Identifying the pros and cons of LVN, BSN, and other types of fast track nursing programs, is an inexact science since each prospective student has a different set of needs. For instance, the fact that LVN programs focus entirely on relevant job skills, rather than academic theory, can be an advantage for one who wants to spend his or her career as a vocational nurse, but a disadvantage for the person who wants to eventually pursue an advanced degree or certification. Nonetheless, it is possible to pinpoint several general advantages and disadvantages that will apply to most accelerated courses.
Advantages of Fast Track Nursing Programs
Most students and educators would agree that there are three primary advantages to enrolling in fast track nursing programs instead of traditional nursing schools.
LVN programs in California and LVN to BSN bridge programs can be completed in 12 to 18 months. For students who are eager to launch their careers, this is a tremendous advantage over RN programs, for instance, which usually require a minimum of two years to complete.
As common sense probably dictates, the tuition costs for accelerated nursing programs are usually significantly less than their conventional counterparts. The actual cost will vary depending on the program in question but, as a general rule, should represent a sizable savings over standard alternatives.
While RN programs and other advanced nursing degree programs can be quite selective in their admission processes, the majority of fast track nursing programs are decidedly less difficult to qualify for. In general, as long as a student has a high school diploma or its equivalent, he or she will be eligible for enrollment in a vocational nursing program.
Disadvantages of Fast Track Nursing Programs
The major disadvantage to choosing an accelerated nursing program is the fact that your studies will be focused on a comparatively narrow range of material. Unlike full-length courses, 12 and 18-month programs only train students in the relevant, day-to-day skills they need to work as a vocational nurse. This is fine if the person’s career goal is to remain as an LVN, but means that additional schooling will be required in the future in order to become an RN, BSN or other type of advanced nursing professional. Although today’s LVN salary is quite competitive, wages for RNs and APRN’s is significantly higher.
Pace of Learning
With so much material condensed into a short period of time, some students struggle with the pace required by accelerated courses. This can be particularly true for people who have had difficulty in high school or other academic settings.
Are Accelerated Nursing Programs Right for You?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, deciding what is a pro and what is a con is a largely personal process where nursing programs are concerned. Having a clear career goal in mind, and knowing how much time and money you can spend to get there can help you choose which type of program is right for you. It is equally important, however, to make an honest assessment of your own learning style and to decide whether or not fast track nursing programs are a good fit for it.