The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has estimated that the need for registered nurses will increase by 16 percent as of 2024. Even with close to 3 million nurses employed in the U.S. as of 2016, public demand calls for still more nursing staff in hospitals, clinics and private practices.
To meet this high demand for the nursing medical care professional, schools around the country have designed an accelerated degree program for the non-nursing graduate. What does this mean? An accelerated degree program allows students with other academic backgrounds to apply to any number of accelerated nursing programs. Offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, an accelerated program helps students from other disciplines (such as from the humanities or social sciences) to take what they have learned and bring it into their nursing education.
Humanities and Health Care
Many patients complain of feeling unheard or uncared for in the clinical setting. During a hospital visit, patients believe they are just another tick off of the doctor’s clipboard. After waiting an hour or more to see the doctor, and then only speaking to them for a few minutes, the patient-physician experience is clouded by feelings of frustration and inadequacy.
Nurses help patients to feel heard, cared for, and like they matter—because patients do matter. Recognizing the need to develop a more rounded and human-focused medical practice, schools like Arizona College offer accelerated nursing programs to engage and excite individuals from other areas of study who may not have initially found themselves studying nursing.
The programs these types of schools offer accept students from different academic disciplines, believing that the experience their prospective students have gained and the knowledge they have learned from two to four years of study in another discipline has made them more well-rounded.
Eric J. Hall in his article “Why We Need the Humanities to Improve Health Care” said it well when he said:
Telling stories, listening to music, making and enjoying art—these are human endeavors that effect our emotion and spirit. These are also the elements we need to see more of in our health care system as it becomes increasingly mechanized. Not everybody knows how to tell a story—or listen to one—and many people involved in health care may not even think of their patients in terms of a life story. Most physicians [and other medical staff] are trained to solve medical problems without taking into account the specific psychological and personal history of the patient—including their underlying values and spiritual needs.
A student from the humanities is equipped with reasoning and critical thinking, just like someone with a science background. But unlike the person from the sciences, the individual from the humanities can more readily discern between emotion, thought and fear. Having studied the human condition and the psychology thereof in English, sociology, linguistics or art history, nurses with a humanities background are better able to recognize the patient as human, and not as a symptom or disease.
What Accelerated Programs Offer
Typically, earning a bachelor’s degree in college takes four years. As an individual already in possession of a four-year degree, prospective nursing students can become a registered nurse in less than two years. What sort of classes make up the accelerated program? Let’s take a quick look:
- Nursing Research
- Community Health
- Nursing Profession Introduction
- Mental Health Nursing
- Maternity and Newborn Nursing
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Health Assessment Across the Human Lifespan
You won’t just be taking classes, but you’ll be taking part in clinical rotations in the hospital setting. This will get you the real-world experience you’ll need and will help you in realizing whether or not nursing is a profession you really want to practice.
Nurses offer patients a reprieve from worry and stress with their calm presence and compassionate nature. If you want to become a nurse, there’s no time like the present.