Traditional BSN vs. Accelerated Route

Nursing Students General Students


Hi All,

I am new to this site so please forgive me if this same question has already been posted somewhere else. I am 28 years old with degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics (i have my RD/LD license). I have been considering the nursing field for several years now, but also have an 8 month old that I want to spend as much time with as possible (I work PRN as an RD about 1 day/week). As for nursing programs, I would like to get my BSN right away but I am not sure which path would be the most appropriate- the accelerated option or the traditional 2-year BSN route. I realize with the accelerated program that you pretty much eat, breathe and sleep nursing for 12 straight months until you graduate but the traditional route (although less intensive) will take an additional year of my time. Now my question is which program would you all recommend in order to maximize the amount of time spent with family? Is there a difference between the two types of programs in terms of success (i.e. exam pass rates, information retention)?

Thank you for your time and your input is greatly appreciated!

If you can have all non-core nursing coursework out of the way before starting junior year of a traditional program, that would probably allow you the most time with your family. Electives and courses like statistics are ones that you might be able to get out of the way ahead of time. If you're lucky, you've already got most of the non-core nursing coursework covered with your first degree!

Accelerated programs essentially require that you have all non-core coursework done ahead of time and cram all of the nursing coursework into 12 months. Still, traditional programs aren't all that much less intense. If you subtract out the breaks (eg summer), traditional programs may be as few as 18 months altogether.

Another benefit of the "non-accelerated" route is that it might allow you the opportunity to work as a nursing assistant or to land a student nurse externship, during summer break or one day a week while in school. Thus, you'd graduate with more experience and professional connections.

Just food for thought!

Thanks so much jjjoy. I really appreciate your input!

Hi there! I'm 26, a traditional BSN student with a previous degree in an unrelated field. (sidenote: I work part time in my local hospital's dietary office...just curious as to why you are switching to nursing?)

I considered and applied to an accelerated BSN program, but ended up going the traditional route. This semester has been pretty easy going for me, I have to admit. It's kind of nice--my classes are fun and challenging, yet I still have a good chunk of free time after homework and studying. Right now my school/work/life balance is pretty good.

I don't know what your financial situation is, but with the accelerated program, they usually advise you not to work at all, and basically school is just your full-time job. You can probably expect to be at school 40 hours a week, and then you'll probably have homework and study time on top of that. I think it's definitely doable if you are financially sound and have a good support system, child care, etc.

Hope that helped and good luck!

A lot of accelerated programs are only slightly faster than traditional ones- I've seen many where it just seems that the "acceleration" is taking courses over the summer and graduating in December instead of May. The pace is essentially the same as a traditional program that condenses the nursing curriculum to the junior year and beyond, you just miss out on a summer off.

With a traditional program, you'd have that summer to do externships and other summer enrichment programs that you can't fit in to an accelerated program. With a baby to spend time with, that might make more sense. I did an 11 month program and there were mothers (married and single) in the program and I have no clue how they managed. They did, for the most part though (a couple ended up taking a semester off). But if you're not in a major rush and think you have 2 years in you, it seems like a much less stressful route.

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