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Accelerated Programs vs. Community College/4 Year

Pre-Nursing   (948 Views | 5 Replies)
by Bacon_bits Bacon_bits (New) New

204 Profile Views; 5 Posts

Hey everybody I am really excited to be entering the nursing field in the (hopefully) near future! I was hoping I could get some advice on how to proceed on some educational choices.

I have a BS in horticulture/plant science and have been looking into accelerated programs in my region (I live in Southern New Jersey relatively close to Philadelphia) at Rutgers Camden, Jefferson, and Drexel. I have finished up prereqs for the latter two and have one left in progress for Rutgers. The county college also has a nursing program called 3+1 (Rowan College at Burlington County) where students take 3 years of classes at community college and then obtain a BS in nursing in the final year through Rowan. Or at least that's my current understanding of the process. I am currently 24 so still relatively young I suppose but I would like to get my new career on its feet sooner rather than later so I can begin thinking about some practical things like saving for a house.

The advice I was hoping for is which one seems the more viable option. The accelerated program would get me into the workforce much quicker but I have been unable so far to find an entry level position that will take me for healthcare experience. While I am reasonably confident that I can get into one of these accelerated programs I am concerned that the lack of experience prior to entering the program and the general inability to obtain any whilst in such an intensive program will make me an unattractive candidate once I have finished. The 4 year program will probably allow time to gain more experience while I get my education but will set me back as far as standing on my own two independent feet.

Has anyone who has gone through an accelerated program with little previous experience got any good advice on the subject? Any other thoughts as far as which option is more realistic/achievable/viewed better in the field?

Thank you!

Chris

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NICU Guy has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

1 Follower; 3,571 Posts; 32,578 Profile Views

If you live in a tough job market in your area, a healthcare job while in school will be beneficial if you plan on working as a nurse in the same hospital. Many students get healthcare jobs once they start nursing school. Some hospitals have nurse externs which require you to be enrolled in a nursing school in order to qualify for the position. I believe a Senior Capstone/Externship is more useful if you are looking to get a job in a highly sought out specialty area.

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5 Posts; 204 Profile Views

Thanks for the reply! I am not yet sure what are I would like to specify in, my biggest anxiety-inducing thought so far is that if I get into and graduate from an accelerated program my resume wont look as attractive as my peers who had previous experience. The problem I have been having so far is that "entry level" positions won't hire me because I have no experience thus I cannot get any, a vicious catch 22. I have applied at my local hospital to volunteer but the process seems very slow and they are contacting my references via mailed paper forms rather than email.

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NICU Guy has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

1 Follower; 3,571 Posts; 32,578 Profile Views

Get your CNA and work in nursing home. They usually have a hard time getting and retaining CNAs. 1/3 of my ABSN cohort had experience in healthcare prior to graduating (most started during school) which means the other 2/3 didn't have experience. None of them had any issues getting a job. Getting good grades in nursing school will help you get into a New Grad residency program.

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107 Posts; 2,936 Profile Views

I would advise taking the 4 year while getting working as a CNA.

Rationale:

- You are 24

- Accelerated would benefit those who already have non-nursing college degree

- The job market isn't as saturated compared to California

- Not finding a job is every Graduate's stressors and it should be the last thing you should worry until passing NCLEX

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liathA has 1 years experience.

14 Posts; 470 Profile Views

I would go with the accelerated program. Logic -

You said you're currently having a hard time finding entry level healthcare work since you don't have any experience - that may continue. Extending your education costs more, and also costs you the wages you could be earning if you were fully qualified. Sacrificing more than a year of future RN earnings just for the dubious honor of getting entry level, non-nursing experience to build your resume... that just doesn't make sense to me. Keep in mind that many employers don't care about experience outside of your exact career field - experience as an EMT/MA/CNA/whatever is not nursing experience, and it may not help as much as you'd think.

What I would do is go into the accelerated program. Then I'd do as much volunteering on the side as I could, try to get externships, etc. I would try to shine during clinicals, and network until my eyes bleed. Then I'd understand that I probably won't be getting my dream nursing job right after school. However, whatever job I did take would get me the experience and pay of an RN, and would thus be a much better resume building experience than any entry-level thing I could have been doing without a license.

Beware of unnecessarily multiplying the steps between you and your goal out of fear. Job hunting is stressful - it will not be less stressful if you wait four years instead of two, it will just have take twice as long.

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