyone,

    I will be starting a 15-month accelerated BSN program in May and I am so nervous and excited at the same time! I was wondering if any of you who are currently in an ABSN program or have graduated from one could give me some advice about time management, staying sane, or just anything else in general that you think I should know to prepare myself...

    Thanks so much!
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    About jspacegirl

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 132; Likes: 47
    Specialty: SICU

    18 Comments

  3. by   Curls105
    Hi-

    I am also starting an accelerated 15-month in June and I'm getting really antsy about the whole thing! I keep having these thoughts like, "Am I going to be able to do this?, Will I be a good nurse?". I feel like the period leading up to starting may be more nerve wracking than actually just diving in! Good luck!
  4. by   Annabelle57
    First of all, congratulations on starting nursing school soon! It's a wild ride, but a worthwhile one.

    I'm currently in an accelerated BSN program - I graduate in August (mine was a May starter, too). I know every program is different, but here are my best words of advice:

    1. Study groups are such a huge help! I found two other girls who are good students and hard workers, and my exam grades are consistently higher when I study with them vs. studying on my own. Plus, they are two of my closest friends now :spin:

    2. Voice recorders, if your school allows them, are also huge helps - I pick up "hidden" exam questions when I listen to lectures over again, and it helps me to learn the material overall.

    3. Have a good support system in place, both emotionally and financially. There will definitely be times that test your strength, and it's good to know that the tuition can be paid... and that you have people who are rooting for you and providing emotional support.

    4. Study your material every day - really helps reduce the "cram" factor when exams come around.

    5. A good organizer/planner, preferably one you can see a month at a time (over a page or two), is a huge help - helps you to see what is coming up, what needs to be priority now, etc. Also, a rolling backpack helps save your back! Those books are HEAVY.

    6. Since getting into our program was so competitive, every student was accustomed to being the top of their class. There's an intense drive among the students to be "the best", which means that we can be some of the best students... and also the most neurotic. Other students in ABSN programs have experienced this, and you may or may not, but if you have perfectionistic tendencies like I do, just remember: aim high and do your best, but don't make yourself crazy.

    7. Have an open mind when you go into your clinicals! You may find an area you never expected to enjoy become your favorite.

    8. Finally, take care of yourself as much as possible: intense programs like these can make your health take the back burner, but it's important to eat well and take care of your body. I find that when I make time to get SOME kind of exercise and eat fresh foods (versus vending machine fare), I feel better, and I learn better, too.

    Hope this helps! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions - good luck!

    A
  5. by   jspacegirl
    Hey Annabelle,

    Thanks for the advice! Especially about the study groups; normally I hate them, but it sounds like it might be a good idea for the ABSN program; I doubt there would be very many slackers in the program, which is the main thing that annoys me about study groups...

    CUTE baby, by the way, if he/she is yours. Even if not, still cute!

    And everyone else: keep the words of wisdom coming (when you busy ABSNers have time), we need them!
  6. by   Thedreamer
    That was very very good advice. I myself am still in an LPN program but your words are very true to thier mark. Hard work and study is the only way to become a nurse in todays competitive schooling.

    Thanks
  7. by   medsomething
    I'm also finishing an accelerated BSN program and agree a lot with what Annabelle said. Also:

    -attend class! (should be a given)
    -do the readings! (again given)
    -don't be discouraged if it's not "fun" - nursing school is a different beast from other majors

    and finally - keep a school/life balance. My priority will always be my family and my sanity. Others in my program might disagree but they stay super stressed out. Don't feel like you have to keep up with the Jones' (aka your classmates). As long as I do well enough to graduate, pass boards, and be competitive for grad school, my work is done.
  8. by   Megsd
    I'm finishing my second quarter (of 5) in an accelerated BSN program and also feel Annabelle gave excellent advice. I would also add:

    * Use every possible opportunity in clinical to try new skills. You do not get as many clinical days/rotations as traditional students so every day you are on the floor counts a lot. Ask the nurses you're working with to keep their eyes open for things you can do or watch.
  9. by   ktrinh3
    this is awesome tips by everyone. thanx a lot. i'll be starting my program in jan 08 but i'm nervous already
  10. by   carolinapooh
    I am in an accelerated program and will graduate in December. I cannot truly believe that my second semester is already half over!

    All of what's been said here is true, but I'm personally learning something else: take time to smell the roses. And I don't just mean time for yourself - take some time to ENJOY being a student again. Yes, we're all broke and heavily in debt again, and we're all working our butts off to earn outstanding grades and sometimes to just keep our heads above water - but let's be serious, not having to worry about aggrevating bosses (been there) and ridiculous "grown up" projects (also been there) is a NICE change, and an opportunity that probably won't come again.

    I've taken some time to go to university basketball games and a few student-oriented functions. I sometimes go over my assignments in the student union to soak up the collegiate atmosphere. I've gone out on a couple of Friday nights and hung out with some of my much younger classmates in a pub or two in downtown Durham. I've taken advantage of the lower-priced cultural events Duke sponsors, like classical concerts and Broadway productions. Yes, the program will move faster than anything you've probably ever done before, and yes, you will have more work to do than you can imagine. But I took some time out for myself (FINALLY!) last semester just to tell myself, "I'm a student, I go to Duke, it's my school too!" and neither my grades (3.5) nor my ability to function suffered in the process!

    You will eat, breathe, and sleep school once you start it. It's unavoidable. But you can stop for just an hour or two here and there and take in the rest of the scenery as well!

    Smell the roses. It helps keep you sane and gives you more memories of this time than just how desperately behind you always felt (because you will always feel that way; just ask my other 53 classmates) and how the first thing you'd do when you get up in the morning on a weekend was review your med-surg and pharmacology with your toast as you were editing a careplan on your computer at the kitchen table.
  11. by   Annabelle57
    Well, thanks for the props everyone! :spin:

    To answer an earlier question: no, not my baby in my avatar - it's a stock photo I found online somewhere and loved.

    Regarding study groups: I used to *loathe* them until I hit nursing school. They always ended up being more socializing than anything else. Now, when I go to my study group, we might "catch up" for a few minutes, but then we quiz each other, teach each other, and help each other memorize for the next several hours. With my nursing program, it seems that the slackers are few and far between, and they're pretty easy to spot because you spend SOOO much time together in classes, clinicals, etc.

    And what carolinapooh says is SO important, too: take time to enjoy yourself! It's so easy to get all type-A and forget to relax now and then. I made the mistake of not doing that during my first semester and almost went crazy from the stress. I've also found it's so easy to lose contact with friends not in the program with you, including family. I have to schedule some regular Starbucks/shopping/beach time with friends!
  12. by   Josh L.Ac.
    Random thoughts -

    Maybe I haven't found the right group to study with, but so far I have been much more productive studying on my own. Some of us neurotic folk type up all of our notes and post them before a test, which allows others in our class to see if we've missed something (or most use it to study without worrying about it).

    Nursing texts are hit or miss. Depending on your reading style, some might be a complete waste of time. I use Griffith's 5-minute Clinical Consult, which is a medical text, whenever I want to see a condition / disease in a very concise format. I only use the nursing books for information on nursing care.

    And absolutely do not miss too many workouts. I plan on hitting the gym 5 days a week (cardio or weights), and I consider it a success if I only get there 4 days. But any less than that and I start to feel run down plus my brain doesn't work very well. Also consider energy drinks (including coffee) carefully before using them - I use them frequently BTW - and plan accordingly so that you don't crash during a test.

    Organization is key. Nursing school, even an accelerated program, isn't very difficult. What is difficult is remembering what assignments or reading is due when, when all your different tests will be, and when to schedule time to do your clinical paperwork. Also be sure to work smarter. If you clinical faculty are progressive enough to let you turn in care plans from the Ackley online generator (with tailoring to fit the patient, of course), then you can focus more on learning the material as opposed to doing paperwork (for the sake of paperwork or "tradition").

    Don't be afraid to stand up and say, "Hey, doing such-and-such busywork is taking time away from me to actually learn the material!"
  13. by   BerthaRN
    Wow, great advice here....I actually just found out I was accepted to my program a half hour ago. I start this fall for a 12 month program, I am very excited, and ofcourse very nervous. Thanks for posting advice, it's certainly encouraging.
  14. by   MB37
    I got in to mine yesterday, it's 15 months and we start in May. Orientation in April 10! Just got my immunizations today, so I can register immediately after orientation.

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