Nursing degree can be earned in one year through ABSN program

A career in nursing can be just a year away for individuals who enroll in Western Carolina University’s new 12-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program.

The ABSN Program allows those who already hold bachelor’s degrees, or higher degrees, in any field to transition to a career as registered nurse. The program is designed for nonworking full-time students who are willing to immerse themselves in a full year of intense academic study, said Shelia Chapman, assistant professor at WCU and coordinator for the program.

Previously, WCU’s School of Nursing admitted just one group of students into the ABSN program each May, and those students completed the program in 16 months. Beginning in 2010, new classes of students will be enrolled in both January and August, and those students will be able to complete the program in 12 months, making them eligible to take the state’s licensing examination to become a registered nurse.

WCU’s nursing faculty is currently interviewing candidates for January enrollment, and no new applications are being taken for that class, which will be full, Chapman said. However, an application packet for the August class will be posted online on Feb. 1. The deadline for submission of that application is May 15.

Course requirements for the ABSN are the same as those for a traditional bachelor of science in nursing degree, and prerequisites are required. Classes are held full time on the Enka campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, and there are no semester breaks, Chapman said. Students typically attend classes for eight hours a day, five days each week.

Earlier this year, WCU’s School of Nursing and the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville announced a new partnership designed to increase the number of nurses qualified to serve the region and its veteran population. A federal grant of $1.5 million is being used to increase the number of students in WCU’s ABSN program. The partnership is part of a five-year, $40 million federal program that began in 2007.

For more information about the ABSN, visit http://www.wcu.edu/academics/departments-schools-colleges/HHS/hhs-schools-depts/nursing/nursing-academic-programs/accbsn/index.asp on the Web. The Web site includes information on scheduling an advising session. Information also is available by contacting Shelia Chapman at (828) 670-8810, extension 228.