New accelerated nursing program coming to Mercer’s Atlanta campus

Mercer University Georgia Baptist College of Nursing (GBCN) will welcome its first class in the Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in May 2019. The program was created in response to Georgia’s ongoing nursing shortage and is designed to be a cost-effective way for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn their BSN in as few as 12 months.

The program is a collaboration between GBCN and Orbis Education, a company that partners with universities in order to expand and improve on their existing pre-professional programs, primarily in the nursing and occupational therapy fields.

“In terms of why look at an accelerated program, the answer to that really comes at looking at the healthcare shortage that we see. Georgia is one of the more severely understaffed states,” Aaron Van Berg, an admissions counselor at GBCN, said in a phone interview March 11.

The state of Georgia needs an estimated additional 13,510 nurses by 2026 in order to keep up with the rapidly growing population, according to Daily Nurse. Because of the current shortage, Atlanta was named one of the best cities for nurses by Forbes with an estimated salary of $63,862.

The ABSN program differs in both the time period as well as the cost. It’s expected to cost approximately $59,850 in total, while the regular BSN program offered through GSCN is expected to cost $24,102 per year.

Catie Snee, a junior public health major on the Macon campus, said the ABSN program’s shortened timeline made it a more attractive choice than other nursing schools.

“I thought financially, it’s a lot better because I won’t be in school for as long and I’ll have to pay less,” Snee said.

The expected curriculum for the ABSN program includes a total of 56 credit hours over the course of three semesters. The credit hours consist of online courses, hands-on labs and clinical rotations, according to the ABSN website.

“We’re looking at the Georgia core requirements, and really just focus on the nursing courses themselves and really get through it in as quick a time period as possible albeit while maintaining a high quality of education as we can provide,” Van Berg said.

Though still early in the admissions process, the program is looking to admit eight lab groups with 12 students per group. The first semester begins May 2019.