Accelerated BSN and MSN degree programs are quickly being developed and added to many nursing school programs. Why? To deliver relevant and essential nursing degrees to students with bachelors or masters degrees in another discipline, often called second-degree nursing students. Here’s the rationale:
If you already have earned a Bachelors degree in XYZ discipline, you’ve already satisfied many of your undergraduate requirements AND proven your mettle to manage a college education, undergraduate or graduate. With the expansion of the nursing shortage and no end in sight, the goal then must be to streamline entry into the field for as many qualified candidates as possible.
Fact: the Nursing industry appeals to many professionals in other first careers. It stands to reason that armed with pre-existing degrees many nursing candidates could successfully and safely be trained more quickly and conferred “accelerated” Bachelors of Science in Nursing or Masters of Science in Nursing degrees than if they were required to start from scratch.
Most accelerated degree programs promise to turn out new grads within one or two years for a BSN and 2 to 3 years for MSN under full-time programs of study.
The accelerated BSN, often abbreviated A-BSN or ABSN, allows a baccalaureate degreed career-changer the opportunity to fast-track his or her nursing Bachelors. Most nursing schools offering this degree option can turn out second-degree BSN nurses within two years. The emphasis on the ABSN degree track is clinical practice and the core nursing courses—Anatomy/Physiology, Microbiology, Basic Pharmacology, Nursing Theory, etc. Otherwise, required coursework for a traditional BSN can often be carved away.
The accelerated MSN, or A-MSN, allows Masters degreed professionals in most other disciplines to fast-track a nursing Masters degree. Still an accelerated MSN takes up to 3 years with full-time study. Like the BSN candidates to one of these programs focus on nursing theory, clinical practice and advanced nursing topics.
According to the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) you can study an accelerated course in 43 states which when broken down includes nearly 220 BSN and 60 MSN programs, with a few dozen more in development. *