Accelerated nursing programs are for those talented students who have already studied another subject apart from nursing who now want to get into the career. Accelerated programs can be either Baccalaureate programs or Master programs. Baccalaureate programs are shorter than Masters obviously because they are not educating students to such a high level. They tend to last sixteen months in general but can last anything from between eleven months to eighteen months. These short courses are very intense as can be imagined because they squeeze so much teaching into such a short, fast track program. As such, these programs look for academically talented students as far as possible, usually with a GPA of 3.0 and an ability to pass a sophisticated pre-screening test. Students are advised not to work in employment during the course time because the workload is relatively high during this intense period of study.

Funding a Baccalaureate Nursing Program

There are still some difficulties and controversy surrounding funding for accelerated nursing programs. There has not been traditionally the funding available that has been available for nursing students who do straight undergrad programs in nursing from the start. This is because the accelerated nursing course is a fairly new phenomenon, which has been growing in popularity amongst students for the last few years. For example, in 2004 there were only 6090 students enrolled in accelerated baccalaureate programs which has risen to 13,605 in 2009. However, nurses trained in these accelerated programs do have one advantage – they tend to be more intelligent and better trained than other nurses due to the high academic requirements needed for such an intensive course. As such, many health institutions are interested in gaining their skills in the workplace. They partner with nursing colleges offering these kinds of programs to offer funding to their students in return for a steady incoming supply of talented well trained nurses. The Baccalaureate accelerated nurses have proved themselves to have more advanced clinical skills, be more mature and be faster learners on the job than other nursing students. They also have more experience academically from studying other subjects before choosing to follow an accelerated nursing program. This tends to make them more flexible thinkers with more experience in the classroom. Upon finishing this kind of degree a student can get a licensure as a registered nurse.

Masters Accelerated Programs

These programs take on average three years to complete and equip students particularly well for going into nursing training as staff faculty members or in other educational positions in other health institutions. There are about 63 Masters accelerated nursing programs available at the moment in the United States which can be found nationwide. Some examples of these courses can be found on a list whose link is shared on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing web page. Some examples of states where the most courses are offered by institutions include Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. The Masters are for those with no former nursing education experience but who have significant academic experience at college or university level already. They will have proven themselves capable of succeeding and thriving in such an environment. Upon completion of this type of course students will be awarded with a Masters in Nursing. There are expected to be another 10 Masters accelerated programs to be offered in the US in the very near future. There are enough clinical skills learned in accelerated nursing programs to rival the hours put in by nursing undergraduates. The Faculty staff will find accelerated students more eager to gain experience and ask questions. They are more demanding to teach and expect very high standards from themselves and their teachers. For this reason the instructors of the class will discover that it is a challenging teaching experience. The amounts of nursing students enrolled in Masters Programs that are accelerated are increasing every year. In 2010, 5600 students were enrolled and there were 1528 graduates of the program. In 2011 a year later there were 5980 students enrolled and 1796 students who graduated. Figures are expected to increase every year as more institutions offer these programs and higher numbers of students pass through the higher academic system.

The Quality of Accelerated Nursing Courses

Looking for the right place to study an accelerated nursing program will involve visiting institutions’ websites and perhaps their campuses. The nearest place to study near you may be the best option, especially if you are considering funding yourself. A quality accelerated course will be led by clinicians who have plenty of experience from the real-world of nursing to impart to their students. There should be a strong ethos based around classroom learning and the staff should be exceptional at what they do. The National Licensure Examination is the essential route to becoming a registered nurse and the course should prepare students well for this, as well as giving them all the skills they need to excel at to be a great nurse in practice. Look at the facilities available at the school. A training simulation centre can be a great place to practise clinical skills with the help of experts. It provides a place that is non-threatening for students to begin learning. An accelerated program can also offer courses at the baccalaureate level that can later count towards a graduate Master’s degree in Nursing if you choose to stay on and study a Masters accelerated degree. These can include courses in Pharmacology, nursing research, pathophysiology and nursing leadership roles. Check if the course offered at Baccalaureate level can be extended towards a Master’s degree course before you apply, if this is an option you wish to pursue.

Entry Requirements

Remember the entry standards for accelerated courses will be high so you need to know in advance that you are capable of passing them. Besides having a 3.0 GPA average from an accredited baccalaureate education program, you may need to supply a health data form, a background check and a negative drugs test as well as a resume. Then, you may have to perform well at an in person interview when verbal and written communication skills will be evaluated.