If you are looking for a BSN program, or seeking an RN to BSN program to further your nursing education and advance your career, you may wish to consider whether an accelerated program is right for you. By committing to such a program, you could possibly obtain your BSN within 18 high-intensity months of study.
But that breakneck pace is not appropriate for every student. Nursing school is already demanding. Fitting in everything you need to learn in less than two years is a challenge by any measure. Here are some questions to ask yourself, to help you assess your suitability for an accelerated track.
Are You Highly Motivated?
If you are determined to earn your nursing degree, obtain your certification, and work in this demanding field, you are arguably already more motivated than the majority of your peers. Even so, committing to an accelerated track takes unusually strong determination and drive. If you’ve ever been labeled an “over-achiever,” this approach might be right for you. You will be carrying a heavier academic load than your traditional-track peers, so be prepared for significant pressure. You may be required to show evidence of preparedness for an accelerated-track program before being accepted. A relatively high Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) score may be required, for example.
Are You Free to Devote all Your Time to Your Studies?
Often, students who sign up for RN to BSN coursework are already working as nurses. Typically, working nurses are dependent on the income their employment generates. While an accelerated-track program enables a student to re-enter the workforce with enhanced skills and credentials, it does not allow adequate time for work/study. There simply is not enough time in a given day to do both. Choose an accelerated-track program only if you are financially secure enough to stop working full-time while you further your education. Your studies will demand all your time, attention, and energy.
Are Your Intentions Clear?
An accelerated BSN is not for everyone. You should be crystal clear about your goals, and steady in your determination. Nursing school is challenging already; an accelerated track is more so. If you are not firm in your resolution, you may wish to rethink this aggressive approach to earning your BSN.
Do You Already Have an Undergraduate Degree?
If you have already obtained a BS or BA degree, you are in a good position for an accelerated track. While it may help if your existing degree happens to be in one of the life sciences, it is not a requirement by any means. While some of your fellow fast-track students may have degrees in biology or micro, they may just as well have degrees in music, business, or education.
Do You Think Well on Your Feet?
Critical thinking skills are—well—critical when it comes to succeeding in a fast-track nursing program. Successful students tend to be people who have already shown they can think on their feet, make inferences, draw conclusions, identify problems, and arrive at creative, logic-based solutions—all with minimal direction.
Fast-track is an intensive approach to obtaining your BSN. It’s most appropriate for strong students who are free to devote all or most of their time to their studies. Having a prior undergraduate degree helps greatly, but so, too, does a can-do attitude and an aptitude for fast, critical thinking.