Katie Sunday

Katie Sunday
ABSN Coordinator

What makes the Wilkes University online ABSN program unique? Why is the nursing profession worthwhile? Katie Sunday, ABSN Coordinator, shares her experience and perspective on the Wilkes curriculum, on-campus residency and the state of nursing.

Tell us about the ABSN program at Wilkes.

Our ABSN program is an accelerated, low residency program that allows a student to become a nurse in one year. When they enter the program, students must have completed six prerequisites, along with a bachelor's degree in another field. We have students that come from all walks of life. They have degrees in English, math, business, and biology.

What drives students to this program?

A lot of our students have always wanted to be a nurse. They've never had the experience or the opportunity because other programs are typically two to four years long. The great thing about our program is that it is only one year.

Another thing that drives students is the fact that it's online. You can be in this program in the comforts of your own home. It fits the needs of your world.

What is a low-residency program, and what happens during it?

When you first start our program, in the first six weeks, you will take a physical assessment course, as well as a fundamentals of nursing course. In those classes, you learn the theories behind nursing practice, the scope of the nursing practice, and the basic fundamentals of nursing.

During weeks seven and eight, you come to Wilkes' campus — and it's a lovely campus — for a two-week residency program. During this residency program, you gain knowledge from our faculty members and become better prepared to go into the clinical setting. You will practice with other students, take a physical assessment test, and learn everything from putting in a Foley catheter to [nasogastric] NG tubes, trachs, suctioning; all those essential skills.

What should prospective students know about the program?

The Wilkes program is run by a wonderful group of faculty and staff. Our faculty here are very smart, educated, and knowledgeable. They also understand the new NCLEX exam and built the curriculum around it.

This is also a highly accelerated program. You can walk into this program and a year later reach your dreams of becoming a nurse.

What’s your favorite part of the ABSN program?

When we first see the students here at the residency program, they're scared, nervous and they don't know what to do. The next time we see them is when they are graduating, and they're so excited and confident. The growth that happens; that's my favorite.

How has the nursing profession changed in recent years?

I've been a nurse for more than 30 years and it is something I'm passionate about.

I was in the hospital setting during the quarantine phase of the pandemic and saw the care and compassion that nurses showed their patients. We became the patient's families and their advocates.

I know firsthand how short-staffed hospitals are, and there is still a need for that bedside nurse to be there for the patient. We all want someone to take care of our loved ones and hold their hand at the end of the day. That's what being a nurse is all about to me.