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The Reason Why More Students are Starting to Choose Online Nursing Degrees

Over the last decade, there has been talk of a nursing shortage. However, despite the economic downturn, the demand for more educated nurses will continue as baby boomers age and healthcare coverage expands. This demand presents an excellent opportunity for nurses who are just starting or already in the field to advance their careers and expand their knowledge.

Many wonder if they can earn a full associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree through an online program, given the in-person and practical components of nursing. While clinical hours must be completed in person at a hospital, clinic or current workplace, most core courses can be completed online. Furthermore, new teaching methodologies and visualization methods for presenting real-world nursing scenarios have increased the effectiveness and success of online programs in delivering course materials.

Nursing is one of the top three undergraduate and graduate online education majors. It is only behind business administration, computer science and engineering. In addition, nursing education is increasingly available online. Not long ago, there were only a few online nursing programs, but they are now a regular part of many local, on-campus, traditional nursing programs. Consider a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, for example. This degree has become the gold standard for nurses, opening the door to a wide range of BSN careers. Nurses with BSNs can work in various settings, from the front lines of an emergency room to caring for specific populations such as children or the elderly. Furthermore, because they have more education than other nurses, they have more responsibility, are more likely to be in supervisory roles, are more sought after, and earn more than nurses with less education.

Online education is known by many names, including e-learning, virtual and distance learning. However, the primary meaning is the same regardless of which term you use. In its most basic form, online education is a self-explanatory term. It is the process of teaching and learning through the use of technology. You use your laptop or phone to attend, participate and engage in classes. All you need is a laptop and a willingness to learn. Online degrees allow students to graduate without having to attend face-to-face classes. Furthermore, an online degree curriculum includes all the essentials that a traditional degree does, such as lectures, quizzes, assignments and exercises requiring active participation.

Online and distance learning courses are in high demand. The online learning market is expected to be worth $350bn by 2025 and to continue growing in popularity. Online learning has several advantages over traditional on-campus learning if you want to advance your career or are interested in the academic rigor of the course.

Benefits of online learning

It should come as no surprise that with the growing number of online nursing programs available, colleges have become a popular choice for many students. Individuals’ reasons for shifting away from traditional brick-and-mortar colleges and towards online education vary. The advantages of universal online nursing education, on the other hand, apply to everyone. Because of the rapid expansion of online degree programs, it is now easier than ever to obtain an online degree from an accredited institution. Here are 10 main benefits of completing an online degree or course:

1. Flexibility

The main advantage of online learning is its adaptability. Balancing work and personal obligations can be difficult. Not everyone has the time or means to study on campus or commute to class. Others may have families, demanding work commitments, or health issues that make it difficult to attend on-campus teaching. On the other hand, a distance learning course allows you to choose when and where you work. When you study for a master’s degree online, you set your own pace. You get to learn alongside your other commitments, which is a huge advantage. Students can continue to work or balance other responsibilities while receiving an excellent education.

2. Greater choice

Online education gives students access to schools and programs that are not available in their area. For example, maybe you live near a college that doesn’t offer your desired major. Maybe you live in the country, far away from any college. Without having to relocate, online education can provide you with access to hundreds of high-quality, accredited programs.

Furthermore, as more colleges deal with financial constraints while increasing enrolment, some institutions offer required classes for some degrees only once a year. How many students will have to wait another year to graduate if the one course offered has a cap of 35 students? Colleges have made this situation less noticeable by offering those classes online and in multiple sections. This is a win-win situation for everyone because online courses are less expensive to run. In addition, taking an online class may result in a student not needing to stay for another semester to graduate.

3. Larger network

Students enrolled in online education programs connect with peers from across the country. However, online learning does not have to be isolating. On the contrary, students should maximize their course experience by networking with their peers. Not only can you make friends, but you can also build excellent references and connect with people who can later help you find a job in your shared field.

4. Better engagement

It may appear strange, but students who want to be significantly engaged in a class may be tempted to enroll in an online course. Why? Consider how engaging those lecture halls are. It isn’t easy to become engaged when there are 300 other students around you. Why not enroll in an online class where the professor uses interactive video, audio and live chats to make the course appear more intimate and the material more interesting?

5. Saves money

Another reason why more students are choosing to study online is that it is often less expensive. Not only are tuition fees typically lower when studying online, but you can also save money on associated costs such as commuting to class, parking and even textbook purchases. In terms of tuition, it’s no surprise that many students are opting for online degree programs – student debt in the US is at an all-time high, and many students are concerned about graduating and starting their careers with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. In addition, because many online programs have lower overheads than their on-campus counterparts, it’s not uncommon to find prices that are one-third or less.

6. Environmentally friendly

Leading a greener lifestyle may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to obtaining a college degree, but for many environmentally conscious students, studying online is a no-brainer because it can be so much better for the environment than attending classes on campus. Consider this: when you learn online, you are already lowering your carbon footprint because you are not driving to classes daily.

Furthermore, by not being on campus, you are not contributing to high energy consumption. Instead, you can make extra efforts to conserve energy and be greener in your home. There are even more minor ways that studying online can make you more environmentally conscious overall.

7. Improved communication

Students enrolled in online courses can also participate in classroom discussions through chat rooms or online forums. This benefits students who are too shy, unable to share their opinions due to time constraints, or have verbal or hearing disabilities while attending traditional classroom classes. Online courses allow all students to participate in discussions. Students must also use email to communicate with their teachers and other students, which helps them improve their communication skills.

8. Prepares you for work

When you study online, you must prioritize and schedule your studies alongside your other obligations. The university imposes no rigid and mandatory timetables, and participation is motivated solely by your desire. Many recruiters consider an online student’s ability to work independently, manage their education, and juggle multiple responsibilities a rare advantage for a recent graduate.

9. Better results

Online learning necessitates taking the initiative. While everyone else is following the same curriculum, you will learn on your terms and at your own pace. This level of autonomy is effective. According to US Department of Education research, online education students outperform traditional education students, with online students scoring in the 59th percentile on tests, while the average classroom student scored in the 50th percentile.

10. More convenient

Documentation may not sound exciting, but having your lessons, assignments, notes, transcripts, grades and projects digitally stored and accessible 24/7 is a huge benefit. So, forget about leaving paperwork on a desk or forgetting a textbook in a locker – with online learning, everything you need is always just a few keystrokes away.

Online learning is a powerful and versatile option for those aspiring to be nurses. Whether you want to become a nurse while working full-time or be part of the country’s fastest-growing industry, online courses provide the flexibility, training and benefits to make that happen.

What to expect

Online nursing programs provide synchronous and asynchronous remote classes. Synchronous learning occurs in real time via a live feed or another channel that requires students to interact with classes at specific times. On the other hand, asynchronous classes have course content that students can access at their leisure. As a result, asynchronous classes provide more flexibility for students with busy schedules but also include significantly less interaction with other students and professors. Online nursing classes offer learners a more traditional classroom experience with higher levels of interaction among participants.

A computer and a reliable internet connection are the primary tools required by online nursing students. Many schools provide a laptop loan program so that students can complete their courses from home without purchasing a computer. Alternatively, several non-profit and for-profit organizations sell refurbished laptops at lower prices. Nursing students will also require various items to participate fully and safely in their clinical training. Before beginning clinicals, each school provides its nursing students with a list of the necessary equipment.

Distance students typically have the same resources as on-campus students. On the distance learning homepage, schools typically list available remote resources such as personal counseling, academic advising and tutoring services. Students may also access additional distance education resources depending on how invested a school is in its online learning programs. Online nursing students can find various valuable resources, including helpful hints for new and returning remote learners.

Choosing a provider

Choosing a nursing program requires a financial and time investment that can shape a student’s educational path and career in healthcare. Because not all university programs are the same, knowing what to look for when selecting a nursing program is beneficial. The following are some of the most important determining factors.

Accreditation

The first question you should ask yourself when researching online programs is whether the degree program is accredited. Before accreditation, accredited universities, colleges and institutions must meet a slew of stringent requirements. This step is critical, especially if you want to benefit from monetary funds. Only programs accredited by the Department of Education are eligible for federal funds, so you must be enrolled in one of these programs to take advantage of this opportunity.

Teachers

Another factor to consider when selecting a nursing program is the level of faculty preparation and experience. Faculty credentials are essential, and faculty members should teach in their areas of expertise, as determined by academic preparation and experience. In addition, faculty members should be experts and certified in their fields of practice.

Reputation

It is important to look into how long the institution has been teaching and offering classes online for an online nursing program. Many schools now offer courses online, but this does not imply that they are designed for a truly online experience. To provide a high-quality online nursing program, the school must have expert instructional design knowledge and the technological support that online students require.

Cost

The cost of online education varies greatly depending on the program. I’d say that cheap isn’t always better, but this doesn’t mean that you have to attend the most expensive program. A small, local college that offers online courses may have low prices, but this does not mean that the educational experience is consistent across programs. It may not provide student services, have many graduates, or have a good reputation. These are all factors to consider when determining the cost of a school.

Program length

Determine how much time you have available for studying. Are you self-motivated enough to complete a self-paced program? Would you prefer a set schedule? Consult with the school to learn about the program’s requirements and duration.

Facilities and structure

Throughout nursing school, labs play an important role in teaching. Labs teach students how to collaborate with doctors and patients to perform well on the job every day. Students will be able to simulate real-life situations in the classroom. They can ‘pretend’ to be nurses to carry out the necessary tasks. They will be able to walk through the various steps in person, whether to draw blood or save a life.

There are simulation labs available online. Many universities are getting creative with how they will train students. Filming various scenarios and using ambulance and flight simulators can help students online feel like they are in the moment. It allows students to consider their approach, communicate and act. Although some of the virtual clinical simulation labs are jarring, they enable online students to receive the same level of education as those in the classroom.

Conclusion

Previously, only a portion of the nursing school curriculum could be taught online. This was due to the limitations of technology. Nurses still need to participate in various labs to complete the practicum required for graduation. As schools across the country improve technology, it is becoming easier to attend a nursing school online. It provides an immersive curriculum to help students understand various topics.

Web-based education has grown significantly, particularly in the last decade. It lets teachers answer questions live, and students collaborate in team settings. This is evident not only in nursing schools but also throughout higher education. Even students who did not grow up learning on computers have discovered that they can benefit from online education. Nursing systems, in particular, provide online tutorials, use 3D images, and offer other enhanced programming to compensate for what would otherwise be lost in a face-to-face classroom environment.

Technological advancements have blurred all of those previously insurmountable lines when it comes to an online degree vs an on-campus degree debate. Attending classes via the internet and, in some cases, smartphones and tablets is no longer the isolating, detached mode of learning it once was. Instead, advanced technology and faster internet connections have made online learning more seamless and efficient.