Timeline for Completing an Accelerated Nursing Program

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Key Take­aways:

  • Texas A&M Uni­ver­si­ty School of Nurs­ing and Cleve­land State Uni­ver­si­ty are two top schools for com­pet­ing an accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing degree.
  • Accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams offer a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing (BSN) degree in 12–18 months.
  • These pro­grams are designed for stu­dents with a bach­e­lor’s degree in anoth­er field and pre­pare grad­u­ates for the NCLEX-RN exam.
  • While accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are inten­sive and require full-time com­mit­ment, they allow for a quick­er tran­si­tion into the nurs­ing profession.
  • Grad­u­ates of accel­er­at­ed pro­grams ben­e­fit from con­densed course­work, faster career tran­si­tions, and cost sav­ings, but must man­age a heav­ier work­load and reduced flex­i­bil­i­ty com­pared to tra­di­tion­al programs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics projects there will be 193,100 open­ings for RNs each year through the next decade. To address this need, many col­leges are offer­ing accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams. These pro­grams offer a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing (BSN) degree in 12–18 months. This is much short­er than the usu­al four years. Most pro­grams will also pre­pare you for the NCLEX-RN exam. 

It’s essen­tial for those look­ing at an accel­er­at­ed BSN to know about the pro­gram length and details. This arti­cle will guide you through the usu­al time­line for an accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­gram. We’ll cov­er the steps, the class­es you’ll take, and the hands-on train­ing involved.


What Is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

Are you think­ing about nurs­ing as a career but wor­ried about time? Accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams are for stu­dents with a bach­e­lor’s in anoth­er field. Depend­ing on where you study, they typ­i­cal­ly take 12–18 months.

Know­ing the time­line for an accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­gram is vital. It helps you plan your stud­ies and time well. You can also get a grip on your bud­get and set clear career goals.

Fast-track BSN pro­grams pro­vide a com­plete nurs­ing edu­ca­tion. They teach the same top­ics as tra­di­tion­al BSN cours­es but quick­er. This is pos­si­ble because stu­dents use what they already know to move through course­work faster. 


Differences Between Traditional and Accelerated Programs

Tra­di­tion­al BSNs take about four years to fin­ish. In an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, every­thing is done in a much short­er time. And stu­dents usu­al­ly attend full-time. They are per­fect for some­one who wants to start work­ing as a nurse sooner.

Benefits of Accelerated Nursing Programs

There are many pros to choos­ing an accel­er­at­ed program:

  • Quest to RN is Short­ened: Stu­dents become RNs faster com­pared to a reg­u­lar BSN program.
  • Builds on Past Expe­ri­ence: Your first degree’s knowl­edge and skills help you learn quick­ly in this program.
  • Slight­ly Cheap­er Over­all: Although each course might cost more, the pro­gram’s short­er length makes it a good deal financially.
  • Easy Career Switch: It offers a clear path for those chang­ing to a nurs­ing career.

But remem­ber, accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are intense. You need to be all in. A lot of time and work is involved in achiev­ing a suc­cess­ful out­come. The course­load is con­densed. So it demands your full atten­tion and effort.

Benefits of Traditional Four-Year Nursing Programs

A tra­di­tion­al RN degree pro­gram offers cer­tain ben­e­fits as well. Here’s a brief overview:

  • More time to absorb infor­ma­tion: Tra­di­tion­al pro­grams have a longer dura­tion, which allows you to learn at a more man­age­able pace. 
  • Greater flex­i­bil­i­ty: Tra­di­tion­al pro­grams may offer more flex­i­bil­i­ty regard­ing course sched­ul­ing. You will have more time to bal­ance school with work or per­son­al commitments. 
  • More oppor­tu­ni­ties for cam­pus involve­ment: You’ll have more oppor­tu­ni­ties to get involved in cam­pus activ­i­ties, clubs, and orga­ni­za­tions relat­ed to nursing. 
  • Poten­tial for spe­cial­iza­tion: Tra­di­tion­al pro­grams may offer more oppor­tu­ni­ties to spe­cial­ize in a par­tic­u­lar area of nurs­ing. Spe­cial­iza­tions can help you focus on your career goals and stand out in the job market.

A tra­di­tion­al RN degree pro­gram gives you more time to man­age oth­er respon­si­bil­i­ties. Choos­ing between a tra­di­tion­al and an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram depends on your indi­vid­ual learn­ing style, career goals, and per­son­al circumstances.

Breakdown of Semesters/Quarters in Accelerated Nursing Programs

Accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams are divid­ed into semes­ters or quar­ters. Each term focus­es on dif­fer­ent class­es and prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ences. We’ll exam­ine two schools to give you an idea of the time­line and formats.

Texas A&M University School of Nursing 

Round Rock Texas

Texas A&M fea­tures what it calls a Sec­ond-Degree BSN. This is a 15-month accel­er­at­ed pro­gram with four semes­ters. A total of 120 cred­its are need­ed. Stu­dents must com­plete 59 cred­its of pre­req­ui­site cours­es if they did not com­plete them dur­ing their first degree. Here is the typ­i­cal sched­ule for the remain­ing 61 credits:

Semes­ter One: 17 Cred­it Hours

Dimen­sions and Informatics3
Foun­da­tions of Nurs­ing Prac­tice Theory3
Foun­da­tions of Nurs­ing Prac­tice Clinical5
Intro­duc­tion to Pathophysiology3
Phar­ma­col­o­gy Principles3

Semes­ter Two: 16 Cred­it Hours

Nurs­ing and the Aged3
Adult Nurs­ing I6
Evi­dence-Based Practice3
Care of Men­tal Health Clients4

Semes­ter Three: 13 Cred­it Hours

Adult Nurs­ing II6
Care of Com­mu­ni­ty Health Clients5
Pro­fes­sion­al Issues2

Semes­ter Four: 15 Cred­it Hours

Nurs­ing Care of Women, Fam­i­lies & Newborns4
Nurs­ing Care of Children4
Tran­si­tion to Pro­fes­sion­al Nurs­ing Practice5
Case Stud­ies in Patient Safe­ty & Quality2

The pro­gram com­bines class­room instruc­tion, sim­u­la­tions, clin­i­cal expe­ri­ences, and video lec­tures. The pro­gram is only offered on. After com­plet­ing the pro­gram, grad­u­ates can take the NCLEX exam to earn their RN license. Dur­ing their final semes­ter, the school assists stu­dents with the Texas RN licen­sure process.

Cleveland State University

Cleve­land, Ohio

Cleve­land State Uni­ver­si­ty offers an online accel­er­at­ed BSN degree. It’s a 16-month full-time pro­gram con­sist­ing of four semes­ters. Some pre­req­ui­site cours­es are required. How­ev­er, stu­dents can apply even if they are still work­ing on them. Here is the sam­ple sched­ule for this 69-cred­it hour program:

Semes­ter One

The­o­ry & Pro­fes­sion­al Practice
Patho­phys­i­ol­o­gy for Nurses
Health Assess­ment
Health Assess­ment – Lab
Fun­da­men­tals of Nurs­ing Practice
Fun­da­men­tals of Nurs­ing Prac­tice – Clinical
Nurs­ing Pharmacology

Semes­ter Two

Nurs­ing Research
Med­ical – Sur­gi­cal Nurs­ing I
Med­ical – Sur­gi­cal Nurs­ing I – Clinical
Psy­chi­atric – Men­tal Health Nursing
Psy­chi­atric – Men­tal Health Nurs­ing – Clinical

Semes­ter Three

Nurs­ing Lead­er­ship and Management
Med­ical – Sur­gi­cal Nurs­ing II
Med­ical – Sur­gi­cal Nurs­ing II – Clinical
Pedi­atric Nursing
Pedi­atric Nurs­ing – Clinical
Mater­nal New­born Nursing
Mater­nal New­born Nurs­ing – Clinical

Semes­ter Four

Med­ical – Sur­gi­cal Nurs­ing III
Med­ical – Sur­gi­cal Nurs­ing III – Clinical
Pro­fes­sion­al Role Preparation
Com­mu­ni­ty Health Nursing
Com­mu­ni­ty Health Nurs­ing – Clinical
Pro­fes­sion­al Role Practicum

Stu­dents in this pro­gram will com­plete their course­work remote­ly. And the clin­i­cal place­ment team will help you find a suit­able clin­i­cal site near your home. They will also arrange the pre­cep­tor details for you. You will need to go to the cam­pus for two in-per­son res­i­den­cies. These take place in the school’s state-of-the-art nurs­ing resource lab­o­ra­to­ry in down­town Cleveland. 

This pro­gram has excel­lent sup­port ser­vices. For exam­ple, you’ll have a ded­i­cat­ed nurs­ing fac­ul­ty advi­sor. You will also have an online stu­dent expe­ri­ence coach to help you. Addi­tion­al­ly, you will have full access to resources like tutor­ing, writ­ing help, and counseling.

Coursework, Clinical Requirements, and Milestones

Accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams give stu­dents a strong ground­work for nurs­ing careers. They cov­er many impor­tant top­ics. These include anato­my, phar­ma­col­o­gy, and how to care for patients at all stages of life.

The course load in these pro­grams is full and moves quick­ly. Fun­da­men­tal cours­es and top­ics cov­ered typ­i­cal­ly include:

  • Health changes and how dis­eases work
  • Learn­ing to give out med­i­cines safely
  • Car­ing for all kinds of patients like kids, elder­ly, or those with men­tal health needs
  • Using sci­ence to make bet­ter nurs­ing decisions
  • How to lead and grow as a professional

Clinical hours and experiences

Clin­i­cal work is a big part of these fast-paced pro­grams. For exam­ple, at CSU, stu­dents com­plete 778 clin­i­cal hours and 145 lab hours. These allow stu­dents to prac­tice what they learn in real-world settings. 

Bal­anc­ing course­work and clin­i­cal rotations

Man­ag­ing class­work and clin­i­cal prac­tice is hard, espe­cial­ly in an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram. Good time man­age­ment is a must. Mak­ing a sol­id study plan, set­ting pri­or­i­ties, and get­ting help from oth­ers can ease the pres­sure. Suc­cess in these pro­grams demands hard work, steady effort, and a pas­sion for nursing.

Key Milestones in Accelerated Nursing Programs

Start­ing your fast-paced nurs­ing pro­gram comes with know­ing its impor­tant mile­stones. These mile­stones guide you, mak­ing sure you’re on the right path to becom­ing a great nurse. Let’s look at these key moments you’ll face dur­ing your nurs­ing journey.

Orientation and Initial Coursework

Your jour­ney begins with an ori­en­ta­tion. Here, you’ll meet your peers, teach­ers, and advi­sors. It’s a chance to learn about the pro­gram’s ins and outs. After ori­en­ta­tion, you jump into your first cours­es. You’ll learn about fun­da­men­tals, like the human body’s work­ings and the basics of nurs­ing. These lessons pre­pare you for the more chal­leng­ing courses.

Mid-Program Assessments and Evaluations

While you move for­ward, you’ll tack­le tests and show what you’ve learned. These may be writ­ten, prac­ti­cal, or sim­u­la­tions. They help you see where you’re strong and where you need more work. See­ing these as chances to get bet­ter helps keep you focused. It’s all about grow­ing dur­ing your program.

Final Exams and Clinical Evaluations

When you near the end, you face tough exams and eval­u­a­tions. This is where all your learn­ing is put to the test. You’ll have writ­ten tests and chances to show your skills in clin­ics. Prepar­ing and get­ting help from teach­ers is vital. Do your best to fin­ish strong and be ready for the real nurs­ing world.

Graduation Requirements

Grad­u­at­ing is the big goal. To get there, you must fin­ish all your class­es, keep a cer­tain grade aver­age, and prove you’re ready. It’s a jour­ney. Don’t for­get to cel­e­brate the small victories.

Know­ing what to expect dur­ing your nurs­ing pro­gram is half the bat­tle. It’s all about using every mile­stone to become a great nurse. With hard work and focus, you can achieve your goal.

Post-Graduation Steps

Fin­ish­ing an accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­gram is a big deal. Yet, it’s just the start of being a nurse. There are some steps to take for a smooth begin­ning in your nurs­ing career.

Preparing for the NCLEX-RN Exam

Get­ting ready for the NCLEX-RN exam is cru­cial. This test checks if you’re ready to be a nurse. Here are some top NCLEX-RN prepa­ra­tion tips:

  • Cre­ate a study sched­ule and stick to it
  • Uti­lize a vari­ety of study mate­ri­als, such as review books, online resources, and prac­tice tests
  • Join a study group or find a study part­ner for moti­va­tion and support
  • Focus on under­stand­ing con­cepts rather than just mem­o­riz­ing facts
  • Take care of your­self men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly dur­ing the study process

Job Search Strategies

Also, start think­ing about your job search as you gear up for the NCLEX-RN. Here are some effec­tive strate­gies for find­ing nurs­ing jobs:

  • Tai­lor­ing your resume and cov­er let­ter to each spe­cif­ic job opening
  • Lever­ag­ing your net­work, includ­ing class­mates, instruc­tors, and clin­i­cal contacts
  • Attend­ing job fairs and net­work­ing events
  • Explor­ing var­i­ous health­care set­tings, such as hos­pi­tals, clin­ics, and long-term care facilities
  • Con­sid­er­ing relo­cat­ing for bet­ter job opportunities

Transitioning to the Nursing Workforce

Start­ing off your career in nurs­ing might make you both excit­ed and ner­vous. To ease into it, here are tips to remember:

  • Seek out men­tor­ship from expe­ri­enced nurses
  • Be open to learn­ing and ask­ing questions
  • Prac­tice self-care to pre­vent burnout
  • Stay orga­nized and man­age your time effectively
  • Main­tain a pos­i­tive atti­tude and cel­e­brate your successes

Remem­ber, your accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­gram has equipped you with the knowl­edge and skills need­ed to suc­ceed as a pro­fes­sion­al nurse. Embrace this new chap­ter with con­fi­dence, know­ing that you have the foun­da­tion to pos­i­tive­ly impact your patients’ lives.

Closing Thoughts

Accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams let you start your nurs­ing career faster. These demand­ing but very reward­ing pro­grams are great for any­one want­i­ng to switch careers or enter nurs­ing quick­ly. Are you think­ing about an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram? Do your home­work to find the right fit. Check out each pro­gram’s details to be sure it’s the right fit for you. Good luck on your journey!