What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

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If you are interested in becoming a nurse with a previous degree, you may be asking questions like “what is an accelerated nursing program?” and “how does an accelerated nursing program work?” Make your dream possible with Mercer’s 12-month ABSN program.

nursing students take notes

If you are considering becoming a nurse and have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you could be ready to pursue your nursing education and begin an exciting career soon. There are different paths to become a nurse, and for those with previous college experience, a traditional, four-year prelicensure track may not be the best pathway to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Accelerated nursing programs, like Mercer University’s Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track in Atlanta, are designed to build upon your previous college experience and feature online coursework, making it possible to graduate sooner.

For second-degree learners, ABSN programs may be the best pathway to become a registered nurse. But what is an accelerated nursing program, and is it the right fit for you? We will review how accelerated BSN programs function and discuss important considerations before making your decision.

nurse in orange scrubs smiling at camera

Wondering if your previous education is a good fit for the ABSN track? Here are some degrees that transition well into nursing.

How Does an Accelerated Nursing Program Work?

Mercer’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track is delivered in a blended combination of online and in-person learning methods. Nursing school curriculum includes coursework, labs, and clinical rotations, which build on your previous college experience to accelerate the pathway to becoming a nurse. In Mercer’s ABSN track, online-based coursework is paired with accelerated lab and clinical practice allowing you to tackle more material in an accelerated, one-year timeline.

Read on to learn more about how each component of an ABSN curriculum works.

Online-Based Coursework

Regardless of whether you participate in an Accelerated BSN program or a traditional, on-campus four-year prelicensure track, the coursework you complete in nursing school covers the same topics. The main difference between the two tracks is in the intensity of classes and the increased flexibility of online learning that makes a heavier course load more feasible.

Mercer’s ABSN coursework is delivered online via a learning management system (LMS), Canvas, rather than in a traditional lecture-based classroom format.

Mercer ABSN student sitting at desk smiling

Online coursework also allows you to review content, interactive exercises, and other course materials as often as needed. Though the coursework is online, you will still have deadlines for assignments as well as travel to Mercer’s ABSN Learning Site located in Cobb County in Atlanta. At the Learning Site you will participate in tests, hands-on skills and simulation labs, and attend clinical rotations at top Atlanta healthcare facilities.

In-Person Skills and Simulation Labs

Nursing coursework is most effective when you can apply the knowledge you gain in the classroom to the real world. In-person labs bridge the gap between learning in the digital classroom and caring for patients. Skills and simulation labs are administered under experienced instructors, helping you and fellow cohort members to master essential nursing skills and react to changing conditions that mirror real-world patient care scenarios.

Mercer’s ABSN track, for instance, familiarizes you with hospital-grade equipment and a hospital-like environment complete with high-fidelity medical manikins. After each lab, you can complete a debrief session with instructors and fellow cohort members, analyzing decisions and identifying areas for improvement. With practice, you can apply the skills you learn in a clinical environment.

student in simulation with mannequin

Clinical Rotations

With traditional four-year BSN programs, it is rare to begin clinicals before your second year of nursing school. With Mercer’s Accelerated BSN track, students begin clinical rotations during the first semester, so you can begin applying what you are learning right from the start. Beginning clinical rotations sooner also means you will have the opportunity to network with working professionals sooner.

Mercer’s ABSN track carefully selects clinicals based on what you will be learning in the coursework and labs at the same time, so you will begin clinical rotations well-prepared. You can also rest assured that you will not be alone. Throughout your clinical experience, experienced clinical instructors will be on hand to oversee your every move and answer any questions you have.

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Mercer nursing student standing in hallway

How Long are Accelerated Nursing Programs?

Accelerated nursing programs are different from traditional nursing degree paths and leverage your previous college experience while allowing you to focus exclusively on a nursing-centric curriculum. Some programs require a minimum number of credits, while Mercer’s ABSN track requires a previous bachelor’s degree. Mercer’s Atlanta-based ABSN track is a pathway for second-degree students to earn a nursing degree in as few as 12 months.

Additionally, most four-year traditional prelicensure BSN programs enroll once per year. Accelerated nursing programs offer a condensed program length and multiple start dates per year. Mercer’s ABSN track enrolls three times per year in January, May, and August, allowing you to get started sooner.

Do Accelerated Nursing Programs Require Prerequisites?

Before enrolling in an ABSN program, you will also need to fulfill prerequisite requirements. If you have earned a previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may be able to leverage credits toward the completion of your prerequisites, allowing you to start sooner.

nursing student sitting at desk studying

In Mercer’s ABSN track, your enrollment counselor will guide you through the admissions process. They will review your previous college coursework and map out a plan to complete any remaining prerequisites before beginning the accelerated nursing track.

Once you complete the ABSN track, you will graduate ready to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and begin your career as a nurse.

Is an Accelerated Nursing Program the Right Fit for Me?

Accelerated nursing programs are fast-paced — requiring hard work, discipline, and organization. An ABSN track like Mercer’s ABSN track is a commitment for the 12 months you are enrolled, and it can be challenging while balancing other priorities like a job or childcare. Everyone learns differently, and an accelerated environment may not be the best fit. However, if you meet the admissions requirements and are up to the challenge, Mercer’s ABSN track could be the right path for you toward a rewarding career in nursing.

When researching accelerated nursing programs, it is important to consider nursing schools with a reputation for academic excellence. Founded in 1833, Mercer University is one of America’s most distinctive universities and the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is the longest established nursing program in Georgia.

Mercer is ranked among the leading universities in the nation––including “Best Value Schools” and “Best Undergraduate Nursing (BSN) programs” by U.S. News & World Report (2022). For more than 100 years, we have been producing top nurses — a tradition that continues with our online-based Accelerated BSN track to help meet the growing demand for nurses throughout Georgia and nationwide.

Mercer nursing student standing in lab

Earn Your Degree in Nursing Sooner

Want to learn more about how an accelerated nursing program works? Mercer University’s Atlanta-based ABSN track could be the perfect next step to meet your academic and professional goals. Offering three start dates per year and an intensive, 12-month curriculum, Mercer’s ABSN is your fast track to a rewarding career in nursing. To find out more about our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track, call us at 844.347.2108, or reach out to an enrollment counselor today.