|Nursing offers accelerated post-baccalaureate degree option|
The College of Nursing now offers an accelerated post-baccalaureate nursing program open to students who have completed a baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing and will prepare them to become a registered nurse.
The accelerated degree option is an intensive 16-month program. The first cohort of 16 students, 13 females and three males, will begin studies in January 2009 and graduate in May 2010.
Experience in healthcare is not required to be admitted into this program or to be successful in it. While some students admitted have a background in biology and kinesiology, others have first degrees in psychology, communications, business management, and interdisciplinary studies. Students will receive all the education they need as they progress through the curriculum.
Helen Melland, associate dean of undergraduate studies at the College of Nursing, states that “we are excited about this program. Nurses who graduate from accelerated programs such as the one we have developed do an excellent job in the workplace. They have extensive educational and life experience beyond their basic nursing preparation resulting in a well prepared, highly skilled professional nurse.”
Graduates of this program will be qualified to write the licensing exam to become registered nurses. The opportunities for baccalaureate-prepared nurses to advance in nursing are great due to the current and predicted nursing shortage. As a result of the increasing number of baby boomers now developing health care needs, the federal government predicts exceptional employment opportunities for nurses into the foreseeable future.
Similar to our traditional baccalaureate program, the accelerated program will prepare nurses who are qualified to provide care to the rural, underserved population in the state. Students will be recruited from those underserved populations with the intent that upon completion of their degrees the graduates will return to their home settings.
The U.S. Department of Labor has determined a need for more than one million new and replacement registered nurses by 2014. This nursing shortage has prompted many schools of nursing to offer creative alternatives for the baccalaureate nursing student, including accelerated degree options for students already possessing a college degree.