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Are Accelerated Nursing Programs Hard to Get Into? Not So Much Here.

Nurses are in high demand across the country. So why are accelerated nursing programs hard to get into? It’s because most nursing schools don’t have the resources to handle an uptick in qualified applicants. The Felician University ABSN program is different. Multiple start dates a year, along with online and on-ground coursework options, give our program the capacity to enroll a high number of students annually—so there’s no waitlist here.

Supplying education and meeting demand. This is why Felician's accelerated nursing program isn't as hard as other university's programs to get into.

Are accelerated nursing programs hard to get into? Generally speaking, yes. And it’s because most nursing schools have limited space and resources, creating highly competitive situations for even the most qualified applicants. Felician University isn’t one of those schools. Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program is one of opportunity because there’s currently no waitlist for eligible students.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, U.S. nursing schools turned away 75,029 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2018. Among the top reasons for doing so were faculty shortages, insufficient clinical placements, and budget constraints.

So what makes our ABSN program different? We have the space, technology, faculty, and clinical partnerships to educate a high number of accelerated nursing students annually. Not to mention, we’re the only ABSN program in New Jersey to have four start dates a year—three for the hybrid option and one for the on-ground option. 

In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about our accredited ABSN program and what to expect before and after nursing school. Or, simply cut to the chase by contacting our admissions team today!

Getting Into Nursing School with a 3.0 GPA

Most accelerated nursing programs require you to have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to begin the admissions process. At Felician University, we believe more students should have a shot at the nursing profession. That’s why our ABSN program also considers individuals who have at least 60 non-nursing college credits and a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA for all undergraduate courses.

Now you’re probably wondering how the admissions process differs for these two types of applicants. You’ll find the requirements are the same for every applicant. A non-nursing college education simply means you’re eligible to begin the admissions process.

You can’t apply to the ABSN program until you’ve satisfied our general education (up to 48 credit hours total) and prerequisite course requirements (25 credit hours total).

If you’re starting the ABSN admissions process with a bachelor’s degree, there’s a good chance you’ve met most of the general education requirements. Essentially, what it comes down to is that the more college education you have, the faster you can get started in nursing school.

Also, be aware that your previous field of undergraduate study often influences the number of ABSN prerequisites you’ll need to complete. For example, an applicant with a Bachelor of Science in biology probably has more transferable credits than one with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. 

Before we can admit you into the ABSN program, you must earn a grade of C+ or higher in each of the following seven prerequisite courses. All BIO and CHEM courses must be completed within seven years of your program start date. 

  • BIO 202: Microbiology + Lab
  • BIO 205: Anatomy and Physiology I + Lab
  • BIO 206: Anatomy and Physiology II + Lab
  • BIO 307: Pathophysiology
  • CHEM 105: Principles of Chemistry
  • MATH 122: Statistics I
  • PSY 105: Lifespan Development

Overall, our ABSN prerequisites set the foundation for professional nursing study, while also being key to your nursing career preparedness.

Admissions Support

Nursing is one of the best, most high-demand occupations out there today, prompting more people to want to enter the profession. Most nursing schools, which include their admissions teams, can’t keep up with the influx of applications. As a result, prospective students don’t necessarily receive the high level of support that’s needed to submit the most competitive application possible.

At Felician University, our admissions team has the bandwidth to make applying to nursing school as seamless and straightforward as possible. As a prospective ABSN student, you’ll work with an assigned admissions counselor whose job is to provide you with a high level of personalized support every step of the way.

This individual will help you create and adhere to an academic plan that gets you started in our ABSN program as soon as possible. The plan is typically based on the number of general education and prerequisites courses you still need to complete and your preferred start date in the program.

Online vs. Traditional Nursing Education

Most ABSN programs don’t have the option for students to learn the fundamentals of nursing online or in the classroom—but we do. At the start of the admissions process, you can choose to apply to our

Hybrid ABSN program or On-Ground ABSN program. While the nursing curriculum is the same for both programs, there are distinct differences between the two. Let’s compare. 

 Hybrid OptionOn-Ground Option
Length16 months24 months
LocationABSN Learning Site in Parsippany, NJ  Main Campus in Rutherford, NJ
CoursesOnlineMain Campus
Nursing LabsABSN Learning SiteMain Campus
ClinicalsAtlantic Health System and other top local healthcare facilitiesAtlantic Health System and other top local healthcare facilities
Start DatesJanuary, May, AugustMarch

Benefits of Online Learning vs. Classroom Learning

When trying to choose between our Hybrid ABSN program and On-Ground ABSN program, it’s important to consider your learning style and study habits. As an ABSN student, you’ll be required to absorb massive amounts of information in a relatively short time frame. So consider how you best collect, organize, and retain information.

With online learning, you can:

  • Study at your own pace
  • Learn at any time of the day or night
  • Listen to lectures as many times as you want
  • Easily connect with faculty

To be successful with online learning, you need to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and hold yourself accountable. It also helps that all of the content is organized in one location and can be accessed 24/7.

With classroom learning, you have:

  • More face-to-face interaction with faculty
  • More structured learning activities
  • Instructors keeping you accountable

Keep in mind that with classroom learning, you can’t study at your own pace. You also don’t have the luxury to go back and listen to a lecture as many times as you want.

And last but not least, if you’re looking to start your nursing education as soon as possible, the hybrid option is your best bet, with three start dates a year.  Plus, its online learning component enables us to accommodate more students per cohort. After all, online courses don’t require the same amount of face time or classroom space as traditional courses.

Application Process

Once you’ve satisfied all of our ABSN program requirements and chosen your program option, you’re ready to start the application process. As part of your application, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • All official college/university transcripts
  • A professional resume
  • A letter of intent 
  • Two academic or professional letters of recommendation

We admit ABSN students on a rolling basis, which means we review applications as they come in rather than waiting for the submission deadline to pass. This approach allows us to give you an admissions decision with a few weeks of applying. So the earlier you submit your application, the better your chances of getting in for your preferred start date.

Attention New Yorkers: What to do if You’re Waitlisted

If you’re sitting on a nursing school waitlist in New York City, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to start your education sooner by applying to our Hybrid ABSN program in Parsippany, which is just an hour away. And it’s a drive you won’t have to do every day because you complete the fundamental coursework online. However, that’s not to say you won’t have to travel to our neck of the woods regularly to attend labs and clinicals. 

Prepare to Hit the Ground Running

Our ABSN program makes the accelerated path to nursing possible by building on your non-nursing college education. This means you’ll jump right into professional nursing study on your first day of class.

The first few weeks of nursing school can be overwhelming, so it’s important to go into your first semester as prepared as possible. Talk to your admissions counselor about speaking with current students in the program so you can get a first-hand perspective on things.

Also be mindful that as an ABSN student, you’ll be required to learn, retain, and absorb massive amounts of information within a short time frame. It’s an intense education path where everything works towards building a solid nursing foundation.

For most students, planning and prioritizing are key to success in the program. So be sure to get your hands on a physical planner that supports the time-blocking method. Because believe it or not, this is one of the easiest ways to juggle multiple priorities and get your study routine down to a science.

How Our Accelerated Nursing Program Works

As a full-time ABSN student, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of fundamental coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and clinical rotations in diverse practice settings. Together, these three learning components provide the academic foundation and clinical preparedness that’s required to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam with confidence.

Fundamental Coursework

Whether completed online or in the classroom, the ABSN coursework sets the foundation for your nursing education and the hands-on skills you’ll develop during labs and clinicals.

Learning Flexibility

With our Hybrid ABSN program, you have the flexibility to choose when and where you complete your coursework. With no specific schedule to follow, you can “attend class” at 10 am or 10 pm. Instructor deadlines still apply.

Nursing Labs

As an ABSN student, you’ll regularly attend nursing skills and simulation labs. Labs are the bridge between coursework and clinicals. Hybrid program labs take place at our ABSN Learning site in Parsippany, while those for the on-ground program occur at our main campus in Rutherford.

Skills labs teach you how to apply the concepts covered in the coursework material, such as taking blood pressures and dressing wounds. The labs feature the supplies and equipment students need to examine one another. There are also task trainers with abnormal conditions that students use to practice their skills. For example, an eye task trainer lets students identify the signs of glaucoma.

Felician ABSN students working in skills lab

Simulation labs develop your critical thinking and clinical judgment across the continuum of care. The labs feature adult and child patient simulators that deliver realistic physiologic responses such as breathing, blinking, and lung sounds. Our instructors control these responses from an adjacent room, so don’t be surprised if the patient simulator gets vocal about your treatment approach.

We also have an area for students to prepare patient medications using the Pyxis Medstation® system, an automated dispensing system that supports decentralized medication management. The system uses barcode scanning to help ensure accurate medication dispensing and efficient medication management.

Each nursing simulation aligns with a specific learning objective. For example, one simulation might focus on a woman in labor, while another involves an adult patient in cardiac arrest. In these scenarios, students must work together to assess the patient and take action based on the symptoms presented.

Nursing simulation lab in progress

After each simulation, students participate in a debriefing with faculty to discuss the experience, which is the actual learning component of the activity. During these sessions, students reflect on the experience, which allows us to understand their clinical approach and provide necessary feedback.

Mistakes Happen

Nursing labs allow students to practice their hands-on skills and make clinical decisions without the fear of putting a patient at risk. It’s also OK to make mistakes because errors often turn into valuable learning opportunities.  

Clinical Rotations

One of the reasons nursing schools have to turn down qualified applicants is because there aren’t enough clinical placements to go around. However, that’s not the case at Felician University.

Given the connections we have with Atlantic Health System and other leading healthcare facilities, our nursing students have access to different patient populations in various areas of practice, including:

  • Acute care
  • Adult health
  • Intensive care
  • Long-term care
  • Mental health
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Public health

Clinical rotations are active learning environments where you and your classmates perform tasks a nurse would typically do in a given situation. While there are some tasks you can’t do as a student, we expect you to approach every clinical as if you were a nurse on duty.

By the time you graduate from our ABSN program, you’ll have gained 864 hours of practical experience in settings that range from hospitals to nursing homes to outpatient clinics.  

Make a Connection

During clinical rotations, it’s important to network with as many nurses, nurse managers, physicians, and health administrators as you can. You never know who might be able to help you get a job in the future. And while there’s never a promise of employment, ABSN students who bring their ‘A’ game to every clinical experience have a decent chance of receiving a job offer before graduating from our program.

Earn Your RN Title

After graduating from our ABSN program, you must register to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) in your state of residence. As a Felician University graduate, you’ll be prepared to sit for the exam with confidence.

Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NCLEX-RN helps ensure that every nursing graduate has the knowledge and skills to deliver safe, effective patient care before entering the profession. Think of the exam as an extra layer of public protection.

After passing the exam, you need to apply for your RN license in the state for which you plan to live and work. If you plan to stay in New Jersey, you can register for the NCLEX and apply to the New Jersey Board of Nursing two months before you graduate from nursing school.

Multistate License

New Jersey is in the process of joining the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). Once the implementation is complete, you can get a multistate license that authorizes you to practice in any eNLC state, which includes Delaware, Maryland, Maine, and New Hampshire on the East Coast. If you’re looking to head out to the West Coast, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho are part of the compact, with California and Washington pending legislation.

State of Nursing in New Jersey

New Jersey, like many states across the country, has a shortage of nurses. A report from the New Jersey Nursing Initiative found that its projections for 2020 predict a shortfall of more than 40,000 nurses. 

The Press of Atlantic City published an article in 2018 that cited New Jersey as having shortages in nursing specialties such as operating room, labor and delivery, hospice, and home health. Shortages that stem from a combination of factors, with the retirement of experienced nursing being the most notable.

According to CareerOneStop.org, registered nurse employment in New Jersey should grow by 12% between the years 2016 and 2026, with 5,730 job openings projected annually. CareerOneStop also lists $81,820 as the median salary for nurses in New Jersey as of 2018. Several factors, from experience level to employer type, influence how much a nurse makes in a year.

Infographic showing how the nursing shortage has driven job growth

Top Hospitals in New Jersey

In 2020, U.S. News and World Report evaluated 98 hospitals in New Jersey, ranking these facilities the top five on its list of Best Regional Hospitals.

  1. Morristown Medical Center (Atlantic Health System), nationally ranked in two adult specialties
  2. Hackensack University Medical Center, nationally ranked in two pediatric specialties
  3. St. Barnabas Medical Center, nationally ranked in two adult specialties 
  4. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, nationally ranked in one pediatric specialty
  5. Jersey Shore University Medical Center, nationally ranked in one adult and one pediatric specialty

Your Future in Nursing

When you have a BSN and registered nurse license, you open the door to a vast number of career opportunities in New Jersey and beyond. After all, a growing number of healthcare employers across the country are starting to realize that the more nurses with BSN degrees they employ, the better the patient outcomes.

In 2018, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) surveyed nursing schools about employer preferences in relation to student education levels. Of the 627 schools that responded, here is what the AACN discovered:

  • 45.6% of healthcare employers require new hires to have a BSN.
  • 88.4% of healthcare employers strongly prefer BSN holders.

Plus, having a BSN paves the way for career advancement. You have the opportunity to go on and earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with specialty certification.

Registered nurses with an MSN have access to some of the highest-paying jobs in the profession, including nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, and nurse midwife. These nurses can also pursue positions beyond the bedside such as healthcare administration.

Diverse Occupation

You’ll find that nursing is one of the most diverse occupations available today. While hospitals remain the largest employers of these professionals, you’ll find nurses hard at work anywhere there’s a need for patient care. These work settings include corporate clinics, cruise ships, military bases, private practices,  schools, and summer camps. Some even care for patients around the world by working as a travel nurse.

Trusted Profession

For 18 years straight, Americans have ranked nursing the #1 profession for honesty and ethics in the annual Gallup poll. In 2020, 85% of adults said they viewed nurses as having “very high” or “high” honesty and ethical standards. Also, according to Gallup, nurses consistently rate higher in this category than all other professions by a wide margin.

In Conclusion

By this point, you should have a better understanding of why accelerated nursing programs are hard to get into these days. It’s pretty much an issue of supply and demand for those who are eligible to apply.   

While student competition does exist at Felician University, you have a decent shot at getting into our ABSN program. It’s because we can enroll a higher number of ABSN students per year than most, if not all, of the nursing programs in the area.

So if you’re ready to increase your chances of getting into nursing school, be sure to contact our admissions team today! Just remember that our On-Ground ABSN program fills up faster than our 16-month Hybrid ABSN program. 

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