ABSN Student Recommends Northeastern Nursing Co-op Experience

An ABSN student's account of her experience in the Northeastern Nursing Co-Op.

Northeastern University has one of the largest, most innovative Cooperative Education Programs in the world. While the program started more than a century ago, the university recently opened it up to students enrolled in the Accelerated BSN program near Boston. See what this ABSN student had to say about her Northeastern nursing co-op experience.

While the ABSN program spans four semesters, ABSN students in the co-op spend four months away from their studies to work in the health care field. Most students, however, don’t mind the additional time it takes to graduate from nursing school because the co-op pays them to boost their clinical skills.

The Ideal Co-op Experience

Meet Jessica, a current Northeastern nursing student who plans to graduate from our Burlington ABSN program in August 2019. Prior to our ABSN program, Jessica was a professional fundraiser, with a master’s degree in urban planning.

As someone who enrolled in our ABSN program without any previous health care experience, she wanted to share her recent co-op experience with prospective nursing students.

Jessica Conaway, ABSN student

Jessica Conaway

I am so glad that Northeastern started offering a co-op experience for ABSN students. It was an excellent opportunity and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a student with no prior health care experience.

As a PCA, I worked with a lot of Spanish-speaking patients in my unit. And because of this experience, I would now like to earn a certificate in medical Spanish as well as explore opportunities that would allow me to improve my language skills, so I can better serve this population.I had the opportunity to complete a four-month co-op at a large medical center, working as a full-time patient care assistant (PCA) in an acute inpatient medical unit. During this time, I was a valued staff member. I had my own patient assignment and worked as part of the interprofessional team on the unit.

I also enjoyed the fact that I was able to hone my skills in taking manual blood pressures, which is an important competency to have. Prior to the co-op, most of my experience with vital signs involved the use of an automated machine.

There were times during the co-op when my team encountered a patient whose vital signs were quickly escalating. And, as a result, I had to check, re-check, and then check his/her vital signs again using both manual and automated values. We had to ensure what we thought was happening with this patient was accurate.

Knowing that a patient’s vitals are out of range is an important part of the nursing process. It helps alert staff of the individual’s deteriorating condition. I was also part of a code situation during my co-op.

As a result of this co-op, I feel very confident in my skills and my ability to learn and grow in this profession. I think I will be more successful in my upcoming clinical rotations and better positioned to take full advantage of what they have to offer. I also have real work experience and was able to make important professional contacts in nursing management.

I have an incredible foundation from which to launch my nursing career. My confidence moving in and out of patient rooms has grown significantly, which makes providing direct patient care feel more natural to me now.

Truth be told, I think I had the ideal co-op experience. I wouldn’t change a thing. It was just the right length, with just the right team, on just the right floor, doing just the right thing. I’m ever so grateful!

ABSN Program Requirements

Before getting into the specific details of the Northeastern nursing co-op, it’s important to make sure you’re eligible for our 16-month ABSN program. Because it’s a second-degree option, you need to have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, along with a cumulative GPA of 3.0, to qualify.

ABSN Learning Format

As an ABSN student, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of online and onsite curriculum, so expect to devote between 40 and 60 hours a week to your education.

  • Online courses teach you the fundamentals of the profession at any time of the day or night.
  • Nursing labs at our facilities develop your hands-on skills and clinical judgment.
  • Clinical rotations provide you with real-world experience in diverse areas of nursing practice.
Northeastern nursing simulation lab

Northeastern ABSN program skills lab in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Northeastern Nursing Co-op Details

Following our university’s signature, time-honored experiential learning model, the Northeastern nursing co-op combines academics with professional practice, allowing you to put your skills into action and graduate with a bounty of firsthand clinical experience.

If accepted into our Burlington-based ABSN program, you can apply for the co-op program during your second semester of nursing school—just as long as you have a 3.0 GPA. Once approved for the co-op, you can apply to a variety of inpatient units at Lahey Medical Center where you’ll be employed as a patient care assistant.

Nursing co-op experiences take place between the second and third semesters of the ABSN program. While you won’t be taking any courses during this time period, you’re still registered as a full-time student.

Lahey Medical Center

[Photo Credit] Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Co-op Benefits:

  • Gain 32+ hours of direct patient care experience per week.
  • Grow your interprofessional skills as a vital member of a health care team.
  • Hone your clinical competencies and time management skills.
  • Earn between $15 and $18 an hour, plus differentials (no health care or PTO benefits),
  • Network with health care staff and build your resume.

While not guaranteed, many of our nursing co-op students receive job offers from our co-op partners after graduation. If you’d like to learn more about the Northeastern nursing co-op, please contact Mary Carney at m.carney@Northeastern.edu or Jacki Diani at j.diani@Northeastern.edu.

If you have questions related to our 16-month ABSN program, please contact our admissions team at 866.892.3819 or complete our online form to have someone contact you.

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