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Three Features of the Dual Degree in Nursing Program

Hi, my name is Charlotte and I’m a member of the Class of 2019. I just started my second semester as a student in the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses (ABPNN). I’m really enjoying the program so far; I’ve made amazing friends, met incredible faculty, and learned more in four months than I could have imagined. Here are some details on my experience in the Dual Degree in Nursing program (DDN).

Course Flexibility

As a DDN student, you have the freedom to explore academically compared to traditional four-year nursing programs. As an Arts & Sciences student, I was able to double major in public health and dance studies. I was able to fit in a minor in psychology as a social science. I even had the chance to study abroad in the spring my sophomore year in London, England. Plus, I met a wide variety of students from all sorts of disciplines rather than only nursing students. The DDN program gave me the chance to explore my other academic interests in addition to nursing. I loved taking advantage of the University’s esteemed flexible curriculum

DDN students can pick any academic area of interest as their first degree from the River Campus. I am grateful that I studied public health and specifically got engaged in health promotion. Some of the same concepts from my public health curriculum came up in my nursing courses, especially the biopsychosocial model and intervention planning. That being said, there will be overlap between nursing and many other disciplines because it is such an interdisciplinary and multi-faceted role.


The School of Nursing offers online fast track courses for completing the six prerequisite courses in preparation for ABPNN*. The courses are self-paced which is helpful for managing a busy schedule. I found it helpful to rent the textbooks for the course and pick a scheduled time during the week devoted to completing the course modules. In retrospect, the fast track courses were remarkably focused to the ABPNN coursework. It was helpful coming into ABPNN to have taken those courses specifically focused toward the program.

However, I took STT 212 (Statistics) and PSY 171 (Social & Emotional Development) on the River Campus rather than online. I did so because I used the credit to complete other requirements, but found these courses to be interesting and helpful anyway. I also took BIO 110 Intro to Biology and CHM 131 Intro to Chemistry on the River Campus.

Although those two courses are not required, I picked those two courses as part of my cluster. I am grateful that I did take those courses because I felt prepared later on for anatomy and physiology I & II, microbiology, genetics, and pathopharmacology. I would recommend at least taking BIO 110 so you’re familiar with some of the concepts once you are a nursing student. It is possible to take genetics during your first seven semesters to place out of genetics later in ABPNN. However, I found the genetics course in ABPNN to be completely manageable so I wouldn’t stress fitting it in beforehand. 

Healthcare experience

Something you’ll learn right away is that ABPNN attracts a wide variety of students. Many students have been in healthcare for a while and want to gain nursing skills while others have worked for years in a completely different profession before deciding to become a nurse. I felt unique among my classmates given that I had just graduated with my bachelor’s! I felt a bit unprepared in terms of my work experience compared to my peers. On the flipside, I benefitted from being adjusted to life as a student and my study skills were already sharp.

That being said, prior healthcare experience makes a difference. I would recommend getting familiar with the University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital, as well as the School of Nursing before starting. For example, volunteering with Friends of Strong or working as a patient care technician are great learning experiences. I personally volunteered with Highland Family Planning, educating the public on affordable contraceptive use. I also worked at the Health Promotion Office and ran programs for the student body on safe sex and relationships. I felt accustomed to engaging with strangers in an educational setting when it came to doing so in ABPNN clinical, thanks to those experiences. Lastly, I had the fortune of working at the School of Nursing with the Research Facilitation Group. Familiarizing myself with the school layout and faculty before starting the nursing program helped me feel more prepared. The ABPNN is fast-paced, so even little ways to feel more at-home ahead of time makes a big difference. 

I felt prepared entering the ABPNN after my seven semesters as an Arts & Sciences student because I had established concrete study habits, I took the proper prerequisites, and I was familiar with the University of Rochester and the School of Nursing. Definitely take advantage of your resources as a DDN student, reach out to past DDN students like myself in the ABPNN program and to your supportive faculty. There are lots of lovely people willing to give you advice and excited to help you on your nursing journey. I am proud of be a University of Rochester student and to study at such an impressive facility.

*The prerequisites include statistics, developmental psychology, nutrition, microbiology, and anatomy and physiology I & II. I took these courses in this order specifically but you’re able to mix and match the order of courses to fit your academic schedule. 

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