After degree nursing program fast-tracks students to success

Finished your degree? Considering a career in nursing? The U of A after-degree program is the right fit for you.

17 February 2023

The University of Alberta’s bachelor of science in nursing two-year after degree program is a fast-track to the field of nursing for students that already hold a recognized degree.

Applicants who have developed critical thinking skills and have career and life experience make excellent candidates.

Students in the U of A’s Faculty of Nursing —  ranked #1 program in Canada and #9 worldwide according to the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject — attend the new Edmonton Clinic Health Academy building, designed for teaching collaboration and patient-centred care. 

Abby Krzyzaniak, currently in her second semester, already had a bachelor of kinesiology from the U of A but realized she wanted to pursue a career that let her work closely with patients.

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in health care, but I wasn’t sure about the exact career,” says Krzyzaniak. “Through research, I learned about the nursing after-degree program. I knew that the U of A had outstanding nursing programs and that my education would be some of the best I could get in the country. I liked that it was a shorter, two-year program and decided it was the perfect fit.”

So far, Krzyzaniak has enjoyed the program.

“I appreciated how welcoming and supportive all of our professors and instructors have been. In every lecture, lab and clinical, the instructors have all genuinely cared about their student's well-being and really wanted them to learn and experience as much as possible.” 

Professionals from different areas of nursing come as guest speakers and discuss their experiences and stories from both their jobs and when they were in school, putting students at ease. 

Students move right into hands-on practice in both labs and clinical at the beginning of the program. They use the nursing faculty’s simulation lab to learn how to react to scenarios and identify gaps in their knowledge. In the lab, a robotic mannequin breathes, blinks, has a heart rhythm and responds to questions with the help of a staff member.

“From Day 1, we get plenty of opportunities to practise our skills. Additionally, our instructors expose us to the types of questions we’ll see on our certification exam, which I greatly appreciated,” says Krzyzaniak.



Ben Mickelse, halfway through the second year of the program, says his most enjoyable program experiences have come from his clinical placements.

“Hearing patients express deep gratitude for the care I was providing to them has been heartwarming. Watching patients improve and knowing that I helped contribute to their recovery has been rewarding,” says Mickelse. “I’ve enjoyed learning these hands-on skills.”

Both students also have made lifelong friends and met future colleagues who have a passion for health. Do they feel the program opened new career doors?

“I’ve been amazed by the number of different fields nursing has to offer,” says Mickelse. “Depending on the level of excitement, stress, or critical thinking that someone wants from their career, I believe there is an area of nursing for any personality type. I intend to move back to my hometown and work in a rural hospital in long-term care or emergency.”

“I am currently in my first clinical rotation, so I am keeping my options open for anything that may pique my interest!” says Krzyzaniak. “I'm going to be exposed to many different areas of care throughout the next two years. We’ve also learned about research and continuing education opportunities, which has opened up my eyes to even more career paths.” 

To those considering applying, both Mickelse and Krzyzaniak say to go for it.

“A lot of the students in this program originally pictured themselves in a career that was not nursing,” says Mickelse. “While my original plan was to be a physiotherapist, I realized that most of what I wanted out of a career (helping others, promoting health, supporting my family), could also be met through a career in nursing. Consider whether this career path could support your ambitions.”

“My advice is to just do it,” says Krzyzaniak. “There can be anxiety about applying to such a fast-paced program like this one, but it is not as daunting as you think. There is definitely lots to learn, but we are very well-supported and given plenty of resources in order to be successful. I am loving my experience so far and am so grateful I applied!”

The deadline to apply to the bachelor of science in nursing (BScN) after degree program is March 1.