Accelerated Nursing Degrees: How it Works

As the demand for nurses grows higher every year, the number of Universities offering accelerated nursing courses is also increasing. The idea is that students can qualify within a mere 16 months, meaning the accelerated Bachelor’s is an express route into the nursing profession.

Accelerated Bachelor in the Science of Nursing (ABSN) courses are created for those with previous experience in an academic environment; students who already have a degree can take the ABSN as a quick way to change careers.

So how do the courses work?

Who is the ABSN for?

As mentioned above, graduates that already have a degree can apply to study the ABSN. The first degree doesn’t have to be in a healthcare subject, as it is simply a benefit to know how University courses work, what’s expected and how coursework is completed.

ABSN courses can be taken by recent college graduates or those looking to change careers later in life. Many people find nursing to be a fulfilling second career, which doesn’t often get considered until you’ve got life experience in other fields. Other people may have started a career in the healthcare or research industry but now want a more hands-on role.

As a lot of colleges now offer online accelerated nursing programs, the courses provide access to qualifications for students ranging in age, culture, and background. Some students will come from a purely academic background, while others will be from a working background with plenty of experience under their belts.

Also Read: The Complete A-Z of Nursing

Students applying for the ABSN will all have a previous college education and a good GPA. Depending on the course you choose, you may also be required to take prerequisite modules to qualify for the course.

A male nurse

What are Prerequisites?

Prerequisite qualifications include things like chemistry, microbiology, and anatomy. Some courses will require those applying to have completed a series of prerequisite courses, so they have a little background on the topic of science and healthcare before the course starts. They are there to lay some foundations and get everyone to the same level before real learning begins.

What do ABSN Courses Involve?

Despite the course being condensed into a shorter duration, students will receive the exact same standard of education as those studying the traditional BSN. Students will spend a considerable amount of time learning about theory, referencing, and academic research in a typical degree. As ABSN students have already completed their higher education, they can dive into the nursing modules from day 1.

Within the 16-month period, students will study around 17 modules, divided into four semesters. These modules will combine theory and coursework, skill development, and clinical placements to ensure you’re fully prepared for what a career in nursing entails.

While some choose to keep working while studying their ABSN, a lot of students suggest committing to the course fully and immersing themselves as if it was a full-time job with overtime. That gives you an idea of how much work will be required. As the course is an express route, there will also be the expectation that you can keep up with your studies and your placements. This means if you don’t understand something in class, you will need to go back to the topic in your own time.

What to Look for in an ABSN Course?

  • Is the course accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)?
  • Does it have high student retention?
  • What is the first-time past rate for the NCLEX-RN exam?
  • Do they offer multiple start dates so that there is less competition for applicants?

Also Read: Reasons to Consider an Online Nursing Degree

After Graduation

When you complete your ABSN, you will need to apply to be a registered nurse with NCLEX-RN and pass their exam. This is the only way you can legally practice. The exam provides a gauge of whether you are able to practice as an entry-level nurse.

Once you’ve registered, a world of opportunity is at your feet. Whether you choose a traditional setting like GP surgery or hospital or want to work with outpatients in the community, the world is your oyster.

If you are interested in specializing, there are plenty of courses to advance your education so that you can enter the field of midwifery, pediatrics, nurse leadership, and more. Some courses will require that you have a couple of years within the industry as a nurse before specializing, while others can be done straight after your bachelor’s.

Those that want to travel the world through their work can consider military nursing or a career in travel nursing. Alternatively, those that are more interested in behind the scenes and how they can make a difference to the way we access and dispense healthcare can take leadership or nurse executive courses.

High Job Security

It’s no secret that registered nurses are in high demand. The recent pandemic highlighted the distinct need for more nurses across the globe, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests the profession will grow by 15% by 2026. Nursing is considered recession-proof, too, making it a great career for those that value job security.

Good Salaries

While online accelerated nursing programs are seen as a more affordable way to study to be a nurse, they are still a huge investment. Thankfully, you can set foot on an unrivaled progression ladder at the end of your studies that offers great job prospects with a good salary.

Career Satisfaction

A study by Medscape in 2020 highlighted that even at the heights of the pandemic, 56% of registered nurses maintained the same high level of career satisfaction they had before. Nurses report the work is fulfilling, rewarding and offers flexibility to work around other priorities in life such as family and childcare.

There is a bright future for student nurses. If you believe you have what it takes to be a registered nurse and have already completed a degree before, there’s no need to start afresh. Choose an ABSN course online, and you’ll be in your dream career within two years. Good luck!

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