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Inaugural ABSN cohort begins clinical work

A 38-student cohort of accelerated second-degree bachelor of nursing students set foot in two Baptist Health hospitals Nov. 4, making them the first group in the program to begin clinical work.

Jacksonville University is partnering with Baptist Health for its new, 12-month bachelor of nursing program, which launched in August 2021. It’s designed to fast-track students into the nursing profession and earn a work-promise agreement from Baptist Health upon graduation and licensure.

It combines 60 hours of academic instruction on campus and 500 hours of clinical instruction at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville or Baptist Medical Center South, as well as the Jacksonville University Simulated Training and Applied Research Center on campus.

The 38 students range in age from 21 to 56 and hold various four-year degrees in fine arts, psychology, exercise science and public health, among others. Several are veterans or international students.

Tishma Sellers, 37, spent seven years in the Navy before earning a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science from the University of North Florida.

“I initially enlisted to become a hospital corpsman but unfortunately never got the chance,” said Sellers, who served as a deck seaman and later an airman in the Navy. “This accelerated BSN program gives me the opportunity to become something I’ve always wanted to be – a nurse.”

Bernard Victorio, 56, who worked in hospital management in the Philippines before immigrating to the U.S. five years ago, said he decided to enroll in the ABSN program after seeing an ad for it on TV.

Students are paired with experienced Baptist Health Clinical Nurse Educators who guide, mentor and prepare them for a nursing career.

In the clinical setting, students will start off taking vital signs, blood sugar and helping patients around. They’ll then progress into drawing blood, changing dressings and starting IVs and eventually learning more complex procedures like wound care and catheters.

The program will teach students essential health care delivery skills in a strategic, purposeful and flexible instructional model and can earn a work-promise agreement from Baptist Health by successfully completing all academic, clinical and licensure requirements.

“Jacksonville University is so proud of the exceptional students in this accelerated program, and I am personally impressed by their determination and commitment to answer the call for more nurses,” said Jacksonville University provost and chief academic officer, Dr. Chris Sapienza. “These students rigorously work extra hours in the lab, in their study groups, and with their professors to ensure they are prepared to enter the clinical phase and begin putting their knowledge into action at the bedside.”

The 2022 application for the ABSN program is open. For more information or to apply, visit ju.edu/nursing/undergraduate/accelerated-12-month-bsn.