There is no better time than the present to become a nurse. Job opportunities are abound, and the workforce is calling passionate nurses to step in. If you are interested in joining the workforce, you may consider an accelerated nursing program to get you there fast.
Nurses are among the most vital professionals today, and the demand is only growing. As of February 2021, registered nurses (RNs) were ranked among the top five in-demand professions globally. This is due to an aging baby boomer population and record-breaking number of patients now requiring medical care. Though nurses make up almost 60 percent of the healthcare workforce worldwide, facilities are scrambling to hire more nurses who can step in and help. By the year 2030, the World Health Organization predicts that 5.7 million nursing jobs will be open or unfilled.
If you are interested in becoming a nurse, the time is now to get started. The job opportunities for nurses are extensive, and the need for nurses will never go away. However, with so many career opportunities available, you may be wondering how you can get involved as fast as possible. Is an accelerated nursing program an option for you? How do accelerated nursing programs work, and how can you get into a career quickly, to help those in need?
What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?
An accelerated nursing program is a fast-track nursing degree option – designed to help students earn their Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) or Master’s in Nursing (MSN) quicker than the traditional, on-campus programs. Some of these programs enable already-working nurses to expand their education quickly, and therefore qualify for advanced roles. Most accelerated nursing programs, however, are designed for non-nurses who have a degree in another major, but wish to change careers to nursing relatively fast.
Typically, accelerated nursing programs are accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs. Accelerated BSN programs are designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another field, and now wish to pursue a nursing degree. ABSN programs allow these students to earn their bachelor’s degree in Nursing, without spending another four years in school to do so. On average, this accelerated nursing program takes between 12 to 24 months to complete. At Goodwin University, the ABSN program can be completed in about 16 months full-time.
ABSN programs are pre-licensure programs, meaning students do not yet have their license to practice as a registered nurse (RN). There are some flexible and accelerated nursing programs designed for licensed RNs, as well, to enhance their careers with a BSN or MSN degree. However, when most people say, “accelerated nursing programs,” they are referring to the ABSN degree route.
How Does an Accelerated BSN Program Work?
Every accelerated nursing program can differ in its structure, course formats, and curriculum. In general, however, accelerated BSN programs work to get non-nurses fully up-to-speed, and prepared to be clinicians, in a matter of two years’ or less. With this comes intensive and full-time coursework.
When students pursue an associate degree in Nursing, they learn the fundamentals of nursing practice and patient care. They gain experience through hands-on, on-the-job clinicals, combined with classroom learning and laboratory coursework. Traditionally, BSN degree programs will delve into advanced theories, policies, and topics in nursing, preparing students for expanded and/or leadership roles. An accelerated BSN program is designed to provide students with both: the fundamentals of nursing and the wellness continuum, as well as the advanced knowledge that comes with a Bachelor’s in Nursing, such as pharmacology and nursing leadership.
As a result, accelerated BSN programs work on a full-time and continual schedule, so that aspiring nurses can finish their degree as fast as possible. Typically, it’s not recommended for ABSN students to maintain a job while taking this program, due to the intensive study needed. At some nursing schools, however, there is flexibility in the coursework. At Goodwin University, for example, students have the option to take ABSN classes in the days and/or evenings. Clinical practicum is flexible, as well, and can be scheduled any day of the week. Additionally, the accelerated BSN courses are offered in an on-campus/online format, allowing students to gain in-person experience while enjoying the flexible of online learning when possible.
In an accelerated nursing program, you can expect comprehensive and rigorous courses. Most ABSN programs will require a combination of classes, labs, and clinical experiences. The clinical portion of the accelerated nursing curriculum allows students to put their skills to practice in a real nursing setting. Courses in an accelerated nursing program may include, but are not limited to:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Health Assessment
- The Wellness Continuum, across the age spectrum
Upon completion of an accelerated nursing program, you can walk away with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This will make you eligible to pursue your license as a registered nurse. Licensure must be earned through the NCLEX-RN board examination.
Why Pursue an Accelerated Nursing Program?
There are many obvious reasons to pursue an accelerated nursing program, including the high-demand for nurses right now, as well as the streamlined path towards a BSN degree. However, you may be wondering, why take the time to pursue an intensive ABSN, rather than an associate degree in Nursing?
The reason so many students choose the accelerated nursing route is because they desire the BSN credential. Though an associate degree is the minimum requirement for nurses today, the majority of today’s healthcare employers prefer to hire nurses with a Bachelor’s in Nursing degree. Additionally, the accelerated BSN program is a natural fit for those who already have a bachelor’s degree, but who do not want to invest in more years of schooling.
Accelerated BSN programs work to credit you for your prior education, so that you can finish your nursing degree quickly. Many ABSN programs have set prerequisite courses; however, if you’ve taken these courses in your previous school, you may be able to transfer those credits. This will help you “check off” your prerequisite courses more quickly, and get on the fast track to your BSN. This also helps to eliminate any repetition in coursework. At Goodwin University, all students entering the accelerated nursing program are granted 38 credits in recognition of attaining their first bachelor’s degree.
As much as you may benefit from an accelerated nursing program, your patients may also reap the benefits. You have already gained experience in college, and in another career path. You have experience that many new nursing students do not have, because you already have a bachelor’s degree in hand. This can, in turn, reflect on your dedication to your classes and your care for your patients. According to EveryNurse.org, students in accelerated BSN programs typically graduate at higher rates than students earning their first bachelor’s degree.
Accelerate Your Future in Nursing
Accelerated nursing programs are a great option for individuals who have their heart set on nursing, and want to get there fast. Accelerated BSN programs offer the fast-track you are craving, while still ensuring a high-quality curriculum.
Whether the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated your desire to become a nurse, or you are simply looking for more meaning in your career, accelerated nursing programs offer a streamlined path towards this in-demand (and highly rewarding) profession.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.