Health systems are facing historic staffing crises, and they require efficient pipelines of qualified students into practice. Accelerated second-degree students are helping to address pressing health care market needs.
Few publications have assessed the second-degree program landscape or offered comparisons of second-degree pathways.
This article discusses the second-degree program landscape, including challenges in second-degree education; compares graduate-level second-degree entry against other pathway options; and presents strategies to optimize and sustain second-degree student pipelines based on these insights.
The second-degree program landscape is characterized by variability. Challenges include inconsistent program nomenclature and limited national data collection. Graduate-level second-degree pathways offer financial and career advantages compared with other pathways.
Nursing education should standardize second-degree nomenclature, refine national data capture mechanisms, standardize program scope and requirements, and encourage second-degree pathways at the graduate level or above.