Home Campus Directory | A-Z Index

Program Overview

Melissa Miner demostrating nursing equipment to a student.

Recommended Academic Plan

Related Forms

Program Overview

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABS) Nursing program is a fast-track RN to BS completion program. The primary purpose of the program is to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses (BS-RNs) in rural under-served areas of Pennsylvania, with a special emphasis on creating a nursing workforce better prepared to assume the direct care of this vulnerable patient population.

According to the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice 2006 recommendation, at least two-thirds of the nursing workforce should hold a baccalaureate or higher nursing degree by 2010. As of 2005, only 43 percent of the nursing workforce possessed degrees at those levels, and only 16 percent of associate degree-prepared nurses were pursuing baccalaureate degrees.

The ABS program enables associate degree-prepared registered nurses to obtain a baccalaureate degree in one year—less than half the time it usually takes to complete a typical RN to BS completion program.

Program Goals

Overall, the ABS Program goal is to:
Impact the health profession workforce composition by increasing the number of BS-RNs, which will ultimately impact the quality of care for rural Pennsylvania.

Healthy People 2010 Goal 1:
Increase quality and years of healthy life (BS prepared nurses have been linked to quality care, decrease in mortality, and a survival advantage).

Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) Goals(1 and 3):
Eliminate Health Barriers: Assure the appropriate supply, diversity, composition and distribution of the health professions workforce.

Assure the quality of care: Improve the knowledge, skills, competencies and outcomes of health professions workforce.

About the program curriculum:

The program curriculum is designed so that students spend only one day per week on campus and all course work is completed in three semesters, which allows those individuals who are limited by location and/or employment a greater opportunity to participate in the program. The cornerstone of the ABS curriculum is providing a quality BS completion program in a format that is time efficient.


The compressed curriculum design incorporates a blend of in-class, Web-enhanced, and online courses over 7 week sessions. Each student will have a plan of study developed and will have access to a variety of support and retention activities designed to insure their success, including the assignment of a mentor, computer support, tutoring and writing center services, access to Penn State’s course management system (ANGEL) and extensive library collection, and online or in-person access to project staff and faculty.

Benefits of Obtaining a BS:

Historically, bachelor's-prepared nurses demonstrate stronger professional-level skills such as communication, critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership, professional integration, and research/evaluation.

Employment opportunities
Hospitals preparing for Magnet status employ a larger proportion of BS-RNs and
higher pay grades in some institutions (e.g. the Veterans Administration (VA) system pays BS higher pay scale).

Advanced education
A BS is required for admission to graduate-level programs.

Career advancement

  • Management opportunities (e.g. many institutions require a BS)
  • Clinical specialty positions (e.g. critical care, life flight nursing)
  • Career ladder opportunities (e.g. VA system encourages AD to pursue BS)


Melissa Miner, MSN, RN, CNE
Campus Coordinator of Nursing

Michelle Henrish
Administrative Support Assistant