"The individuals who enter these kinds of programs are not just older. They have some life experience [and] have made a very conscience and purposeful career choice… which then commits them in a very different way to the profession," Bednash says.
These "new grads" also know what it's like to have a job and be accountable at work, she says. "We hear from employers that they like these graduates very much."
Bednash says these students make the switch to nursing from a wide variety of other professions, such as literature, biology, art, and psychology. One student owned a car dealership, and another was a ballet dancer.
"It's an enormously diverse group of people," she says.
Moreover, these students are taught and display leadership qualities, something that employers also appreciate, doing things like forming their own alumni group that helps its members with leadership development, Bednash says.
According to Bednash, most also have plans to earn advanced-practice degrees. She says that 20%-25% of the students enter the accelerated graduate program, and 75% of those in the baccalaureate program say they eventually plan to get a graduate degree.
"That's exactly what we need," she says.