Nursing is a challenging yet exciting field, well-suited for those who want to make a difference in the lives of others. For some, nursing is more of a calling than a vocation. They desire to help those in need. While many students will enter nursing school right away, some discover this calling over time. It is not uncommon for people to decide at some point in their career that they’d like to make a change. In fact, nearly 49% of people have made a dramatic career shift in their lives. If a career in nursing has piqued your interest, you’re not alone! In 2020, 250,856 students enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs. However, for students who are switching careers and who already hold a bachelor’s degree, the best option is an accelerated nursing program. What is an accelerated nursing program, exactly? Here are the details you need to know!
What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?
An accelerated nursing program is much more than fast-paced, intensive nursing classes. It is a specific type of program for aspiring nurses who are making a career change. These hopeful nurses have a bachelor’s degree in another, non-nursing major, and are now looking to earn their Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Accelerated nursing programs are also referred to as accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs and second-degree nursing programs. These programs offer a fast and comprehensive pathway to a nursing degree, which otherwise can take years of schooling to complete. Accelerated nursing programs are possible only for students who have already completed a bachelor’s level education, and are now ready to earn a second degree in their passion-area: nursing.
Accelerated BSN Admission Requirements
Each accelerated nursing program has its own set of admission requirements. However, for all accelerated BSN programs, it is a requirement that applicants have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Every school requires their applicants to have earned a minimum GPA or QPR (Quality Point Ratio). In the case of University of Bridgeport, the minimum cumulative QPR for successful applicants is a 3.0 from all previously attended institutions. Additionally, in many cases, students are required to have completed their math and science coursework within seven years of matriculating into their ABSN program.
Furthermore, as the ABSN is a STEM degree, there are certain prerequisites that students must complete before beginning their nursing coursework. These prerequisite courses for an accelerated nursing program may include:
- College Algebra and Statistics
In some cases, other general education credits may be waived (e.g. Fine Arts credits).
Accelerated Nursing Curriculum
As students who enter the accelerated BSN program have already earned a bachelor’s degree, their general education credits will be honored and transferred over. This allows for faster degree completion. At University of Bridgeport, accelerated BSN students have to complete 64 credits in general education, along with 56 credits in nursing. These nursing credits will include courses such as:
- Fundamentals in Professional Nursing
- Leadership and Management
- Mental Health Nursing
- Health Policy
In the last term of their accelerated nursing program, students take courses in Health Promotion and Professional Practice. These courses will include lectures, as well as clinical experience. The clinical portion of these classes will provide students with invaluable professional skills and experience.
The curriculum offered in accelerated nursing programs provides students with a solid foundation in nursing and prepares graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN Exam). The successful passing of this exam is a requirement to practice as a registered nurse, or RN, regardless of state.
Accelerated Nursing Program Length
The benefit of accelerated nursing programs is that they offer their students the chance to enter the field with expediency. Most accelerated BSN programs can be completed in fewer than two years. At University of Bridgeport, accelerated BSN courses are taken over the course of two Summer sessions, one Fall, and one Spring semester, allowing students to complete their studies in just 15 months.
The BSN Advantage
Some accelerated nursing classes are available in part with associate degree programs. While this particular kind of nursing program may be a good fit for those who don’t hold a college degree and wish to enter the nursing field quickly, there are distinct advantages to earning a bachelor’s degree in Nursing rather than an associate.
Firstly, those who hold a BSN are qualified to manage care teams, serve as health educators, and eventually become advanced practice nurses. These qualifications make it so BSN holders have greater job security and higher earning potential. Secondly, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has begun advocating for bachelor’s degrees to be the minimum educational requirement for new RNs. This recommendation has become policy in some states. In 2017, the state of New York passed legislation that requires nurses that received their license after 2017 to earn their BSN by 2027. It’s clear that earning a BSN is a wonderful choice for those looking to change and advance their careers.
Nurses are key members of their patients’ healthcare team. During the course of the pandemic, their importance became more evident than ever. Simultaneously, there has been an ever-growing nursing shortage. As a result, nursing salaries have increased over the last two years. It’s no surprise, then, that enrollment numbers in nursing programs across the United States have increased. If you are among the many who have thought about changing jobs in favor of a career in nursing, now is the perfect time. The best option for those changing careers after earning a bachelor’s degree in another subject area is an accelerated nursing program.
Considering accelerated nursing programs in CT? Complete your BSN at University of Bridgeport in as little as fifteen months. Learn more, here!