How to Become an RN in One Year

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Become an RN in One Year - nurse in red scrubs

As we leave 2020 behind, it’s time to start thinking about what this year holds for you. Where do you want to be 12 months from now? If your answer is working in a fulfilling career as a nurse, we can help.

The 12-month curriculum offered through the University of St. Thomas Houston’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2nd Degree) program can help you reach your nursing goals sooner with a supportive admissions team, easy-to-use online learning platform and accelerated coursework. While completing our BSN program can happen within a year, factors like completing prerequisite courses, sitting for and passing the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and getting licensed as an RN make the process of becoming a nurse take longer than 12 months. An average window for our ABSN students to become a nurse can actually range anywhere from 12 months to 2 years, but UST’s accelerated nursing program will certainly get you started on the right foot.

Below, we’ll outline the steps involved in becoming an RN sooner through UST’s ABSN program. First things first: It all starts with getting in touch with our admissions counselors.

1. Complete the Admissions Process

The admissions process for UST’s Accelerated BSN program begins as soon as you complete the form on our website. Doing so lets our admissions team know you’re ready to discuss your academic qualifications and nursing career goals and determine if you’re a good fit for our program. On this call, you’ll connect with an admissions counselor who will serve as your main point of contact throughout the rest of the admissions process. It’s also during this conversation you’ll have the chance to have your questions answered and receive more details about the program’s admissions requirements.

Next, you’ll work to make an academic plan that will guide you through the program. Once your admissions counselor determines your eligibility for our ABSN program, he or she will work with you to design a plan to ensure you meet your target start date goal.

Part of that plan will include making sure you can complete your prerequisite courses. While ABSN@UST doesn’t require you to have any prior healthcare experience to apply, you must meet certain academic requirements so that you’ll be prepared when you do start your path toward becoming an RN in one year.

three students writing on a chalkboard

You’re not alone in this — your admissions counselor will help you register for all the prerequisite courses, then check in periodically to help you stay focused and on track to pass them with the minimum grade requirement of C or higher.

2. Complete the 12-Month ABSN Curriculum

While it’s definitely a great start, getting into UST’s ABSN program alone won’t be enough to become a nurse in one year. You’ll need dedication, commitment and perseverance to get the most out of the ABSN program and become a great nurse.

To be successful, you’ll need to create study plans and use your resources. In ABSN@UST, those support resources include success coaches who can help you map out study schedules and nursing faculty and instructors who are available via phone, email and in-person office hours to answer any questions you may have about course material.

You’ll also need to complete your labs, clinicals and pass the NCLEX exam.

Skills Labs

Our accelerated BSN skills labs mimic the hospital setting and feature all the high-tech medical equipment and supplies you’d expect to find in such an environment as well as realistic medical manikins.

These labs will be your time to shine. You’ll work hands-on to see what a typical day as a nurse might have in store.

Combined with nursing theory knowledge learned in the online portion of our ABSN program, you’ll use this facility and its tools to gain nursing skills such as:

  • Holistic head-to-toe assessment
  • Nasogastric (NG) tube insertion
  • Blood pressure and heart rate monitoring
  • Wound care

Simulation Labs

University of St. Thomas Houston nursing student working with simulation manikin

Once you master nursing skills, you’ll put them to the test during nursing simulation labs.

It’s during these realistic patient care scenarios that your critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills will be challenged in a risk-free environment.

You’ll also engage in mock clinical scenarios focused on specific learning objectives. It’s here where you’ll learn to understand different roles and communicate effectively under pressure.

It may sound like a lot to handle, but this is the portion of the program where we want you to make mistakes. This environment is perfect for trying new things and learning what works well and what doesn’t.

At the end of every simulation, you’ll participate in debriefing sessions with instructors and classmates to reflect on the experience and learn from it without judgment.

Clinical Placements

Next, you’ll be able to show off those newly perfected skills in a real-world environment. Nursing clinicals in our 12-month ABSN program allow you to work with some of the best nurses and doctors in Texas under the guidance of experienced clinical instructors across a variety of specialties, including:

  • Adult health
  • Community health
  • Mental health
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics

It’s during the ABSN@UST clinical rotations you’ll start to find your niche and your place in the profession post-graduation. With such a wide variety of clinical settings, it’s a great idea to “try on” different specialties and find the one that interests you most.

Clinicals within the nation’s largest medical center also grant you valuable networking access to some of the best and brightest in healthcare, which can only help you as you begin your job search.

3. Pass the NCLEX

Every student who graduates from nursing school must sit for and pass the NCLEX to earn RN licensure, so that will be the next stop on the road to becoming an RN.

We believe our high NCLEX pass rates reflect our level of commitment to your success. The Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing’s consistently high NCLEX pass rates for first-time test-takers show our ABSN program is part of a nursing school that paves the way for you to succeed.

4. Start Now

ABSN student in lab

All in all, you will complete 58 credit hours spread over three full-time semesters during our 12-month ABSN program.

Don’t make becoming a nurse your new year’s resolution, make it your reality. With start dates in in January, May and August there’s plenty of opportunity to get the ball rolling on a rewarding and fulfilling new career.

Ready to make a bold move for your future?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and are interested in accelerating your nursing career, contact our admissions team to get started.