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Is the Accelerated Nursing Track for You?

Essential Information on Accelerated Bachelors Degrees in Nursing

By Bryan Christopher Warne, RN

The first requirement for any accelerated track is a previous Bachelors degree. This can be in any field: Business, History, Mass Communications, Accounting, Biology, Psychology, etc. The idea is to build upon the credits you've already earned to get your nursing degree in an accelerated or fast track manner.

When applying to an Accelerated BSN program, it’s important to realize that you’ll likely be a year or so away from your program start date, so take this into consideration when planning.  Most nursing schools will want you to have certain pre-requisite classes either finished or in process when applying.  Depending on the major you acquired previously, you may have only a couple pre-requisites to fill or you may have many.

The classes that you can begin taking that many schools require are: Biology, Human Development, Nutrition, *Anatomy & Physiology* (sometimes programs require these two classes to be taken separately*), Microbiology, and Pathophysiology. 

It is of the utmost importance to look at the specifics for the schools you are applying to, because they may have additional requisites, other than these.  For example, some schools require you to take Pharmacology prior to entering their program.

There are at least two common options for an Accelerated Nursing track: There is a 12 month track or there is the 18 month track. 

Either option would be considered accelerated, because you are earning the same amount of credit hours as you would do in a two year (or 24 month) program.  Because of this, it is important to implore you to use caution if you are getting into one of these programs half-heartedly.

Concurrently, it is direly important to make sure you have a network of support: Family, friends, and/or colleagues.  These people, whether they know it or not, will vicariously join you on this journey and you will likely need them in varying degrees throughout the whole process.

An additional caution is necessary; in regards to the seriousness of an accelerated program, it would be advisable to not plan a wedding, start a pregnancy, enter into a new relationship, or make any other large life-altering events if you can help it. 

The accelerated nursing education track is a life-altering experience, on its own. 

It is understood that “life happens”, as they say, but to engage in any of these life changing events in a planned fashion while earning your second degree in nursing, is just asking for unneeded stress.  It would also be advisable, if possible, to be free from full-time work during the year or year and a half of school. 

The accelerated nursing track is a full-time job in of itself and it should be considered as such, by the student and the support network. 

If you already have a family, this should likely be noted that the full-time job of parenting (for the student) may have to become a part-time job, with the partner taking on more of the responsibilities at home. 

As you can see, this is a serious commitment for all parties involved, and one that should not be taken lightly.  Potential accelerated nursing track students and their families should realize what they are sacrificing, in order to complete such an arduous task in such a short time frame. 

Essentially, you are dedicating a year of your life to the intense study of nursing and all that it entails, in order to earn your nursing degree as fast as you can. Nursing is complex, and your education will demand dedicated focus. Assess if this option is right for you and if it is, take some time to investigate which second degree nursing program is going to work best for you.

Remember, with focused attention, thorough planning and a realistic set of expectations and supports, you can become a nurse in less than two years. It may be two of the most challenging years of your life, but if you are destined to become a nurse, it will be worth it.

Finally, add this sentiment into your program, and adopt it as your mantra as soon as possilbe: ALWAYS PERSEVERE. 

Bryan Christopher Warne graduated from an accelerated nursing program in 2012. He began his nursing career in the Float Pool, gaining experience on units like Telemetry, Neuro, Renal, Pulmonary, Med-Surg, Ortho and Rehab. He is currently a travel nurse.