You Asked: What Prerequisites Do I Need for Nursing School?

What you need to know about nursing school prereqs

Nursing is your calling. Only, you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field of study, and spending another four years working toward your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is not ideal.

Fortunately, you have options. With Mercer University’s second-degree Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program, it is possible to earn your nursing degree in as few as 12 months. However, as with any accelerated nursing program, how soon you can start depends on your previous academic experience.

To help make sense of this, today we will answer the question, “What prerequisites do I need for nursing school?” as well as explain why it is essential that you meet the program requirements before enrolling in our new, Atlanta-based accelerated nursing program. However, it is first helpful to understand how accelerated nursing programs work.

How Does an ABSN Program Work?

For years now, America has been facing a nursing shortage — the result of a perfect storm of factors leading to a significant demand for nurses, among them:

  • A growing prevalence of chronic conditions (such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity)
  • A retiring Baby Boomer workforce, which in addition to living longer (and as a result, will require more care) also makes up a sizable portion of the nursing workforce
  • Expanded healthcare coverage, which means more people are seeking out medical care

In order to address this critical shortage, many top nursing schools — such as Mercer’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing — are beginning to offer accelerated nursing programs that cater to career changers. Keep in mind that the length of these programs can vary considerably — usually between 16 and 21 months, though Mercer’s program can be completed in as few as 12 months.

Often, it depends on whether a previous bachelor’s degree is required, as is the case with Mercer ABSN, or whether a minimum number of college credits is required.

Is an Accelerated BSN program right for you?

Considering an accelerated nursing program? Here are four reasons to choose Mercer ABSN.

Regardless, not only do accelerated nursing programs allow motivated students to graduate sooner; they typically offer multiple program starts each year, so you do not have to wait an entire year to begin the process of changing careers. Additionally, many accelerated nursing programs feature a mix of online and hands-on studies.

Mercer’s Accelerated BSN Program

Offering three yearly program starts — in spring, summer, and fall — Mercer’s second-degree ABSN program provides comprehensive nursing education, ensuring you graduate well prepared for your new profession and to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). During this intensive three-semester program, you will learn via a blend of:

  • Online coursework that is designed to accommodate different learning styles and can be accessed 24/7 so you can learn the theory behind nursing practice when and where it is convenient for you.
  • Hands-on skills and simulation labs that allow you to practice essential nursing skills and experience life-like medical scenarios in our state-of-the-art Atlanta learning center.
  • Clinical rotations where you will experience a variety of nursing specialties first-hand at top healthcare facilities in and around the Atlanta area.
Mercer nursing student at bedside with simulation manikin

Why Are Prerequisites Important?

Joining the ranks of America’s most trusted profession takes hard work and dedication, as well as a basic understanding of the underlying science behind nursing. This is why most accelerated nursing programs require you to have taken prerequisite courses to be eligible for admittance. Often these courses include topics that will benefit you as a nurse, such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, statistics, and psychology, though they may also include school-specific courses.

At this point, you are probably wondering why — if so many schools require you to have completed prerequisites — these required courses are not part of the accelerated nursing curriculum. The reason is simple. Depending on your previous degree, you may already have taken some or all of these courses, which is why schools seldom include them as a part of their ABSN program curriculum. Generally, due to their background in science, students with a Bachelor of Science degree tend to meet more of the prerequisite requirements than do students with Bachelor of Arts degrees.

What Prerequisites Do I Need for Nursing School?

In order to enroll in the Mercer University Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, you must have completed the following courses (totaling 34 credit hours) with a 3.0 GPA or higher:

  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Microbiology
  • Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology
  • Statistics
  • Pathophysiology
  • Nutrition
  • Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Religion (may be waived in lieu of another course)

It should also be noted that Mercer University requires nursing students to have completed any science prerequisites within the past five years.

How to Get Into Nursing School Without Prerequisites

Now that you know why prerequisites are important and which courses you need to get into Mercer’s ABSN program, you are probably wondering what to do if you have not already taken all of the required courses. Alternatively, maybe you have taken some or all of them but not within the past five years, or you fell slightly short of the 3.0 GPA requirement in one of these courses.

None of these scenarios means you will not be able to get in. Before enrolling in our Accelerated BSN program, it is important to talk to an enrollment counselor. He or she will review your college transcripts and evaluate your overall fit for the program, as well as make recommendations for how you can best go about fulfilling any outstanding nursing school prerequisite requirements. This could mean, for example, taking a few classes online or retaking a class you struggled in to improve your GPA.

Your dedicated enrollment counselor will remain in close contact with you throughout the application process. He or she will check in on your progress and be available to answer any questions you have along the way.

Additional Accelerated Nursing School Requirements

In addition to completing prerequisites, most accelerated nursing programs have a few other requirements of which you need to be aware. These may include a minimum cumulative GPA for any previous university-level studies, a specific TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) score, the submission of a resume and/or essay, CPR certification, etc.

In order to enroll in Mercer’s ABSN program in Atlanta, you must:

  • Complete the program prerequisites.
  • Have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (including a 3.0 in all science course).
  • Submit a resume and essay explaining why you want to become a nurse.
  • Achieve a minimum composite score of 76% on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).
  • Complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if applicable.

As with your prerequisites, your enrollment counselor will provide detailed information regarding the program requirements.

Do You See Yourself in Scrubs?

Nursing student listening to child patient's heartbeat

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to change careers to nursing, Mercer’s accredited Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Atlanta could be the quickest way to get there. Contact us to speak with an enrollment counselor about whether this exciting program is right for you.

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