What Exactly Are Accelerated Nursing Programs?

Accelerated Nursing Programs

Accelerated Nursing Programs

Up against a looming tide of baby boomers and sub-par nurse-to-patient ratios in nursing homes, the healthcare industry is fighting back with accelerated nursing programs. Rising in prevalence in the past 20 years from 30 programs to over 250 in the United States, these programs are by no means shortened. Marked by their rigor, they do in as few as 11 months what other institutions do in three or more years: train nurses and get them out the door. Whether the end goal is a bachelor’s or master’s degree, an accelerated nursing education is defined by its content as well its brevity and various distinctions from conventional nursing degrees.

Accelerated nursing programs are most commonly offered as a post-degree option, meaning a bachelor’s degree in any non-nursing area is required for consideration. As it concerns graduate students vying for a BSN or Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, accelerated programs can take from a year to a year and a half to complete. The general premise that allows for such a short, condensed certification involves the bachelor’s degree that was already earned. Upon entering an accelerated program, students will have their credits assessed and counted towards “lower-level” or “general education” credits. The following year or so is then a full-time commitment to higher level nursing and clinical preparation classes.

Registered nurses are often compelled to get their BSN because of what they see around them; more and more positions in physical therapy and specialized nursing are beginning to require at least a BS in their respective disciplines. This is also a natural stepping-stone in the pursuit of a specialization. Accelerated RN to BSN programs work around work schedules, with most programs taking as few as 12 and as many as 18 months.

The accelerated BSN is now offered by many prestigious educational institutions online such as Chamberlain College or Kaplan University, and are chosen by RNs and other students who are too busy or are otherwise unable to attend class. After thorough research, ensuring that the university is accredited, an online accelerated BSN is a viable option.

For students pursuing an accelerated MSN or Master’s of Science in Nursing, many of whom tend to be registered nurses, this advanced postgraduate degree can be obtained in roughly 3 years. As with other advanced degrees, these programs will readily support a number of specializations such as neonatal or psychiatric nursing. These degrees are offered in every state and are frequently undertaken to receive promotions and higher pay.

Graduates with MSN degrees are given a fully comprehensive education in more than just the technical minutia of their field. Navigating the political structure, for example, of the healthcare industry as well as an education in health administration, consultation and research is intended to give nurses the greatest selection of career options possible upon graduation.

As with any other program, prospective nursing students considering accelerated nursing programs must meet a number of prerequisites. As it concerns the BSN, Georgetown University’s accelerated BSN program offers a good template for the most common prerequisites. Prior to consideration for Georgetown’s program, nursing students must complete anatomy and physiology one and two, microbiology, statistics, and chemistry. Seven other courses from various areas of nutrition, sociology, psychology, and more are also required.

BSN graduates must maintain a strong GPA, commonly 3.0 or higher, and pass the NCLEX or National Council Licensure Examination to be considered for MSN degrees. Most often, schools will start their MSN programs in the fall, unlike other post-graduate institutions that start in June. This gives accelerated BSN graduates a much-needed break to decompress and prepare for the next step.

The benefits of these accelerated programs have already begun to diversify the healthcare industry in an interesting way. Second-degree BSN or MSN students are often surprised at how often they apply their former, “irrelevant” education in their new positions. As a result, the industry as a whole is seeing a much-needed spike in nursing professionals.

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