Accelerated Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

TESTIMONIALS

"Because of the RN to BSN accelerated program, I was able to receive my BSN in only four semesters! I was able to go to school full time without giving up work or spending time with my family. The acclerated program allowed me to focus on two classes at a time for seven weeks. Then, for the second half of the semester, I focused on the other two classes. I was also pleased with the flexibility of classes because Penn State offers day, evening, weekend, and online classes. Penn State Altoona has something to please everyone!"
- Kristen Devlin

"I feel the accelerated program is an easy way to obtain a bachelor's in nursing in a short amount of time. The work load, schedule, and travel fits with my life and that makes it very nice. My employer and Penn State worked together to help me obtain my BSN and for all these reasons, i chose this program."
- Kirstin Ritchey

Program Overview

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABS) Nursing program is a newly implemented fast-track RN to BS completion program available at two Penn State College of Nursing campus sites—Altoona and Fayette. A three year, $841,514, grant received by Dr. Raymonde A. Brown from the U.S Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) facilitated the launching of the program in July, 2008. The primary purpose of the program is to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses (BS-RNs) in rural underserved areas of Pennsylvania (PA) with a special emphasis on creating a nursing workforce better prepared to assume the direct care of this vulnerable patient population.

According to the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice 2006 recommendation at least two-thirds of the nursing workforce should hold a baccalaureate or higher nursing degrees by 2010. As of 2005, only 43 percent of the nursing workforce possessed degrees at those levels and only 16 percent of associate degree-prepared nurses were pursuing baccalaureate degrees.

The ABS program enables associate degree-prepared registered nurses to obtain a baccalaureate degree in one year—less than half the time it usually takes to complete a typical RN to BS completion program.

Program Goals

Overall, ABS Program goal:
Impact the health profession workforce composition by increasing the number of BS-RNs, which will ultimately impact the quality of care for rural PA.

Healthy People 2010 Goal 1:
Increase quality and years of healthy life (BS prepared nurses have been linked to quality care, decrease in mortality, and a survival advantage).

Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) Goals(1 and 3):
Eliminate Health Barriers: Assure the appropriate supply, diversity, composition and distribution of the health professions workforce.

Assure the quality of care: Improve the knowledge, skills, competencies and outcomes of health professions workforce.

About the program curriculum:

The program curriculum is designed so that students spend only one day per week on campus and all course work is completed in three semesters, which allows those individuals who are limited by location and/or employment a greater opportunity to participate in the program. The cornerstone of the ABS curriculum is providing a quality BS completion program in a format that is time efficient.

The compressed curriculum design incorporates a blend of in-class, web-enhanced, and online courses over 7 week sessions. Each student will have a plan of study developed and will have access to a variety of support and retention activities designed to insure their success, including an assignment of a mentor, computer support, tutoring and writing center services, access to Penn State’s course management system (ANGEL)and extensive library collection, and online or in-person access to Project staff and faculty.

Benefits of Obtaining a BS:

Historically, bachelor's-prepared nurses demonstrate stronger professional-level skills such as communication, critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership, professional integration and research/evaluation.

Employment opportunities
Hospitals preparing for Magnet statue employ a larger proportion of BS-RNs
Higher pay grades in some institutions (e.g.VA system pays BS higher pay scale)

Advanced education
BS required for admission to graduate level programs

Career advancement
Management opportunities (e.g. many institutions require BS)
Clinical specialty positions (e.g. critical care, life flight nursing)
Career ladder opportunities (e.g. VA system encourages AD to pursue BS)

Program Staff

Dr. Suzanne Kuhn, RN, Ph.D, CNE, Assistant Professor, Campus Coordinator for Nursing Programs, Penn State Altoona, skk6@psu.edu

Dede McCreary, MS, RN, CNE, ABS Recruitment and Retention Advisor, Penn State Altoona, djm137@psu.edu