Becoming a Nurse with a Non-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree

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Is becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree possible? Absolutely! A BSN for non-nurses is available via an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. You’ll need to verify your eligibility, complete prerequisite courses, pass nursing school, and obtain your nursing license by passing the NCLEX-RN.

nurse with clipboard and patient

After earning a bachelor’s degree and acquiring work experience in one field, many people decide that their initial career choice no longer interests them. Transitioning to a new career or field doesn’t have to be complicated, even if your new field is highly technical, like nursing. Becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree is easier than ever, thanks to accelerated programs at schools like Averett University.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Averett is designed to streamline the process and help you start a new career in nursing faster by leveraging your prior college credits.

Your previous education and life experience are valuable. Depending on what degree you already hold, it may even shorten your nursing path. That’s exactly how bachelor’s degree to RN programs work — they use your previous education to offer a faster path to nursing.

Let’s get into the details below and answer some common questions, like “How long is nursing school with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field?”

Is Becoming a Nurse with a Non-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree Possible?

Transitioning from a non-nursing bachelor’s to a nursing degree is entirely possible. Most online degree programs for non-nurses don’t require prior healthcare experience, and none is necessary to apply to the Averett ABSN program.

Regardless of your educational experience, you still need to meet admission requirements before qualifying for enrollment, including prerequisites. These courses “fill in the gaps” between what you know and need to know to start the nursing program. They lay a solid knowledge base for your nursing classes.

nursing student reading textbooks

The Averett ABSN program will assign you a dedicated admissions counselor to help you identify which prerequisite courses (if any) you need to complete, help you enroll for those courses, and ensure you’re on track to complete them on a timeline that aligns with your target start date.

Here is where your prior non-nursing education can be helpful as you obtain a BSN for non-nurses. If your degree is in the sciences, such as biology, you may have to take fewer prerequisites as you may already have a foundational understanding of areas like anatomy and microbiology.

If you have a degree in humanities, you may need to take more science-based prerequisites. However, previous experience communicating clearly, taking exams and studying effectively will surely make your time in the ABSN program run smoothly.

nursing student on tablet

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Bachelor’s to Nursing Degree in 6 Steps

Everyone’s path toward becoming a nurse is unique, making for a rich kaleidoscope of experiences, strengths and perspectives in healthcare. No matter your academic and professional background, you can fit in well at Averett’s ABSN program if you’re willing to work hard to master nursing competencies. Here’s a look at the steps you’ll need to take toward becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

1. Choose a Nursing Program

Step one is to choose a nursing school. Since you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you’ll want to stay away from four-year BSN programs. Instead, look for an accelerated nursing degree program, such as the ABSN program at Averett.

Some factors to consider as you choose a program include:

  • Admissions requirements
  • Prerequisites
  • Geographic location
  • Nursing program accreditations
  • First-time NCLEX pass rate: Averett’s ABSN and BSN programs both have a 98% pass rate in 2023, exceeding the national average of 80.48%.)
  • The school’s core mission and values

When you’re ready, contact the admissions office and speak to an admissions counselor about eligibility requirements and the program. Learn about the following steps and ask any questions you may have. For this initial conversation, it’s helpful to have your unofficial transcripts on hand so your counselor can assess your eligibility and prerequisite requirements.

2. Complete the Prerequisites

nursing students studying together

The next step is to complete the prerequisite courses, if necessary. Each nursing program establishes its prerequisite requirements, but they generally require a mixture of science, mathematics and general education courses, such as microbiology, anatomy and physiology, statistics and literature. Students applying to Averett must earn a “C” grade or higher in all prerequisite courses.

Most of Averett’s prerequisites are available online using the same e-learning platform you’ll use as an ABSN student. This lets you familiarize yourself with the platform before delving into your nursing coursework.

After completing the prerequisites, you can finalize your application. If accepted, the next step is to tackle the nursing program itself.

Are you a CNA thinking of becoming an RN? Read more to learn how to switch to nursing school in 5 steps.

nurses walking together in hallway

3. Complete the Coursework

Whether you choose a program that offers coursework online, on campus or a combination of both — the ABSN curriculum will cover all of the foundational nursing knowledge that prepares you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) exam and begin your nursing career.

As a student enrolled in the Averett ABSN program, you’ll complete the nursing theory component of our curriculum online through our intuitive e-learning platform.

We offer our accelerated nursing coursework online to boost the accessibility of our ABSN program, as it allows you to complete your nursing assignments when and where it’s best for you. It can also help you develop proper study habits for the rest of your nursing career. You still must meet deadlines and take in-person proctored exams at the Averett University Norfolk ABSN Site.

But don’t worry about missing out on face-to-face time. While the program is online-based, you still must attend labs at our program site and clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities around Norfolk and Hampton Roads.

Averett nursing student using stethoscope

4. Complete Skills and Simulation Labs

The best way to master your nursing skills is by jumping right in. Labs provide a safe place to do this, where mistakes provide opportunities for risk-free correction so you can learn from them. In the Averett ABSN program, you attend nursing skills labs multiple times each week, during which you practice fundamental nursing skills such as:

  • Head-to-toe assessments
  • Wound care
  • Catheter and IV insertion
  • Nasogastric insertion

Once you grasp basic nursing skills well, you apply them in mock patient care scenarios during nursing simulation labs. Simulation labs are as close to a clinical scenario as possible without working with actual patients. Instead, you’ll practice realistic patient care skills on computerized medical manikins.

5. Complete Clinical Placements

Because we don’t require any previous healthcare experience, we try to make the clinical experience as intuitive as possible. As such, you can expect your clinical experiences to correspond closely with what you’re learning in your online courses and in-person labs.

For example, you’ll likely start by working on your bedside manner and other administrative tasks during your first semester in the program. As you get more comfortable and progress through the program, you can perform more patient-centered tasks under faculty supervision.

smiling nursing student

During clinical rotations, you can also expect to learn how to:

  • Advocate for your patient’s mental, physical and spiritual needs
  • Work alongside medical professionals across myriad disciplines
  • Navigate medical electronic records management systems
  • Understand the day-to-day intricacies involved in complex healthcare environments

After those three main components — coursework, labs and clinicals — you’ll be very close to leveraging your non-nursing bachelor’s degree into a BSN. It can be helpful to start thinking about your preferred nursing specialty and type of nursing career while still in school.

Medavac nurses transporting patient

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6. Obtain a Nursing License

All aspiring nurses in the U.S. must be licensed. To obtain licensure, you must meet all of the RN license requirements for your state. Each state requires nursing candidates to pass the NCLEX-RN.

This exam is quite rigorous. Be sure to prepare for it well in advance — as early as your first semester in nursing school is ideal. After you’ve passed the exam and been granted your license, you can begin applying for your first nursing job.

How Long Is Nursing School with a Bachelor’s Degree?

A traditional BSN program requires four years of full-time study. However, students with bachelor’s degrees may be eligible for an accelerated nursing program. ABSN program lengths vary, but most students — including those at Averett — can generally graduate in as few as 16 months, not including the time needed to complete prerequisites.

smiling nursing student

Earn Your BSN for Non-Nurses at Averett University

When you’re ready to transition to a rewarding and meaningful career in healthcare, the friendly admissions counselors at Averett are here to help. With Averett’s ABSN program, you can seamlessly switch from your non-nursing bachelor’s degree to an RN program and graduate in as few as 16 months.

Our ABSN curriculum provides a values-based nursing education that strives to graduate highly competent, compassionate and ethical nursing leaders.

Contact our admissions counselors today to learn more about our ABSN program and find out if it’s the right fit for you.