Accelerated or Traditional BSN?

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    Hi Everyone!

    I am a Junior right now at UC Davis majoring in Human Development. I plan on going to nursing school after I graduate to get my BSN and become an RN. I am having some trouble right now deciding between an Accelerated or Traditional Program. The accelerated program is tempting because I could get done in about 12-16 months. However, I have heard that employers are less likely to hire you if you went through an accelerated program.
    Do you think this is true?

    Also, I am having trouble getting health care experience. I only have about 40 hours of health care experience, however I am involved in research, student advising, I am a club president, and I have a part time job. I plan on taking a year off after I graduate to gain health care experience. Do you think becoming a CNA or EMT will help my chances of gaining admission to a nursing school?

    Thanks so much for any help.
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  3. 3 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I'm applying to nursing schools with zero, zip, nada in terms of healthcare experience, unless you count what I did many, many, many years ago. The schools I've talked to say they have many successful applicants with no healthcare experience and lots of career changers like myself so I don't think it is an issue.

    It depends on what your school wants though. Have they mentioned that being a CNA or EMT would be helpful?

    Also, in terms of accelerated not being hired, again you'd have to look at the schools. The ones I've seen with accelerated programs have fairly high hiring rates after graduation. The only comment I've seen against them is many have school during the summer so you don't have a chance to have a summer externship that students in a traditional program might have. For me, I figure, I either have a chance to get 3 months of experience over summer OR I have a chance to finish my degree and get that experience after my degree, why not just finish the degree? I know some employers might like to see some hospital experience in terms of an externship but I'm a quick learner, been in the work world for many years, I can adapt.
  5. 1
    Far as Accelerated vs. Regular BSN - my take is, if you have some relevant work experience beyond clinicals/practicum, I doubt that going for the accelerated program is likely to have an adverse impact in nursing, or for that matter any field requiring degrees. Your average employer's really only likely to be concerned with a few things:
    • Do you have experience?
    • Are you licensed?
    • Are you a "good fit"?
    G.P.A. may or may not figure in; likewise where you got your training. Can't speak for the UC system, but Loma Linda's accelerated program only trims 1 quarter off, so it's not all that much of a benefit. Used to be that you could take the NCLEX early under the accelerated program as well, but it looks like you can take it before program completion either way now.

    As far as getting EMT or CNA experience prior to licensure/admission/whatever, again, here's LLU's statement:
    "Recommended: It is recommended that applicants obtain volunteer or
    work experience in a hospital/clinical se
    tting"
    And, the link:http://www.llu.edu/assets/nursing/pr...cuments/BS.pdf. Frankly, it's always a good idea to get some sort of "real world" experience prior to graduation; looks REAL good on a resume/CV!
    Most hospitals will have some sort of a volunteer program, as well as hospices & other healthcare organizations. They're generally pretty easy to get into (Free labor? Sure - we like free!) but given the state of the economy you may have to try several hospitals before you find one that has an opening.

    My only real concern at this point as far as an accelerated course has to do with the state of the economy; while it's true that the job market is on the rebound, there's still a LOT of folks beating the bushes looking for work. Hence, taking a slower approach just might end up making your job search easier, due to having less competition in an improved job market.

    In any case, please let us know what you decide, and how it goes for you!

    ----- Dave

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  6. 0
    How heavily will the accel program load you?

    http://www.nursing.pitt.edu/beta/aca...rated.jsp#curr
    ^^ That's Pitt's accelerated 2nd degree BSN suggested curriculum. It looks like a nightmare to me. But I'm just using it for an example. :-) Take a look at how the accelerated program you are considering groups the coursework, specifically, at how many different units you will be expected to do in the same semester (meaning how many different things do you have to learn at once.) I just got out of an "integrated" curriculum of diploma RN I hated because it had us doing coursework for med-surg while doing OB/labor/delivery clinicals, and doing research work community health and cultural awareness, and other things like that. I was a newbie to healthcare, and I am very bright, and very skilled in technology and science, and I found it very hard to learn nursing when they 1) had us spread too thin across too many unrelated topics at once, and 2) all of those topics are each very labor-intensive and require lots of time outside of class.


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