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ABSN program prepares students to become RNs in one intense year


Lesley Williamson was working as a youth pastor.  Classmate Megan Dunn was an apparel and textile designer in New York City.

Now they are two of 25 graduates in the inaugural class of the new Accelerated Bachelor of Science option in the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens.

The elite study track prepares adults with previous bachelor's degrees in other fields to earn a bachelor of science in nursing after 12 months of intensive study.  This enables them to change careers and get back to work faster than traditional two- and four-year nursing programs.

This first class graduated in May 2010 and is going on to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed as registered nurses.

"We are so proud of the diversity in this inaugural class," Jesus Hernandez, coordinator for the ABSN . "We have a good range of ages and ethnicities represented, along with widely varied academic and professional experiences."

The students hailed from six countries and several states, and studied as a cohort, attending a rigorous schedule of day-long classes and labs together four days each week. On their days "off," the students studied together in smaller groups and complete components of coursework online.

They say the intense schedule was challenging, but will pay off as they return to the workforce after only one year instead of the traditional two to four that most nursing programs require.

Other graduates from the inaugural class include:

  • Kemeshia McEachron of New York, who previously worked in military medical logistics;
  • Kaylee Whalen, a Charlotte native who earned her first bachelor's degree in biology;
  • Elena Douglas, who was an ob/gyn surgeon in Russia before she emigrated to the U.S.

The program has three dedicated faculty members: Grace Buttriss, a child and family specialist; Jill Carey, an adult health specialist; and Hernandez, a pediatric health specialist.

The ABSN option at Queens is one of five such programs in North Carolina that are designed to address the critical shortage of nurses. Queens' Presbyterian School of Nursing also offers other tracks including a traditional bachelor's of science program for students with previous bachelor's degrees.
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