Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is an Accelerated Nursing Program the Right Choice for You

If you would like to become a nurse and care for others in a health care setting without investing years of medical training, an accelerated nursing program may be the choice for you. By building on prior learning experiences, accelerated programs offer undergraduates in a non-nursing discipline the opportunity to transition into the field of nursing. The United States Department of Labor estimates the demand for nurses to soar in coming years, with a projected need for over one million registered nurses by 2015. For adults with a bachelor’s degree outside of the health care field accelerated nursing programs are the fastest route to obtaining a license as a registered nurse, providing a speedy entrance into one of the most rapidly growing and highly demanded careers in health care.

Students are subject to intense instruction and must attend full time courses without the traditional breaks between semesters in order to ensure the same amount of clinical hours as if they had enrolled in a traditional, entry-level nursing program. Because of the rigorous curriculum and extensive coursework, accelerated programs have high admission standards that generally require a GPA minimum of 3.0. Prospective students are subject to a meticulous prescreening process in an attempt to recognize individuals who will thrive in such a vigorous training environment. In order to keep up with the heavy workload and successfully complete the requirements of the program, administrators encourage accelerated program students to refrain from working.

Accelerated nursing programs and all prerequisites are generally completed in 11-18 months for baccalaureate degrees and 3 years for master’s degrees. There are 43 states nationwide that offer accelerated nursing programs, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Colombia. Programs provide classroom and laboratory instruction as well as training in a clinical setting, providing valuable skills and preparing the student to become a beneficial member of a healthcare team. As a graduate of an accelerated nursing program with state licensure, nurses frequently pursue careers in settings that include nursing homes and hospitals, physician’s offices, public school systems and corporate occupational health.


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