No job feels easy when you also have a family to take care of back at home. However, if we are discussing a job that’s as demanding as nursing, the stress is so much more intense. As a result, a lot of aspiring nurses have no option but to give up on their career aspirations, since juggling work, higher education and family life is an impossible task in their situation.
Fortunately, that no longer has to be an obstacle for parents. They now have the opportunity to pursue accelerated nursing programs online, which tips the scale in their favor. As to how and why accelerated online programs solve a lot of issues for aspiring nurses, we will get to that next.
What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?
An accelerated nursing program is a course for nurses with high aspirations in life, but not enough time on their hands. For example, the Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing, or ABSN degree courses are developed for busy registered nurses who do not have sufficient time on their hands to pursue a course in full time. As the name itself suggests, they can be completed in less time than would be necessary to complete a regular BSN course. It should be duly noted that the accelerated nature of such programs also mean that nurses will have to dedicate more time to their coursework, as completing the same syllabus in a much shorter time will make it necessary.
What Makes Accelerated Nursing Programs Adequate for Parents?
A condensed course that requires even more time from its students to be completed does seem like even more pressure than usual. Therefore, it’s only natural to question how such courses can help busy nurses with a family to take care of? Normally, an accelerated nursing program would truly pile on more pressure than releasing any, but that’s exactly why it is better to complete accelerated nursing programs online, rather than taking the traditional route. It’s still going to be busy of course, but you will enjoy the following advantages over the offline programs:
- Despite being accelerated courses, online ABSN programs or any other online accelerated nursing degree courses are much more flexible than their more traditional counterparts
- You will not have to take a break from work, and you can study online for the most part, staying close to your children at home
- Managing clinic hours should not be a problem for working RNs to begin with, and the mandatory on-campus hours are kept to a minimum
- Fees are lower when you pursue accelerated nursing programs online
- No additional expense for commuting to and from the campus or finding accommodation near the university would be necessary
Although accelerated nursing courses tend to be more pressurized than the usual ones, they also take a lot less time to be completed. This is a major advantage when you are already in your prime, and want a career advancement opportunity as fast as possible. Last but not the least, when you are already an experienced nurse, it is not uncommon to find that much of the coursework is relatively easy for you to go through quickly anyway.
What are the Requirements for Joining an Accelerated Nursing Program?
The requirements vary, depending on:
- The nurse’s experience and prior qualifications
- The degree in question (BSN, MSN DNP, etc.)
- The program and the university
If we take ABSN courses, for example, given that they are the most popular accelerated nursing programs today, the requirements will vary to some degree, but the following are mandatory minimum requirements for most, if not all accredited ABSN courses:
- A non-nursing bachelor’s degree in any discipline
- At least a 3.0 GPA
- Certificate for passing the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI A2) or the Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS 6) exam
For more information on the specifics, you will need to contact the nursing schools that you are targeting.
Can You Handle the Pressure?
Now that the benefits and advantages of accelerated programs have been mentioned, it is time to take a look at some of the possible conflicts. Even online accelerated nursing degrees do require a lot of time commitment, so it is best to take a neutral perspective and identify some of the key attributes which one must possess to successfully complete such courses:
- Innate and/or learned time management skills are going to be crucial
- Organizational planning should be top notch, given how many aspects you will have to compartmentalize
- Although not a requirement, it is preferable if you are already familiar with the subjects and curriculums to some degree before joining an accelerated program
- As these are accelerated courses by default, you should also consider working part time for the time being
- There should be a support system at home to help you through managing your family responsibilities from time to time when the job and the education begins to feel overwhelming
It’s true that even RNs with moderate experience are quite used to working under stress, so for the most part, managing a few months of extra work should not be an issue for most of them.
What Should You Expect After Completing an Accelerated Program?
You will enjoy the same advantages that come with pursuing the degree more traditionally, but you will be able to enjoy those advantages much faster of course. What exactly those advantages will be, depends entirely on the degree, your area of nursing work, the employer and the location. Even then, a pay bump is the very least you can expect from even a ABSN degree, but more importantly, the bachelor’s certificate opens your nursing career to pursuing even more advanced courses later on.
We have detailed the important bits here, so it should make sense why or if an accelerated nursing course via online mediums is indeed suited for your current lifestyle. Even if it isn’t, don’t forget that there are more traditional online nursing programs as well, which offer a lot more flexibility than accelerated courses.