A Guide to Online Nursing Education
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the entire world has seen multiple huge shifts in how things are run. Masks are now a common sight wherever you go, social distancing is respected wherever possible, and many things have become online instead of in person.
Every industry has seen a surge in online education, including nursing. The pandemic has seen the demand for nurses skyrocket, and it accelerated the need for online education.
Consequently, there have been innovations and developments in technologies and digital learning platforms to provide nurses with an online learning environment that will help them advance their careers.
There are some big differences to the traditional method of learning, but also some great benefits.
Online Nursing Degrees
There is currently such a huge need for more qualified health care professionals and nurses, and online learning provides a solution for getting them out on the front lines fast and full of knowledge.
Online nursing degrees range from your standard Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and masters’ programs for students without a medical bachelor’s degree, to advanced education for already registered nurses (RNs) and specialized Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP) courses.
There are many different nursing paths you can take with a DNP, such as Family Nursing Practitioners and Master’s in Nursing FNP MSN, Nurse-Midwifery Tracks, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP).
Baylor University prepares practicing RNs for leading roles in nursing care for infants in their NNP programs and they collaborate with nurses in securing clinical placement sites so you can concentrate on your education.
No matter whether you are starting out on your medical education journey or are looking to specialize in a specific field, here are some benefits of choosing online education.
Traditional schools and universities have a lot of costs to cover that you don’t even think about, from gas and electricity to security personnel and janitors – not to mention taxes, school supplies, and maintenance, all on top of the faculty costs and administration. It all adds up and is covered by your tuition fee.
Online education facilities don’t have all these extra costs that physical buildings require, meaning tuition can actually be lower in cost than traditional schooling.
Plus, if you are studying from home, you don’t have the costs of travel to factor in, as well as the lunches and coffees you will most definitely be buying.
Possibly the biggest benefit to online education is the flexibility of the schedule and location. You are able to watch lectures and complete your work whenever and wherever you like.
In nursing, this means you can work around your current schedule; you can be taking your degree while also gaining practical experience in the field when enrolled in the program.
There may be the occasional live lecture, or you could be required to attend meetings at specific times, but generally, you have the flexibility to learn when you want.
Traditionally, studying would involve consistent interactions, student to student or lecturer to student. Interacting with your peers and teachers is a really valuable part of an education system as a growing and learning from others is far more effective than using a textbook.
While actual face-to-face interaction is minimal, if ever, with online education, students are still able to communicate online.
Live conversations, group dashboards, 1-on-1 video calls, group video rooms, chatrooms, and shared documents provide technological platforms for educational interaction while studying online.
It may not quite be the same as traditional schooling, but they allow peer-to-peer and collaborative learning to take place despite not meeting in person.
A few years ago, this would definitely not make it onto the list. But with the wrath of the pandemic still looming, people are being advised to continue to social distance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Traditional classrooms would have all students sitting next to each other in an enclosed space. Online learning doesn’t only remove this as a risk, but also the other interactions that students would have on a daily basis when attending lectures.
Filling up the car, buying a sandwich – all the seemingly normal activities that could now pose a risk to our health are avoided through online learning.
Self-Discipline and Time Management
Studying always involves an element of self-discipline to be installed in students. But as online learning is much more flexible than traditional schooling, as in you are able to watch lectures and complete tasks whenever you like, it really challenges that self-discipline.
This means you have to become an absolute expert in managing your time, especially if you are taking on professional placement alongside your studies. Employers are aware of this, and it can be a great advantage when getting a placement or applying for a job.
Online education revolves around your ability to navigate, function, and utilize technology and communication.
To some, this may seem a little daunting, but you will come out the other end with all the technical know-how that far exceeds word processing and email accounts.
You’ll be introduced to and use all kinds of different technological software depending on your course and its requirements.
Most likely you’ll become an expert in how to use connection and collaboration software like storage clouds, shared documents, real-time editing, and video platforms. All these technical skills will be useful, both on a personal and professional level.
Everyone learns in different ways and at a different rate. Traditional schooling doesn’t always take this into account, and you are expected to follow along with everything at the same pace as everyone else.
A lot of people need more time or need to hear things more than once to be able to fully understand concepts and theories, which is more than okay.
Online education allows you to pace yourself at the speed that is best for you. You can pause lectures, listen to things again, and rewind and find them later on if you need a recap. You can adapt the pace to suit your learning needs.
Online education is a totally different world to that of traditional schooling, especially when it comes to nursing. But there are just as many educational opportunities in the online realm, and many benefits to it as well.