Accelerated nursing program attracts students from variety of fields

Photo of NDSU Accelerated BSN students in group wearing their white medical coats while standing on a stage at a ceremony.

The new Accelerated BSN program at NDSU includes students with rich backgrounds in helping others. The post-baccalaureate program at NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck is designed to help fill the need to augment the nursing workforce in the region. The post-baccalaureate program offers financial incentives up to $26,000 for students who meet criteria.

The inaugural class that began in fall 2023 includes students who previously served as flight paramedics, emergency medical technicians, public health worker, certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant, massage therapy and other occupations.

Christian Taylor has worked in emergency medical services for more than a decade, eventually becoming a flight paramedic. He appreciates the opportunity the Accelerated BSN program provides.

“Teachers here know everyone by name and get to know everyone on a personal level,” said Taylor, who continues to work part-time as a paramedic while attending nursing school. “Teachers here also give you the time and will answer your questions appropriately since it is a smaller class.” He plans to work as a nurse and possibly later pursue a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist degree.

Caleb Foertsch’s interest in healthcare began in middle school. After working as a welder in Gwinner, North Dakota, as a certified nursing assistant in Hankinson, North Dakota, and as an EMT for the Wyndmere-Barney, North Dakota ambulance squad, Foertsch views NDSU’s Accelerated BSN program as an opportunity.

“The benefits I found at the Accelerated BSN program at NDSU include small class sizes, a fast program, and staff that want you to succeed,” said Foertsch. “My class includes individuals with various backgrounds and experiences that enrich learning and promote cooperative learning. The staff have been amazing with educating and guiding my class through the program because it is a lot of information,” said Foertsch, “but when you have people that want you to succeed, to give you grace, and provide you resources, it makes it a better learning experience.”

Foertsch plans to work as an intensive care nurse and later further his education through graduate programs in nursing.

The Accelerated BSN program at NDSU provides a new educational option for individuals who have completed a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or have completed a graduate degree and seek an in-demand healthcare career.

The NDSU program provides an opportunity to pursue a BSN degree in approximately 14 consecutive months. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis with classes starting each fall semester.

Education incentives available

Students who pursue this path to an in-demand and flexible career in nursing are eligible to apply for two incentive payments of $13,000 OR a $25,000 signing bonus from Sanford Health – Bismarck for enrolled students who meet criteria. These incentives help support cost of tuition and qualified education expenses for students in the Accelerated BSN program at NDSU. Incentive criteria include a 3-year commitment to joining the Sanford Medical Center – Bismarck nursing team.

“This post-baccalaureate program provides a career path for those who want to use their current degree to help make a career change and prepare to become a licensed Registered Nurse,” said Charys Kunkel, director of NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health.

The program includes in-person classes, with some online classes available. Students are expected to attend all lab and clinical experiences in person.

Acceptance into the NDSU Accelerated (Post-Baccalaureate) BSN Program provides no guarantee of qualification for the financial resources option from Sanford Health Medical Center - Bismarck. Students must apply directly to Sanford Health Medical Center - Bismarck and must meet eligibility criteria for the nursing education incentive financial resources.

More information about the new program is available at and by calling NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health at (701) 224-3800.

NDSU School of Nursing offers multiple in-person and online paths for those who want to pursue or advance their nursing careers through programs that include:  Pre-Licensure BSN, Accelerated BSN, online RN to BSN, online blended LPN to BSN, and DNP/Family Nurse Practitioner degrees.

As a student focused, land grant, research institution, we serve our citizens.

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