If you’ve been exploring BSN degree options, an accelerated path can certainly be appealing. Graduating faster means more than spending less time in the classroom — it also means getting into your new career (and its compensation and benefits) that much sooner.
But you want to be smart about this decision. As with so many choices in life, the Accelerated BSN Second Degree entrance option could be the perfect choice for some people and a not-so-perfect choice for others. How do you know if it’s the right nursing track for you?
But this program requires incoming students to have a bachelor’s degree. Some nursing hopefuls didn’t realize they wanted to be nurses until they were already on their way down a different career path. But it’s never too late to answer the call to become a nurse.
If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, you meet the primary criteria for the program. This means you can jump on the fast-track to becoming a nurse without going back to square one. But what about the rest of the details?
Earning your BSN in as few as 18 months sound great.* However this option is not ideal for everyone. So To help you determine if you have what it takes to succeed in this rigorous program, we’re offering some insight into what the ideal accelerated BSN might look like. Keep reading to see if you fit the bill.
You should consider an accelerated BSN program if …
1. You’re driven — really driven!
You’ve always been one to go after what you want and not give up until you’ve achieved it. You know what it’s like to have a hard week, an equally hard weekend and still show up 100% the following Monday morning. You can picture your career after earning your BSN and you’re committed enough to sacrifice some comfort for a while.
If any of that sounds like you, you might have what it takes to earn your BSN at an accelerated pace. This program is not for the faint of heart. Dr. Joan Rich is the VP of nursing at Rasmussen College and one of the creators of its accelerated BSN program. She says the students who tend to thrive in this environment are driven, even “over-achiever types” who can motivate themselves to stay on track.
2. You’ve always performed well in school
You’re organized and you know how to study and achieve a good grade on a test. You’ve never had much trouble keeping up with the pace of school in the past. What’s more, you know how to manage your time, get enough sleep and keep yourself healthy so you don’t burn out when you get crunched under a heavy workload.
These factors are all a good indication that you have what it takes to excel in an accelerated program. The accelerated BSN (A-BSN) is just what it claims to be: accelerated. That means you can complete the program within a faster timeframe and taking more credits per quarter than the traditional full-time BSN student load.*
On top of the rigorous pace, the accelerated BSN does have admissions requirements. Applicants must score at least a 75 percent on the TEAS test to be eligible for admission. For tips and advice on how to exceed this requirement, check out our article: Don’t Fear the TEAS Test: Expert Tips to Help You Pass on the First Try.
3. You’re able to take some time off from working full time
Being a full-time student isn’t an option for everyone. But to truly thrive in this program, students need to be able to devote their complete attention to the curriculum, according to Rich. She says the pace of the accelerated BSN is tough and for the best performance you shouldn’t try to juggle full-time work simultaneously.
“Working is not recommended,” Rich says. “It’s a short window to concentrate and devote your full-time attention to this program. The rewards will be worth it!”
Nursing school will always be an investment, no matter which path you take. For this option, part of that investment is putting other work on hold. If you can afford to treat school like your full-time job for 18 months or so, you are already in an ideal position to thrive on the accelerated BSN track.*
4. You already possess a bachelor’s degree (even in an unrelated subject)
Maybe you first went to school to earn a business degree. Maybe you majored in psychology or education but have come to realize that the nursing profession is calling you. This program was designed with you in mind.
Don’t worry — you don’t need to already have a biology degree to join the program. Rich says new students arrive with all kinds of different prior majors. “There’s no ‘usual’ degree,” she says.
5. You’re a critical thinker
Do you know how to solve problems? Can you think on your feet and determine the best plan of action even if there’s not a clear right or wrong answer? The ideal student for this program has strong critical thinking skills, according to Rich.
Critical thinking involves using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. In your everyday life, you may be exercising this skill in your current job or in navigating tricky decisions in your family life.
If you have regular experience sorting through irrelevant information to get to the bottom of something, you’ve already cultivated an important skill — both for the nursing profession and for surviving in an accelerated BSN program.
6. You know what you want
If you woke up this morning thinking, ‘You know, it would be really fun to be a nurse,’ you may want to give the idea some more thought before enrolling. While aspects of nursing school are certainly fun, the curriculum and the job as a registered nurse is far from easy. Possibly the most important trait you need to thrive in an accelerated BSN program is to know you want to be a nurse.
“You must have the desire to improve healthcare and the lives of others,” Rich explains.
If you are still on the fence about becoming a nurse, ask yourself what will motivate you to study when it’s already been a long, busy day? Some days will be more trying than others, and you’ll need to lean on that passion and devotion to push through the tough times in order to reach the finish line.
Are you all in?
Did you find yourself nodding in agreement while reading through the important characteristics of an ideal accelerated BSN student? If you are all in for pursuing a nursing career and are willing to work for it, this could be an ideal nursing track for you.
But don’t take our word for it! Check out our Accelerated BSN Second Degree Entrance Option for yourself to get more information about what lies ahead.
*Time to complete is dependent on accepted transfer credits and courses completed each quarter.