Student Stories

Concordia St. Paul Nursing Program Reviews

We sat down with two nursing students, who shared their Concordia St. Paul nursing program reviews. They discuss advantages of CSP, including flexibility with online learning, support from students and faculty, and an abbreviated timeline. They also discussed the importance of remembering the greater purpose, to become an excellent nurse.

Concordia St. Paul ABSN student working with nursing lab equipment

If you’re considering going back to school for your nursing degree, you may have a lot of questions on your mind. Choosing a nursing school is a big decision. Which program is right for you? What path will set you up for success in your future nursing career?

We tapped the experiences of two students who chose to attend Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP) for the 16-month hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Read on to find Kiki Fairbanks and Rachel Emery’s Concordia St. Paul nursing program reviews.

Through their insights, you’ll learn about the advantages of choosing the ABSN program at CSP. You’ll learn about these students’ career goals, their “why” for choosing nursing and CSP, their ABSN experience and their tips for ABSN success. Hearing directly from students will give you assurance that the accelerated program can work for you.

Rachel’s ABSN Story

Rachel is a fourth semester ABSN student at CSP on the Portland campus. She has a passion for labor and delivery, and she has high career aspirations after graduating from CSP. With a prior bachelor’s degree, she appreciates being able to attend an accelerated program so she can achieve her career goals sooner.

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What is your nursing specialty goal?

“I’ve been a doula for the last seven years. The whole reason I got into nursing was to become a labor and delivery nurse and eventually become a midwife. If I wanted, I could go right into my DNP [Doctor of Nursing Practice] program. But I want the experience of a nurse, and I want to practice that mindset and see what it’s like in the room and just wear [the nursing] hat for a while.”

What’s your “why” for nursing? Why did you decide to go back to school?

“I actually worked at a hospital as a doula, which is a really rare thing. Through that, working with the team on the unit and getting to know more nurses and midwives and OBs in a teamwork, intimate setting … I wanted to be a deeper part of that team.

And I felt myself bumping up against the scope of practice of my doula work. I wanted to participate in more of a medical way and show up in the room in a different way that my scope of practice as a doula wouldn’t allow me to do. [Nursing] felt like a natural progression.”

A big reason for me wanting to work with families during their childbearing years is we’ve traditionally not served that population well as a medical system. I want to help make the change and be the change, and there’s only so much you can do without actually entering into the medical field.

“So, part of what I want to do in the future, too, is be a part of research and eventually teach nursing students or midwifery students and sit on committees. So not just bedside nursing.”

Why did you end up choosing CSP?

“I didn’t want to do a two-year nursing program. I already have a bachelor’s degree. An accelerated program felt right up my alley. Just do it quick. Get it done. I’m smart, I can handle a lot of different things. I don’t have kids, so I have a little bit more freedom if I have to work while I do it.

The online piece of it was a huge factor for me as well. Being able to do the coursework in my own time was a huge draw, not having to go to physical classes outside of labs and clinicals.”

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What has your experience in the ABSN program at CSP been like?

“Well, it was a bit of a shocker. I have a lot of friends who are nurses, and everyone said, ‘It’s hard. It’s going to be so hard.’ I was like, ‘I’m smart. It’ll be fine. They’re overblowing it.’ [And then a weekend in], I was like, ‘Ahh!’ I was fortunate enough that during our very first day of school, there was a little group of five or six of us that exchanged phone numbers during orientation, and we all helped each other survive those first two or three weeks, learning this new program while also learning how to study differently.”

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“Then after not doing great on our first exam, I texted Kiki and said, ‘Hi, you’re very similar to me. Would you like to be my study buddy?’ And then our worlds changed.

I think a piece of that was finding somebody who seemed to have the same drive and seriousness of, ‘I want to learn this not just pass the exams,’ but ‘I want to learn this to understand the material and be able to be a good nurse at the end of this.’ We share a lot of the same values … and we have similar passions and where we want to go in life.

Having somebody that’s in the program that understands, ‘This is hard, and you understand what I’m going through … Also, you can help me study, and we can study together.’ If I don’t understand something, she can explain it to me and vice versa, and we’re here to help each other. And then from there, it was just maintaining our study patterns together.”

What is the campus support at CSP like?

Having people who had already gone through [the CSP ABSN program] … they were really helpful in providing tips and solidarity.

“It was hard to find a sense of community, to connect with other students that we weren’t physically seeing. [Kiki and I] both joined the student advisory board and also our Student Nurses’ Association on campus. ‘Let’s join and be a part of the solution.’ I know for me, giving back in that way, it was really fulfilling, and it’s important for me to have something that’s fulfilling to balance out the stress.

And a lot of what we’ve done through that is trying to build community and build pathways to meet other students and especially across cohorts, but then we also found a way for our entire cohort to essentially communicate online together in the same space.”

What is your biggest tip for future ABSN students?

“Acknowledging that this is hard and it’s not going to be easy for me was the first step. Then finding that study buddy who took it as seriously as I did and was down to meet every day and really dive in and get to business.”

The final piece, I think, is keeping the eye on the prize.

“I’m not here just to pass classes, which has been a lot of people’s college mindset. But we’re actually here to learn a specific job and to be really good at that job, and honoring the responsibility of what it is to be a nurse and improve people’s lives and bodies and mental health. Approaching the coursework with that mentality makes it accessible in a different way, and it actually sticks in my brain better too.”

Kiki’s ABSN Story

Kiki is a fourth semester ABSN student at CSP in Portland. She has three kids, which is why she loves the online-based program. Before nursing school Kiki worked in restaurants and hospitality. She went back to school to become a lactation consultant and also earned a bachelor’s degree in public health.

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What is your nursing specialty goal?

“I want to help families that are just about to have babies or have had babies, somewhere in that perinatal period.”

What’s your “why” for nursing? Why did you decide to go back to school?

“My long-term goal is to work inside people’s homes and [support] pregnancy through the first two years, where there is such a huge need for help. If you pay for it, private practice is so expensive. There are resources in our community to be able to have that, but you have to be an RN for those positions … I want to work in a hospital right now so I can get that higher acuity experience to be able to help families better.”

People don’t know that these resources exist, and they don’t know that these programs are out there. There’s just so many barriers to getting services, and so [I want] to help navigate all the things.

Why did you end up choosing CSP?

“I wasn’t willing to wait an entire year, and CSP has rolling admissions, where they admit students three times a year, and it’s still an accelerated program. It’s also online-based, which works so well with my family and my life. I’m not tied down to be certain places at certain times, and I can self-motivate and learn on my own. So, for my life and my family, it was a really perfect fit in that way, and I got to be able to start in January instead of having to wait until September to start.”

What has your experience in the ABSN program at CSP been like?

“I’m grateful that Rachel had friends that had gone through the program before because they suggested we meet every day for an hour and go over drugs for pharmacology or meet every day for this amount of time to do that. I would have never thought of that on my own.

We scheduled the time, even if it was at nine o’clock at night once my kids were in bed, for us to talk through things. Our grades after that improved so much. Our knowledge and comfort with the material [was] really positively impacted.”

What is the campus support at CSP like?

“I’ve had a great experience with most of our professors.”

They’re just there to help. They’re really supportive. They’re available very often.

“And our dean, Dr. Caldwell, has been amazing and an advocate. I have nothing but awesome things to say about her.”

What is your biggest tip for future ABSN students?

Ask for help if you need it because there are so many avenues, whether it’s peers, professors, lots of different ways to get help if [you need] tutoring.

“Then, if there’s something you see that [is] wrong or that you don’t like … reach out and try to make a difference, try to change things because everyone running the program is human. There are things [the students] experience that they just don’t see through their lens.

For example, we thought there needed to be more peer mentorship, so we created a peer mentorship program. We thought we could really use interview help, so we started an interview workshop. So, just get out there. Join it and do something. If you see a hole or a need, get out there and do it. All those things are going to benefit you in your career.”

Start Your Nursing Journey Today

Are you ready to answer the call to become a nurse? Nursing will not only give you a reliable and growing career, but it will also provide you with daily meaning. You’ll be able to make a difference by saving and transforming lives.

We can prepare you for the responsibility and honor of becoming a nurse, as you can see from Kiki and Rachel’s Concordia St. Paul nursing program reviews. Eligible students can finish their BSN in as few as 16 months.

How to earn your BSN degree and become a nurse quicker

Want to know how to get your BSN? Find out the steps to apply to an ABSN program.

We offer three start dates each year in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon, so you can earn your degree sooner than in a traditional program. Our ABSN students learn through online courses, skills labs, simulation and other clinical learning experiences, providing a well-rounded education that prepares you for the nursing profession.

Reach out to our admissions counselors to learn more about how CSP can help you write your own nursing story.

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