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These days, there is a greater number of second-degree learners that are turning to nursing. This created a demand for accelerated programs that are supposed to fast-track baccalaureate and master's degree programs. Second-degree students are esteemed at a higher stage because they bring with them a wealth of knowledge, energy and experience; things that first-degree learners have yet to attain.
According to the AACN or the American Association of Colleges Nursing, there are currently 85 accelerated MSN programs in the country. This substantial increase in the number of Accelerated MSN programs is needed to fill what is currently being demanded.
Nursing shortage, as it seems, is here to stay. This has given birth to the alleviated needs in accelerating the existing nursing programs. If accelerated BSN offers a quick transition from a different career to nursing; the Accelerated MSN program (also referred to as Direct Entry MSN program) offers an additional option for the non-nursing BS graduate.
The curricula for Direct Entry Masters Programs usually consists of basic nursing courses in the first year of the program and moving on to include core graduate and specialization courses for the remaining period. These programs are intensive and fast paced in character combining theoretical classroom instruction with clinical coursework. Some program offer nursing courses online, or in hybrid classes while others offer evening/weekends but clinical rotations are invariably scheduled in intense programs that include working hours.
Because of the intensity of the program, courses are being offered back-to-back without any break. The students’ rigorous schedule may hamper the possibility of working while schooling.
Some programs offer you a chance to leave the program with a BSN at the half way mark of the programs while others don’t but the first phase of the program will consist of the theoretical and clinical components covered by a traditional BSN program.
You will be required to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses before launching into graduate level courses. You may have the option of the completing advanced graduate level courses on a part time basis which will extend the time it takes to complete the program by an average of two semesters.
Areas of specialization available to Direct Entry MSN students include clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, nurse leader, nurse midwife, psychiatric, nurse anesthetist etc. You will usually be required to select your area of specialization at the time of application.
Direct Entry MSN programs generally have different requirements according to the institution running the programs. Most programs require at least 3.0 GPA in prior undergraduate courses, recommendation letters and personal interviews as part of the admission process. The quality of your previous course work and professional work experience can also reflect on your application. Some of the more competitive programs will require you to submit GRE grades although this may be waived in some instances.
You will need to complete some combination of nursing pre-requisites including human anatomy/physiology, biology/microbiology, chemistry/biochemistry, behavioral sciences and statistics.
Accelerated MSN programs usually have separate tuition schemes for the two parts of the program. Some institutions levy a flat rate for the pre-licensure phase of the program and transfer to post graduate rates in the second half. The total cost of the program will depend on the tuition rates of the institution running the program and the amount and level of pre-requisite coursework that you have already completed. Financial aid for accelerated nursing programs may be harder to come by but more and more employers are offering a tuition replacement program to graduates from such programs.
Scholarships may be available but are limited. One known scholarship is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or RWJF New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Scholarship program. They have recently announced that they intend to award $10,000 to 400 students that are going to take accelerated programs. This is the best time to get started on your plan to enroll in an accelerated MSN program.
Graduates from the Direct Entry MSN program are valued by employers who value the experience and more diverse set of skills they usually possess. Graduates from this program are also encouraged to fill the shortage in nursing faculty by becoming educators in the nursing field due to the wider experience and of achievement in the intensive program they bring.