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Change Careers With an Accelerated Graduate Degree in Nursing - Postgraduates - Nurses Arena Forum

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Change Careers With an Accelerated Graduate Degree in Nursing by Idowu Olabode : January 08, 2016, 01:28:45 PM
Changing careers can be a long process. A less-than-satisfied architect, teacher or sales representative can spend years getting the right skills to be established in another profession. If that next profession happens to be nursing, accelerated degree options can make the career transition smoother and faster.

Accelerated nursing degree programs allow professionals from non-nursing backgrounds to get a degree in nursing in a few years. It can take a year or a year and a half to get an accelerated bachelor's degree. An accelerated master's program can require a three-year commitment. Students first accelerate through a bachelor's degree in nursing, get their license to practice and then spend about two years on their graduate degree. ​

Students who choose the latter option may be making an especially wise choice.

"There's no better time to be an advanced practice nurse," says Antonia Villarruel, a professor and dean of the school of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. "The health-care environment requires nurses that have advanced practice skills." With the implementation of government-mandated health care through the Affordable Care Act, and increased demands for health care, there's a need for more highly educated nurses, she says.

There were 62 entry-level, accelerated master's nursing programs in the U.S. by 2013, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. ​Those with a graduate degree in nursing often work as nurse practitioners​ – who can diagnose and treat patients​ – as well as clinical nurse specialists or nurse anesthetists​. Some may also work in more administrative roles in a health care setting or at a school, training the next generation of nurses.

While these programs are designed to help people without any nursing experience or credentials become graduate-level ​nurse professionals, certain people are more suited​ for these programs than others.

"In most instances, the accelerated student is more mature," says Vernell DeWitty, program ​deputy director for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Robert Wood Johnson Foundation​ New Careers in Nursing scholarship program​. "Accelerated students really have to have the fortitude and the focus and the motivation to work really hard for a very concentrated, short period of time. It's very demanding and very rigorous."

In accelerated graduate degree programs, students often spend the first year going to school full time​ learning about physiology, pharmacology, ethics and other subjects needed to practice nursing. They also do clinical rotations in different health care​ environments to learn the practical side of the job. ​

After that, they spend about two years working on their master's degree, which usually requires them to focus on a specific career path, such as becoming a family nurse practitioner. ​

Without an accelerated program, someone with a bachelor's degree that's not in nursing who wants to become a nurse may spend at least two years just getting their BSN.

The three years a student spends in an accelerated graduate program can be demanding.

"It​ was definitely one of the more busier times of my life," says Luke Angell, who graduated in May from the accelerated master's program for non-nurses at the University of Rochester.

A few months after getting a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in animal science in 2011, Angell entered the accelerated master's program at the University of Rochester.

"​Clinical started usually by 7 o'clock in the morning. So that meant getting up at 6 o'clock every morning to get prepared for that. And then there were some evenings where I would stay up till 10 o'clock at night studying and getting ready for my next clinical day," says Angell, who's 26.

After the first year, in which  in which he received his bachelor's in nursing, he began working 36 hours per week as a nurse and continued to work while getting his master's degree to become a pediatric nurse practitioner​. He's now in school for his Doctor of Nursing Practice.

"It was definitely challenging," says Angell, who also works as a pediatric clinical instructor at the University of Rochester. "Just kind of took one day at a time."

Before starting his nursing studies, Angell volunteered at a nursing home and in a trauma emergency room, and shadowed doctors. Experts say having some exposure to the field is important for students interested in this type of degree program.

"Get some hands-on experience," says Elaine Andolina, director of admissions for the school of nursing and a co-director for the accelerated programs for non-nurses at the University of Rochester.

Source : US NEWS

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