The Pros and Cons of Accelerated BSN Programs

By Sue Heacock on Fri, Sep 13, 2013

accelerated BSN Programs, nursing school, nursing programsThere are pros and cons to everything in life! An Accelerated BSN program is no exception. Nursing is one of the most chosen fields. With the growing community, the demand of professional nurses should be addressed. In order to deal with the growing demand, institutions are offering one-year nursing programs. These programs allow you to complete a course and get a job in a year's time.

Before looking into this type of challenge, consider the following:

  • You can earn you BSN in (on average) 12 to 18 months (of long hard work). This type of nursing program is not for the procrastinators among us.
     
  • You must already possess a bachelor's degree in some field. If that field is not science related, you may need to complete science prerequisites.
     
  • Many schools offering the Accelerated BSN do not offer breaks in between semesters. You will be going full blast for 12-18 months.
     
  • Entry into the Accelerated BSN programs is very competitive and most schools require above a 3.0 GPA for entry.

According to AACN's article entitled Accelerated Programs: The Fast Track to Careers in Nursing: "The most successful accelerated students are bright, inquisitive, and sophisticated consumers of higher education who actively pursue learning opportunities," said Harriet Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the Lienhard School of Nursing at Pace University (NY), whose Combined Degree Program (BSN/MS) has been in existence since 1984. "As adults, these students tend to know what they need and aggressively pursue programs that best meet their needs: fast-tracked, competitive, and well respected. While some students do attend part-time, most are full-time students who want to reach their career objective as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Let's start with the disadvantages and leave the positive for last.

Cons:

  • Time and schedule. Remember the word "accelerated". This means you will have to complete the program in a relatively short period of time at an accelerated rate of speed! You will have both heavy class workloads and intense nursing clinical work to be completed within strict timelines.
     
  • Other commitements in your life. If you have a significant other, children, and/or the need to work full-time, this program may not be for you. You must dedicate most of your waking hours to this commitment! If you can't, you may consider enrolling in a traditional BSN program and take your time to complete it.
     
  • Money. Accelerated BSN programs can be more expensive due to the nature of the coursework and clinical. You must be prepared to get a student loan or have the money on hand to pay for the course work.

Pros:

  • Better career opportunities - Having a BSN over an ASN leads to more job opportunities. Many employers require a BSN for many positions (especially management jobs) within their organization. Without the BSN, career choices are limited. Better nursing job opportunities usually equal better economic opportunities as well! I personally know two people – both with ASN degrees - in the nursing field who have been unemployed for over a year. If they would have both started an accelerated BSN Program when becoming unemployed, they could have had their BSN today!
     
  • Finish quick - Remember the word "accelerated". That means you will finish quickly and be able to move on with your nursing career quicker as well. For those of you fortunate enough to have a support network that would assist you in working toward your BSN program through the accelerated route, you should take advantage of it now!

If you are contemplating an Accelerated BSN Program and would like to discuss with other nursing students, visit our General Nursing Student Discussions or Schools & Universities forums.

These accelerated nursing programs are a fantastic way to earn your degree. They let you to spend less time in school and more time working on your career. However, they may not be right for everyone. They are facile and tough, it is never going to be easy but I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

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