The United States Department of Labor projects a nursing shortage of more than one million by 2020. This requires more creativity in educational design to attract new students. One such innovative approach is the accelerated degree program for non-nursing graduates. These programs offer baccalaureate and masters' degrees by building on prior learning experience. The programs allow individuals with undergraduate degrees in non-nursing majors to transition rapidly into a nursing career. Registered Nurse (RN) Course Requirements Do not make the mistake of thinking that accelerated programs are easier than traditional four or five year programs. While prior education and experience are taken into account, instruction in accelerated curricula is necessarily more intense and demanding. There are no breaks between sessions; no spring breaks or holiday breaks. There are the same number of clinical hours in both the accelerated and traditional course curriculum. Some facets of an accelerated RN program are: Admission standards typically demand a minimum 3.0 GPA and a comprehensive prescreening evaluation. Accelerated RN programs are geared toward the graduate who has demonstrated success in academics at an institution of higher learning. There are also accelerated programs that present a different path to reach the career goal of becoming an RN – the LPN and LPN to RN fast track programs available both online and on traditional campuses. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Accelerated Program Requirements The LPN is an integral part of a health care team. They are employed in a variety of health care settings including hospitals, clinics, private homes, nursing homes and extended care facilities. The LPN is under the supervision of a physician or RN. Accelerated LPN programs offer college credits, so if the practicing LPN wishes to obtain further nursing degrees, this would be the right track to take to achieve that goal. A few of the highlights of the accelerated LPN programs are: The programs offer an economical and efficient means to prepare the student for the LPN licensing examination in their state. The curriculum will provide the student with theory and skills required to practice their occupation in any health care setting. Since technology plays a major role in the LPN curriculum, it is strongly recommended that students have easy access to a personal computer. Graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX-PN). LPN to RN Accelerated Programs These programs offer a desirable solution for the LPN seeking advanced nursing degrees without going back to square one to do so. LPN to RN nursing programs provide LPNs with educational credentials to allow the student to take the NCLEX-RN examination passage of which is mandatory to become a practicing RN. The fast-track LPN-RN degree program can be completed in fewer semesters than either an LPN or RN traditional program of study. A student can complete required coursework in as little as one year. Students looking to enroll in such a program should have a minimum of one year of professional LPN experience. Typical coursework in a LPN to RN accelerated program will include: Principles of nursing Trends in healthcare Adult care nursing Community Health Acute care Pharmacology Advanced nursing techniques LPN to RN practical application This coursework is taught via classroom lectures, laboratory experiences and clinical rotations. Many LPNs choose the career path to RN because of the substantial increase in monetary rewards and job opportunities afforded to the licensed RN. The median annual salary for the RN profession in 2012 was $65,470 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau also projects a 26 percent increase in employment for the RN between 2010 and 2020.
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