Nursing is a profession that many people feel a calling for from a young age and work steadily towards throughout their years in education. However, it’s also a field that people decide to retrain in later in life. If you’ve been out of college for a while and working in a different area, there are still several pathways open to you if you wish to become a nurse. For those who are hoping to transition into their new nursing career quickly, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program could be exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s why.
What is an accelerated BSN?
An accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a degree program specifically designed for mature students who already have an undergraduate degree in a different subject. Some courses require your first degree to be in a field related to healthcare, but others allow you to enroll with a degree in any area. In the latter case, there may be some foundation modules such as anatomy and physiology that you need to complete before the first semester.
The accelerated BSN program involves completing an intensive full-time curriculum, giving you the chance to graduate in just 11 to 18 months depending on the specific course you choose. As you can see, that’s much faster than a normal four-year degree! You can decide to attend a program on campus, or for extra flexibility you canenroll on accelerated BSN online programs.
Like any nursing degree, doing an accelerated BSN means completing a mixture of taught academic modules and hands-on clinical placements. The exact modules you study will vary depending on the college and program you choose, but will generally cover the following sorts of topics:
- Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice
- Adult Health
- Family Health
- Analysis and Synthesis of Complex Human Needs
- Health Assessment
- Nursing in the Community
- Mental Health and Wellness
- Nursing Leadership and Management
- Pathophysiology for Nurses
- Nursing Ethics
- Introduction to Nursing Research
- Principles of Personalized Nursing Care
- Evidence-Based Nursing Practice
When it comes to the clinical placements, you’ll be working in a real-world nursing environment under the guidance of professional registered nurses. This is a fantastic chance to put what you’ve learned into practice and gain valuable advice and feedback while improving your skills. It can also be a good opportunity to figure out exactly which areas of nursing best suit your skills and interests, in order to prepare you for job hunting after graduation.
What are the advantages of doing an accelerated BSN?
Studying for an accelerated BSN program can bring you a wealth of advantages. Firstly, it enables you to embark upon a rewarding and fulfilling career even at a later stage in your life. This is great news for those who worry that they’re too old to become a nurse, or don’t have the right educational background. The programs are only for mature students, which means you can be confident that you’ll be studying alongside others in similar circumstances to you. As such, you’re sure to make plenty of lifelong friends during the course!
Becoming a nurse can also greatly boost your career potential. After you graduate, you’ll be well on your way to getting your license as a Registered Nurse (RN). According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for RNs are set to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030, with nurses earning a median annual salary of $75,330 in 2020. This means that you can anticipate high levels of employability, job security and financial stability as a result of completing your accelerated BSN.
In addition, nursing offers you all sorts of options to specialize in after you graduate. This means you can follow a career path that truly matches the aspects of nursing that you’re passionate about. For example, if you enjoy working with children then you could go into pediatric nursing, or if you’re interested in psychology and mental health you could focus on psychiatric nursing. The higher you climb, the greater your skills and knowledge will become. The best part is that no matter what job role you choose, you know that you’ll be helping people in need every single day.
Studying for an accelerated BSN will teach you all the key knowledge and clinical skills that you’ll need to get started in your nursing career. That’s not all though. You’ll also work on a wide variety of transferable skills that are sure to be of use to you, whichever job role you choose. These include communication, analytical thinking, teamwork, leadership, problem solving, decision making and organization. Many of which will prove useful outside of work too!
Top tips for studying as a mature student
If it’s been a while since you completed your first bachelor’s degree, you might be a little apprehensive about returning to college for your accelerated BSN. However, plenty of mature students successfully complete degrees every single year – and there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them! Here are some top tips to help you out:
- Set up a dedicated space at home for studying, especially if you’re taking your degree online. You’ll want to make sure you have a good chair for back support, and enough room for your books, notes, computer and stationery.
- Organize your schedule so that you have specific times set aside for study every week. This will be far more effective than simply trying to fit it in as and when you can. Keep a close eye on those deadlines, too!
- Network with other mature students so that you can swap tips, offer each other support, and hopefully also make some great friends. You can do this either virtually or in person, whichever best suits your circumstances.
- Practice self-care. In order to perform at your best academically, you need to eat well, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep every night. Your brain and grades will thank you!
- Don’t be shy about making use of college services. Whether you’re looking for support for student parents, careers guidance, or advice on returning to study after a long break, your college is there to help.
- Try signing up for a short course (either online or at a local community college) to help ease the transition back into formal education.
- Get started on your reading list early. This will prime your brain for what you’re going to learn and give you an edge in class!