Regardless of where you are in your nursing experience, pursuing an online nursing degree can help you take your education and career to the next level. Online courses offer all of the benefits of a traditional classroom, plus greater convenience and flexibility in terms of when, where, and how you study.
Online education has boomed in recent years. The 2015 Survey of Online Learning, Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, found that online education has hit an all-time high, tracking upwards for the 13th consecutive year.1
Increasingly, nurses are taking advantage of the many online nursing degrees now available to further their studies. According to 2015 data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), enrollment in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs has increased, as more nurses seek higher levels of education in record numbers. The AACN found that enrollment had grown across the board, from entry-level baccalaureate programs (BSN) to RN-to-BSN programs for registered nurses, all the way through to master’s and doctoral programs.2
It’s a smart move, given that data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that between now and 2022, almost one-third of all new jobs will be related to healthcare and social assistance.3
Prospective nurses from even the most remote rural areas now have access to quality nursing programs, as well as collaboration with students and faculty worldwide.
How Do Online Nursing School Programs Work?
Thanks to the gigantic leaps forward that technology has taken in recent years, enabling high-speed access, high-quality online video, and video-conferencing, learning online is now very similar to studying in a traditional classroom. In fact, students often find that they have faster, more immediate access to faculty and resources through online technologies, not to mention a world of global knowledge and collaboration right at their fingertips.
Students generally complete the non-clinical portion of their coursework online, with clinical requirements arranged at a medical facility near their home as needed. This provides the theoretical foundational knowledge, combined with the opportunity to develop hands-on patient skills such as good bedside manner, effective communication with patients, working with fellow medical staff, and training on how to properly administer medication and treatment as prescribed by a doctor.
Online classes are generally hosted on their own website, with the instructor posting lecture materials and assignments for student access. Typically, there is a bulletin board or other discussion forum in the online classroom where students can post comments and questions for both their peers and instructors to view and respond. This interactive discussion format encourages collaboration and dialogue much like students would find in a traditional classroom. While some instructors might specify chat session dates and times, generally speaking students can log in and out of the classroom at their convenience.
In an online classroom format, assignments are emailed to instructors or submitted online, and written coursework usually takes the place of traditional examinations. Alternatively, examinations may be offered online, and many nursing schools provide students with listings of suitable locations in their area where tests can be taken if required.
The Benefits of Studying Online
Online nursing degrees offer terrific flexibility for busy nurses. Being able to study anytime and anywhere enables nurses to keep up with their family life, professional obligations, and other commitments, which in the past prevented many from furthering their education.
Not having to commute to classes is another benefit for many, as it provides more hours for study. Removing commuting challenges also allows nurses to choose from a wider range of nursing programs, as geography is no longer a deciding factor.
This also means students can conduct their field experience in a location convenient to them. Universities can help students identify field experience options, with support throughout the placement process being provided from a dedicated faculty liaison.
During field experience, students can learn clinical nursing skills and patient care, supplementing their online learning with practical, on-the-job training.
While online learning requires self-discipline and motivation, most students find that the flexibility it affords them makes it more achievable than traditional education.
Online programs are also more cost-effective; prices are typically lower as students aren’t being charged fees for classrooms, maintenance, the library, and other resources. This means nurses can embark on more advanced learning than they might otherwise have been able to, in turn improving their prospects for earning a higher income in the future.
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) Online Programs
Designed for active registered nurses (RNs), online RN-BSN programs provide nurses the education they need to succeed in the dynamic healthcare environment.
Loyola University New Orleans offers a robust RN-to-BSN online program full of comprehensive and challenging courses specifically designed to expand nurses’ knowledge, skills, and career horizons. Upper division nursing courses are taught online at Loyola New Orleans and there is a generous transfer credit policy for students with approved transfer credits.. Additionally, online nursing degrees from Loyola University New Orleans are accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Students enrolled in these programs are able to leverage the expertise of Loyola New Orleans’ award-winning faculty, while also benefitting from the support and assistance of a dedicated student services coordinator and online collaboration with fellow students.
Find out more about how you can invest in your own career by exploring an advanced online nursing degree today.