Since there is a shortage of registered nurses, most educational institutions are scrambling to come up with solutions to the problem. When shortages like these arise, the usual response is to simply accept more students into the nursing programs and, if necessary, create or start more nursing programs or schools. A number of impediments, however, stand in the way.
For one thing, there are not enough people who are qualified to teach nursing classes. Therefore, nursing educators are also being sought. Even if these people can be discovered, finishing a nursing program takes a couple of years.
What some schools have come up with are accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs, a way for aspiring students to get a nursing degree in a relatively short period of time. It usually takes around one to two years to complete the program, as opposed to the usual four to five years.
What are the Job Prospects for Nursing Graduates?
Simply saying that more nurses will be needed in the near future will not be enough to motivate some individuals to become nurses. More substantial reasons for entering the field include the following:
•Some of the impressive perks for the profession include the opportunity to get promoted into higher responsibility position along with higher salaries (nurse practitioner, consultant, tenured professor, etc.), the ability to play or teach administrative roles, job security, good benefit plans, good wages, and satisfaction of helping people overcome illness.
•Even the more moderate number of 580,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – www.bls.gov) new and replacement licensed nurses that will be needed by 2018 is still an extremely impressive job prospects prediction.
•Nursing science were among the 4th most popular degrees in 2010.
•In terms of percentage, the expected growth might involve a twenty-two percent rise from 2008 to 2018.
•By the year 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that in excess of a million more nurses will be needed.
Who is Meant to go After an Accelerated BSN Degree Program?
Individuals who might benefit from these programs are people with a degree in a field other than nursing (preferably in the sciences), and considering pursuing a career in nursing. The idea is to give aspiring students an opportunity to use some of the credits they have already earned to qualify for a nursing degree quicker.
Groups that are being targeted are practicing nurses without a college degree. For example, nurses who only have on-the-job training, after which they were able (at least in the past) to apply for a registered nurse license.
Another group that is being targeted is those individuals who have a bachelor or an associate degree, but want to go farther in their career by pursuing a master or doctorate degree. Some schools have programs that allow nurses with a bachelor’s degree to go directly for a doctorate (bypassing the master’s degree). These graduate programs may allow licensed nurses to go for higher-status nursing positions, including clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse educator, among others.
What are the Most Important Accelerated BSN Considerations?
If considering accelerated BSN degree programs, the following reminders and caveats should be kept in mind:
•Applicants need to make sure that the program in which they are applying to is accredited, so they will be able to take the registered nurse examination.
•There are several programs that help students pay for these accelerated BSN degree programs, including federal programs, which in exchange for service, can pay for the full tuition, along with companies and hospitals that reimburse or share expenses in exchange for agreeing work for them for a specified time.
•These accelerated BSN degree programs are being offered in the majority of states and include some online schools; individuals who are interested in these programs need to do research in order to find the best program for them.
•All applicants must meet eligibility requirements, including having relatively good grade point average (GPA), passing background checks, and having completed science-core courses.
•The accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs will save applicants time and money; on average about three years’ worth.
•Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs is extremely competitive in the selection process and is not easy to get into; additionally, they require intensive academic commitment and involvement, which is why people entering these programs should not work while they are attending.