Online degrees have transformed the way we approach studying almost entirely. High school graduates now actively seek online degrees to pursue thanks to the extra flexibility they offer. Professionals are going back to school to earn their MBAs and other master’s degrees, all while maintaining their fulltime jobs.
Online programs now cover virtually every field available, including specific fields like nursing. You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree by taking one of the many programs available from top universities. Before you start your search for the right program to take, however, here are 10 things you didn’t know about studying nursing online.
1. Accelerated vs. Regular
You don’t have to start from scratch to earn a degree in nursing thanks to accelerated programs. Top names like Baylor University Online now host accelerated BSN courses online, and these accelerated courses let you earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 3 to 12 weeks.
Accelerated BSN programs have certain requirements that you need to meet. You must have a non-nursing degree and a GPA of 2.75 or higher to enroll. There are also additional requirements such as a HESI exam and pre-requisite credits.
2. It’s Still Challenging
Just because you are taking the nursing course online, doesn’t mean you can take it lightly. Accredited BSN courses still follow the strict standard that offline programs follow. In some cases, you will find online programs to be more challenging for several reasons.
Don’t let the challenges discourage you from taking the course though. You still have plenty of resources to complete the course in a timely manner. As long as you can allocate enough time towards the course, you will earn your nursing degree in no time.
3. It’s Not All Online
Not all online courses are conducted entirely online. In the case of an accelerated BSN program, you are looking at an additional two-week on-campus visit as well as clinicals in the field as part of the program. These additions mean you have to set aside some time to complete the course.
The clinicals in the field, however, are very valuable. As you enter the healthcare industry as a nurse, the experience you get as well as the mentoring opportunity you will come across during the clinicals will both help you prepare for a bright career ahead.
4. Time Management Is Critical
One of the must-have skills when you want to take an online nursing course is time management. While the course offers a lot of flexibility, you still want to be able to manage the time you allocate towards the course properly.
There are a lot of course materials to go through, plus you must gain as much experience as possible while mastering the necessary skills. The sooner you can balance between your existing job, the course itself, and the field experience you need to gain, the better.
5. Beyond Theories
As mentioned in previous points, online BSN programs go beyond theories. In fact, online programs are the best when it comes to bridging the gap between theories and practice. The programs themselves are geared towards preparing you for field work.
You will get plenty of help in planning your clinical assignments. You will not only be supervised, but also guided in applying the skills that you have learned in classes to actual field work in healthcare institutions. The combination provides the perfect capital for a career in nursing.
6. It’s Only the Beginning
Take the online accelerated BSN course – or a regular one if you choose to go that route – as the first step towards lifelong learning. In order to reach the top of your nursing career, lifelong learning needs to be a mental attitude indeed.
After completing the BSN program, you can choose to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. You also have the option to pursue a degree in healthcare administration or even management, depending on the role you want to fill in the future.
7. Don’t Forget Certifications
Aside from the degree, you can also look into different certifications and trainings that come with them. Certifications in healthcare are perfect for jumpstarting your career in the industry. The HESI exam that is usually required upon enrollment is a good example.
There are also certifications for specific skills. If you want to branch out to medical imaging, for instance, there are programs that you can take to help you become an operator of medical imaging tools. There are even additional courses on hospital or practice document management.
8. You Are Not Alone
Just because you are studying online, doesn’t mean you have to study alone. This is especially true with programs that require offline interaction like an online BSN program. Don’t be surprised to find the people with whom you partner online also share clinicals with you offline.
It is also a good idea to get a mentor, especially if you have no prior experience in the industry. A mentor can point you towards the right direction in your study and career. A good mentor will also help you prepare for the healthcare industry mentally.
9. Develop a Style
Once you start paying attention to the best nurses and the top nursing students, you will notice that they have different approaches to mastering the field. One thing to keep in mind as you get started with the online BSN program is that you need to be confident and comfortable.
Don’t hesitate to develop an approach that you are comfortable with the most. If you love engaging patients and colleagues directly, for instance, you can focus on expanding your communication skills to be effective as a nurse.
10. The Field Has More Potential for Growth Than You Think
Over 1 million nurses will retire by 2030. That, combined with the fact that healthcare is still the fastest-growing industry on the market, means that the field will remain a very lucrative one to explore. More importantly, it means that there is no better time to start than right now.
Becoming a nurse is very rewarding financially and mentally too. Now that you have a lot of programs to choose from, you can start your journey towards becoming a professional nurse without hassle.