Nurse training, black nurses

Universities To Combat Expected Nursing Shortage With Accelerated Training Programs

Universities and colleges are doing their part to combat a national nursing shortage with the development of accelerated training programs.

Hospitals are preparing for an expected nurse shortage next year, with one solution being fast-track programs to get nursing students into the workforce faster.

With these accelerated training programs, coursework typically takes years to complete and will be finished within 12 months. On average, traditional nursing schools require two to four years of classes and training before students embark on their professional journey. However, this shortened track is the proposed solution to prevent an employment crisis due to the increase in the number of nurses needed across the country.

Some in the profession call this a “win-win” so that students can jumpstart their careers while also slowing the shortage, as reported by Fox News.

“I really do think this is a win-win for students and local hospitals and facilities,” said Elizabeth Mann, assistant clinical professor at the University of New England (UNE), to the news outlet. “They may interpret it as [offering] a lesser quality [of training] or that we are pushing students through, and I do want to emphasize that is truly not the case.” 

To participate in the faster medical track at UNE, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and eight prerequisite courses. However, students do not have to have a background in healthcare to apply. According to the nursing school’s Interim Director Donna Hyde, this prior learning should not deter potential participants.

“I think the ability to get a second degree in something like a bachelor’s in nursing is very appealing to many people,” shared Hyde. “They don’t have to have a healthcare background. We will get them there.”

Hyde also noted that the clinical hours associated with standard nursing programs will still be included in their yearlong course, granting the flexibility of students’ schedules.

“There’s nothing cut back. They do the same amount of clinical hours, so we allow time for that. Their schedule may have to be a little more flexible to include consideration of weekends.”

The initiative may also grant wider accessibility for diverse nursing students, as less than 20% of all registered nurses are people of color. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Black nurses only comprise 6.7% of those in the field.

States such as California, Michigan, and Georgia have among the highest need for nurses, as a shortage of more than 78,000 nursing roles is anticipated in 2025, per the National Center of Health Workforce Analysis. As 40 students will be part of the program’s inaugural class beginning in May, the initiative may inspire other schools to launch their own accelerated courses if the program excels.