Without doubt, nurses play a key role in the healthcare system. The specialist care they deliver helps patients to have the best experience in healthcare facilities and achieve the best outcomes in terms of recovery. This rightfully sees nurses hold a high status in society, and nursing itself is seen as a fantastic career choice for many.

If you are thinking about moving into this industry, it should come as no surprise that gaining the right qualifications is an essential first step. This enables newly trained nurses to have the right blend of knowledge, skills and placement experience to deliver the highest levels of patient care. One option that is worth considering in this regard is studying an accelerated nursing program. But what is it, and what benefits does it offer?

What are accelerated nursing programs?

In simple terms, an accelerated nursing program (also known as an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing or ABSN) enables people to gain the qualifications needed to work in the sector in a relatively short space of time. These programs are ideal for anyone who is looking to move into the industry as a second career. They allow people with bachelor’s degrees in other subjects to gain the skills required to become a registered nurse and begin their new professional adventure.

If you are thinking of moving into nursing from another sector, you may have also heard of an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). This is another kind of qualification you can study to move into nursing and is slightly different from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You may be wondering, what is the difference between ADN and BSN courses? You can find out more information about these courses at the University of Indianapolis, which is a trusted source of data. This university also offers an accelerated nursing program that offers world-class learning and real-world experience at an award-winning faculty.

What benefits do accelerated courses in nursing offer?

The above is a good start toward understanding accelerated nursing courses and how they can be useful for people moving into the sector as a second career. These kinds of programs become even more appealing to students when you think of the unique benefits they offer. But what advantages do they have in particular?  

Quick entry to the workforce

There are many advantages that adult education offers and this is certainly true when you think of accelerated nursing programs. One major bonus of these courses in particular that we have already mentioned is how they can be completed in a relatively short period of time.

This becomes a lot clearer when you consider that traditional nursing courses can take multiple years to complete, while most accelerated courses in nursing enable students to graduate much faster. A standard BSN degree, for example, can take four years to study, but an ABSN can take as little as 15 months!

This can be a real bonus for students on accelerated programs for a number of reasons. It means that they do not have to wait a long time to make an exciting new step in their career, for example, and are not studying for many years. It also means that they are able to qualify as a nurse and begin work quickly, if they are currently without a job or have quit their old job to study.

Competitive edge

Another benefit that accelerated courses deliver is a real competitive edge when it comes to building a nursing career. ABSN awards, for example, are in demand from employers and allow graduates to really stand out when applying for a job.

This is brought into even sharper relief when you consider the Institute of Medicine’s previous recommendation that 80% of the nursing workforce should be qualified at BSN level by 2020. This recommendation was based on evidence that showed better patient outcomes in hospitals with a higher number of BSN-qualified nurses.

Some roles in nursing will also specifically call for a bachelor’s degree, and this allows nurses who study an ABSN to be more competitive professionally. This can be especially true for nurses who work in hospitals, where many direct care roles you could apply to ask for a bachelor’s degree.

Completing an accelerated nursing program can also give you a major edge competitively if you are thinking of moving into more specialized roles across the sector (such as school nurse, nurse leader or nurse educator). This is because these kinds of roles will also often ask for a bachelor’s degree, and holding one opens up more opportunities at this level to graduates. Gaining a bachelor’s degree also saves you the time of going back to study when you are ready to move into these more specialized nursing roles.

Diverse cohort

One real benefit of studying accelerated programs can be the extra diversity you usually find in any one cohort of students. This is because these kinds of nursing courses attract a broad range of people from multiple industries and backgrounds. As these types of programs are often popular with people moving into nursing as a second career, they normally have a more varied make-up in terms of the overall cohort.

This could easily see you engaging with a tech CEO during one class and then working with a school janitor in another. This is not always the case for more traditional nursing courses that people move into straight from school. These kinds of programs can be more limited in terms of the cohort’s age range, life experiences and working background.

As a result, many people find accelerated courses in nursing a lot more diverse and more interesting. For students who are coming to nursing later in their career, accelerated programs can also feel a little more comfortable than studying with a group of much younger students.

Strong support and resources

Accelerated programs in nursing are a popular choice with students for the excellent support they provide. This starts from the minute you apply for the course, as you have a dedicated enrollment advisor to guide you through the process. Following on from this, students on ABSN programs are able to access helpful support in a variety of convenient ways when needed. This might be phoning the main university admin office with a query about your timetable or emailing a module leader for help with an assignment. It is not just academic support that accelerated nursing courses offer either – they also focus on student wellbeing and offer excellent pastoral assistance. This is ideal for helping you to settle into your studies and get help with any pastoral issues you might encounter (such as handling your first clinical placement or dealing with your university workload).

In addition to excellent support, accelerated programs also offer outstanding learning resources to students. This is especially true for online ABSNs, which use the latest tech to deliver world-class learning remotely. These kinds of courses also have a range of resources for students to access easily online – from module information to guidance on how to submit assignments and more.

Financial benefits

In terms of finance, accelerated nursing programs are beneficial in a couple of key ways. Firstly, gaining a bachelor’s degree usually leads to increased salary expectations for graduates. This is easy to see when you think that the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) with a BSN is around $97,000 – which is a lot more than the average pay for an RN without this award.

The financial benefits for accelerated programs go beyond mere salary expectations though. As these courses run for a shorter time than traditional BSN programs, they are less expensive to complete. Much of this comes down to paying less in tuition fees, as you study for less time. These kinds of courses can also be financially beneficial when you take into account the savings on travel, food and drink they offer over studying a traditional BSN for more years on a physical campus.

In-demand skills 

The specialist and in-demand knowledge that accelerated programs equip students with is also something that makes them attractive. But why is this the case? The main reason is that the content of accelerated nursing programs helps students develop key skills that employers are looking for. These include:

  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Management of cases
  • Health education
  • Adaptability
  • Communication

Skills such as these are sought after in the modern nursing sector and something that can really boost your career prospects. By completing an ABSN program, graduates leave with the skills that open up a world of opportunities to them professionally and help them perform to their full capabilities.

Flexibility in education

The numerous benefits that accelerated programs in nursing deliver can also be seen in the educational flexibility they offer. As many courses such as this are available online now around the country, students are able to study from home and fit in classes when they are free. It also gives them the flexibility to study when they are in the right frame of mind and free from distractions.

This level of flexibility in terms of education is especially useful for working professionals. While finding the time to attend classes in person each week on traditional BSN nursing courses can be tricky, fitting learning in at home around your current schedule is a lot simpler.

Many people also value the flexibility that online accelerated programs offer in terms of where they study and how they study. Lots of students, for example, prefer not having to travel to campus for classes each week and instead learning from the comfort of their own home.   

The social aspect of studying

Although students are naturally on a program such as this to learn and gain their award, the social side of learning should not be forgotten. This can work effectively on accelerated nursing programs in two ways.

Firstly, studying on this kind of course is great for building up your professional network and engaging with other people in nursing. This can prove especially valuable for those moving into nursing from another industry who don’t currently have any nursing contacts in their network.

Studying on an ABSN enables students to network with others on their course via online classes or on campus residencies, and also with working nurses on clinical placements. Enrolling on this type of program can also see tutors become part of your professional network, as you get to know them better over the course.

Networking on a personal level is also another social element of studying an accelerated nursing program that shouldn’t be forgotten. This can see students forge close bonds over the course and make many new friends by the time they are finished. This is still possible for online accelerated programs, where online chats and text conversations help students connect.

Personal fulfillment

Although many of the benefits that accelerated nursing programs offer focus on career, financial or learning impacts, personal fulfillment is also something to factor in. There is just no doubt that studying this kind of nursing course leaves you feeling good about yourself and fulfilled on a personal level.

By not only picking up expert nursing knowledge but also gaining a new qualification, studying these programs can be very satisfying. This is also true when you consider how these kinds of programs can help you move into nursing and feel more fulfilled in your new job. If you find that your current industry is not leaving you satisfied at the end of each working day, completing an accelerated nursing program could be the answer.

Accelerated nursing programs offer many benefits

When you take all of the above into account, it becomes clear that studying an accelerated nursing program comes with many benefits. Whether it is the personal fulfillment that graduating brings, the in-demand skills that these courses equip you with, the financial benefits, or the plethora of other advantages we have listed, they are certainly one option to consider for any would-be nurse.