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Accelerated BSN Programs in Tennessee (TN) – Online & Campus

Ready to take your non-nursing degree and transform it into a profitable and meaningful nursing career? Explore accelerated BSN programs in Tennessee.

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Author: Bernard Grant
Editor: Mikalee Byerman

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A panoramic view of downtown Nashville, Tennessee at sunset showcases tall skyscrapers, the Cumberland River, and multiple bridges. The cityscape features a blend of modern and historic architecture surrounded by greenery and a calm river.

Do you have a deep well of empathy, an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing field, and an eagerness to transition into allied healthcare fast? Given the ongoing nursing shortage, your desire to become a nurse is matched, if not exceeded, by Tennessee’s need for them — in 2021 alone Tennessee faced a shortage of 15,700 registered nurses (RNs). Luckily, accelerated programs offer a solution to quickly train and prepare more nurses to enter the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the nursing field will grow by 6% over the next 10 years, making this an ideal time to consider accelerated BSN programs in TN.

Accelerated BSN programs in Tennessee not only allow you to earn your degree rapidly and affordably, but also to enter the profession without a nursing background. If you hold a bachelor’s degree, you’ve satisfied the general education requirements as well as some, if not all, of the prerequisites you’ll need to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Ready to learn more about this flexible, affordable way to land a meaningful new job? Keep reading.

Inside Accelerated Online & Hybrid BSN Programs in Tennessee

If you’re searching for accelerated BSN programs in Tennessee, the options below are worthy of consideration. These high-quality programs are all accredited, allowing you to gain a high-quality education, pass your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and begin your nursing career. Review the following choices, then use them as a model for your own search for accelerated BSN programs in Tennessee.

Herzing University

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Herzing University’s accelerated BSN program for non-nurses is located in Nashville. Bachelor of Science in Nursing students at Herzing tend to complete the program within 20 months (though those who need to complete science prerequisites may require 24 months). This accelerated BSN program in Tennessee offers an online format for general education courses. Students then complete core courses at the Nashville campus.

What makes this program unique is that students earn credit towards a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with several concentration options.

While the program requires students to complete 120 credits, incoming students can transfer up to 90 credits from their former college or university. Some required courses include Nursing Fundamental Concepts, Nursing Pathophysiology, and Medical-Surgical Nursing.

To apply, applicants must have earned a bachelor’s from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a minimum of a 66 on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). Potential students can estimate their tuition on the school’s website.

Marian University

Marian University offers a rigorous, 16-month accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program that consists of online coursework, in-person simulation labs, and clinical rotations at Ascension Saint Thomas — a partner of Marian.

Located in Nashville, Ascension Saint Thomas has a state-of-the-art learning center equipped with hospital-grade equipment to teach students everything they need to know to become skilled nurses. This learning facility features study areas, simulation labs with clinical equipment, and onsite learning and testing rooms.

Students spend at least two days a week in labs when the time comes to begin clinical rotations, and they begin clinical practice hours during their first semester. Clinical rotations continue throughout the program.

All ABSN students must complete prerequisite courses, offered online through Marian’s Adult Programs. Incoming students can enroll in January, May, or August, and all BSN students must live in Nashville for the in-person components.

To transfer into this accelerated BSN, incoming students will need to complete at least 30 non-nursing college credits with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Tuition costs $925 per credit hour.

Inside Traditional Accelerated BSN Programs in Nashville, TN & Beyond

Nashville has an abundance of standout nursing schools. In the two following spotlights, you’ll find high-quality traditional accelerated BSN programs in TN that you can use to kick-start your on-campus program search. Each of these schools is accredited and offers opportunities for non-nursing students and nurses who want to earn a bachelor’s degree and advance their careers.

Belmont University

Belmont University’s accelerated second-degree nursing program is designed for people with a bachelor’s degree in any field who want to become registered nurses and lead healthcare change. This accelerated BSN program in TN has held a solid 90% NCLEX pass rate for the past five years.

With its small class sizes and clinical groups, Belmont’s accelerated BSN program offers a student-focused community with over 96% of Bachelor of Science in Nursing students employed in the healthcare field within six months of graduation.

Learning outcomes include translating current evidence into professional nursing practice, communicating and collaborating with members of the healthcare team to optimize patient outcomes, and incorporating knowledge from the arts, humanities, and sciences into nursing practice.

Students take courses such as Care Management, Experiential Learning, and Cultural Competence in Nursing. Accredited by the CCNE, the program offers service learning and mission trips to Africa, China, and Haiti, among other countries.

Admission requirements include a cumulative GPA of 3.25 from a previous bachelor’s program and a 3.25 in prerequisite courses. Though letters of recommendation and standardized test scores are not required, students are free to submit up to two letters with their application.

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program combines classroom instruction with hands-on clinical experience, teaching students everything they need to know to pass the NCLEX and become licensed RNs. This is a one-year program, so incoming students must prepare themselves for the intensity of fast-paced learning.

The program emphasizes the use of knowledge and skills to plan and implement nursing care. Students gain clinical experience at major hospitals and clinics, health departments, schools, and other healthcare settings in the Chattanooga region. Outstanding student support comes in the form of technology-enhanced classrooms, a simulation center, and smaller classrooms.

Admission into this accelerated BSN program in Tennessee is competitive, and requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA in at least 30 hours of coursework in a previous bachelor’s degree program, among other considerations. Though only three semesters long, the academic rigor is the same as a traditional, full-length program, so students should be prepared for an intense educational experience with no semesters off.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s accelerated BSN program is a 12-month degree program for students who’ve earned a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. This accelerated BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Students learn critical thinking, communication, and interprofessional skills. You’ll leave prepared to deliver evidence-based, patient-centered care, exhibit leadership principles to improve patient outcomes, and engage in clinical reasoning to make healthy decisions regarding patient care. You’ll take courses such as Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan, Pharmacology Across the Lifespan, and Mental Health Nursing Concepts.

Accelerated BSN applicants in Tennessee must have a GPA of at least 3.0, with a 2.6 GPA for science prerequisites. Accelerated BSN students are eligible for work agreements that could cover the cost of in-state and regional tuition and may be eligible for the UT Promise Scholarship. Tuition for the 12-month ABSN program is $12,705 for residents.

Timeline of an Accelerated BSN Program in Tennessee

Accelerated BSN programs in Tennessee offer a pathway for non-nurses to earn their degree quickly. The timeline is unique, as these programs are fast paced. Preparation is key, and in a short amount of time, you’ll be expected to complete coursework, clinical rotations, and a potential capstone project. We’ll give you an overview of what you can expect throughout your ABSN journey by breaking it down into six-month increments: before, during, and after your program.

Six Months Before

To enter an accelerated BSN program in Tennessee, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. You must also complete prerequisites. Many of these are general education requirements you’ve completed by earning a bachelor’s degree. Once you’ve completed your prerequisites, you’re ready to start applying to programs. An admissions counselor can help you determine if you have any transferrable credits.

First Six Months

The first six months of an accelerated BSN typically begins with an orientation session that familiarizes students with the program’s policies, procedures, and support services and other resources. Bachelor of Science in Nursing students then begin their foundational coursework to prepare for core nursing courses and clinical rotations. Many accelerated BSN programs in Tennessee introduce students to clinical rotations in the first semester. During clinical trials, students focus on bedside care, including patient communication and other vital nursing skills.

Last Six Months

The last six months of an accelerated BSN program in TN focus on refining clinical skills, so students can prepare for licensure and work to transition to professional nursing practice. Students consolidate the knowledge they’ve gained in their program, completing advanced clinical rotations. You might also have a capstone project in which you demonstrate your nursing knowledge and skills. To prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam, students often participate in mock exams and practice assessments, relying on faculty and student support for guidance. Students also use this time for professional development, working on resumes, and building a job search routine while also preparing for job interviews.

Six Months After

After you’ve completed your accelerated BSN program in Tennessee, you’re ready to take the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse. Once you pass the exam, you’re eligible to apply for your RN license in Tennessee. You can expect to submit paperwork, pay fees, and meet additional state requirements that include fingerprints, completing a criminal background check, and submitting official transcripts, a declaration of citizenship, and a current photograph, according to the Tennessee Board of Nursing. During this time, you can begin your job search. You might join nursing organizations in your specialty to find networking and job opportunities, or you can prepare to apply to MSN programs.

Benefits & Challenges of Accelerated BSN Programs for Non-Nurses

Higher education isn’t easy, and accelerated programs are no exception — particularly if you’re transitioning from another field entirely. These programs require focus and dedication, but there are also many benefits to enrolling in an accelerated BSN program in Tennessee. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons to help you decide if an accelerated BSN degree program is right for you.

Benefit: High Return on Investment

Due to the short nature of accelerated programs, tuition tends to cost less than in traditional full-time programs. Additionally, nursing is a financially rewarding career. Registered nurses earn $81,220 annually or $39.05 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Benefit: Fast Track to Nursing Career

Accelerated BSN programs in TN are designed for non-nurses. They allow you to transfer credits from your bachelor’s degree to cover general education and prerequisite courses, earning your degree in a little over a year. Some programs take only one year, though most range from 12 to 16 months on average. This means you spend less time in school, avoid duplication of efforts, and get on track to a nursing career more quickly than if you joined a non-accelerated program. For example, most RN to BSN programs in Tennessee will take two to four years — considerably longer than an accelerated program.

Benefit: Preparation for Advanced Degrees

After you graduate from your accelerated BSN program in Tennessee, you’re prepared to apply for advanced degree programs. You can pursue an MSN or you can earn both an MSN and a doctoral degree, either a PhD or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Where DNP programs prepare you to work in nursing leadership and administration roles — both in clinical and non-clinical healthcare settings — a PhD in nursing prepares you for careers in scientific research. You can even teach future nurses with a PhD.

Challenge: Adaptation to Nursing Culture

Nursing culture is its own world with its own language and customs. This culture can be hard to adjust to for those coming from non-nursing backgrounds. From clinical procedures to clinical team dynamics and unique communication styles, there’s a lot to adjust to — and fast. But the intense nature of an accelerated program gives you a good sense of the pace you’ll experience in the field, and all ABSN programs require some clinical experience — a good way to learn about this vibrant, unique culture.

Challenge: Intensive Pace

It’s easy to burn out in a fast-paced program such as an accelerated BSN program. Not only can you burn out, but if you’re not careful and studious, you can quickly fall behind. You’ll need to learn time-management and self-care skills, establishing routines that keep you well and able to concentrate on your studies, despite your non-academic demands.

Challenge: Transition & Preparation for Licensing Exams

If you’re new to nursing, you may be daunted by the task of studying for licensing exams. Exam anxiety is common, especially considering you have a lot at stake if you’ve invested in your education and end up not passing the required exam to earn your license. But in high-quality programs, you’ll find the resources you need to succeed because faculty members want you to succeed. Overall, you must be proactive about exam preparation. From mock exams to group study sessions, you’ll have a range of resources at your disposal.