Switching Gears

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Hopkins Nursing Accelerates for Second Careers, More Choices

by Lynn Schultz-Writsel

College graduates and professionals seeking a career change and entry to the nursing profession will find a new and flexible accelerated option for earning a nursing degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

Beginning in 2012, a four-semester, 17-month, late-August-entry option joins the list of School of Nursing accelerated offerings leading to a bachelor of science (BS) with a major in nursing. The School will now offer only accelerated BS options for those who hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline. In addition to the 17-month August entry, those options include a June-entry 13-month BS and a January-entry BS to master of science in nursing [Clinical Specialist] with paid residency. All accelerated options can lead to a master’s degree.

The new 17-month BS is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline who are eager to begin their nursing career but want the flexibility of a course of study longer than the 13-month accelerated option. The four-semester program, which begins in late August, concludes in December of the following year and features a four-week inter-sessioaccelerated classn. During this extended break from mid-December through January, students can explore career paths, seek experiential learning, investigate research opportunities, and take elective courses.

According to School of Nursing associate dean for student affairs Sandra Angell, MLA, RN, an all-accelerated format addresses the strong preferences of prospective Hopkins students. “We are finding that with each pool of applicants for our bachelor’s program, those who hold a previous degree are in the clear majority—and their numbers continue to grow. They are former Peace Corps volunteers who have experienced the global need for nurses; computer and information science technologists who see a future in nursing and health informatics; and others from all professions and disciplines who recognize that nursing provides both career fulfillment and unlimited opportunities.”  She adds, “They are eager to launch their new careers as efficiently as possible and are more than capable of doing so through an accelerated program.”

Dean Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, explains that the School of Nursing’s leadership decision to offer only accelerated BS formats also was influenced by The Future of Nursing, issued by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  “This report and the data on which it is based show that nurses who provide the highest quality and safest care have at least a bachelor’s degree. Our experience clearly demonstrates that the Johns Hopkins nursing students who already have a bachelor’s degree are mature, well-prepared, and ready to successfully complete an accelerated program and enter the nursing profession. We are able to recruit, prepare, and rapidly move these outstanding students into the healthcare workforce—while continuing the highest of educational standards.”

Hill adds that in today’s economy, nursing remains one of the best opportunities for those who are seeking a new career. Her advice to them is: “Come to Johns Hopkins, become a nurse, and go into the world to make a difference!”

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