How to Choose a Nursing Program

If you have wondered how to choose a nursing program, Mercer University’s second degree ABSN track can help you make a decision. Factors in your choice can include your career goals, your ideal timeline, the degree you want to pursue, and more.

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Similar to how nursing as a career field offers you many options, choosing where to go to nursing school can be similarly filled with new opportunities. The nursing program that’s right for you depends on your educational and career background. Knowing what to look for in a nursing program can be a challenge with many variables at play. From the specific degree you want to pursue, to learning styles, location, and your ideal timeline, making a choice will require you to evaluate each of these to see which one best suits your ambitions.

Mercer University’s Second-Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track, located in Atlanta, Georgia, offers a blended nursing education that combines online coursework with in-person skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations at top area healthcare facilities. Depending on how your goals align with what Mercer’s track has to offer, it may be the best choice for you. Plus, it could result in you earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as few as 12 months.

Discover how to choose a nursing program, and see how Mercer’s ABSN track can launch your nursing career.

Understand Which Degree You Want to Pursue

The first aspect that can inform the decision of where to complete your nursing education is the degree you are planning to pursue. For example, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) requires fewer credit hours than a BSN degree, and upon completion (and passing the NCLEX-RN exam) leads to registered nurse licensure. However, depending on your long-term career goals, this may not be the best path for you.

Magnet organizations are healthcare entities certified to uphold a high standard of nursing practice. These organizations have been found to correlate with better patient outcomes as well as higher nurse job satisfaction. However, the criteria for these organizations includes exclusively hiring RNs who have earned a BSN degree or higher, and many organizations in general are moving toward this standard for greater career flexibility.

Know that Location Can Make a Difference

In addition to the type of degree you earn, the location of a nursing track (and the job market after graduating) can make a difference in terms of the opportunities you can access through your education. For instance, Mercer’s ABSN track is in Atlanta, Georgia. The greater metro Atlanta area alone contains 20 community health and hospital systems, collectively employing over 32,000 healthcare professionals.

With the size of the healthcare market within the state, the excellent facilities in Atlanta, and the impending need for many more nurses, Mercer’s ABSN provides the ideal environment for many students.

Atlanta skyline

See the outlook for nurses in Georgia and how the nursing shortage can impact where the demand for nurses is highest.

Choose Between Traditional vs. Accelerated BSN Tracks

One of the most important factors in what to look for in a nursing program is a timeline that fits your ambitions. When considering different nursing tracks, the amount of time you will have to study before earning your BSN degree can make a difference in your decision. For those who already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, an ABSN track might be the best way to earn a degree within an accelerated timeframe.

Traditional BSN Track Learning & Timeline

Traditional BSN tracks are the format you may be most familiar with: traditionally two years of prerequisite nursing coursework followed by an additional two years of on-campus nursing study before earning a degree. In-person lectures and quizzes, as well as in-person skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations, all make up this educational model.

Student creating a college plan

ABSN Track Learning & Timeline

On the other hand, for those who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and meet admissions requirements, an ABSN track can put you on the pathway to earning a nursing degree sooner. Mercer University’s ABSN track provides a comprehensive nursing education that can be completed in as few as 12 months.

Mercer ABSN students can view learning material, complete coursework, and connect with instructors and fellow cohort members online, with plenty of opportunities for connection and support. Additionally, ABSN students will complete skills and simulation labs on-site at Mercer’s Atlanta ABSN learning site location, and clinical rotations will be held at leading healthcare facilities within Metro Atlanta. The program has three start terms per year in January, May, and August, to remain even more accessible and flexible for students.

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See more detail about how online learning works as a Mercer ABSN student.

Take the Next Step in Your Nursing Education

After considering some of the factors involved with choosing a nursing program, if you have any questions or would like to learn more about Mercer University’s ABSN track, connect with an enrollment counselor to get started. Your nursing degree and career in the profession could be as few as 12 months away.