Online Nursing Programs Offer Convenience and Flexibility

Online nursing programs offer a convenient way towards establishing and advancing a career as a healthcare professional. Older nurses have been educated by traditional schools which required students to attend a class together in physical locations like classrooms and lecture halls.

With the advent of technology, these same schools are now offering online nursing degrees for the convenience of new students who want to enter the nursing profession, as well as for seasoned nurses who want to enhance their professional outlook. The flexible schedules these schools offer fit the nurses’ busy lifestyles and the demands of work and family.

Students are required to have a computer, an Internet connection, and software programs like a Web browser and word processor. Instead of meeting in one location for classes, teachers and students can discuss topics in online forums and submit assignments using e-mail. They can collaborate in projects using specialized applications that facilitate communication and task completion to bridge the physical distance between them.

Only the lectures are done online, and the clinical component of online nursing programs is required to be completed in affiliate medical facilities such as nearby hospitals. These programs should also be accredited by professional nursing associations and educational boards to ensure quality and public safety.

The typical curriculum of these programs consists of modules which run on a fast-track schedule spanning four to eight weeks per semester. Other schools follow a more traditional schedule patterned after other courses offered inside the campus. Students of nursing programs online can access course materials at any convenient time. Online meetings are done to fit the work schedule of most nurses.

In the United States, a registered nurse (RN) can get licensed after earning either a bachelor’s degree (BSN), an associate’s degree (ADN), or a diploma in nursing then passing the NCLEX. However, the BSN has become the preferred degree of healthcare employers because of the breadth of its curriculum, and therefore the focus of most online nursing programs.

The online BSN program is for those who want to be nurses after graduating from high school. It covers both theoretical and practical courses lasting between four and five years. Most entry-level positions today require a BSN degree.

Registered nurses with an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing can enroll in the online RN to BSN program. They will study additional science and nursing courses which were not originally included in their program but are part of the broader curriculum of the BSN program. This appeals to these nurses because it opens up career opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them with their ADN degrees.

The online RN to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is for RNs who want to specialize in a particular field of nursing such as medical-surgical nursing, forensic nursing, or healthcare administration. To qualify, they should meet certain prerequisites like a BSN degree, a valid RN license, minimum test scores, and verifiable work experience. The typical duration of this program is 12-24 months. Tenured nurses who want to assume higher positions in their facilities benefit from the flexible schedule that will allow them to retain their work until they complete their degree.

Nurses who aspire to become leaders of the nursing industry enroll in online RN to Doctoral Nursing programs. The coursework for this degree is research-driven and focused more on public policy, curriculum development, and advocacy work. Graduates of this program become college deans and university professors, nurse researchers, and chief executives of public and private healthcare organizations.

Motivated individuals who want to become nurses but who face time constraints, tuition problems, and do not want the rigidity of traditional, brick-and-mortar nursing schools can opt to take advantage of the convenience, affordability, and the flexibility of online nursing programs.

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