If you’re considering changing career paths and earning a second bachelor’s degree in nursing, you may be wondering if a second-degree BSN is worth it, especially if you will need student loans. If you enroll in the 15-month Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Notre Dame of Maryland University, we say absolutely it is.
While the intense dedication and financial commitment may seem intimidating, it helps to think of accelerated nursing school as a down payment toward a solid professional future in a rewarding and in-demand field. With today’s nursing shortage and projected growth in the industry, a nursing education can provide a sound return on investment.
If you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and are serious about a career in nursing, a second-degree BSN is worth it. We outline six reasons to earn a BSN, which you can do in as few as 15 months through Notre Dame of Maryland University’s ABSN program.
Notre Dame of Maryland University launched its second-degree ABSN program in 2019 to help alleviate Maryland’s health care professional shortage. In fact, the vacancy rate for nurses, physicians, and other health care providers in Maryland doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent between 2014 and 2018.
The Notre Dame ABSN program makes entry into this rewarding, in-demand field more accessible with non-nursing bachelor’s degree holders, giving them a path to earn a BSN in as few as 15 months. Plus, our ABSN program offers multiple starts per year — in January, May, and September for our hybrid program and May for our on-campus program — thus taking the wait out of starting school.
Admissions and academic support
What sets the Notre Dame ABSN program apart from others — and consequently makes it that much more of a valuable educational experience for second-degree seekers — is the level of admissions and academic support it offers.
Before even enrolling in Notre Dame’s ABSN program, our dedicated team of admissions counselors is here for you, ready to help. Working exclusively with prospective Notre Dame ABSN students, they will guide you through the entire admissions process from helping you determine your odds of getting into our nursing program all the way through completing any lingering prerequisites and submitting your application.
Once admitted, you can expect similarly supportive relationships with nursing faculty and clinical instructors. They’re equally committed to your success and available to help you with any questions via phone, email, in-person office hours and, for those enrolled in our hybrid ABSN program, our e-Learning platform.
Learning environment flexibility
Another added benefit of pursuing a second-degree BSN through Notre Dame of Maryland University? As a prospective Notre Dame ABSN student, you have two options for completing your degree.
If you prefer the flexibility of choosing when and where to study and complete your online nursing theory coursework, our Hybrid Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program may be a great fit for you. With coursework accessed through our intuitive e-Learning platform, this ABSN program option allows you to “attend class” from your living room, favorite coffee shop, or library at times that work best for you. Do keep in mind, however, that you still must adhere to instructors’ deadlines and sit for proctored exams at our ABSN program site in Elkridge.
If a more traditional, structured classroom environment better suits your learning style, our on-campus Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program may be an ideal fit for you. Students who choose this ABSN program learning option will commute to our campus in Baltimore to attend regularly scheduled in-person lectures.
More healthcare employers expect it
As recent events surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have shown, there’s never been more of a need for dedicated, BSN-educated nurses across the country than right now. In fact, it’s estimated the demand will be great for at least the next decade; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the registered nurse workforce will grow 7 percent by 2029, a much faster rate than many other occupations.
If you’ve researched transitioning into this rewarding field, you know there are several degree options to answer the call and enter the nursing workforce. However, they’re not all equal when it comes to career growth and development. So, why earn a BSN?
We’ll get into even more reasons below, but consider this: the American Association of Colleges of Nursing recognizes a BSN as the minimum education requirement for professional nursing practice. This is in large part due to research pointing to a direct correlation between higher numbers of BSN-prepared nurses on staff at a healthcare facility and better patient outcomes.
Diverse career options and advancement opportunities
Besides a strong start in the profession once you graduate, a BSN degree also pays dividends to your career much further down the road. BSN-educated nurses start on similar footing as their peers with associate’s degrees in nursing (ADNs), but are much more likely to advance into higher-paying management and specialized roles later on. That’s mainly due to BSN programs diving deeper into the profession than the basic skills instruction covered in ADN programs.
What’s more, a BSN sets you up nicely should you decide to advance your education further in pursuit of a higher-paying nursing role such as nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife—all of which require a master of science in nursing degree and advanced practice certification.
The Notre Dame ABSN program streamlines pursuing this educational stepping stone. Students who successfully complete the ABSN program and meet the admissions requirements for the MSN program will have a guaranteed seat in our MSN program, with some coursework accepted as credit requirements in the MSN program.
A quick transition into the field
A BSN from our accelerated nursing program offers even more of a value if you want to enter the nursing profession as soon as possible. Earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Notre Dame ABSN program is possible in as few as 15 months because it builds on your previous degree. So not only are you earning a degree that health care employers respect, you’re leveraging your existing education toward a rewarding career path.
Not to mention, once you graduate from our accelerated BSN program, you can feel prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the exam all nursing students must take to receive licensure to practice the profession: The first-time NCLEX pass rate for NDMU BSN students in 2019 was 91.3 percent, above the national average.
A second-degree BSN is worth it
If you want to become a nurse as soon as possible and have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, a second-degree BSN is worth it. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Notre Dame’s ABSN program, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to pass the NCLEX and enter the nursing field with confidence.
Reach out to our team of dedicated admissions counselors today to learn more about why enrolling in our 15-month ABSN program in Maryland is worth it for your future nursing career.