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What to do Before Nursing School Starts: A 9-Step Guide

University of the Incarnate Word ABSN students working with a manikin with the text "Start nursing school poised to succeed."

If you are waiting for word of acceptance, or even if you have not yet applied to the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), you might be wondering what to do before nursing school starts. This post provides some ideas on how to prepare yourself for success from day one. The more of these steps you take, the more ready you will be to tackle the coursework, exams, labs, and clinicals that are to come.

1. Build a Support System

Speak to your family and friends before your ABSN classes start. Let them know that you are embarking on a life-changing journey that will require most of your time and attention. Now is the time to lean on your loved ones for a little extra help. Ask family members if they can babysit for you if you need alone time to complete homework. Or see if a friend would be willing to provide you dinner while you are studying for an exam. Be sure to explain that your hectic schedule will be temporary and that the results will be worth it.

2. Start Reading

Once nursing school starts, you will have plenty of reading to do, but it is a good idea to start learning about what to expect before classes begin. You might consider reading introductory books such as Nursing School Thrive Guide by Maureen Osuna. If you do not have time for a book, you can check out blogs such as Nursing.com and ScrubsMag.com. Or you can opt to peruse magazines such as Nursing Times. All of these resources will help prepare you for what is to come in nursing school.

3. Make Sure Your Shots are Up to Date

You are about to enter a field of work where you will be exposed regularly to bacteria and viruses. Check with your admissions counselor to find out which immunizations you need for our ABSN track. As a UIW student, your clinicals will begin during the first semester of the ABSN track, so your vaccine records must be up to date for you to gain clinical clearance. If you want to get a jump start on immunizations before classes start, here are some of the most common vaccines nursing schools require:

  • Tetanus
  • Rubella
  • Rubeola
  • Mumps
  • Meningitis
  • Pertussis
  • Varicella
  • Tuberculosis screening
  • Hepatitis B
  • Flu

4. Complete Orientation Paperwork

If you have forms to complete, do not wait until the last minute. You might come across a requirement that will take some time to fulfill. You do not want anything to hold up your nursing school start, so take care of these things well in advance.

a UIW admissions interview outside in front of a computer

5. Purchase Key School Supplies

There are several supplies you will need as an accelerated nursing student; here are some of the most common items:

  • Lab coats and jackets
  • Nursing shoes
  • Compression socks
  • Backpack
  • Pens and paper
  • Comprehensive planner
  • Sturdy clipboard
  • Stethoscope
  • Nursing scissors
  • Penlight

6. Earn First Aid and CPR Certification

You will need to earn first aid and CPR certification eventually. If you do this before school starts, you will have one less task to complete.

7. Network

Get in touch with current UIW ABSN students. Ask them about the track, its instructors, and how you can best prepare for what is to come.

8. Organize Your Life

Once nursing school begins, you will not have much free time to clean your house, organize your garage, or get rid of unwanted items. Why not take the time to do these things before life becomes busy?

9. Take a Couple of Days Off

Before things get hectic, take a couple of days off to relax and mentally prepare for what is to come. It will be a while before you can take a full day off again, so enjoy it while you can.

The Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing building

UIW has a long history of academic excellence. Founded in 1931, our nursing school was the first west of the Mississippi to offer an accredited bachelor’s degree in nursing.

ABSN Track Overview

Now that you are aware of some basic tasks to complete before nursing school starts, here is an overview of what you can expect as a student in our 16-month ABSN track.

Spanning four full-time semesters, our ABSN track is an intensive educational path that requires serious commitment on your part. It follows a hybrid learning model that comprises:

  • Online coursework that teaches the fundamentals and theories of nursing practice.
  • Nursing labs at our site location, focusing on applied skills development and clinical judgment.
  • Clinicals in the community and within local healthcare systems, providing diverse real-world nursing experience.

Overall, our values-based mission provides a nursing education that focuses on treating the whole patient – in mind, body, and spirit. Upon your completion of the ABSN track, you will be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®). In 2020, 100% of UIW BSN students passed the NCLEX on the first try.

Don’t Wait to Apply

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative and science GPA of 3.0, you can begin the admissions process for our ABSN track in San Antonio. After verifying your eligibility with our admissions team, you will work with an assigned counselor who helps you navigate the entire enrollment process. He or she will also see to it that you submit the most competitive nursing school application possible.

Plus, our ABSN track offers three start dates a year — in January, May and August — so you do not have to wait to start nursing school. Contact our admissions team today to see about setting your accelerated nursing education in motion.

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