According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment for registered nurses (RNs) is projected to grow 16 percent over the next 10 years, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This rapid growth is being driven by a number of factors, including an increasing emphasis on preventive and community-based care; the growing rates of chronic conditions; and the demand for health care services from our aging population.

Building on your education

In this new era of opportunity, those seeking a career in nursing may want to consider an accelerated program, the most efficient route into the profession for individuals with degrees in other fields.

Typically requiring 12-18 months of study, these programs build on previous learning and can be tailored to meet individual learning needs. Students do not need to repeat courses completed as part of their previous degree programs, which allows for a strong emphasis on nursing content and clinical training.

“Hospitals...are eager to employ students from accelerated programs since they have demonstrated a record of professional success.”

Accelerated qualities

For those considering an accelerated program, what key factors should you consider? First, evaluate yourself based on the following characteristics that are often used to describe these learners: highly motivated, strong academic record, inquisitive, assertive, high energy, confident in your ability to learn and committed to having a positive impact on the health of the nation.

Second, are you in a position, financially and emotionally, to attend a rigorous, full-time program of study?

Third, are you interested in a career that has a multitude of opportunities — at the bedside or in industry, school nursing, research and development, home health, hospice care, case management and long-term care? The opportunities are truly endless.

Work ethics

Hospitals, health systems, and other practice settings are eager to employ students from accelerated programs since they have demonstrated a record of professional success. Graduates typically have a well-defined work ethic that facilitates a rapid and smooth transition into the healthcare delivery environment.

Fortunately for individuals interested in pursuing an accelerated nursing degree, these programs are now available in almost every state and are offered at both the baccalaureate and master’s levels.

Those wishing to find out more are encouraged to contact individual schools and ask about admission requirements and resources to support accelerated students.