Accelerated BSN Program Graduates in the Workforce: 5-Years Later

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 11:00 AM

Deborah A. Raines, PhD, EdS. RN, ANEF
Department of Nursing, Maryville University, Boca Raton, FL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the work trajectories of graduates during the first 5-years in the nursing workforce.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify the internal and external characteristics that are important to the retention of these nurses in the work force.

The popularity of accelerated second degree programs, has introduced a new population of nurse into the nursing workforce.  The differences identified in this population as students influences their work behaviors, expectations and frustrations once in the workforce.  The purpose of this study was to discover what graduates of an accelerated-second degree program are doing five years after becoming a nurse.  

The accelerated second degree program of study was introduced as a fast track to a career in nursing and to meet the need for more nurses in the workforce.  While data from the AACN (2010) provides evidence that these programs are graduating an increasing number of nurses, there is no data about these nurses’ perceptions about the choice to become a nurse or their perception of their job and career as a nurse.  Consequently it is not known if these graduates are enjoying their new profession or are experiencing disillusionment once in the workforce. 

Nurses from the first two cohorts of an accelerated, second degree BSN program were contacted on the 5-year anniversary of their graduation. A descriptive, non-experimental survey design was used. Individuals were group according to whether or not they were currently working as a nurse.  The specific foci of this study were related to their work activities, perception of the work environment and the work itself, career trajectories and future plans.  For individuals not currently working the reason for not working as a nurse and plans for re-entering the nursing work force or changing careers were explored.

Inductive analysis was used to identify themes from qualitative data.  Statistical analysis was used  for quantitative responses and sample characteristics.  Trends, trajectories and themes were identified from the data.   This study provides insight into the perceptions of this new population of nurses after being in the workforce for five years.