If you told people 30 years ago that nurses would be getting their formation from the comfort of their home, they’d tell you were crazy. Online education went from marginal and even a joke to where it could very well become the new normal soon.
We also have no idea what kind of technological innovation that could come in the next few years that would make online nursing classes even better. We can think of tools like augmented and virtual reality, which could make remote learning more efficient. Online education is already transforming the world of nursing in many ways and is a great option for both existing nurses and those thinking of entering the field. Here are a few reasons why online education is a game-changer for nursing.
It Could Help Curb The Faculty Shortage
If you didn’t know already, the system is dealing with massive nursing shortages at the moment, and a lot of it has to do with a lack of faculty. While applications are through the roof, there are simply not enough spots in nursing schools around the country to accommodate them. Online learning could be a solution.
Through online programs, educators can teach larger groups as one and they’re not as limited by space. The quality of teaching isn’t hindered either as the online format allows for teachers to interact in many ways more efficiently with students. Teachers can process questions from multiple students in a way that would be difficult in a traditional setting.
Online programs could help reduce bottlenecks and allow more students to enter the field. Clinical assignments are done by groups in their communities, so there are no space limitations here either.
Another great benefit of online nursing programs is that they have a much wider reach. Since you can follow them from anywhere you are in the country in many cases, this allows people who may have geographical limitations to enroll. Some people may want to enroll in a nursing school near them, but there might either be too much competition or not enough schools. In this case, they can start looking at out-of-state schools that would be otherwise inaccessible.
They’re Better than Ever
Online programs have greatly evolved over the years, and the gap between them and traditional classes is largely non-existent now. Provided that you go for accredited classes, you will get the same level of education and credentials as a student who went down the traditional route.
As a result, the question of acceptability is eliminated. It is accepted that online nurses are just as capable as those who went through your average nursing school. This is in large part due to the great work of accrediting bodies, nursing state boards, and national organizations that ensure that these classes abide by a certain standard.
When it comes to online programs, the reputation of the school and its nursing program is what matters the most. This is why students should focus on accreditation first than the school and the program and not care too much about getting the degree online. There is no asterisk saying that you have an online degree and no one can tell through which means you received it unless you voluntarily divulge the information to them.
Perfect for Active Nurses
One of the most beautiful things about online classes is that they solve a dilemma for a lot of working nurses who want to further their education. Continuing education is of the utmost importance in this business, and having an advanced degree means that you get access to better work conditions, pay, and work in a specialization you have a genuine interest and passion for.
Nurses who have to deal with work and family obligations have an especially difficult choice to make. Going to class when you have a family and work at the same time is simply unrealistic for many of them. Online classes are changing that.
Today, nurses can decide to go for online classes whenever they want. They may decide to follow classes on the weekend only so they can keep their workload light. Others might want to move to a lighter schedule and follow classes on their time. Some programs allow students to watch classes on their own schedule while others will require that you follow them at certain times. Both of these options offer more flexibility than traditional nursing schools.
Now, a nurse can work on getting their master’s or doctorate while keeping their position. This also means that you can apply some of the new skills you’re learning as you go. This will make you a better, more well-rounded nurse and could open you up for advancement opportunities while you’re studying.
Great Option for People Wanting to Transition
A lot of people are also thinking of transitioning from their field to nursing for several reasons. Some may have seen the increased demand in the profession, while others may want to help with public health efforts. Nursing is a profession that has been highly valued recently as well and is attracting a lot of people for that reason.
One of the many benefits of online classes is the number of accelerated and bridge programs you can find. You have top-ranked nursing schools like Baylor offering an accelerated BSN nursing program specifically to people who are not in healthcare. These allow people with the proper credentials to get their bachelor’s in as little as 16 months.
This is also great for those who wanted to keep earning income as they study. This allows them to stay in their current fields and earn their credentials at the same time. This would also allow them to see if the field is actually for them.
As you can see, online education is having a profound effect on nursing education and nursing in general. This would be a great time to start looking at your options and see if it could be the right choice for you.