Accelerated Nursing Program FAQ
What is the "Accelerated Nursing Program"?
The Accelerated Nursing Program is an intensive 12-month
program that prepares people who already have bachelor’s degree and
required prerequisite courses to become a registered nurse (RN). The
program begins each May and students graduate with a Bachelor of Science
in Nursing degree the following May.
What is the program like?
Students attend classes two to three days a week and are in
clinical (hospitals, clinics, and other health-care settings) two to
three days a week, Monday through Friday; the exact schedule varies each
semester. It is possible that some courses may meet on the weekend.
Students take classes in adult, women’s, pediatric, psychiatric-mental,
critical care, and community health nursing. Because of the intense
nature of the program students are strongly advised not to work while in
What are the students like?
Students come from a wide variety of
backgrounds and majors. They enter this program either because they
always wanted to be a nurse but were unable to find a program they could
finish in a reasonable amount of time or because they wanted a career
with better advancement opportunities, salaries, and benefits. The
students range in age from 21-61+; the average age is ~32. About 10% to
15% of students are men; about half the students are married and several
have children. Students in the program tend to be close-knit and
supportive of each other and they enjoy a close working relationship
with the faculty. We also offer a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing
Practice program with tracks in Advanced Practice Nursing or Advanced
What could I do with this degree?
There is a nationwide and a local shortage of registered
nurses, which has been predicted by the federal government to last for
the foreseeable future. There are many opportunities for full and
part-time work in nursing. While the greatest numbers of opportunities
are in critical care, medical-surgical, surgery (operating room),
emergency room, and long-term care settings there are also many
opportunities in psychiatric-mental health, forensics, women’s health,
pediatrics, community health, case management and administration. There
is also a need for nurses with advanced degrees to teach in schools of
nursing, work as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists and as
administrators. This program prepares students for graduate school,
including the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Bellarmine.
Bellarmine’s MSN program offers three tracks of study: Nursing
Education, Nursing Administration, and Family Nurse Practitioner.
How successful is the program?
Almost all accelerated program graduates pass
the NCLEX-RN (licensure examination for registered nurse practice) the
first time. The accelerated pass rate is significantly higher than
Kentucky and US pass rates. Graduates have a 100% employment rate and
several are in graduate school.
When should I send in my application?
The application priority deadline is November 1 of the year
prior to your anticipated start date.
Do I apply even before I am finished taking prerequisite
Yes, even before you are finished with prerequisites. That
way you reserve a place in the class, pending completion of
prerequisites, and we can start a file and mail you pertinent
What is the licensure exam?
Students graduate with a baccalaureate degree in nursing
but in order to become a registered nurse you must pass the RN licensure
exam. The national licensure exam for registered nurses is called the
NCLEX-RN. The computerized exam takes a maximum of five hours.
Bellarmine students complete a semester long NCLEX preparation class in
the spring semester before graduation.
What are the admission requirements?
- a bachelor’s degree (BS or BA) in any field
- a minimum GPA (Grade Point Average) of 2.75
- a minimum pre-req GPA of 2.75
- completion of two courses in human anatomy and
physiology, one course each in, statistics, ethics, nutrition,
microbiology, lifespan (developmental) psychology, and (e) a grade of
“B-” or better in the science prerequisites (anatomy and physiology I
and II, microbiology, and nutrition)
- a grade of C or better in all other pre-requisite
- complete the Nursing CAS application process at www.nursingcas.org
- complete a Medicaid approved Certified Nursing Assistant Program by March 15 of the program year. Students do not
need to take the state certification exam.
Where can I take prerequisites?
Before taking a pre-requisite course you should check the
college or university is REGIONALLY ACCREDITED by the Middle States
Commission on Higher Education or the New England, Northwest, Southern,
or Western Associations of Schools and of Colleges, or the North Central
Association of Colleges and of Schools. This information is usually
available on web sites and catalogs. Schools that do not meet the
academic standards of regionally accredited schools may advertise
themselves as nationally accredited. Courses from schools that are only
NATIONALLY accredited are not acceptable.
There are several flexible ways to meet
prerequisite course requirements: (a) earning credit for college-level
knowledge by passing the College Level Examination Program tests (CLEP; www.collegeboard.com/clep
or 609.771.7865), (b) taking accredited college courses on the web, (c)
taking accredited college courses through independent study, and (d)
taking classes at any accredited college or university. It is important
to speak to an advisor (see e-mail addresses below) before enrolling in
pre-requisite course so you can be sure they will satisfy admission
requirements. An advisor can also give individualized suggestions for
the best way to meet prerequisites.
Is experience in health care necessary?
While work or volunteer experience is advantageous it is
not required. Students will receive all the experience they need in the
program. (Bellarmine students have more clinical hours than students do
in any other nursing program in Kentucky). If a prospective student were
interested in getting a job or volunteer experience in the healthcare
field it would be a good idea to talk to an advisor for suggestions.
How much does it cost? How could I pay for the
The cost of the program is three semesters of full-time
tuition. For the class entering in May of 2009 the tuition is 14,580 per
semester. This is a three semester program.
There are additional costs for books, uniforms, and lab
fees. Most students borrow money from the federal government; students
can borrow up to $12,500 each academic year ($25,000 total) for tuition
and related expenses. Several local hospitals are offering generous
scholarships in return for an agreement to work for them after
graduation. It is important to access the Bellarmine Financial Aid
website for comprehensive advice about financial aid.
Where can I get more information?
Visit our Nursing homepage often for updates or contact Julie Armstrong-Binnix, Graduate Admission Officer Nursing Recruiter at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502.272.8364 or 800.274.4723 to request an accelerated information packet and for general program information.