What are the Benefits of Studying Nursing Online?
Today, the demand for nurses throughout the country is higher than ever before, mainly due to the nursing shortage that has come about as a result of several different factors including an aging population, more nurses retiring, and a lack of nurse educators to provide the education needed to nursing students in order to fill the vacancies as fast as is needed.
However, the good news is that for those who want to work in the nursing profession, there are now more options available than ever before for flexible online learning from a range of reputable nursing schools and colleges around the country.
Whether you are a recent high school graduate and want to get into nursing in the future or are considering changing your career to nursing after deciding that you are not getting the kind of satisfaction that you want from your current role, there are many different benefits of studying to become a nurse online.
We’ll take a look at some of the main advantages of online education for nurses and the type of nursing degree programs that are available to study remotely through a range of online programs.
Work While Studying
The ability to work while studying has become one of the main reasons why online nursing degree programs have grown in popularity over the years. Many nursing students are changing their career and are in a position where they do not want to or are unable to give up their current role or drop the number of hours that they work for several years while studying to become a nurse.
Since online programs can be done from home and are often completely flexible, they give you the chance to work studying around your commitments rather than the other way around, which is often the case with a traditional campus-based nursing degree program. If you need to continue working and the non-flexible schedules that often come with studying nursing on-campus is the main factor putting you off from taking the plunge right now, an online nursing degree program could be the ideal choice for you.
While the pandemic is getting under control and people are able to go out and live their lives as normal for the most part thanks to the successful roll-out of the vaccination program, there are many reasons why some nursing students might find that it is easier and safer for them to study from home right now.
If you want to become a nurse but are currently a carer for a vulnerable or elderly person, for example, you might be worried about the idea of going to classes and mingling with other people right now since COVID-19 is still a possibility. Studying online allows you to take the majority of classes and lectures from the comfort of your own home, making it a safer option for anybody who has a reason to continue staying home as much as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With tuition fees creeping up every year and student debt in the US currently at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of people who are applying to enroll in an online nursing degree program are doing so due to the fact that this could be a great way for them to save money. There are many different ways that you can save money while on a nursing program online.
While tuition fees are much the same for both online and on-campus nursing degree programs, the difference with online programs is that there are much fewer associated costs involved. For example, there will be no need for you to commute to go to the college of your choice, so there’s no gas money, parking fees, or public transport tickets to think about – an expense that can seriously add up over time.
Another reason why many career changers decide to get their nursing degree online is due to a large number of accelerated second-degree nursing programs online. If you are thinking of changing your career to nursing and currently hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject, one of these ABSN programs could be the ideal fit for you. They are often held online and offer a more intense and to-the-point learning experience for those who already have degree-level skills and knowledge that they can build on to become a nurse.
Online accelerated BSN programs are often a great choice for career changers who want to get into their new career as quickly as possible while saving money at the same time since they will typically take around half the time you’d expect to spend getting a traditional BSN, meaning half the tuition fees and less student debt too.
For many student nurses who are changing their career later in life or have other commitments to uphold such as caring for the family on top of working and studying, going to nursing school in a traditional campus-based setting can be a very stressful experience. Not only do you have to fit your commitments around your education schedule, but it can also be expensive and impractical for some students to work part-time or even give up working altogether in order to gain a nursing degree.
Studying for your nursing degree online can be a much less stressful experience since you have a lot more flexibility. You are able to fit your studies around your current commitments rather than the other way around and there is a lower risk involved since working full-time while studying online is much more achievable.
Which Nursing Programs Can You Study Online?
With online nursing programs now growing in popularity, the good news for those who want to become a nurse or current nurses looking to progress in their career is that online degree programs are available at every level. No matter where you are currently in your nursing career, you can find a suitable online degree program for you. Some of the main nursing degree programs that you will be able to study for online include:
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
The BSN is the most popular online degree program option for those who are looking to start a career in nursing today. While it’s not the easiest or the cheapest route into nursing, it is typically the wisest choice for those who want to pursue a successful career as a nurse with more employment and career advancement opportunities.
Today, an increasing number of employers are actively looking to take on more BSN-educated nurses, meaning that finding employment with this qualification has become easier than ever. BSN-educated nurses have been proven to provide much better patient outcomes with mortality, readmission, and infection rates all lower with more BSN-educated nurses providing care.
As mentioned above, if you want to change your career to nursing and already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject, the ABSN online programs could be an ideal choice for you since they are designed to allow you to build on the knowledge and skills that you already have.
Accelerated BSN programs are typically aimed at those who are looking to get a second degree to get into a nursing career and usually take around two years to complete rather than four, making them the ideal choice for career changers who want to get into their new line as work as quickly as possible.
Master’s Degree in Nursing
With a master’s degree in nursing, current registered nurses can enter into many different advanced nursing opportunities. A BSN is typically the minimum qualification required to enroll in an online MSN program and getting this qualification can lead to a wide range of roles, including nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse management, and nurse leadership positions depending on what you are most interested in pursuing throughout your nursing career.
You can find general master’s programs for nurses alongside a range of more specialized master’s degree options with a heavier focus on certain roles or areas of nursing that you might be interested in working in more than others.
Postgraduate Nursing Certificates
Once nurses have gained a master’s degree, they will also be able to choose from a range of postgraduate nursing certificates that are designed to help them get into a range of advanced nursing career choices. These are specially designed online courses for nurses who already possess an advanced education and want to build on their current skills, knowledge, and experience to get into a specific role such as family nurse practitioner, mental health nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and many others.
Family Nurse Practitioner Master’s Programs
For nurses who are set on moving up the career ladder into the role of a family nurse practitioner, you can find master’s degree programs and bridge programs that allow you to use the skills, knowledge, and experience that you have gained as a registered nurse to get into the role of an FNP.
Working as a nurse practitioner is currently one of the most popular advanced nursing career choices for nurses who want to climb the career ladder while still remaining at the bedside and on the front line of patient care.
Compared to many other advanced nursing careers such as management, leadership, and education, working as a nurse practitioner gives nurses a unique opportunity to work in a role where they are first and foremost caring for patients. And, nurse practitioners have much more responsibility and autonomy compared to registered nurses. In twenty US states, nurse practitioners are currently provided with full practice authority, giving them the chance to diagnose, prescribe, and treat patients without the supervision of a primary care doctor.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
A Doctor of Nursing Practice is one of the highest degree qualifications that a nurse can earn, and these are also now available to study online. Getting a DNP online is an ideal choice for advanced nurses who already possess a master’s qualification and are looking to move even further up the career ladder into higher leadership, executive, or advanced education positions.
Since the DNP is practice-based, it will usually be the best choice for a nurse looking to enter a very advanced managerial or clinical role. It’s typically required for nurses who want to educate student nurses at the master’s level or above. The degree can take around four to six years to complete and you will usually be required to have significant hands-on nursing experience in order to enroll.
Nursing Bridge Programs
Nursing bridge programs are the ideal choice for current nurses who want to improve their qualifications or get into an advanced role. There are several bridge programs to choose from that allow you to build on the skills, knowledge, and experience that you have gained over time in your career as a nurse to get onto the next step on the educational ladder faster.
One of the most popular bridge programs to choose from is the ADN-BSN bridge program, which is designed to help nurses who are qualified with an associate degree to get their BSN and experience all the benefits that come from having this more prestigious and in-depth nursing qualification.
In the state of New York, ADN-BSN bridge programs are becoming increasingly more popular due to the new BSN-in-10 legislation that requires all registered nurses to gain a BSN within ten years of entering the profession in order to continue in this job.
You can also find bridge programs that are designed to help registered nurses get into more advanced nursing positions including RN-NP programs that get registered nurses prepared for a role as a nurse practitioner.
Whether you’re graduating high school and set on a career in nursing, are considering changing your current career to nursing, or are currently working as a nurse and want to improve your educational achievements in your career path, online nursing degree programs provide a more flexible, cheaper option to get the qualification that you need. Studying online has become more popular with nursing students over the years for a wide variety of great reasons.