Accelerated Nursing Program Student Profile

second-nursing-student-infographic_uticaWhat Attracts Students to an Accelerated Second Degree in Nursing?

Sometimes the first career choice doesn't work out the way we intended. Maybe the job market isn't there or the field is too competitive. Maybe you start working and realize the field isn't for you. But you've already spent four years (or more) earning a bachelor's degree and going back for another four years isn't an option. This is why the accelerated nursing program track is much more appealing. It allows students to go back to school for just 16 months and graduate with second bachelors degree.

So many of Utica College's students go back to school because they feel as though something is missing in their lives. They want to make a difference and aren't getting that level of satisfaction from their first bachelor degree.

In 2011, Deborah A. Raines, PhD, RN, ANEF released a study on why second degree students become nurses. Based on a group of 57 women and 9 men (66 total), she found some very similar reasons for why unsatisfied professionals went back to school to become a nurse.

Interestingly, most of the study participants did not have a medical background. In fact, most nursing students’ first bachelor’s degrees were in Arts and Humanities, Science or Business. Only about 17% of the study’s participants had a prior degree that was health related.

The average study participant had been working in their original field of choice for 5-10 years before pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in nursing. These individuals typically ranged in between 25 and 40 years of age, however there were a handful who were older than 40 showing that age doesn't matter. You can fulfill your dream of becoming a nurse at any age.

While the demographics tell an interesting story, what’s even more interesting about Dr. Raines study were the three main reasons behind each student’s decision.

Reason 1: “What I Bring to Nursing”
Dr. Raines found that each student felt like their background had something they could contribute to nursing in the form of work-related skills, natural abilities and/or knowledge. One student was even recorded saying “As a flight attendant, I have a talent for explaining things and to calm people down.”

Several students felt they had something to offer in the way of problem solving, critical thinking and communication, among others. There are really many different ways your first bachelor’s degree can help you through nursing school and be a great nurse.

Reason 2: “Seeking Satisfying Work”
A second theme Dr. Raines found was the most motivating factor in a student’s decision to attend an accelerated nursing program. Either students saw what nurses did as satisfying and worthwhile work or they were not satisfied in their current field and needed something more stimulating. In some cases it was a combination of both. Study participants were recorded saying “Nurses make a different in acute critical care setting every day” and “working in behavioral and psychological research… I have not found this work satisfying”.

Sometimes nurses make a huge impact on their patients, and sometimes it’s as simple as holding someone’s hand and helping them relax before surgery. Either way, it’s satisfying to know being someone’s nurse has positively impacted their life.

Reason 3: “Missing Pieces”
The last, but not least, reason found was deemed “missing pieces” as it relates to an individual’s deep sense of responsibility to help others. For those already in the medical field, many of them desired more knowledge. Several study participants exonerated this mentality by stating “Nursing is a career path in which I will be able to pursue my greater responsibility to humanity” and “Becoming a nurse will provide me with knowledge and resources to pursue a deeper level of caring for families.” There were several reasons, but each could be boiled down to the simple fact that something was missing in their lives that nursing could fill.

While this study was conducted with only 66 individuals, Dr. Raines noticed her findings were similar to other studies done that asked the same questions. Her findings show that second degree nursing students are different from traditional students who chose to become a nurse from the start of their career. Not only do these individuals have a deep desire to care for others, but they want to contribute to the betterment of society in general. These reasons lead so many into the noble decision of becoming a nurse.

Dr. Raines full study is available on

Utica College’s Accelerated Second Degree Nursing students are among those who are seeking satisfying work in a rewarding field. Are you interested in becoming a nurse? Contact us to speak with a personalized advisory today.

The Ultimate Nursing School Admissions Checklist

Ready for nursing school but stressed about applying? We recommend downloading our free admissions checklist to learn the important ins and outs of applying to accelerated nursing school.

The ultimate nursing school admissions checklist