How to Become a Nurse if You Already Have a Bachelor's Degree

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BS to BSN - Averett ABSN students sitting in class

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and you want to know how to become a nurse, this blog is a great place to start. Leveraging your previous degree into a BSN doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, programs like the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Averett University offers, are designed to streamline the process and help you start a new career in nursing smoothly.

Your previous education and life experience are valuable. Depending on what kind of previous degree you hold, it may even make your path to nursing shorter.

That’s exactly how BS to BSN programs work -- they use your previous education to offer you a faster path to nursing. Let’s get into the details below.

Leverage Your Non-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree to Become a Nurse

If your BS is in the sciences, for example a biology degree, 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 English of the arts, you may need to take more science-based prerequisites. However, having previous experience in communicating clearly, taking exams and studying effectively will surely make your time in the ABSN program run smoothly.

nursing students in skills lab

Build Your Educational Foundation for Nursing School

Most online degree programs for non-nurses will not require prior health care experience, and none is necessary to apply to the Averett ABSN program. No matter what your previous educational experience, you’ll still need to meet academic requirements before you can qualify for enrollment. These courses serve to “fill in the gaps” of what you know and what you need to know to start the nursing program. They’ll lay a solid knowledge base for your nursing classes.

Luckily, the Averett ABSN program will assign you a dedicated admissions counselor to help you identify exactly which prerequisite courses (if any) you need to take, help you enroll for those courses and make sure you’re on track to complete them within our specified grade requirements on a timeline that aligns with your target start date.

BS to BSN Programs: Know What to Expect

If you enroll in an accelerated program such as the one Averett University offers to earn your BSN, you can generally expect three major components:

1. Online Coursework vs. On-Campus Coursework

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

As a student enrolled in the Averett ABSN program, however, 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 provides the option of completing your nursing assignments when and where it’s best for you, not to mention that it can help you develop study habits that will come in handy for the rest of your nursing career. Additionally, you’ll still have deadlines and in-person proctored exams, which you’ll be responsible for taking 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 health care facilities around Norfolk and Hampton Roads.

2. Skills and Simulation Labs

Averett ABSN students in skills lab with instructor

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 non-punitive correction so that you can learn from them. In the Averett ABSN program, you’ll attend nursing skills labs multiple times each week, during which you’ll practice fundamental nursing skills such as:

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

Simulation Labs

Once you have a good hold on your basic nursing skills, you’ll move on to applying them in mock patient care scenarios during nursing simulation labs.

Simulation labs are as close to a real-world clinical scenario as you can get, although you’ll be practicing realistic patient care skills on computerized medical manikins rather than real patients.

3. Clinical Placements

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

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

averett nursing student examining a patient's ear

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

  • Advocate for your patients’ 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 health care environments

After those three main components, you’ll be very close to leveraging your BS into a BSN. You’ll need to take the NCLEX to apply for licensure depending on what state you’re aiming to work in, then you’ll be well on your way to an exciting nursing career.

Access your nursing future sooner

Now that you know what to expect from our online program for non-nurses, it’s time to take the next steps toward becoming a nurse.

The Averett ABSN admissions counselors are here to answer questions you may have about our accelerated nursing program. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you start your nursing journey sooner.