UNE now offering 12-month, accelerated nursing bachelor's degree

A nursing student takes another student's blood pressure in UNE's Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center
The 12-month program replaces UNE's existing 16-month one with a modernized curriculum aimed at easing growing shortages in the nursing workforce.

The University of New England has launched a 12-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (A.B.S.N.) degree program intended to meet student demand and ease growing shortages in the nursing workforce.

The 12-month A.B.S.N. program is a response to the growing demand for a more efficient and focused path into the nursing workforce, offering students the opportunity to become skilled and competent nurses in a shorter timeframe. With a rigorous curriculum and a strong emphasis on interprofessional, collaborative practice, UNE's new program will equip graduates with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to excel in the field of nursing and contribute to improving health care outcomes.

The program seeks to fill workforce shortages in the crucial field of nursing. According to the American Hospital Association, the United States will need to hire 200,000 nurses per year — compounded with a projected shortage of 124,000 over the next 10 years — to meet demand. 

The program replaces UNE’s 16-month accelerated nursing degree program, which was launched in 2013. Donna Hyde, M.S.N./Ed., interim director of UNE’s School of Nursing and Population Health, said the 12-month program was updated to meet the needs of students who are more frequently seeking high-intensity, accelerated programs as they look to change careers.

UNE’s accelerated nursing program is looked upon favorably from our health care providers because this is going to allow nurses to enter into practice sooner, while maintaining the essential curricular content that leads to clinical reasoning and skill acquisition,” Hyde remarked. “It’s a win-win in the face of the continued nursing shortage.”

This newly configured program will see one cohort of students admitted each May. Applications are now open, and the program plans to enroll up to 40 students at a time, Hyde said.

Students currently enrolled in UNE’s A.B.S.N. degree program hail from a multitude of academic and career backgrounds, said program coordinator Elizabeth Mann, RN, M.S.N., including education, medical biology, psychology, criminal justice, and engineering. She said the program is accessible to everyone who successfully completes a variety of science prerequisites and admission criteria for entry into the 12-month program.

“If someone has a passion for nursing and they decide this is the trajectory they want to take their life, this offers a pathway to get there faster and at a school where they know they are going to get an excellent nursing education,” Mann remarked.

The innovative program is a testament to UNE's commitment to adapt to market demands and meet the evolving needs of students pursuing a career in nursing.

It also reflects the commitment to excellence embodied by a UNE nursing education. The University’s nursing students boast some of the highest licensing exam pass rates among B.S.N. programs in the state. In 2023 to date, 98% of UNE’s nursing graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination on their first try — far surpassing the state average of 91.4% and the national average of 90.7%.

Additionally, students in the accelerated nursing program will benefit from study on the only integrated health sciences campus in northern New England, learning alongside their peers in pharmacy, physician assistant studies, physical therapy and occupational therapy, psychiatric nursing, dental medicine, and — with the relocation of UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine to Portland in 2025 — osteopathic medicine and clinical anatomy.

“This program gives people a lot of hope to become a nurse, a profession that is so widely cherished in our society,” Hyde said. “The promise of becoming a nurse in just 12 months is very appealing for people from many walks of life. If you have the desire to help people, this is a great option. It’s going to be a life-changer for some people.”

Learn more about the health professions at UNE

UNE is Maine’s leading health professions and health sciences university, with programs that are nationally recognized for excellence. Students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program learn alongside students from multiple health disciplines, gaining the skills to lead in today’s team-based care settings.