Why You Should Choose Nursing and How to Apply to Nursing School

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If you want to transfer your non-nursing degree to a nursing BSN program, Loyola University Chicago’s ABSN track might be best for you. To figure out if it works for you, consider how it fits into your lifestyle, ensure you meet requirements, and speak with an enrollment advisor.

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Are you thinking about making a career change to nursing? If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program track at Loyola University Chicago can prepare you for the profession in 16 months.

With your bachelor’s degree, our 16-month ABSN program track in Maywood or Downers Grove, Illinois, makes an accelerated transition into nursing possible without prior nursing education or health-care experience.

Discover the why, the what and the how of pursuing a Loyola BSN through an accelerated program track.

Why Choose Nursing?

If you are considering a career change, nursing is a great choice. As a nurse, aside from having a rewarding career, you will be in an in-demand profession, enjoy diverse working environments, and experience the benefits of caring for patients and coordinating health-care teams.

Nursing is a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the profession will undergo 9% job growth from 2020 to 2030 and median pay of more than $77,000 per year nationally. Nurses are needed now more than ever, as the U.S. experiences a nursing shortage due to aging patient care populations and nurses alike, with more positions becoming available as nurses reach retirement age.

different nursing career snapshots with text "oh, the places you'll go"

As a nurse, you have the potential to work in many unique work environments. Read more about these 15 non-bedside nursing careers.

What is an ABSN Program Track and How Does it Work?

ABSN programs or ABSN tracks can take many shapes and forms. Although completed at an accelerated pace, these programs still contain all the components you would find in a traditional four-year BSN program. The rigorous ABSN program track at Loyola University Chicago provides four full-time semesters and includes:

  • Nursing Theory Courses: Often referred to as the didactic portion of the program track, these courses cover nursing fundamentals and theories.
  • Hands-on Nursing Labs: Replicating a healthcare environment, our nursing skills and simulation labs feature advanced equipment, medical supplies, and manikins that enable you to practice your skills and run through simulations in a lifelike setting without working with actual patients.
  • In-person Clinical Rotations: With clinical placements, you will gain real-world experience alongside an instructor in diverse areas of professional practice at some of the best healthcare facilities in and around Chicago.

Together, these three components equal 66 credit hours.

nursing student using stethoscope in simulation lab

Why Choose Loyola’s ABSN Program Track?

Now that you are aware of all the benefits of a nursing career, it’s time to commit to an ABSN program track and begin working toward your dream of becoming a nurse. Loyola can help you get there. We have been preparing nurses to enter the field since 1935 and are proud to have an excellent nursing faculty of practicing clinicians who are passionate about preparing our students for their future in healthcare. Loyola regularly ranks among the top national universities in U.S. News and World Report, and employers recognize the knowledgeability and aptitude that Loyola-educated nurses display.

With the option of a hybrid or in-person learning model, you can choose the option that best fits your learning style. Our high-tech lab environments with hospital-grade equipment can mimic a clinical environment and provide unique learning opportunities for our students before they begin their clinical rotations.

Tips on How to Apply to Nursing School

With more knowledge about how ABSN program tracks work, you may think that earning a BSN degree might be the best choice for you. If you’re wondering how the application process might go, we have a few tips to help you get started.

1. Find a Program to Fit Your Lifestyle

When looking for nursing programs, consider how the program will fit into your lifestyle. For example, if finishing nursing school quickly so that you can begin your career is a priority for you, look for schools that can make that happen. Loyola’s ABSN program track, for example, can be completed in 16 months of full-time intensive study.

ABSN student working in sim lab looking at her watch

You also may think about if you would prefer an in-person or online option for your nursing theory coursework. Loyola’s ABSN program track offers both options, depending on the location. The ABSN program track offered at our learning site in Downers Grove caters to students who prefer a hybrid model of learning, while our Health Sciences campus in Maywood offers in-person learning for those who learn better with an instructor in-person.

2. Speak with an Enrollment Advisor

Before applying to an ABSN program, you will need to speak with your enrollment advisor to make sure you meet all the admission requirements. Prospective ABSN students work closely with an assigned enrollment advisor who helps create an academic plan focusing on meeting requirements and being ready to enroll for their chosen start dates, and provides personalized support throughout the application process. Our advisors help guide applicants every step of the way, ensuring they meet each requirement and help them determine how the program track can best fit their needs.

3. Make Sure You Meet Program Requirements

To begin Loyola’s ABSN admission process, you must have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution, along with a minimum, cumulative GPA of 3.0. Before you can begin the program track, you must satisfy a number of prerequisite courses. Your previous field of study typically affects the prerequisites you need. For example, a communications major may have to complete more prerequisites to enroll than someone with a biology degree.

nursing student in scrubs with text "start off on the right foot"

Find out everything you need to know about ABSN prerequisites.

Ready to Apply to Nursing School?

Loyola’s hybrid and on-campus ABSN program tracks offer two start dates a year — January and August. We review applications for each start date as we receive them. If you are ready to apply to nursing school to earn a BSN in 16 months, or if you want to learn more about this program track, contact an enrollment advisor today.