Graduate Nurse Training

Graduate Nurse Training Programs
Graduate entry programs can refer to education at graduate level for those new to nursing; no prior nursing experience.

It can also refer to nurse training for students who already have prior nursing degrees, and are pursuing advanced practice nursing. The former can be referred to as entry level nurse training since students will need to take the NLCEX-RN to become registered nurses.

Graduate Entry Nursing Pathways

Nurse training for students with no prior nursing experience offers to entry options as will be explained below:

  • Second Degree Nurse Training Programs

2nd degree programs are designed for graduates of non-nursing baccalaureates degree programs wishing to change careers to professional nursing. They are designed in such a way to enable quick entry into the profession through accelerated study. As such, it common to find many schools referring to this graduate nurse training programs as accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing. The aim is acquiring all essential nursing concepts within the shortest time possible

Study Plan for Bachelor of Nursing (Graduate Entry)

Since the students already have their first bachelors degree, most liberal arts, general education and relevant courses required for the freshman and junior year curriculums are exempted. The reason behind this is that most 1st and 2nd years courses in baccalaureate program are similar therefore, no economic sense in repeating them.

In this view, most accelerated program matriculate students into the junior year of the nursing major. At this level, students take only upper division nursing courses that include classroom and clinical components. Due the accelerated nature of study, students are not advised to continue or take-up new employment opportunities.

Theory lessons are usually coupled with intensive clinical practicum sessions running hand in hand. For these students, there is hardly no time to concentrate on other things and calls for utmost dedication. Most classes consist of adult students hence, another common name adult nursing programs is also occasionally used.

Generally, second degree programs take utmost 2 years to complete but can run for as few as 12 months. Upon completion of the upper division nursing courses, students become eligible to write the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered nurses. They also earn a second baccalaureate nursing degree.

  • Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing

This also an entry level nursing pathway but differs from the former in that, students become enrolled as masters students. Under this program, graduates of non-nursing baccalaureate wishing to enter nursing at the graduate level are the targeted candidates.

Unlike the second degree nursing option, these do not necessarily have to take an accelerated mode. However, they have the advantage of by-passing most of the upper division nursing course requirements of the Bachelor of Science in nursing. Masters graduate entry level into nursing offers students the opportunity of choosing a specialty area or progressing as generalist.

Nurse Training Study Plan for Direct Entry MSN

Masters entry level nursing programs can take two forms. In the first study plan, students can take bridging courses that to enable them get matriculated into the Master of Science program. After this they may take a few more graduate courses before being eligible to sit for the NLCEX-RN exam to become registered nurses.

On the second plan, the curriculum may be designed to include a large percent of upper division nursing courses. These are given to the students to enable them become quickly eligible for the NCLEX-RN exam without taking any graduate courses. Courses in this second plan are usually applicable for curriculum requirements of both the MSN and BSN.

In rare cases, you may find a school awarding both a MSN and BSN degree upon completion of the program. The usual phenomenon is to graduate with the MSN alone.

Advanced Practice Nurse Training

This graduate nurse training is designed for already licensed registered nurses with associate degree or BSN in nursing degree. They do not carry as intensive practical training as the direct entry option since students already have prior nursing experience. For this option, students can pick from any of the four advanced practice registered nurse focus areas:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Clinical Nurse Anesthesia
  • Nurse Practitioner

Among other training dockets for this option is nurse educator, manager, executive, informatics, forensic among other specialties.

Please note that once students in the direct entry plan get matriculated into the MSN program, they are also free to choose from any of the above mentioned advanced practice specialties.


★ Featured Online Nursing Programs

You might also be interested in one of the following featured nursing programs that are currently accepting students and have online or hybrid nursing programs. You can get in touch with these featured programs directly to get your questions answered. Be sure to check with each program on specific prerequisites for their program!

Online BSN Programs

Online MSN Programs