LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Accelerated Nursing program misrepresented in Stater article

Jamie Elberson

Dear Editor,

An article printed on June 20 regarding the Kent State Accelerated Nursing program simply doesn’t give the program the justice it deserves. I, and another accelerated student, were interviewed and spoke with a reporter at great length regarding the benefits of the program, the support we’ve received from the faculty and staff and the reasons why we applied for the program. My comments in particular were condensed to one line stating that “the guarantee of a job” after graduation, due to the current nursing shortage, was my reason for applying.

I’d like to expound on that statement. If the guarantee of a job was my only motivation, and I believe it’s safe to speak for the majority of my eighteen fellow accelerated classmates as well, then I would not be back in school. Like many of my classmates, I left a steady, established career for this program, a career from which I eventually could have retired, had I desired. However, I simply no longer had passion for that job and knew that my passion lay in the medical field. It is true that the current shortage of nurses in the country does nearly guarantee a job to a new graduate. However, nursing is more than just a job: It offers the opportunity to help people in a way like no other profession does. I feel like I know my classmates well enough at this point to say that the desire to care for others, not our desire to easily find a job, is our main motivation for our enrollment into this fast-paced, intensive, life-changing program. Ms. Bennett neglected to touch on this point.

One of my classmates is quoted in Ms. Bennett’s article as saying that our professors and the program are “trying to kill us.” However, Ms. Bennett failed to include any of my classmate’s other statements; many of the more complimentary quotes that she gave were left out. It is undeniable that the program is very intense. Studies have shown that accelerated nursing students have consistently higher stress levels than traditional students, probably due to “increased demand on time, energy, and financial resources.” However, these same students show significantly higher grade point averages, proving that the stress is manageable (Yousseff, 1996). What was expressed by both my classmate and I, but what Ms. Bennett neglected to print, was how much support is offered by our instructors and the great extent to which they make themselves available for questions and concerns. Also, we students have come to rely on each other when the stress levels start to rise. In other words, it is a very stressful time, but that stress doesn’t define the experience of being an accelerated nursing student. A prospective accelerated program student should know that there are many positive aspects to the program.

Jamie Elberson

Bachelor of Arts in English, Kent State, May ’02