What are the benefits of choosing an ‘accelerated’ nursing degree?

The world is evolving ever faster, and society is growing ever larger. With this, the speed at which people are expected to graduate and find work is increasing too! The healthcare industry, in particular, is in serious need of talented, qualified nurses and specialists who can continue to care for and treat patients who may be waiting for life-saving procedures.

It’s also reasonable to assume that people interested in becoming nurses wish to start studying — and graduate — sooner than ever too. This is one reason why accelerated nursing degrees, such as those you’ll find from reputable bodies online, are growing in popularity. These courses can often halve the study and training time you’d expect from an in-person degree, but that’s just one clear benefit.

Why should you consider hybrid ABSN programs, for example, over enrolling in a traditional on-campus course in nursing? Let’s dive into some of the bigger pros of getting onto the nursing fast track.

You’ll spend more of your career on-the-job

Education is crucial for anyone looking to succeed in nursing or healthcare in general. However, some of the most intensive degrees and courses may extend for several years, meaning graduates may lose out on time they’d prefer to be actively working in the field. Previously, studying for years to become a nurse or any kind of healthcare professional was a given, but the introduction of accelerated programs and online degrees means that you can expect to complete your studies in under two years.

This effectively means you can spend more time developing your career as opposed to studying. To many people, claiming those two years back is highly desirable. However, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, you can expect to learn on-the-job as well as practice soft skills in legitimate scenarios. Modern nursing training isn’t all about learning from textbooks and attending lectures! Students need to practice their craft in person, and many online courses offer some campus time as a necessary measure.

Enrolling in an accelerated course means you can hit the ground running sooner — allowing you to spend more of your time pre-retirement gradually developing and learning new skills.

Accelerated programs are open to a wide variety of students

Accelerated nursing degrees and programs are not purely offered to undergraduates or new students. Many experienced nurses and medical staff choose to enroll in accelerated BSN degrees to help improve their skills, or even to start specializing in a new area of nursing. For all that a BSN degree will provide you with an educational backbone from which you can start getting into healthcare, it’s also great for pivoting into different areas.

For example, if you have a general nursing qualification and presently work in triage or as a community nurse, you may wish to enroll in an accelerated degree that helps you move into midwifery or mental health. As these courses are accelerated, you can essentially keep working in your given role while learning on the side.

The additional benefit to this is the fact that, as an experienced nurse, you will likely be familiar with much of the material when you start your course. You’ll find it easy to get into general nursing principles and practices while enhancing your skillset with specialist knowledge and practices.

Accelerated nursing programs appeal to a diverse audience of applicants, so you’ll likely meet prospective nurses from all backgrounds, and possibly some who will be studying from overseas. You’ll be able to share knowledge, expertise, and experiences with each other, helping to boost your individual knowledge along the way.

They’re great for keeping focused!

Accelerated programs are designed to be fast-paced while condensing an incredible level of information and shared knowledge into a single course. There are no breaks in semesters with many accelerated programs, meaning you can always stay sharp and on point. While you can effectively learn at your own pace providing you meet the specified deadlines, you’ll still need to keep focused on your modules and your coursework.

Many students study well under pressure, and for many, an accelerated program can offer an exciting challenge. You’re working at a pace, not unlike that which you may expect from an average day in a hospital or working with a specialist healthcare provider. This is, in and of itself, a great way to develop transferable skills into a ‘live’ role. You’ll be able to roll with fast-paced requests and moments of urgency.

Learning at this pace and this focus level will also help encourage you to delve deeper into your role as a nurse. There’s never a slow moment when learning as part of an accelerated program, meaning you can always expect something new from day to day. You can learn at your own pace, but you will need to ensure you are hitting the goals set by your course provider.

You’ll join a cohort of your own

The sense of camaraderie and community in healthcare settings is famously strong. These are situations where you’ll need to rely on others’ support to ensure the best care for any given patient. Remember that while you will have to rely on your own wits as a nurse in any healthcare setting, nursing is a very social job. Communication skills are essential — as is being a team player!

One of the biggest advantages to studying nursing through an accelerator program is that you’ll likely be training with your own unique cohort. This means you’ll typically expect to train and work alongside the same group of fellow students as you progress through the course. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to build relationships, and to learn how to work with others before you head into the hospital for real.

You may even make a few firm friends along the way — if not networking opportunities too! This is a role where, in the most challenging moments, you’ll need to rely on the skills and knowledge of other nurses who can help to develop working solutions. In this industry, it’s never wise to go it alone, even if you do need to think on your feet frequently.

You can study whenever you like, wherever you desire

The very nature of an accelerated nursing program — in that it’s a course condensed into half the time — means it’ll likely be taking place via the web. This gives students incredible flexibility! While you’ll still need to apply yourself fully to your course and demonstrate that you can apply what you’ve learned in the real world, you can effectively learn whenever and wherever you wish.

Online accelerated learning allows you to pick up coursework late into the night if you wish, or to fit in module time in between working shifts. Many people work full-time jobs while enrolled in accelerated courses. It’s a great way to get the development your career demands while still ensuring you make money to pay the bills.

Given the fluidity of online accelerated degrees in the current age, you can also expect to take much of your reading and seminar time on the go if you wish. You’re never tied to a desktop computer or any specific location. To keep up to speed with your studies, you could spend time watching guides or taking notes while on long train commutes. 

Even though accelerated courses condense a lot of material into relatively short spaces of time, many students feel they have space to work their way through this material at pace with their own lifestyles. Crucially, you’ll have goals and deadlines to meet, but you have complete control over your timetable otherwise. This means that if you wish to spend time studying in the morning instead of the evening, you can.

You can throw yourself completely into an accelerated degree as much as you desire. If you work at a faster pace than most college courses otherwise expect of you, you’ll have ample opportunity to ‘cram’ without any of the arbitrary timetable pressure.

Course registration may not be an issue

In some scenarios, registering for classes in traditional education can be quite competitive. This means you may previously have had to apply for seminars and sessions that appeal to you as soon as possible to beat the rush! With a cohort-centric accelerated course, this may not necessarily be such a concern.

Registering for an accelerated program as part of a cohort means that you and your fellow students will all likely progress through the same classes and modules together. This setup will help to simplify the way you manage your studies and means there won’t be any need to worry about competing with fellow students for space on any given course. You’ll get to learn what you like and when you like, without ever having to worry about ‘settling’ for courses you didn’t necessarily choose in the first instance.

Altogether, accelerated learning gives students a lot of control over their degree even though this type of program is a little more intensive than the average.

Help is at hand

Given the compressed and double-speed nature of accelerated nursing courses, you can also expect exceptional support from tutors and educators for your modules. They will likely offer a lot of lenience when it comes to understanding course material and physically applying your knowledge. Ultimately, you’re expected to learn and grow at double speed. For completely new students who have no prior experience in healthcare, this setup can take some getting used to.

Online accelerated programs will also provide you with access to tutor and mentor support when you need it. Programs operating through apps and online portals, for example, will frequently provide online chat facilities and video call support so that you can connect with a member of the team as soon as possible. There’s no need to spend hours waiting outside your professor’s office or waiting weeks for a slot to book one-to-one sessions.

Accelerated courses also rely on the best educators in the trade. In fact, many nurse educators offering support through such degrees will have completed the modules you are currently studying. A BSN degree offers a quick route into nurse educator roles. You can, therefore, rest assured that your mentors and guides have first-hand experience of what you’re getting into, which is always reassuring!

You can pay off your education faster

In many cases, the cost of accelerated education can be more cost-effective than studying long term. That’s because, while the course is more intensive, you are effectively getting into a paid career sooner than you’d anticipate on the back of a multi-year degree. 

Many students choose accelerated courses so that they can gain the skills they want quickly and find opportunities, fast — while effectively paying off their course costs at a faster rate too. This means graduates can spend more time growing and less time paying bills.

You’ll keep up with the competition

Many hospitals and healthcare providers worldwide are showing a preference for BSN graduates, which means there are likely to be increasing numbers of students graduating in these fields in the years to come. As providers continue to show a preference for these degrees, competition for roles outside of education is likely to become fiercer. Therefore, it makes logical sense to study and graduate as soon as possible, to still gain an edge over other applicants.

Studying an accelerated BSN degree means that, ahead of BSN graduates increasing in numbers, you have a great chance of standing out even further from the pack. There’s no telling if this trend will cause a bottleneck, as it may simply mean that providers will have a larger pool of highly talented and qualified nurses to hire from — which is only ever a good thing.

Getting a head start on an accelerated degree now means you’re out of the gate and can start developing specialist skills and making further connections, ensuring that you have a fuller portfolio of skills that will help your application stand out. Having the right attitude is just the first step. The right education is a massive plus, and hands-on experience is crucial. You can get it all with an accelerated BSN degree, but you’ll gain access to even more opportunities if you keep on developing after graduation.

Half the study time means double the opportunities

The role you apply for and accept once you graduate doesn’t have to be the same one you stay in for life. As discussed, BSN degrees really do open multiple doors and avenues all over the world for talented nurses. However, the less time you spend in education, the more time you may expect to spend reaching for higher opportunities.

Effectively, an accelerated program may give you two to three years of extra career development outside of the classroom. This means that you can spend the years to come networking and finding clear opportunities to scale up and reach for the next step in your career. Nurses can choose to specialize or find senior roles further along in the years to come and graduating early simply gives you more time to do so.

You’re taking advantage of immense demand

Right now, there is no shortage of demand for talented, qualified nurses. While healthcare providers and hospitals are crying out for nursing staff the world over, there is still a need for professionals who are genuinely exceptional at what they do. The rise in demand for BSN graduates, for example, clearly shows that no corners are being cut.

None of us know what’s going to happen in the years to come but taking advantage of the global demand for qualified nurses is worth doing as soon as possible. Again, it’s certainly worth applying to an accelerated program in the interest of standing apart from the pack. Competition will increase regardless of pandemics and health crises, which means getting started now is a good idea.

Are accelerated programs better than traditional degree courses?

It’s a difficult question. The answer is that, crucially, both avenues hold benefits for different types of people. Your long-term career plan and current lifestyle may dictate whether an accelerated nursing program is right for you. Both routes provide the same fantastic knowledge and on-the-job training you’ll need to go far in a career in healthcare.

Online accelerated degrees are easier to enroll in than ever before, and thanks to the emergence of distance learning in recent years, there are more opportunities than ever for people at all stages of life to train, retrain and redesign their careers.

Accelerated nursing degrees, such as online BSNs, are incredibly exciting. They provide lots of regular challenges and help to prepare willing students to adapt to the fast-paced, ever-changing world of healthcare. Nurses are more versatile and work harder than many people may initially imagine. An intensive accelerated course will give you amazing insight into what a difference you could make. Graduating at double the speed, effectively, means you can start changing, and even saving, lives sooner rather than later.

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