Recent economic changes have created both challenges and opportunities when it comes to employment in the nursing industry. Workforce analysts now predict that the current shortfall for nurses needed in the U.S. will increase to more than a half million by 2025, according to a report issued by Buerhaus, Staiger, & Auerbach, 2008. This has led to the creation of a variety of accelerated bachelor degree programs in nursing designed to appeal to a wide variety of students, thus increasing enrollment in nursing programs in efforts to meet the present and future needs.
Nursing Shortfall Projection Creates Accelerated Need
A recent projection by workforce analysts has indicated that the current shortfall in the number of nurses needed to provide care in the United States (US) is expected to increase to more than 500,000 by the year 2025 (Buerhaus, Staiger, & Auerbach, 2008). Therefore, many institutions introduced an accelerated bachelor’s degree program that was specifically designed to attract more students to the nursing field who have already earned a degree but do not want to spend an additional four years to obtain a nursing degree. These programs are designed for adults already having completed a degree in a non-nursing discipline providing the quickest course of study toward obtaining licensure as a RN. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), these accelerated bachelor degree programs have become so popular and are experiencing incredible growth to the point they are offered in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. By 2007, more than 200 programs enrolled nearly 10,000 students – a significant increase from the existing 90 programs found in 2002. In fact, today, enrollment in accelerated bachelor of nursing programs far outpaces all other kinds of entry-level nursing courses offered, according to Raines & Taglaireni, 2008.
Second Degree Students Excel
Both an increasing interest and a projected shortfall in nursing has produced an attractive alternative for many people who see obtaining a second bachelor degree as a viable career choice. There is no doubt that mature individuals already experiencing the rigors obtaining a four-year degree make for successful students and as candidates sitting for the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs. These students usually can trnsit successfully to professional practice according to research produced by Raines, 2007. And, according to a bulletin issued by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, accelerated students excel in the academic setting which is one criteria heavily prized by potential employers. Therefore, students already possessing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in another discipline will find an accelerated program leading to a BS in Nursing meets both academic as well as personal needs.
Master’s Degree May be the Choice
Many students seeking a second degree in nursing will find programs available leading to a master’s degree where, in fact, pursuit of a baccalaureate can be conducted simultaneously. Although many accelerated programs can be completed in 14 months that are designed for individuals already possessing a bachelor’s degree, a few added semesters (typically three) can lead toward earning that master’s when individuals opt for full time attendance.