How Do Accelerated Nursing Programs Work?

How Do Accelerated Nursing Programs Work?

Mar 24, 2015 | 11:00 am

If you’ve considered becoming a nurse, but hold a non-nursing degree, an accelerated nursing program could be exactly what you need to catch up on credits and transition into a nursing career quickly. So how does an accelerated nursing program work?

Basically, programs are designed to build upon previous learning experience and offer the quickest route to licensure for those who hold a degree in a non-nursing field. College counselors help students determine, which prerequisites and nursing classes are needed to fulfill the degree requirements. Courses are then taken full time, often without breaks between sessions. Upon completion, students receive the same number of clinical hours as traditional nursing students and have earned the skills to move forward in the nursing field.

Types of Accelerated Nursing Programs

Two of the most common program types include:

•Accelerated BSN programs allow students to earn the credits required to complete a Bachelors of Science in Nursing as a second degree. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), it takes between 11 and 18 months to complete an accelerated BSN program, and after that point, students can sit for the RN licensure exam called the NCLEX.

•Accelerated MSN programs (or Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing) work well for students who already know the nursing specialty they want to pursue for their advanced practice degree. The AACN notes that most accelerated MSN programs take about three years to complete.

Some schools offer Direct Entry PhD programs, such as University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, for students wishing to complete a BSN and move straight through to a PhD in nursing.

Accelerated Nursing Program Students

The fast-track learning style attracts many students, but the rigorous course load calls for motivated students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree and proved their ability to thrive in a college or university setting. According to the AACN, these students are often older than their traditional nursing-school counterparts, and they bring a vast wealth of educational, career and life experience to their learning process, which is prized by nurse employers.

Along with having a bachelor’s degree, other entry qualifications include minimum GPA requirements (determined by each school), thorough prescreening processes and of course satisfactory completion of all the prerequisite courses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster-than-average job growth for registered nurses (RNs) between 2012 and 2022, and as the need increases, so does the popularity of accelerated nursing programs. And, they should be easy to find…a growing number of accelerated nursing programs exist in 46 states, with many new programs underway, which the AACN reports and shows on this list.

It’s a fact: nurses are in demand. Whether students choose on-campus or online schools to pursue their accelerated nursing courses, the field is ready and willing to welcome new nurses.