Can You Get an Accelerated Nursing Degree Without an Undergraduate Degree in Nursing?

Nursing You can get an accelerated nursing degree without an undergraduate degree in nursing as long as you have another bachelor’s degree. There are accredited accelerated baccalaureate programs or non-nursing graduates. Continue reading to learn how you can get a nursing degree without having to attend a traditional four-year nursing program.

Why Have Accelerated Nursing Programs

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), more than a million new registered nurses will be needed by the year 2020. The need for qualified and accredited registered nurses grows every day. This is difficult, because nursing programs must maintain their quality and integrity within a shorter and more intense time periods. Therefore, the health care industry has created accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees for nurses. Accelerated nursing bachelor’s degree programs take between 11 to 18 months to complete and master’s degree programs approximately three years to complete. As of 2012, there were 225 accredited bachelor programs and 71 master’s programs.

Accelerated Nursing Program Requirements

These programs are designed for working professionals who already have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The programs are designed for mature adults with previous learning and working experiences. The average student is older, highly motivated and eager to excel and gain experience. Accelerated nursing program administrators specifically look for individuals who have a proven academic and work track record. The program objectives have short deadlines and the workload is intense. In fact, while there are no breaks between session courses, students still gain the same amount of supervised clinical hours as traditional nursing programs. The admission standards for these unique programs are very high. There is an exhaustive pre-screening process and a minimum requirement of 3.0 GPA. Students are expected to not work full time because the program completion requirements are very high.

What is the Typical Accelerated Program Curriculum?

Those who get an accelerated nursing degree without an undergraduate degree in nursing will enjoy streamlined, goal-orientated courses. The first semester will most likely include courses about patient centered care, psychopathology principles, nursing technology and professional nursing development. The following semester will include courses about health assessments, pharmacology and mental health. The final semesters will include courses that teach students about health care information technology, childbearing and care for children and older adults. Accelerated programs often end with a practicum and an overview of the public health care system and policies.

What Health Care Organizations Say about Accelerated Nursing Programs

Health care employers actually prefer graduates of accelerated nursing programs. This is because these individuals are more mature, educated and skilled. Basically, these nurses have double the amount of higher education with helpful, previous professional work experience. Therefore, they master clinical skills faster and get along with others easier. Health care employers also report that these graduates typically obtain their nursing license on their first attempt.

How the System Supports Accelerated Nursing Programs

While financial aid for these programs is limited, many health care facilities cooperate with educational organizations to offer tuition reimbursement options. However, more partnerships are still needed in order to meet the current demand. There are health care employers who are well-known financial supporters of accelerated programs. They include University of Missouri, North Carolina Baptist, Duke University and Tenet Healthcare.

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To be sure, accelerated nursing programs aren’t for everyone. However, they are an excellent opportunity for hardworking adults with a degree to get a second career chance.