Chances are that if you are considering becoming a nurse and already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you want to spend as little time as possible back in school.
Enter accelerated nursing programs, like Mercer University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in Atlanta. These programs build off your previous college experience, and often feature online coursework, making it possible to graduate in much less time than with a traditional, four-year degree.
Sounds great, right? For many learners, ABSN programs are the fastest way to become a registered nurse. However, they are not for everyone. So is an accelerated nursing program worth it for you? We will take a look at how Accelerated BSN programs work and discuss important considerations before making your decision.
How Accelerated BSN Programs Work
Accelerated nursing programs leverage your college experience, allowing you to focus exclusively on a nursing-centric curriculum. Some programs require a minimum number of credits, while others — like Mercer University’s ABSN program, which blends online coursework with hands-on labs and clinicals — require a college degree.
Mercer’s Atlanta-based ABSN program allows second-degree students to earn a nursing degree in as few as 12 months. Not only is that significantly less time than a traditional, four-year nursing program, it is also shorter than most ABSN programs, which often take 16 months or longer.
However, this does not mean you will not have to take additional courses to be eligible for admittance. Most ABSN programs have prerequisite requirements. In some cases, you may have already taken some or all of the required courses; it just depends on the university and your educational background. Often it comes down to whether you have a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, as students with science backgrounds tend to have taken more of the required courses.
Are ABSN Programs as Good as Traditional Nursing Programs?
Despite many top universities offering accelerated nursing options, you may be skeptical about ABSN programs. It is important to note that every accredited accelerated nursing program must meet the same accreditation standards as traditional nursing programs. Now, that is not to say that every school provides the same quality education, so be sure to do your homework.
When researching accelerated nursing programs in Georgia, you want to choose a university with a reputation for academic excellence. Mercer University is one of the oldest and most respected universities in the south, and our Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is the state’s oldest nursing program. For more than 100 years, we have been producing top nurses — a tradition that continues with the launch of our online-based Accelerated BSN program to help meet the growing demand for nurses in Georgia.
Though our ABSN coursework is delivered online via our Canvas learning management system (LMS) rather than in a traditional lecture-based classroom format, you will still cover the same exact content as our ground-based BSN degree program, and with access to instructors who are dedicated to your success. Though the coursework is online, you will travel to our learning site several times a week to participate in hands-on skills and simulation labs, as well as attend clinical rotations at top area hospitals and clinics.
Is an Accelerated Nursing Program Worth It for You?
Accelerated nursing programs are fast-paced, requiring hard work, discipline, and organization. For this reason, not everyone feels comfortable learning in an accelerated environment. However, if you meet the program requirements and are up to the challenge, ABSN programs offer great reward.
Here are four reasons to choose Mercer University’s Accelerated BSN program:
1. Start Working Toward Your Nursing Degree Sooner
Most four-year BSN programs offer just one start date per year, typically in the fall, meaning that if you enroll a week after the start date, you will have no choice but to wait an entire year to start earning your degree. Accelerated nursing programs are different, offering not only a condensed format but also multiple starts. Mercer’s ABSN program has three starts each year — in spring (January), summer (May), and fall (August) — allowing you to get started sooner.
2. Fast-Track Your Nursing Degree
No doubt, the most popular aspect of Accelerated BSN programs is that you can earn your BSN in significantly less time than with a traditional program. In the case of Mercer’s ABSN program, it is possible to graduate ready to sit for the NCLEX in as few as 12 months. However, be prepared to work hard. Accelerated programs are time-intensive and academically rigorous, covering significant ground in a short amount of time. For this reason, we strongly discourage students from working while in the program.
3. Online Nursing Coursework Offers Convenience and Flexibility
Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is what is often referred to as a hybrid ABSN program, due to the mix of online coursework and in-person labs and clinicals. Online coursework has a number of benefits many learners enjoy. For one thing, it is convenient. You can complete your online assignments when and where it fits your schedule. As long as you finish assignments by the due date, it does not matter what time of day you log in. Online coursework also affords you the luxury of going back to review content, interactive exercises, and other course materials as often as you need to feel prepared for exams.
4. Get Clinical Experience Your First Semester
With four-year BSN programs, it is rare to begin clinicals before your second year. With our Accelerated BSN program, you begin your clinical rotations during the first semester, so you can start putting what you are learning into practice right from the start. It also means you will get to network with working professionals sooner. Of course, none of this is to say you will jump in unprepared. We have carefully selected clinicals based on what you will be learning in the coursework and labs at the same time. You can also rest assured that you will not be alone. Throughout, experienced clinical instructors will be on hand to oversee your every move and answer any questions you have.
Ready to Fast-Track Your Future in Nursing?
Offering three start dates a year and an intensive, 12-month curriculum, Mercer ABSN is your fast track to a career in nursing. To find out more about our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Atlanta, give us a call at (844) 347-2108, or fill out the form to have an enrollment counselor reach contact you.