If you’re interested in becoming a registered nurse (RN), it’s best to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). To attain a BSN, you can choose either a traditional or an accelerated program. Before we compare these two program types, let’s explore the importance of holding a BSN.
Why a BSN?
While it’s possible to become an RN with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a BSN degree has become the preferred standard for RNs in the U.S. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report underscoring the need for nursing education that keeps pace with the evolution of health care. The report recommends increasing the proportion of RNs who hold a BSN in the U.S. to 80 percent by 2020. Although this goal has not yet been met, the tide is certainly turning that way.
In 2020, an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) survey of health care employers found that more than 41 percent of hospitals and health care facilities require RN applicants to hold a BSN. Additionally, the survey showed that nationwide, more than 82 percent of employers strongly prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses.
Rather than focusing solely on skills-based education, a BSN requires an understanding of health policy, system improvement, research, evidence-based practice, teamwork, decision-making and leadership. Thus, BSN-educated nurses are better prepared for career advancement, graduate study and pursuit of advanced practice nursing. Not to mention, several studies have shown that having a higher percentage of BSN-educated nurses on staff leads to better patient outcomes, including lower readmission and mortality rates.
Choosing a BSN Program Type
Now that you know some of the benefits of earning a BSN, let’s consider whether you should pursue an accelerated BSN vs. a traditional BSN.
Features of a Traditional BSN Program
If you’re a high school graduate with no prior college experience or a transfer student with a few non-nursing credits, a traditional BSN program (sometimes called a ground-based program) is probably your best option.
Traditional programs, such as the one at Averett University, offer one fall start date per year. These programs usually require four years of full-time study that consist of nursing fundamentals and theory courses, hands-on nursing skills practice and diverse clinical rotations.
Ground-based programs may have general education requirements, but you can typically fulfill these within your four years of study. Traditional BSN programs do not commonly have prerequisites, per se.
Features of an Accelerated BSN Program
Accelerated BSN programs allow you to build on your previous college experience, so you don’t have to start your undergraduate education from square one. If you hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 prior college credits, an Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program might be a better option for you. Typically, you can complete an accelerated program much more quickly than a traditional program.
While ABSN programs accept students from a variety of academic backgrounds, if your previous studies were science-based, you may have already fulfilled most of your ABSN prerequisites.
It’s worth noting that ABSN programs have differing numbers of prerequisite requirements, usually ranging from 4-18 courses. And prerequisites aren’t considered part of the ABSN program timeframe. So, while accelerated programs can be completed within 12-24 months, you could spend an additional 1-2 years completing prerequisites before you begin your nursing education in earnest.
ABSN at Averett
If you’ve determined that an accelerated track is the right path for you, you should check out the ABSN program at Averett University in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Accelerated BSN program at Averett allows you to leverage your previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree or 60+ hours of coursework to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months.
Keep in mind that, as with most accelerated nursing programs, Averett does require the fulfillment of essential prerequisites.
Our ABSN program offers three start dates per year — in January, May and August — so you can begin your nursing education sooner.
Study nursing in Virginia!
Norfolk’s ample shoreline and temperate location make it a desirable destination for nursing students. And with a thriving health care sector, it’s an ideal place for RNs to begin their careers. As of May 2020, the annual mean wage for RNs in the region was $74,380, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The accelerated nature of our ABSN program does not make it any less valuable. We provide the same quality education and hands-on learning offered in a traditional BSN program. Our ABSN students gain a strong academic and experiential foundation through:
- Online coursework using our intuitive e-Learning platform, which features interactive instructional modules and discussion forums. Our web-based curriculum allows you to complete your coursework when and where it’s convenient for you, provided you meet your deadlines.
- Hands-on skills labs in an authentic clinical environment, where you’ll practice and hone nursing skills from the basic (such as assessment of vitals) to the complex (including nasogastric tube insertion), under the watchful eye of our faculty.
- Simulation labs at our Averett University Norfolk ABSN Site, where you’ll develop your clinical judgment and critical thinking skills by treating lifelike medical manikins. Our instructors manipulate these mock patients behind the scenes to display a variety of symptoms and real-time reactions to care.
- A variety of in-person clinical rotations through our partnerships with top area health care facilities, where you’ll care for real patients under staff supervision and guidance. Offering a wealth of experience in a wide array of specialties and settings, these placements help you build the clinical confidence needed to become a practicing nurse.
For More Information, Reach Out to Us
If you think an Accelerated BSN program might be the right track for you, let us know. Fill out our contact form today and we’ll have an admissions counselor respond to you directly. They can answer any questions you might have and assist you throughout the application and enrollment processes.