What Is an ABSN Track and Is It Right for You?

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If you’ve wondered: What is an ABSN track, the answer is that it is a degree track based on a blended, accelerated curriculum. Enrolling as a Mercer ABSN student could help you earn your degree in as few as 12 months and boost your future nursing career prospects.

Mercer ABSN student putting on lab gloves

If you have decided that you want to become a nurse, the natural next question might be “What nursing degree should I pursue?”

Currently, the healthcare industry (despite facing a shortage of nurses) is competitive. As a result, many top hospitals and employers pursuing Magnet status require new nurses to hold a BSN degree — and some have even set timelines by which current nurses must obtain their BSN. Why? For one, Magnet-employed nurses enjoy generally higher levels of job satisfaction. Additionally, studies have shown that a workforce of BSN-educated nurses can lead to better patient care outcomes.

With the direction the industry is taking, a BSN degree might be your best overall option (as opposed to an Associate Degree in Nursing) to ensure that you will maintain plenty of employment opportunities throughout your career. Through an accelerated BSN program, like Mercer University’s Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track, you can take advantage of a faster (and more intensive) curriculum to earn your BSN degree in as few as 12 months.

nurse helping patient with blood pressure tool

Learn more about some of the biggest career benefits of a BSN degree.

So, what differentiates an ABSN from a traditional BSN experience, and how can it help you reach your goals sooner?

How Is an ABSN Track Different from a Traditional BSN Program?

The majority of “traditional” BSN programs are located on campus, and deliver classes, coursework, and material in person. BSN programs are also usually delivered over the course of a full four-year curriculum.

An accelerated curriculum is the defining characteristic of an ABSN program, and Mercer’s ABSN track is built on a comprehensive curriculum of 56 credit hours spanning three semesters. Combining online-based coursework with in-person skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations at top area healthcare facilities, we’ll explore how Mercer can help achieve your goals.

An Accelerated Curriculum That Helps Students Earn Their BSN Sooner

Like traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs, accelerated BSN programs rigorously prepare you for a rewarding career as a registered nurse — just over a shorter period of time.

ABSN programs do this by building on your previous academic experience so that you can focus exclusively on nursing-specific coursework rather than electives and general education courses. Depending on the program, “previous academic experience” could mean a certain number of college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

Typically, most ABSN programs can be completed in about 16 months. Mercer University’s Accelerated BSN track in Atlanta is a CCNE-accredited second-degree track that makes it possible to earn your nursing degree in as few as 12 months.

Most accelerated nursing tracks, Mercer ABSN included, require you to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling. Usually, these courses apply directly to the field of nursing (for example, anatomy and physiology), though they may also include courses central to a school’s core values or mission.

Student applying online

How Many Prerequisites You’ll Need

The number of prerequisites you'll need to take depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The program requirements
  • Your previous degree, course history, and GPA
  • How long ago you took any required courses

However, do not worry if you have not taken all of the prerequisite courses. When you speak with an enrollment counselor, they can review your course history and help you come up with a plan for completing any outstanding prerequisites.

Online-Based Coursework

Another difference between a traditional BSN program and an accelerated BSN track is course delivery. During your time as a Mercer ABSN student, you will enjoy online-based coursework. The online-based coursework grants more flexibility in how you arrange your learning schedule, as you can complete assignments in your timing as long as you meet the due date.

Mercer’s ABSN track courses are versatile, with a range of assignments tailored to students across visual, aural, tactile and social learning styles. Additionally, students will have plenty of instructor support, with faculty ready to support students both online and in person.

Is an Accelerated BSN Track Right for You? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

No doubt you have come across accelerated nursing programs online, but how do you know if an ABSN program is right for you? Here are five questions you should be able to answer when weighing Mercer’s Accelerated BSN track in Atlanta.

Mercer ABSN student standing in hallway

See some of the top tips that can help you succeed as an ABSN student.

1. Why do you want to be a nurse?

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession, and it can be physically and emotionally draining at times. If high earning potential and nationwide demand are your main motivations for becoming a nurse, you may not find as much long-term satisfaction in the profession.

If, you love caring for others, enjoy a challenge, and handle stressful situations well, nursing may be a terrific career for you — and one that allows you significant room for personal and professional growth.

2. Do you have the time?

Be honest with yourself about time commitments. Over the course of a year, you will balance online coursework, independent study, skills and simulation labs, tests and review sessions, and clinical rotations at top area hospitals and healthcare facilities. Mercer ABSN students should plan to devote about 40 to 60 hours each week to their nursing studies.

As a full-time student, it may be helpful to set an expectation with family and friends about social events because of your commitment to an accelerated nursing track. While you may need to prioritize your studies over some other commitments for a time, you can complete Mercer’s ABSN track and earn your degree in as little as 12 months.

3. Do you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree?

Few accelerated nursing programs provide students the opportunity to earn a BSN in as few as 12 months, and from a top university. However, there are specific requirements you must meet. In order to be eligible, you must hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). This means that every member of your cohort will be returning to school for his or her second degree — something many career changers appreciate.

Mercer ABSN student holding backpack by lockers

4. Can you handle the rigor of an accelerated program?

Accelerated nursing programs offer career changers an opportunity to become nurses sooner than traditional programs; however, ABSN programs are equally as academically challenging. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as few as 12 months takes hard work and dedication.

5. Are you an organized, self-motivated person?

When it comes to succeeding in an accelerated nursing track, remaining motivated is key. While online coursework does allow the flexibility of studying around the clock or from your favorite local coffee shop, you are ultimately responsible for staying on top of assignments and readings.

Your organizational skills will serve you well as an ABSN student. There is a lot to keep track of in nursing school — tests, labs, assignment due dates, clinicals, etc. Most accelerated nursing students benefit from a personal calendar, and some even keep multiple calendars just to be sure nothing slips through the cracks. Finding a system that works for you will be essential for success in nursing school.

Earn Your BSN in as Few as 12 Months

Ready to turn your calling into a reality? Speak with an enrollment counselor today to learn more about Mercer University’s 12-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track in Atlanta, and find out if it is the right path for you.