Are Accelerated Nursing Programs Worth It? 6 Reasons to Choose ABSN

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UIW ABSN student smiling

Nursing school is a major investment of your time, energy and finances. Are accelerated nursing programs worth it? Before committing to nursing school, you want to be confident in the value a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will bring you in your career.

We’ll explain the key reasons why an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track like ours at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio is a valuable investment. Because the ABSN track uses a hybrid online and in-person educational format, students can earn their degree in as few as 16 months.

Graduating from an ASBN track offers many advantages in your nursing career, from salary and growth potential to job opportunities. We’ll discuss six reasons why an accelerated nursing program is worth it.

1. You’ll Have a Personally Fulfilling Career

Nurses make a significant difference daily in their work. Unlike most jobs, nurses get to make an impact on the lives of their neighbors. They preserve lives, and that is something of great value.

Many nurses choose their career for the primary reason that they enjoy making a positive difference in people’s lives. It’s hard to put a price tag on the personal value nursing can bring to your life. Whether it’s helping a patient recover from surgery or walking a patient through chemo treatments, nurses get to be a part of life-changing work.

2. You’ll Earn a Competitive Salary

One of the simplest ways an accelerated BSN will pay off is through its salary advantage. While there are alternative options for nursing school, such as a diploma program or associate degree, an accelerated BSN track offers a more comprehensive education. Because of this, healthcare employers pay nurses with a BSN more than those with an associate degree, according to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey.

Though you’ll need to make the financial investment in nursing school tuition, you’ll be able to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Think about nursing school as an investment that will pay dividends through a rewarding and well-compensated career.

According to May 2020 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in the U.S. make an average yearly salary of $75,330. Therefore, choosing a nursing career and taking the steps to get your bachelor’s degree will set you on the right path.

3. You’ll Have Growth Potential

Nursing is a career where you’ll be able to grow and expand your responsibilities over time. There are numerous ways nurses can take on leadership roles both clinically and non-clinically.

UIW nursing student writing on tablet

If you aspire to enter a career that offers meaning while also giving opportunities to expand into management roles, earning a BSN is an ideal place to start. Within nursing, those with a bachelor’s degree are better poised to receive promotions and take on management roles.

Some examples of growth opportunities for nurses with a BSN include:

  • Nurse manager
  • Nurse educator
  • Healthcare administrator
  • Nurse recruiter
  • Advanced practice registered nurse

Along with promotions to higher-level roles comes an increased salary, which will make nursing school even more worth it.

4. You’ll Be in Demand

As a nurse with a BSN, you will have your choice of job opportunities at a variety of healthcare employers. Nurses who earn a BSN are in a prime position to find a competitive job, as healthcare employers know the value having a bachelor’s degree provides.

Numerous research studies have shown that nurses with a higher education do a better job of caring for patients, increasing patient survival rates and decreasing length of hospital stays.

Because of the evidence for education in nursing, healthcare employers are in great need of good nurses. You can be sure you’re entering a field that’s growing, not shrinking. In fact, nursing has an excellent job outlook, with 194,500 new openings expected each year until 2030. Though nursing school is a major commitment, you can be sure that your work will pay off through entering a field that’s ripe with opportunity.

University of the Incarnate Word ABSN student in black scrubs in clinical setting

5. You Can Choose the Specialty Right for You

One of the best reasons why an accelerated nursing program is worth it is that it allows you to earn a generalist degree that sets you up for a variety of specialties. Countless specialties are available for nurses with a BSN, meaning you can find the perfect fit for your personality and lifestyle.

A few of the clinical specialties for nurses are:

  • Medical/surgical nursing
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Critical care nursing
  • Obstetric/women’s health nursing
  • Orthopedic nursing

Not only can you work in a clinical role, but you can also choose a non-clinical role. A few of the nursing specialties outside the hospital include:

  • Public health nursing
  • School nursing
  • Research nursing
  • Cruise ship nursing
  • Legal nurse consulting

These specialties only skim the surface of what’s available. When you enter the accelerated nursing track at the University of the Incarnate Word, you’re investing in more than a degree. You’re investing in a career for which you have interest and passion. Having diverse specialty options makes nursing school worth it because it provides a career that is personally fulfilling.

6. You’ll Save Time

If you already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and are planning to go back to school to become a nurse, you probably want to get started as soon as possible. It’s also unlikely you want to spend another four years in school earning your degree.

Nursing school traditionally is a major time investment of a four-year bachelor’s degree, with the nursing curriculum itself taking two years to complete. However, with accelerated nursing school like the ABSN track at UIW, you can complete a BSN in as few as 16 months. We even offer three start dates a year in January, May and August so you can optimize your time.

Accelerated nursing school leverages your prior college degree so you can save time when earning your BSN. Time is in many ways your most valuable asset. Therefore, the short timeframe to graduation means accelerated nursing programs are worth it because you can start your career sooner.

How Does an Accelerated Nursing Track Work?

An Accelerated BSN track allows you to earn the same quality nursing education as a traditional, four-year BSN track, only in significantly less time. It does this by pairing the credits from your previous, non-nursing degree with relevant prerequisites, allowing you to graduate sooner.

The 16-month track at UIW blends online coursework with hands-on labs and clinicals — providing what many career changers would consider the best of both worlds.

Online Coursework

Through our online learning platform, you’ll develop nursing knowledge via reading assignments, group discussions, interactive learning activities, review sessions and more. This innovative online learning format offers greater flexibility than attending daily lectures. You’ll also be able to complete your coursework when and where it’s convenient within the confines of deadlines and exams.

Skills and Simulation Labs

While it’s nice to not have to travel to campus every day, there are some things you have to learn through hands-on experience. That’s where skills and simulation labs at our San Antonio learning site come in. In skills lab, you’ll learn skills such as:

  • Checking vital signs
  • Conducting physical assessments
  • Inserting IVs and catheters
  • Dressing wounds
UIW ABSN student in red scrubs using stethoscope on manikin

Simulation lab takes it a step further, bridging the gap between your theory coursework and clinicals. In simulation lab, you’ll work through healthcare scenarios with state-of-the-art patient manikins that can talk, bleed, breathe and exhibit a variety of symptoms — all controlled by the lab instructor behind a two-way mirror. Following these sessions, you and your lab group will debrief to find out what went right and what needs tweaking, allowing you to learn from your mistakes together.

Clinical Rotations

Beginning the first semester, our accelerated nursing students attend more than 900 hours of clinical rotations at a variety of locations around San Antonio, ensuring you graduate a practice-ready nurse.

During your first clinical experience, you’ll focus on promoting health, reducing risk and preventing illness for patients. Then as your education progresses, you’ll become increasingly involved in the hands-on care of patients in many clinical areas. Don’t worry, though; your clinical instructor will keep a close eye over your small clinical group. These rotations not only give you a wealth of real-life nursing experience, but they also provide opportunities to network with working nurses.

Are You Called to a Life of Caring?

As you can see, accelerated nursing school is worth it because it sets you up for a career where you’ll have meaningful work with great career advantages. If you’re willing to put in the effort now, you will reap the benefits for many years.

UIW nursing student in red scrubs and backpack

Reach out to our admissions counselors to discover how the University of the Incarnate Word can help you get started with a worthwhile nursing career. We’ll be here to guide you through every step of the ABSN process so you can make a smooth transition to nursing.