The Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced its projected number with regard to the country’s need for registered nurses by the year 2016. They have boldly stated that it would take a million RNs to fill in all the empty slots. That’s a lot of jobs in the years to come; but the question will always be – are there enough qualified graduates to fill in this huge need?
One of the most effective tools that are now used to up the number of nursing graduates is the accelerated degree programs for non-nursing graduates. The Accelerated program for BSN is not new as it has been around for the past two decades. In 1990, 31 accelerated BSN was offered throughout the country. To date, there are 237 accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs that are being offered across the US.
The second degree BSN program is one of the innovative accelerated nursing programs that have become popular as an entry into the nursing field for students with non nursing degrees. The program is designed to allow students with baccalaureate degrees in non nursing majors to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Accelerated programs take between 12 and 18 months of full time study to complete.
The accelerated BSN allows students to compress four years of nursing education in a shorter period of time by allowing them to transfer credits for general education courses to prepare students for the National Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses. Accelerated BSN program combines bridge courses as well as core contents. The instruction is much more intense, with every student required to attend full-time, without breaks in between the sessions. Each student still receives the same number of clinical hours as those that study in traditional settings.
Online programs that offer accelerated second degree BSN program are not widely available. Those programs that do offer online programs still require students to spend large amounts of time on campus to fulfill clinical and practical requirements.
As an applicant to the accelerated BSN program you will be expected to meet all the requirements for entry in theoretical and practical nursing courses. Requirements for clinical components include immunizations, laboratory tests for contagious diseases, physical examination, CPR certification, drug screening and a criminal background check prior to the start of clinical enrollment.
The prerequisites for the accelerated program are no different than those required for BSN applicants including a minimum of 2 semesters of physiology and anatomy, as well as some credits in biology, micro-biology, psychology, developmental psychology, statistics, bio-statistics, chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry.
A basic nursing skill course usually designated as health assessment, nursing research, adult care courses, community health, family health and/or some nursing experience is also required by most nursing programs.
Most programs arrange to offer a range of pre-requisite courses back to back just prior to enrollment to allow students to meet those requirements they may not have completed in their previous undergraduate coursework.
Applicants to the program will need to present transcripts for prior college work with a minimum GPA of at least 2.8 for most programs and 3.0 for the more competitive ones. You will also be required to sit for and pass standardized nursing entrance examinations such as the TEAS or the HESI.
You may be required to attend a personal interview as part of the rigorous screening process that is mandated by the intense nature of the accelerated program.
The costs of the accelerated program vary on the basis of the number of credits required by the institution for graduation and tuition fees it levies. Remember that as a nursing student you will have additional costs in the form of medical equipment, uniform and licensure examinations costs in addition to tuition and living costs.
Financial aid for accelerated baccalaureate program enrollees is limited. This is why legislators, federal and state levels, are being persuaded to increase grants and scholarships for such programs.
Many employers value the varied range of skill and knowledge that graduates from the accelerated programs bring to their careers. In most cases employers note that graduates from the accelerated programs tend to be more mature, possess stronger clinical skills and are flexible in the work environment.
A range of different employers across the country are entering into partnership with schools to offer a scheme whereby they repay graduates the cost of tuition in a bid to attract graduates from accelerated programs.
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