Sometimes, life doesn’t always go as planned. Right now, you may have a four-year college degree in an awesome (but perhaps, somewhat uninteresting) field of study. And from that, you may even have a solid career underway. But something inside is now telling you to make a change, to make an impact, and to become a registered nurse. Maybe you are ready to take the plunge – there’s just one, small question holding you back: Do I need to start all over again?
The short answer is no. The long answer is, you still have time to become a nurse, and you do not need to commit to years of college to get there. A nursing career is attainable in less than two years, through a second degree BSN program.
A second degree BSN is a Bachelor’s in Nursing, designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major. Also known as accelerated BSN programs (ABSN), second degree BSN programs take less time to complete than your standard nursing program, compressing four years of nursing education into 18 months or less.
The accelerated pace of second degree nursing programs is not a result of less nursing classes, nor a learning curve. Rather, second degree nursing programs give students credit for their previous college coursework, cutting the commitment in half.
If you spent time fulfilling English, Math, Chemistry, and other general education requirements for your past bachelor’s degree, you can expect those to count towards your nursing degree. At Goodwin College, for example, students entering the accelerated BSN program are automatically awarded 38 credits in recognition of attaining their first bachelor’s degree.
What is a second degree BSN program like, exactly? Second degree nursing programs strive for academic excellence, training next-gen nurses to provide top-quality care. And because these programs are accelerated, the instruction is generally more intense than what you’d find in an entry-level nursing program. Second degree nursing students are usually required to attend full-time, on campus, fulfilling both classroom and clinical components. Some online classes may be available for added flexibility. A second degree BSN curriculum will cover courses such as:
- Foundations of the Nursing Profession
- Pharmacology for Nurses
- Community and Public Health Nursing
- Nursing Research and Practice
- Mental Health Nursing
- Health Assessment across the Lifespan
- Clinical Rotations in an active healthcare facility (with real patients!)
Upon completion of a second degree BSN, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and become licensed as an RN &madsh; a standard requirement in the field. Second degree BSN graduates also have the option to pursue a Master’s in Nursing program, for those seeking a broadened skillset, knowledge, and leadership potential.
If you are changing career paths completely, you may have some concerns about going back to school as an adult. Will you be surrounded by recent high school graduates, or like-minded students who are also working towards their second degree? How will you adjust to campus life? It’s important for us to note that second degree nursing programs are not anything like your (last) freshman year. There are no general education courses, and no questioning of whether or not you should be there. Every student in a second degree nursing program has a very specific goal: to become a registered nurse. The sole focus of an accelerated BSN is on preparing for a successful nursing career.
That said, second degree nursing students are typically older and more motivated than younger, entry-level students, explains American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). At Goodwin College, more than two-thirds of the student population is over age 25, with the average age being 30.
The AACN continues to explain that graduates of second degree BSN programs are also prized and recognized by healthcare employers, as they bring added layers of skill and knowledge to the workplace. Graduates also are generally more mature, possess strong clinical skills, and are quick studies on the job.
For those looking to get into the nursing field, a second degree BSN program can be your entry point. And, now is the time to step foot! According to national statistics, nearly 3.4 million RNs will be employed in the United States by the year 2026 – with much faster than average job growth.
Become a nurse in as few as 16 months at Goodwin College. To learn how to get started in our second degree BSN program, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 800-889-3282 to learn more, or visit us online to request more information.