How Do Accelerated Nursing Programs Work?

NursingNovember 19, 2013


Are you burned out in your current career and looking for a change? Do you dream of having a job that allows you to make a difference in peoples' lives, but you fear that it's too late to go back to school? Look to accelerated nursing programs for your answer. If you already have a bachelor's or graduate degree in another field, accelerated nursing programs offer you a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or a master of science in nursing (MSN) in much less time than a traditional program.

Get on the Fast Track

These special degree programs are "accelerated" in part because they utilize your previous college credits and apply them to your BSN or MSN, most particularly those general courses required for all degrees. You should also prepare to immerse yourself in an intense schedule of lectures and clinicals. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that accelerated nursing programs require a full-time commitment. The AACN additionally notes that you'll perform the same number of clinical hours as your traditional four-year counterparts, but over the course of only 11 to 18 months for BSN candidates.

Experience Counts

A key component of accelerated nursing programs is for second career nursing candidates to build on previous learning experiences in and out of the classroom. The AACN reports that nursing instructors have plenty of praise for these students, citing increased motivation and higher academic expectations that propel them to the head of their classes.

While your previous life and work experiences are valued in the admission and learning process, you are encouraged not to work during these educational programs due to the high demands of the curriculum and the intense commitment required.

Get With a Program

As of 2011, there were 235 accelerated BSN programs already in place with another 33 in development. Additionally, there were 63 fully implemented master's accelerated programs with another 10 in the planning stage; but the numbers are consistently increasing, with at least 43 states now offering some sort of accelerated degree program. The AACN maintains a list of schools with accelerated nursing degree programs, but please note that there are also research schools near you that may now offer accelerated degrees since the list was last updated.

Accelerated nursing programs are tough, but they can give you a new career that you love in less than two years. What are you waiting for?

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