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Is an Accelerated BSN Program Right For Me?

Higher Education Articles July 25, 2013

With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a nurse can work in a clinic, nursing home facility, doctor’s office, or hospital. Nurses with BSN degrees usually enjoy more autonomy and leadership opportunities than nurses who only possess an associate’s degree. Most BSN programs require four years of study. However, certain nursing students can complete the degree faster by participating in accelerated BSN programs.

About Accelerated BSN Programs

An accelerated BSN program is a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree in nursing in a significantly shorter time than the traditional four-year BSN program. These programs accomplish all of the same objectives as a standard program, but they move much faster. Instruction is intense and concentrated. Courses must usually be taken full time with few to no breaks between sessions. Students involved in accelerated BSN programs will complete the same number of clinic hours as students in traditional programs, so the workload can be extraordinarily demanding.

Who Can Qualify?

Not every nursing student will qualify for admission to an accelerated BSN program. Admission standards to accelerated BSN programs are extremely high, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Most programs require a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, and they also require nursing school candidates to go through thorough prescreening prior to admission. According to the Accelerated Nursing Programs blog, most of these programs will only accept students who already have a degree. However, some programs will admit students without college experience. It is important to remember that entering an accelerated BSN program without a degree may require more intensive coursework and dedication.

The Application and Entry Process

Because the requirements for admission are so strict and the program requires so much individualized attention, the application process for an accelerated BSN program can be quite competitive. Most schools will require official copies of a student’s transcripts to confirm past high school or college experience, and most schools require students to attend an interview before a final decision is made. If a student is admitted to the program, he or she may be required to complete accelerated prerequisite courses before the actual BSN program begins. Students who are unable to keep up with the coursework may be dropped from the program altogether.

Making a Decision

Accelerated BSN programs are not right for everyone. They involve intensive clinical work and an extremely heavy course load. Students who are trying to work and attend school simultaneously generally find these programs too stressful. Students who have other important obligations, such as children to care for, may also find that an accelerated program is too demanding. However, for students with the ability to focus exclusively on school and the desire to complete training quickly, an accelerated program is ideal.

Alternatives

If students find that they are either unable to qualify for an accelerated BSN program or unable to meet the program’s intensive requirements, other paths to a bachelor’s degree in nursing are still available. For students with other responsibilities or a full work schedule, an online BSN program may be the best option. Though the student will still need to complete clinical work, the remainder of the program can be completed from home in the student’s free time. Students can also pursue a four-year BSN program, which provides all of the same instruction and clinical experience as an accelerated program, but allows the student to complete the work at a slower pace.

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