Accelerated versus traditional nursing students: a comparison of stress, critical thinking ability and performance

Int J Nurs Stud. 1996 Feb;33(1):76-82. doi: 10.1016/0020-7489(95)00033-x.


A high demand for graduate nurses and a dwindling pool of nursing school applicants have led several collegiate nursing programs to adopt innovative programs to increase the number of eligible applicants. One option is the development of accelerated nursing program. Because of the relative newness of these programs, the need to ascertain data about accelerated students and their success in these programs is vital. This prospective study examines the differences in stress levels, critical thinking ability, and performance of traditional and accelerated nursing students. A voluntary convenient sample (n = 94) was used from nursing students enrolled in the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Scale of Judgmental Abilities were used to measure the two independent variables. The grade point average in nursing courses and the National Council Licensure Exam scores were employed to measure performance of students. Results revealed that accelerated students showed consistently higher stress levels than those of the traditional students. Moreover, the accelerated group had significantly higher grade averages in nursing courses than traditional students. Implications for nurse educators and recommendations for further studies were made.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adult
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Nursing / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Associate
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem Solving
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • United States