Upon graduating from college, it can feel like the possibilities are endless. Even if the prospect of launching your career is a little scary, you now have the opportunity to use your hard-earned education to make a difference.
After some time steeped in the competitive job search or working in the professional world, however, you may feel eager for a new challenge – a change of pace toward a career that can empower you to make an impact in the lives of others.
Even so, having already earned your degree, it’s possible you feel pigeon-holed into a career in the field you originally chose to study. But if you’ve ever contemplated a career in nursing, the good news is it’s not too late. You may
think going back to school to earn a nursing degree would be expensive and time intensive – especially after you already put in the hard work required of a bachelor’s degree.
That’s where accelerated nursing programs come into play. These programs are built for aspiring healthcare professionals like you to get on the fast track to a rewarding career in the nursing field. Read on to learn how you could become a BSN-qualified
nurse in just 12 months with an accelerated nursing program.
5 Things to know when considering an accelerated nursing program
Accelerated nursing programs, like the one at Bellarmine University,
are designed to be a fast-track, accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program created specifically for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in a different field. Bellarmine’s program can be completed in as little as
one year, but is also available as a two- or three-year program for students who’d prefer to attend part-time.
Even in its accelerated format, students will learn all of the same things any traditional BSN nursing student would — just faster. That means you’ll still have the opportunity to complete all the required clinical hours, gaining important
experience working in real hospitals with real patients.
As you consider whether this accelerated path to becoming a nurse is right for you, keep the following five things in mind.
1. You don’t need any previous nursing experience
To qualify for an accelerated nursing program, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and meet the other admission requirements. You do not need education or previous work experience in nursing or health sciences specifically.
In fact, if you have experience in another field, that could actually help you become a better nurse. Whether you majored in philosophy, English, or sports management, you can apply what you already know to the dynamic field of nursing.
Utilizing any critical-thinking or interpersonal communication skills you’ve picked up in pursuit of your original degree, your unique knowledge will give you a fresh perspective on things like patient interaction, prioritization of tasks, and the
collaboration that takes place among various medical professionals behind the scenes. Your experience may even give you an edge over traditional nursing students in your job search.
It’s also true that you won’t have to worry about being the only one without nursing knowledge as you enter into your degree program. Accelerated nursing programs are designed for students who’ve studied in fields outside of the nursing
field. So you will be in good company, learning from the diverse experiences of your classmates while providing your own helpful insights.
2. You’ve already been in the real world
Not only have you already figured out how to be a student (remember all those term papers and flashcards?) but you may have also gained an admirable amount of real-world experience. If you’ve adjusted to a new job before, you’re a pro at managing
work and your personal life — bosses, interviews, finances, groceries, and maybe even a family.
A traditional nursing student will have to adjust to school, adult life, and the rigor of learning to be a nurse all at once. Fortunately, you’ve got a head start. Heading back to school to change your path may feel like a setback on the surface,
but as long as you can dedicate yourself to learning all you can about your new career path, the rest will come naturally.
3. You tend to learn the material better
It’s easy to assume that because an accelerated program is shorter, you won’t receive as thorough an education. By taking less time you’ll obviously be less prepared than a traditional nursing student, right? Well, you’ll be happy
to hear that’s not actually the case.
In fact, the opposite is true. As an accelerated nursing student, you’ll cover the same important material as traditional students. The only difference is that you will pack more into each semester. With fewer gaps between lessons and clinicals,
you may actually grasp the material better.
Graduates from Bellarmine University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program have been found to perform extremely well on the National Council License Examination (NCLEX), a licensing exam required for all practicing nurses. On average, Bellarmine graduates
tout a 95 percent first-time pass rate. It’s also true that graduates of the accelerated nursing program are often highly regarded by local hospitals and clinics when it comes time to hire new nurses.
4. You will earn a versatile degree
While you could earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) in a relatively short time frame – between 18 and 24 months at most schools – the career outcomes of an ADN and a BSN can vary greatly. The foundational nursing courses are
similar (both tracks lead graduating students toward passing the NCLEX). But a BSN degree program will include a number of topics not covered by an ADN curriculum. These include subjects like public health, leadership, and research in addition
to the general education courses you’ve already taken.
There are other distinct advantages to being a BSN-qualified nurse. It has been a longstanding goal in the healthcare industry for at least 80 percent of nurses to have
acquired a BSN by 2020.
With that in mind, you could have a distinct advantage over ADN-qualified nurses in your job search for a promising registered nurse (RN) position.
In an effort to dig into the details, we used real-time job analysis software to analyze more than one million RN job openings from the last year.* While nurses who earned an ADN qualified for 551,373 of those jobs, those with a BSN qualified for 911,371
openings. That means earning a BSN can increase your job opportunities by 65 percent!*
It’s also true that nurses with their BSN degree have a greater potential of obtaining leadership and management positions in the field. There are even particular nursing specialties that require a BSN degree, such as public health, nurse education
and nurse research.
5. You’re entering a thriving field
It’s no secret that the U.S. has been experiencing a shortage of RNs – one that is only expected to increase in the coming years.
If you could see yourself finding purpose as a nurse, there’s never been a better time to enter the field.
Consider the following facts as they relate to nursing.
- Job Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook for RN jobs is projected to grow 15 percent by the year 2026 –
that’s more than double the average for all occupations nationwide.
- Salary: As is the case with most jobs, a typical RN’s salary will vary depending on the location in which they choose to work. For example, RNs in Kentucky
earn a mean annual salary of $63,100, while those in Indiana earn $64,860 and those in Ohio earn closer to $66,820.
- Job Satisfaction: While nursing can be a highly stressful job, a remarkable 83 percent of nurses say they are satisfied with their choice of nursing as a career.
our fast track to a career with purpose
If you want to change your career trajectory to something with a little more impact, becoming a nurse may be more of a possibility than you initially expected. If your hope is to avoid the time and expenses of a traditional degree program (on top of the
bachelor’s degree you’ve already earned), there is a program designed with nursing hopefuls like you in mind.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re eager for a change, head over to Bellarmine University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program page to learn more about your next steps.
*Burning-glass.com (analysis of 1,133,182 registered nurse job postings, July 01, 2018 – June 30, 2019)