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This is a particularly important consideration in the midst of economic uncertainty as displaced workers looking for a second career may turn to nursing, a profession with promising job security. Faculties teaching in accelerated programs have reported increases in the admission of more men and members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in nursing (Wink, 2005). There is evidence of significant growth in the number of accelerated and second-degree programs being offered nationwide; the potential influx of non-traditional students will have an impact on student demographics and diversity. …… Accelerated programs have proven to be attractive to men and women unable to commit time and/or money to a traditional four-year program, especially in light of such economic hardships. There is also the desire to develop approaches to ensure ethnic and racial diversity in the nursing workforce by attracting traditionally underrepresented individuals who were leaving their other professions, including men, minorities, and older Americans (Wink, 2005
The accelerated students can be graduates (domestic or international). Two studies have shown that non-nursing domestic graduates completing accelerated nursing programs, including in Australia, do as well or better than students completing traditional nursing programs . In contrast, there is only one recent study, of international graduate students, and this study suggests that international graduate students are also as successful as domestic students, although this study was limited by the small numbers . …… Our low withdrawal and failure rates observed for international students are in accordance with previous findings. Previous studies have also shown that non-nursing graduates completing accelerated nursing programs, including in Australia, did as well or better than students completing traditional nursing programs. In our study, the domestic graduate students have similar withdrawal and failure rates to traditional students. …
Accelerated nursing programs are designed for people who earned their bachelor’s degree in a program other than in nursing and who want to pursue a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing. Most programs offer a combination of online and in-class work, which gives you the flexibility to learn in a more convenient format. The length of accelerated programs can vary, but generally, you can complete an accelerated program in as few as 12 months. The main appeal of an accelerated nursing program is that you can enter the job market sooner. So, anyone who wants to fast track their way into a nursing specialization of their choice is the ideal candidate for these condensed programs. And because motivation is such a key aspect of becoming a nurse and choosing an accelerated pathway, students who encounter the “why do you want to be a nurse?” question in interviews can offer a unique perspective in their answer.
Accelerated programs involve three aspects that are important to highlight. Firstly, these programs generally involve a specific number of online courses that you are required to complete. The e-learning format give you the flexibility to learn all the information and skills required of a nurse in the more compact design of the curriculum. For most programs, you will be allowed to choose which courses they take online, which can include subjects such as human anatomy and physiology, nursing care of adults, nursing ethics, research and evidence-based practice, and more.
The second aspect to consider is skills labs. Skills labs are practical work stations involving simulated scenarios or environments give you the ability to learn and apply course concepts to situations you might encounter in the field. During this portion of the curriculum, you will learn how to perform assessments, take and read vitals, insert IVs and catheters, and more. Labs are generally conducted using manikins that are designed to exhibit certain conditions that you learn to identify and treat accordingly.
The final aspect of the accelerated programs is the clinical rotations feature. Clinical rotations are also sometimes called placement programs, in which you enter a health care environment such as a hospital or clinic. During rotations, you take the practical concepts you learned from the labs and the theory you learned in the classroom to experience real health care scenarios. You will have the help of one or more supervisors, generally RNs or nurse practitioners who can guide you through your respective duties. Rotations are used to expose you to different situations and environments in a non-simulated format to facilitate the development of essential nursing skills.
But why would someone choose to complete an accelerated program rather than complete a more traditional pathway? To help answer this question, let’s take a closer look at some of the best programs for accelerated nursing and how to get accepted to each.
Important Aspects of An Accelerated Nursing Application
As with most programs, admissions requirements will vary by institution, so it’s important to do the necessary research to gather all the essential documents before submitting an application. That said, there’s more to getting accepted than just submitting what’s required. Besides transcripts and written documents, there’s also academic and standardized test performance to consider as well. Having a standout application will also help you practice nursing school interview questions.
Let’s review what you can do to get accepted to an accelerated nursing school program:
Meet the GPA Requirements
One of the best ways to improve or maintain your GPA is to meet with a tutor. Schools often have learning centers that can connect you with a tutor for your subject. If you’re struggling with a class, you can also ask your instructor to meet with you to discuss how you can improve. Make sure you know their office hours before initiating a request to meet with them. You could also ask some of your classmates to form a study group or join an existing one. Also, you can explore academic skills resources at your school, which typically offer workshops for developing good study habits, creating goals, and planning your daily and weekly tasks.
Complete the Prerequisite Courses
If you’re planning your academic schedule and you’re wondering how you can organize your course work optimally to apply for an accelerated nursing program, you can talk to a consultant or an advisor about your credits. Bachelor of Science programs often share most of the prerequisites for applying to an accelerated nursing program. If you aren’t in a position where your program involves these required courses, you can still register for them as electives or additional credits that you can take during a summer semester. Some schools also offer an academic requirements tool that organizes the credits you need to complete each semester and year to ensure you meet graduation requirements. Accessing this tool can also help you see which credits you need to take to ensure you qualify to apply for accelerated nursing.
Get Strong Nursing School Recommendation Letters
Some, but not all accelerated nursing programs require reference letters, usually up to three. Reference letters will typically come from either employers, colleagues, professors, or supervisors. For nursing programs, if you have volunteer or work hours in a health care setting, and you know someone who can attest to your skills, professional characteristics, and attitude in that setting, they can generally provide the strongest letters. For the references you want to use, it’s best to explain why you’re writing to them and what the program you’re applying to is about. To ensure that your references have enough time to write you a quality letter on your behalf, you should ask at least two months in advance. To initiate the request a reference letter through e-mail, consider the following example:
The 10 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs
If you’re interested in applying for the best accelerated nursing programs, you might be considering nursing school admissions consulting to help you sort through the many pathways. Accelerated programs have compact curriculums that allow students to complete their graduation requirements in less time compared to a traditional length program. Accelerated programs offer a range of benefits that include reductions in the cost of living, more efficient graduation path, and the avoidance of excess debt from tuition expenses. The demand for nurses outweighs the supply. This means that for anyone currently on the fence about pursuing this career path, the time has never been better. In this blog, we will outline the best accelerated nursing programs and explain how to get accepted.
McMaster University Accelerated Nursing
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Duration: 20 months
Overview: This program is ideal for students who have completed at least two years of study, or have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. This program uses a science-based, patient-centered approach to educate students. The hallmark of the McMaster Accelerated Nursing Stream program is the problem-based learning approach, which emphasizes the development of strong interpersonal and leadership skills.
How to get accepted: To get accepted into the McMaster Accelerated Nursing Stream, students must have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. Of the course requirements, students should have completed their credits with a minimum average of B-. Students will also have to complete and pass the CASPer assessment, and must demonstrate a minimum grade of C- in the following courses: introductory psychology, human physiology or human anatomy and physiology, biochemistry or combination of biochemistry and nutrition, and statistics.
Northern Arizona University Accelerated Nursing
Location: Flagstone, Arizona
Duration: 12 months
Overview: This program operates under a philosophy of constructing a fortified nursing infrastructure to sustain not just individual clients and families, but entire communities. This program seeks to synthesize skills from a variety of disciplines, including science, arts, and humanities to form a fully integrated approach to nursing.
How to get accepted: Like all other accelerated programs, students have to complete their bachelor’s degree in a field besides nursing. Students must have completed 27 credits of pre-professional requirements, including courses in biology, nutrition science, either psychology or statistics, and others. Students must have an average of C or higher in their prerequisite courses, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall. As part of the application process, students must complete the KAPLAN admissions exam, which is used to measure and rank nursing students using sections for reading, writing, math, and science. Applicants also must take the CASPer exam and CASPer snapshot.
University of Saint Mary Accelerated Nursing
Location: Leavenworth, Kansas
Duration: 12 months
Overview: The University of Saint Mary Accelerated Nursing Track is also a 12-month curriculum involving essential nursing courses, including behavioral health nursing, mission in nursing, research and evidence-based practice, pathophysiology, and more.
How to get accepted: Prerequisites include credit hours in nutrition, chemistry, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, introduction to statistics, introduction to sociology or psychology, additional credit hours in psychology/human development branch, and credit hours in a communication course. Students who apply must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in science prerequisite classes. Students with a bachelor’s degree in any other program besides nursing can apply. An additional requirement is the completion of the ATI TEAS exam, which is a multiple-choice exam designed to assess academic skills. Also required are two reference letters, a personal statement, and an optional resume.
University of Washington Accelerated Nursing
Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 12 months
Overview: The accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Washington offers a comprehensive training package that incorporates tools from a balanced curriculum over the span of four consecutive quarters (semesters) of classes. The curriculum involves a combination of self-directed work, lectures provided by experienced health care professionals, clinical simulation exercises and labs, and supervised placements with evaluated performance-based competencies for direct patient care. Examples of required course work includes health assessment, community and public health nursing, and pediatric nursing.
How to get accepted: Anyone interested in applying must have completed their bachelor’s degree in another field with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8. Course prerequisites include credits in the following classes: general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, and nutrition with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for each class. This program also requires a minimum of 100 volunteer or paid hours over the course of three months in a single health care setting.
University of Pennsylvania Accelerated Nursing
Location: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Duration: 15 months
Overview: The Accelerated Nursing program at the University of Pennsylvania offers two program options for prospective nurses. The first option is the accelerated BSN, and the second option is the BSN/MSN, designed for students who want to become nurse practitioners or continue their nursing education. Both options are pre-licensure, meaning students who complete the program become eligible to write the required examination to become an RN. Part of what makes this program different from others is that it emphasizes clinical experience to go with the theoretical learning that students acquire in their classes
How to get accepted: To apply, students must have earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. Application requirements include a nursing school personal statement, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, followed by a video interview. Prerequisite courses include general chemistry, biology, physiology, microbiology, nutrition, statistics, and health care ethics. Preferred cumulative GPA is 3.0, but applications will be assessed based on all materials provided.
University of Toronto Accelerated Nursing
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Duration: 24 months
Overview: University of Toronto offers a two-year accelerated program in nursing for students who have their bachelor’s in another field of study. The curriculum combines aspects of theory, practice, and research-based learning to provide students with the experience and conceptual foundation to enter the work force equipped with the skills they need to succeed. During the first year, students enter a clinical setting to gain experience caring for two client populations and their families. In the second year of study, the focus shifts more to theory, which includes classes such as current issues in medical microbiology, and policy, ethics, and leadership. The final 11 weeks culminate in a clinical practicum chosen in collaboration with supervisors from the program.
How to get accepted: Prerequisite courses include credits in human physiology, statistics, life sciences or physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. To be eligible to apply, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their most recent 5.0 credits.
University of Kentucky Accelerated Nursing
Location: Kentucky, Ohio
Duration: Continuous 16 months, including the summer term
Overview: The flexible curriculum offers both online and in-person learning options to complete credit requirements. Course structures are divided neatly between in-class learning with both labs and clinicals to give prospective nurses the experience of applying theoretical concepts to real-life scenarios.
How to get accepted: To apply, students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in the following courses: human anatomy, human physiology, general biology, general chemistry, general psychology, and composition and communication courses. Students must also complete credits in general microbiology, nutrition, and statistics with a 3.0 average prior to their first semester in the program. Selected applicants are also interviewed virtually, which will occur after the initial GPA and academic requirement evaluation.
Creighton University Accelerated Nursing
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Duration: 12 months
Overview: Creighton University ABSN prepares students to enter the health care industry as a nurse in a variety of specialties, such as critical care, community and population health, pediatrics, and psychiatric and mental health.
How to get accepted: Admission requirements are standard, with one personal statement, three nursing school recommendation letters, an optional nursing school application resume, and official transcripts. Academic requirements include a bachelor’s degree or higher, with course credits in sociology, psychology, developmental psychology, ethics, statistics, human nutrition, human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and microbiology. Minimum cumulative GPA is 3.0.
Baylor University Accelerated Nursing
Location: Waco, Texas
Duration: 12 months
Overview: The Baylor University accelerated program is offered to students who’ve earned their bachelor’s degree in another field, who want to focus on developing the nursing skills to work in underserved communities. This program has one of the more flexible and experience-oriented options with the majority of course work being accessible online, adjunct with 720 total hours of practicum requirements. This program also provides clinical placement services for students to facilitate career development and practical hands-on learning.
How to get accepted: Admissions requirements include 52 completed credits from an accredited institution, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for prerequisite courses, and a 2.75 GPA for prerequisite science credits. Applicants must also complete the HESI exam, which is a multiple-choice entrance exam that tests the skills and knowledge deemed important to succeed as a nurse and in the program.
Western University Accelerated Nursing
Location: London, Ontario
Duration: 19 months
Overview: The Western University accelerated nursing program provides students with a broad curriculum that prepares prospective nurses for a variety of clinical environments and specialties ranging from mental health to long-term care facilities.
How to get accepted: To apply, students must have either completed their bachelor’s degree or two years of study. To be considered, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their last 10.0 completed credits. Course requirements include human physiology, anatomy, and statistics. Applicants must also complete the CASPer exam.
Bachelor of Nursing Science (Graduate Entry)
Switch to a rewarding career in nursing. Use credit from another undergraduate degree you’ve completed to make the career change. Learn about anatomy and physiology, drug therapy, comprehensive health assessment and care of people. Learn via placements in hospitals, aged-care facilities, health agencies and community settings. When you graduate from this program, apply for registration as a nurse with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
In this program you will:
- Complete 800 hours of work placements in clinical settings
- Learn about anatomy and physiology, comprehensive health assessment, and drug therapy
- Assess and care for patients
- Continue learning through an honours or Master’s program to specialise in nursing