For those who wish to become nurses, there are many degrees and many schools that offer this program. However, it is important to note that not all of these schools offer a program that gets you through the process of studying to become a nurse quickly. This is why so many schools have made the decision to offer an accelerated nursing degree that lets non-nursing graduates get through the program quickly. This degree is offered at both bachelors and masters levels and takes all of the student’s previous experience into account.
What Is The Accelerated Nursing Program All About?
The accelerated nursing degree offers candidates the fastest possible route to becoming a registered nurse. Of course, this is only available to those who already have a bachelors or masters degree. The whole process takes anywhere from a year to 18 months though a masters degree that is accelerated can take about three years. Though many potential students have not even heard of the accelerated nursing degree, more than 40 states offer it and there are many nursing schools that offer this course both online and offline.
The way in which the program works is that the courses build on previous knowledge. The instruction can seem really tough and this is because there is a lot of material to get through in a very short time. For those applying for an accelerated nursing degree, there are some prerequisites that you need before you can be admitted into the program. Most colleges will dictate a 3.0 GPA and will conduct interviews with any potential students before they allow admittance. As for those who are trying to work while they study, this is discouraged as the program is so intense, there is no way one could work while completing it.
So the accelerated degree is really not for everyone. It is in fact for those who have some kind of proven track record and who are serious about completing their nursing degree quickly. This type of student is typically older than those just entering college for the first time and will have some kind of work experience.
Financial Aid For Accelerated Nursing
As with any type of college student, there are those who want to enter the accelerated nursing degree but cannot afford to do so. In these cases, financial aid is offered in a number of forms:
- In some cases, the student can get a scholarship to complete their program. This really depends on their grades and the status of the college, and students applying for a scholarship may have to write an essay substantiating why they deserve it.
- A partnership with hospitals and private practices is also possible so that those who wish to study can do so. Once they have graduated, they then go to work for those hospitals or practices as payment for the finance of their studies.
- Grant funding is also an option for those who cannot afford these studies, and these can be applied to by the student or by the college. Some colleges do assist with state funding while others will help those students who need aid to apply for federal funding.
The Program Breakdown
The accelerated nursing degree is not just one degree. There are actually three options for those who wish to fast track their journey to becoming a nurse, namely, the BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, the MSN or Master of Science in Nursing and the DN or Doctorate of Nursing.
The accelerated BSN program covers the basics of nursing for those who wish only to work as a registered nurse. This helps them get into entry level positions and build their experience from there. This program usually takes about a year to complete, based on the student’s previous knowledge.
The masters program is more specialized than the BSN and can take just three years to complete. If this seems like a long time, consider that the general masters in nursing degree takes six to eight years to finish. The doctorate degree is a very specialized one and those who complete generally do not work in hospitals or clinics. This is really for those who wish to work in research or become administrators and is a program that is both intense and time consuming.
One of the best benefits of these accelerated programs is that they can be a link to finding a job. In an economy where so many people are struggling to stay afloat, one of the best ways to ensure you have a job is with a nursing degree. While you complete your accelerated nursing degree, you can claim unemployment insurance for one year. Once you have earned the degree, you can work part time while studying further.
Once you have completed the accelerated nursing degree, you will have to take the NCLEX exams. These are board exams that anyone who wishes to have a career in nursing must pass to obtain a nursing license. It is vital to note here that these accelerated degrees are general degrees and do not prepare nurses for particular specialties. If you want to take up a particular specialty, you will need to study further upon completion of the degree and take a specific exam.
There are various courses that you will need to complete on the accelerated BSN degree including:
- Medical administration – part of nursing is being able to do basic administration, and this is a skill that is not as easy as simply filing. There is a need for nurses to do stock take of medications and to be able to fill in charts, a specialized skill that needs to be taught.
- Pharmacology – for those who will be working with doctors in hospitals or clinics, it is vital that they know what medications have which side effects and how to help patients to the best of their abilities. In hospitals or clinics with few resources, there is also a need to administer drugs on the nurse’s part, and this is why pharmacology is such an important skill.
- Nutrition and basic healthcare – part of the nurse’s job is determining what life changes a patient needs to make. This can include putting together a healthy eating plan for a diabetic, or helping a new parent track the progress of their baby. In these cases, there is a need to understand the human body, and what it needs to remain healthy.
- Anatomy and physiology – obviously, as with any medical qualification, there is a need for nurses to understand the human body, how it works and what could potentially go wrong. This is so that quick diagnoses can be made and patients treated.
It is possible to do an accelerated nursing degree online, but it is more common for those who already hold an RN license and wish to do a masters degree to go online, rather than studying at a physical college. All of these online courses can be found using any search engine, and by adding in your particular requirements.
Because the economy has gone downhill in the last few years, more and more schools are offering this option so that those who wish to become nurses can do so. This is because nursing is a vital skill and every country needs more medical practitioners. This is one of the only careers that can claim to be recession-proof.
Even in online degrees there is a need to complete coursework. This coursework is often completed in a hospital or clinic and will involve just about everything from changing bed pans to doling out medications. This is when the nurses actually start interacting with patients and getting a sense of what it means to work in these environments. Everything they do at this point is supervised, so that there are fewer mistakes and so that they can learn.
The Job Outlook And Salary
Anyone who is in the process of completing an accelerated BSN degree will be doing it with the knowledge that they can get a job. In this field there is such a need for nurses that it is easy to find a job. In fact, government researchers have found that the increase rate for nurse positions will be about 22%, which means that there will be about half a million jobs open for those who wish to take them. In an economy where so many people are losing their jobs, this is a glimmer of hope.
Those who complete the basic accelerated BSN degree can earn up to about $57 000 a year. While this may not seem like much, it is certainly better than facing the unemployment line. Those who continue to study to the masters level will be able to earn more, with the top RNs making about $95 000 a year.
Making the decision to become a nurse is one that can lead to a long hard journey culminating in a job that few people appreciate. However, there are a lot of rewards to doing a job like this. From helping those people who cannot help themselves to contributing to developing communities, the work of a nurse is valuable, even if it is not always valued.
For those who decide to enter the nursing field, certain qualities are needed to ensure that they cope with anything that is thrown at them. Tenacity is perhaps the most important. In a field such as this, it can be easy to just give up especially when faced with difficult tasks, difficult colleagues and difficult patients. However, being able to stick to the task at hand and not give up until the work is done and done well will not only boost your career, but will also give you a sense of accomplishment.
Being a considerate and patient person is also important. Most patients are grumpy because they are scared and many may not want to communicate, may verbally abuse nurses or may simply refuse to take treatment. It is important in these situations that the nurse is on hand to soothe them, calm their fears and help them in any way possible. Though this may seem to be an impossible job, it is part of nursing.
Another part is intuition. It is important for a nurse to be intuitive and to get things done quickly and efficiently. This ensures the health of the patients and if adhered to, can make the whole work environment a more pleasant place.
There is no doubt that the work that nurses do is not easy. The journey to become a nurse is not an easy one either, especially if you have chosen to do an accelerated BSN degree. However, for those who have the patience and the tenacity to see it through, the rewards can be great too.
The BSN degree in itself covers a lot of material and can result in late nights spent learning theories. The accelerated degree then, must be at least twice as intense and difficult for those who wish to pursue it. Not only is there are a lot of theoretical knowledge to be gained, but there is also coursework to complete and exams to study for. Depending on the college you choose to attend, there may also be extra lectures and courses to help you specialize should you wish to do so.
Why do so many people opt to study an accelerated nursing degree if it is so difficult? Because the rewards are plentiful. Not only are you guaranteed a job, but you also have the opportunity to help people and to make a difference in the world. This is not a claim that many people can make, so if you have chosen to become a nurse, you have taken the first step towards a better world. For those who are completing the accelerated nursing degree, it is vital to keep the goal in sight and to keep reminding yourself why you are studying and what rewards your will gain once you have earned your degree.