How Do I Learn Nursing Skills in an Accelerated BSN Program?

How do i learn nursing skills

Xavier University has an excellent track record for graduating practice-ready nurses in as few as 16 months, which leaves many prospective ABSN students wondering, “How do I learn nursing skills at an accelerated pace?” This post has the answer.

Before discussing how our ABSN program develops your nursing skills, it’s important to note that you need a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to apply. Why? The program builds on your existing college education so you can jump right into professional nursing study on the first day of class.


Taking someone who has no nursing knowledge and preparing him/her to graduate as a practice-ready nurse in 16 months involves a complex, fast-paced learning process. Our process begins with you learning the fundamentals and theories of nursing online and then progresses via three stages of applied learning.

1. Nursing skills labs cover the safe, effective application of core clinical skills.
2. Nursing simulation labs focus on critical thinking, problem-solving and clinical judgment.
3. Clinical rotations provide real-world experience in diverse areas of nursing practice.


As a Xavier ABSN student, you’ll attend nursing skills labs at our ABSN Learning Center. These labs are where you learn how to safely and effectively apply core clinical skills such as catheter insertion, intramuscular injections,  IV placements, NG tube insertions, and wound care.

Outfitted with hospital equipment, full-body medical manikins, and task trainers, our skills lab provides a realistic backdrop for you to be able to practice basic psychomotor skills and procedures without the fear of harming an actual patient. It’s an environment where it’s OK for you to make and learn from your mistakes.

While most of your nursing skills labs will take place during the first semester, you’re encouraged to sign up for extra lab practice for the duration of the ABSN program.


As a Xavier ABSN student, your nursing simulation labs will also take place at our ABSN Learning Center. These labs provide a safe contextual learning environment for you to take your clinical competency to the next level.

During Simulation Labs

You’ll participate in a variety of simulation labs while in our ABSN program, with each one supporting a specific learning objective. The overarching goal of simulation, however, is to develop your problem-solving skills and clinical reasoning across the continuum of care. We want to see how you integrate theory with practice while making clinical decisions in real-time.

Either a real person or a human patient simulator will carry out the patient role during a simulation. It just depends on the scenario and learning objective. Simulators, for example, serve as patients in complex, high-risk scenarios.

Ayana described her first simulation as intense:

Our patient, a simulation manikin, was vomiting profusely. I thought it was a good learning experience because you never know what you’re going to get when going into an actual patient’s hospital room.

Our adult and child simulation manikins are capable of delivering realistic physiologic responses, such as pupil reaction, heart sounds, respiration, and urinary output. Controlled by faculty from an adjoining room, these manikins can also be vocal if they don’t like your treatment approach.

After Simulation Labs

Following each simulation, you’ll participate in a debriefing with faculty to discuss the experience. This is the actual learning component of the activity. Our debriefings encourage you to reflect on the simulation while allowing us to understand your actions and clinical approach.

We keep grades out of simulation because they alter the learning dynamic of these activities. After all, if a student is worried about getting a bad grade, he/she might spend more time during the debriefing defending his/her actions instead of taking an honest, unbiased look at the situation. Being able to make and correct mistakes in this context is a valuable learning tool.

There’s not the pressure that comes with getting a good grade. The activity is just focused on you learning and improving your skills. - Lauren

Furthermore, nursing simulation puts you in clinical situations that you might not otherwise get to practice. But above all else, advanced simulation experiences help contribute to better patient outcomes.


As a Xavier ABSN student, your clinical rotations will begin during the first semester. These supervised real-world experiences are the core of your nursing education, exposing you to different patient populations in diverse practice settings.

Working with patients in a clinical setting

Clinicals are active learning environments where you and other students in your cohort perform tasks a nurse would typically do in a given situation. Our clinical placement sites include:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient clinics

During your final semester, you’ll participate in a role transition experience. This is where you gain concentrated clinical experience under the guidance of a preceptor (a trained registered nurse). You’ll work the same shifts as your preceptor, and as you refine your skills and build rapport with patients, you’ll take an active, if not primary, role in their care.


So, how does an ABSN program help you learn nursing skills? As an accelerated nursing student, you’ll clock hundreds of hours of clinical practice, which constitutes both lab and practicum time. More specifically, you’ll develop hands-on skills and problem-solving techniques in your nursing labs and then apply those competencies in the real-world during your clinical rotations.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to start developing your nursing skills, contact our admission team today! Be sure to ask about our ABSN program locations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio.

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

ABSN 101 Guide

Download our ABSN 101 Guide to help you successfully navigate the accelerated path to nursing.