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Fast Track to a Nursing Degree

Fast Track to a Nursing Degree

John Rossheim | Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Whether looking to add meaning to their workdays or find a new vocation after being laid off from a foundering industry, career-changing professionals are increasingly turning to accelerated bachelor’s programs in nursing.

Accelerated BSN programs train folks with bachelor’s degrees in other fields to be nurses in 12 to 18 months. The number of accelerated BSN programs has grown dramatically, from only 31 in 1990 to 218 by 2008. These programs are available in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). And with the US nursing shortage raging on, accelerated degree programs continue to multiply. The AACN reports that 37 new accelerated baccalaureate programs are being planned.

Does such a radical and rapid career change make sense for you? See what’s involved and decide for yourself.

Highly Selective

When Kent Senffner’s employer was looking to cut staff a few years ago, the Portland, Oregon, marketer asked to be laid off. “I was so sick of business,” Senffner says. “I was doing well, but the work was not rewarding.”

Like many other professionals in the 2000s, Senffner changed course to nursing, enrolling in the accelerated BSN program at the Creighton University School of Nursing in Omaha in January 2004. Other typical entrants in accelerated BSN programs include stockbrokers, accountants, teachers and nutritionists.

The accelerated programs are selective. In 2003, there were 196 applicants for 40 places in the combined BSN/MS program at Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing in New York City and Pleasantville, New York, according to Gerrie Colombraro, assistant dean of the nursing school.

Although most accelerated nursing programs accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree in nearly any field, many students must complete science prerequisites before matriculating. These typically include anatomy, physiology, chemistry and microbiology. Candidates must also present a solid undergraduate GPA.

24/7 Endeavor

In addition, prospective students must show evidence of their ability and determination to sprint for up to a year and a half to complete an intensive nursing degree program. Usually, there are no breaks between terms.

“Some people have trouble going back into the student role,” says Mary Parsons, program chair of the accelerated BSN program at Creighton. “They’ve committed to 15 to 18 hours in the clinical lab, in addition to an overload of coursework.”

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 1 year ago

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    Does anyone really think that students with non-nursing degrees will make competent RNs after a one year course? Most traditional BSN/RNs who are in school for four years, take at least two or three years to become competent on the job, probably because only the last two years in college are 'nursing' based. In my opinion two years is not enough unless the student's nursing program offers a great deal of clinical experience. The vast majority of young & some older students that I have encountered, want nothing to do with direct patient care in any form. They want to acquire advanced degrees in order to teach, do research or hold high level management positions. I know we need all of these nurses but so many and with so little patient care experience? Some college programs have affiliated themselves with hospitals in order to give their students more clinical experience and find it easier to find employment. Hm! sounds more and more like the diploma nursing programs!
    Most diploma programs took three calendar years plus an extra twelve to eighteen months if the new nurse also wanted to gain registration in either mental health nursing, midwifery, or pediatrics. Lectures were given by nursing instructors, surgeons, physicians and medical school professors. Classroom days were long and difficult as were clinical days..think of the interns on TVs 'Grey's Anatomy" but replace them with student nurses!!
    Unfortunately, forty or more years ago the term "Nursing Degree" did not exist in most countries, and now the diploma educated nurses who are still working are considered as having no higher than a high school education. This is a travesty, experience should count for something. I believe this education together with many years of nursing experience should be considered equal to a nursing degree. I have known too many BSNs & a few MSNs who have never passed the State Boards but who managed to find positions in nursing administration or teaching!! When I graduated, all new registered nurses were expected to work as a staff nurse in a hospital for at least two years if they wanted any chance at all of being accepted into any other program or training course. Maybe today, students should have to complete their education and pass the State Boards prior to being given the BSN!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    Where do you live--Our town is always hiring nurses

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    I just graduated from Nursing school with a BSN and cannot find a job anywhere due to lack of experience.

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