Accelerated BSN with no previous medical background is this bad

  1. Is this a bad idea? A nurse I know suggested it might be. My impression is there are a lot of details and paperwork in nursing school, and ABSN programs are like a year-long cram session. Conceptually it seems like an ineffective way to learn nursing especially if you have little medical background to build on but I dunno. I'm espeically curious to know what ABSN students/grads who had no experience going in think about this matter.
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    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 31; Likes: 1

    4 Comments

  3. by   Daytonite
    Depends on the program and what their admission requirements are. A lot of people go to nursing school with no previous nursing experience. If having a previous bachelor's degree in something else is a requirement, they will probably consider you. A big part of success in these kinds of programs is that you have to be a really skilled student because the information is generally all new material and it just keeps on coming at you with no let up. If you can tolerate that you can get through it. The reason people make it through med schools is because they are excellent students since it is all new information--for 4 straight years.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Getting an accelerated BSN with no heathcare experience would be no different than getting a traditional BSN with no healthcare experience. Only difference is that you spend less time in school to get the degree. You need to be well grounded as a student. Some people post that they had to transfer to traditional programs because they were unable to keep up in the accelerated program.
  5. by   CrufflerJJ
    Quote from lolwut
    Is this a bad idea? A nurse I know suggested it might be. My impression is there are a lot of details and paperwork in nursing school, and ABSN programs are like a year-long cram session. Conceptually it seems like an ineffective way to learn nursing especially if you have little medical background to build on but I dunno. I'm espeically curious to know what ABSN students/grads who had no experience going in think about this matter.
    No, it's not a bad idea at all. In my accelerated BSN cohort, there were only a few of us with any prior medical experience. Backgrounds on the students ran from former cops, a lawyer, 2 former paramedics (me & 1 other guy), a couple engineers (me & a lady), school psychologist, a lady with both her Masters in Public Health and a Masters/PhD in microbiology, school teachers, interpretive dance, music, psychology, biochemistry,...... All in all, a very broad range of backgrounds.

    Out of the 48 of us who started, all but 1 finished the program. That speaks well of the program, and of our instructors & accelerated program director.

    There WAS some frustration by some of the students with no prior medical background. I think the frustration was more self-induced than anything, driven by a real concern that at that point in the program (3 of 5 quarters completed), they felt like they didn't really KNOW the material. They were right, but probably didn't realize that at that point in the program, NOBODY really "knew" the material. That takes practicing/doing/internalizing the stuff after graduation. Until then, it's all theoretical (except for some exposure to the stuff in clinicals).

    The accelerated BSN program I went through WAS very intense. It seemed like we were always doing 3 things at once. It requires excellent organizational skills to stay on top of all the work. Students must be self motivated, since nobody will "spoon feed" the information. Students in the program learn to stick together, since everybody going through it needs help at one time or another. ABSN students quickly learn to skim course material, picking out the key subjects they need to really learn & understand. If they try to memorize all the minutiae, they're rapidly overwhelmed & screwed.

    Given my experience as a paramedic, I had a better basic understanding of some of the subject matter than some of my fellow students. That being said, it was still a royal bitxh to complete. Not easy at all. Tons of material - like "drinking from a fire hose." You're constantly challenged. If you're used to being at the top of your class, it's a real shock to realize that you're now in with a bunch of your fellow students who are used to the same thing.

    The accelerated program is not for everyone. I think it's great for students who are used to pushing themselves to do more, do it better, do it faster. It is not that great for people who are just looking to pass.

    Something else to consider is that an ABSN program may not have much of a waiting list, compared to your local community college ADN program. Here in the Dayton, OH area, the local community college had a ~2.5 year waiting list for their ADN program, which also takes ~2.5 years to complete. It would have taken nearly 5 years to get an associates degree in nursing, followed by another couple years completing the BSN (while working full time). That didn't sound very fun to me, hence my ABSN approach.

    All that being said, I don't think (my personal belief only, not backed up by dozens of evidence based practice citations) that the ABSN pumps out graduates any better or worse to start practicing as a newbie nurse than the regular BSN or ADN program. I'll still be a newbie nurse (needing to learn LOTS), even though I survived my ABSN program.
    Last edit by CrufflerJJ on Jun 8, '09 : Reason: just for because I said so
  6. by   lolwut
    good stuff to think about here. thanks.

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