The work nurses do is nothing short of life-changing, and one need not look far to see the countless news stories singing the praises of these caring, compassionate women and men. Unfortunately, many parts of the country are facing critical shortages of nurses, particularly those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree — making now a great time to earn your BSN.
Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP) is doing its part to help prepare the next generation of nurse leaders with the introduction of a new Accelerated BSN program in St. Paul, Minnesota. Designed for those students who already hold at least 60 college credits, this accelerated nursing program is perfect for career changers and students who want to change majors, alike.
With this Concordia St. Paul’s Accelerated BSN program, it’s possible to earn your nursing degree in 16 months through an academically rigorous curriculum that blends online coursework, hands-on labs and clinical placements in a variety of settings.
Our program isn’t just for students in Minnesota, though. Earlier this year, CSP also announced it would be taking over the Concordia University ABSN program in Portland, Oregon, to help meet the exceptional demand for registered nurses (RNs) on the West Coast.
A Nursing Education with Results
Where you study nursing matters, making Concordia University, St. Paul — with its long history of academic excellence and reputation for delivering exception value — a great place to fast-track your future in nursing.
Across the globe, CSP students are having a big impact on their world, whether conducting cutting-edge nanotechnology research, helping immigrant communities adapt and thrive in their new home, getting new legislation passed or leading mission trips.
At CSP, we pride ourselves on providing students a well-rounded education inspired by our commitment to lifelong learning, the teachings of Christ, and personal and professional growth. Our instructors embody this; they aren’t just knowledgeable in their subject areas, they’re established professionals in their fields.
How Concordia ABSN Works
Our 16-month Accelerated BSN program — with learning site locations in St. Paul, MN, and Portland, OR — consists of three core components: online coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs, and clinical placements. Each plays a critical role in preparing you to sit for the NCLEX and to enter the nursing profession ready to make a difference.
To better understand how Concordia St. Paul ABSN works, let’s take a closer look at each component of this 16-month program for non-nurses.
Convenient, Online Learning
While it’s not possible to become a nurse via online coursework alone, there’s a lot you can learn about the nursing practice from the comfort of your own home, favorite coffee shop or wherever you learn best. So long as you have an Internet connection and complete all of your assignments on time, it doesn’t matter what time of day you “attend class.”
Not only is there a lot you can learn about nursing theory via online coursework; many learners prefer it, and not just for the convenience. While traditional, lecture-based coursework has many upsides, it often involves a lot of sitting, listening and note-taking — and not everyone does their best learning in this setting. Online ABSN coursework may include audio and video exercises and lectures, but it’s also able to provide more engaging, immersive experiences, such as interactive case studies and other activities you’ll actively participate in.
There’s another benefit of online coursework, though. More so than a lecture-based experience where you have set class times, online coursework means you’re solely accountable for staying organized and working proactively — skills that professional nurses must possess.
However, this isn’t to say you’ll feel alone as an online accelerated nursing student. Not only will you have regular contact with others in your cohort during labs and clinicals, you’ll also get to know each other through our online learning management system (LMS). There, you’ll discuss assigned readings and participate in virtual office hours and review sessions, as well as have a means for messaging each other. Many online nursing students also choose to meet up in person or through virtual means (such as Google Hangouts) for regular study sessions, making this online experience feel a lot more personal than you might expect.
Hands-On Skills and Simulation Labs
You’ll learn a lot about cultural and other community health issues, health policies, anatomy, pharmacology, evidence-based care and many other theoretical concepts that are critical to modern nursing practice through online learning. However, there are things you have to see and do to truly master.
Skills and simulation labs provide that essential experience. Skills lab is much what it sounds. There you’ll use advanced medical task trainers and a variety of real-life medical equipment to hone such important skills as conducting nursing assessments, checking vital signs, giving injections, inserting catheters and applying proper wound care. You’ll also learn what goes into charting, including the use of electronic records management systems.
Simulation lab takes the concept of experiential learning further, employing the use of highly realistic, state-of-the-art medical manikins to simulate a variety of medical scenarios with surprising realism. In sim lab, your instructor controls the “patient” from another room, leaving you to make important decisions about his or her care based on the information you’ve been provided, the knowledge you’ve gained from your coursework and through your own careful assessments. This doesn’t just allow you to practice handling real-life care situations prior to clinicals; it also ensures you get to experience with scenarios you may not encounter during your clinicals — for example, treating a patient who went into sudden cardiac arrest while receiving treatment for another condition altogether.
It’s not just the time in sim lab you’ll learn from, either. Following your and your classmates’ sim lab sessions, you’ll participate in group debriefs where you’ll watch a video of the lab and discuss what went right and what could have been done better. This allows you to learn from your successes and mistakes, as well as those of your lab group. Simulation labs also give your instructors the opportunity to see where you need help so they can tailor future lessons and discussions.
Real-World Clinical Experiences
No nursing education is complete without actual clinical experience. As a student of Concordia St. Paul ABSN, you’ll complete clinical rotations in a variety of relevant practice settings.
At first, you’ll focus on more basic concepts such as proper hygiene and safety practices, as well as shadow professional nurses as they make their rounds. This allows you to see nurses in practice and to get comfortable in a genuine healthcare setting. As your coursework and labs progress, so too will your clinical experiences, as you move into more complex settings and increasingly get to take on the role of care provider — under the expert supervision of your clinical instructor, of course.
Clinicals also provide valuable opportunities to network with medical professionals and to find your area of interest within healthcare, making it important that you approach every clinical with a sense of utmost professionalism and intellectual curiosity. Keep in mind that while you may feel uncomfortable asking questions, the students most willing to ask questions often gain the most.
Making Your Start at CSP's ABSN
Before you submit your application or complete any outstanding prerequisites, you need to talk to an admissions counselor to find out if our accelerated nursing program is right for you. When you do, you’ll be assigned a counselor who will support you throughout the admissions process from start to finish, so you can focus on what really matters: getting into nursing school and becoming the best nurse you can be.
During your first call, your admissions counselor will talk to you about your previous education and reasons for wanting to become a nurse. If he or she deems you to be a good fit for this rigorous program, you’ll then be asked to submit your unofficial transcripts for determining your GPA and whether you need to complete any prerequisite courses.
In a subsequent call, your counselor will work with you to put together a plan for fulfilling any outstanding requirements so that you are well-positioned to apply for, and succeed in our ABSN program, whether you’re looking at our Portland, Oregon, or Twin Cities Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota locations.
Are You Ready to Answer the Call of Nursing?
Across the country, BSN-educated nurses are in exceptionally high demand. If you think you have what it takes to become a registered nurse and feel called to this life-saving profession, give us a call or fill out the form to have someone contact you.