Fast-tracking in baccalaureate nursing education: one Canadian response to students with advanced standing
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Accelerated nursing programmes for non-nursing college graduates were developed primarily to address a shortage of nurses in the USA. This article describes a unique Canadian programme which has evolved in response to demand from an increasingly older and well-qualified applicant pool for recognition of their relevant previous educational experience. In an 8-week period in the summer of 1993, 18 students completed the requirements for Year I of the 4-year baccalaureate nursing programme. When compared to their generic counterparts, these 'fast-trackers' were found to be older, more likely to be part-time and, at the end of Year 2 were academically equivalent. Students in the programme were highly enthusiastic, citing the benefits of saving a year of student costs and of entering the profession a year earlier. Faculty involved with the programme were positive about the benefits for students, although a drawback for full-time faculty was the impact of a heavy summer teaching load on other scholarly activities. Because of the programme's success, consideration is now being given to extending the fast-track option beyond Year I.
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