College Fills First Cohort of Thornton Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Diverse Group
Applications for the 2024 ABSN cohort are currently open; the deadline for completing an application is Feb. 2, 2024.
York College will host an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 28, which will include an individual session for potential ABSN students.
York College of Pennsylvania’s Thornton Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program hit its first-year enrollment goal of eight students. Funded by Dianne “Danny” Thornton, formerly of York, the accelerated program is directed at those who already earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline and/or completed at least 65 non-nursing college credits.
This first group is diverse, ranging in age from 20 to 50, with degrees from a number of colleges and universities, and majors from biology to sociology. What they have in common is that they have good GPAs from their previous academic work and a strong foundation in science, and they are ready and willing to work very hard for 17 months to earn a York College Nursing degree.
“There’s much forethought that goes into this decision,” said Dr. Kelli Masters, Associate Professor of Nursing and Director of the Accelerated Nursing Program. “From their perspective, this is an opportunity to change careers in a short amount of time to a career where they feel they can be successful. Nurses are in demand. I am very transparent with applicants and tell them they are not going to be able to have a job outside of this program, they may need to consider backup plans for family and other obligations, and it’s going to be rigorous.”
Nevertheless, the students showed up in July for orientation and their first two-credit Pharmacology course and began their journey to a second degree.
Reuben George earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. He knew he wanted to be in healthcare, but didn’t know exactly where or how. During his junior year, he worked as a nursing assistant, watching doctors and their interactions with others. “When I stepped into the emergency room, I loved the interaction and teamwork between the doctors, technicians, and nurses,” he said. “So, I worked as an ER tech and then came to this program.”
Maya Fanus earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and worked as a medical scribe in a heart and vascular ICU after graduating. While prepping her notes in the nurse’s breakroom, she heard about York College’s stellar reputation for nursing, and thought the 17-month timeframe was a “really nice fit for me,” she said. “I felt supported and encouraged from the application process on.”
Kelsie Haberstroh was already familiar with York College’s Stabler Nursing Department because her mother and sister graduated from the program. She earned a health sciences degree and spent the next three years as a cardiac tech before realizing that she wanted to follow in their footsteps and become a nurse.
Grace Ajemba immigrated from Nigeria and worked for 15 years in healthcare — a popular field for immigrants — as a Licensed Practical Nurse. “I was getting bored, so I began looking into what to do and where to go. I came to an Open House at York College with my son, who was considering attending as an undergraduate. I heard about the ABSN program, which was in the process of being established, so I kept Dr. Masters’ email. I love the energy she puts in. This is like her baby, and she is nurturing it to make sure it grows. She is so passionate about the program.”
Personal attention from Dr. Masters and others is one of the things that drew the students to York College’s program, which is a bit unique among many others that are online or significantly longer. Masters has also created a mentorship program with traditional upper-level undergraduate Nursing students in the Stabler Nursing Department.
The eight students also turn to each other for support. “It’s nice doing everything together,” said Maya. “We all have the same schedule, the same breaks, and the same work for class. We work with each other’s schedules to support each other.”