Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Overview
Earning an ABSN prepares you to become a registered nurse (RN) and helps you develop critical thinking and decision making-skills. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree, which can be in a non-nursing field.
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Opportunities with an ABSN
Good career mobility
Path to advancement
- Clinical and leadership skills
- Case management
- Community participation
- Nursing care of children and adults
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Types of Bachelor's Degrees in Nursing
Admission Requirements for an ABSN Program
Admission to an ABSN program requires each applicant to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Programs may require prerequisite courses, including chemistry for healthcare professionals, anatomy, physiology, or microbiology. Admission requirements vary among schools, but most programs require the following:
- A 2.5-3.0 GPA
- Official transcripts
- Up to three letters of recommendation
- A personal statement or essay
- An entrance interview
- A criminal background check
- Drug screening
Schools value candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Candidates should provide additional details that reflect their motivation or eligibility for pursuing nursing to stand out among other applicants.
Core Concepts in an ABSN Program
Accelerated nursing programs provide conceptual knowledge, reinforced by applied experiences. Many programs emphasize these topics:
- Scholarship for evidence-based practice
- Professional nursing leadership
- Health and illness
- Healthcare context and systems
- Patient-centered care
The best programs teach students how to provide education and quality care for patients' families as well. While each school maintains a distinct curriculum, most programs explore other health-related issues including the following:
- Health assessment and foundational skills for nursing practice
- Foundations of interpersonal practice
- Community and public health nursing
Program outcomes also apply theories for proper intervention, collaborate with healthcare teams, and evaluate research. Enrollees graduate with multiple soft skills, such as strong discipline, effective communication, time management, and critical thinking. Successful completion of an accelerated BSN also allows graduates to qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs.
Clinical and Lab Components in an ABSN Program
Clinicals and labs comprise a critical component of ABSN programs. These practical experiences allow students to apply conceptual knowledge in real-world environments. Students should expect to perform these tasks:
- Work in multiple healthcare settings
- Complete background checks
- Follow all protocols and policies
- Work under licensed RNs
Schools may require immunization records, documentation of negative test results for tuberculosis, and a current basic life support certification. Students can also take charge by asking questions and volunteering for additional tasks.
What To Expect From an Online ABSN Program
Online ABSN programs accommodate learners who require flexible hours to earn their degrees. Distance courses may follow an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete assignments at any time before deadlines. Students engage with classmates and instructors through discussion boards, private chats, and email.
However, programs may also use a synchronous format, which requires enrollees to attend live classes through their webcams. While online ABSN programs allow students to complete courses remotely, clinical rotations and labs require in-person attendance.
Should I Get an Accelerated Bachelor's Degree in Nursing?
Accelerated BSN programs offer a pathway for professionals to transition into new careers. However, students should ensure that ABSN programs meet their needs.
Pros to an Accelerated BSN
- Professionals can quickly transition into lucrative, rewarding careers.
- BLS projections indicate a 7% increase in demand for RNs from 2019 to 2029.
- Graduates can eventually advance to leadership roles, unlike associate-level students.
- Accelerated students benefit from practical learning experiences that accurately reflect the demands of professional environments.
Cons to an Accelerated BSN
- ABSN programs typically do not allow a student to have outside employment while enrolled. Students may have to rely on savings and/or financial aid.
- Students need to complete the same amount of clinical hours as enrollees in traditional programs in less time.
- An accelerated pace may require enrollees to spend more time per week studying than they would in traditional programs.
- Condensed timelines require more careful time management.
Frequently Asked Questions
How competitive are ABSN programs?Accelerated nursing programs rigorously cover a significant amount of material in a short amount of time, so students should anticipate a competitive admissions process. The best candidates possess a proven track record for success.
Are ABSN programs hard to get into?ABSN programs vary in competitiveness. For instance, schools may not offer a highly developed nursing program, making their admission requirements less restrictive. Contrastingly, a school with a larger department, technology, and resources may set high expectations for applicants. Students should research admission requirements before formally applying to any program.
Who offers accelerated nursing programs?Aspiring RNs can find accelerated nursing programs in any state. More schools also offer online ABSN programs to accommodate professionals. Students can contact local universities to identify programs or research the best accelerated BSN programs that meet their needs.
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Elizabeth Clarke (Poon) is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who provides primary and urgent care to pediatric populations. She earned a BSN and MSN from the University of Miami.
Clarke is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners.