The COVID-19 pandemic confined people at home, and virtual education became a norm for teachers and students around the globe. The pandemic caused significant changes in the traditional educational system. Due to changing dynamics, most universities introduced online programs to remove barriers and hurdles for students in attaining education. And this, of course, includes nursing programs.
As more nursing professionals consider pursuing higher degrees, online programs have become a savior for these busy individuals. They provide an opportunity for nurses who want to explore more areas of specialization to cater to a diverse population’s needs. Online nursing programs also help professionals advance their degrees, which is beneficial in the long run for career growth.
How to Choose an Online Nursing Program?
Enrolling in a nursing program at an online university might elicit emotions, from excitement to worry. Will you be given the resources you require for success? Will you be able to know your professors and classmates in an online course? Do you think you’re technologically savvy enough to handle this? To what extent will you be able to balance school, employment, and family responsibilities?
Such worries are typical and to be expected. When making such a substantial investment in time and money as an online nursing degree program, you want to be sure your pick is the best it can be. So make sure to pick an accredited institute that offers students flexibility and an innovative learning experience. You can check out the uta nursing online programs that offer transfer credits to accelerate your degree and are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Now that we’ve established the “how,” let’s discuss the “why” behind enrolling in an online nursing program.
Nursing degrees are offered online to allow students to study independently. It benefits those already working or have other commitments to balance with their studies. It is particularly beneficial for those who live in rural areas, and it isn’t easy for them to travel away from home to attend classes. The virtual labs, visualization techniques to describe the case studies, and new methods for presenting the medical scenarios have made the online programs as successful and effective as on-campus programs.
According to AACN, despite the interruption in academic activities and the shift of educational programs to online instruction medium, there was a 5.6 % increase in Baccalaureate enrollment in 2020. It reflects that students find online learning mediums suitable, with higher acceptability towards online programs. In a survey by Nursing Outlook, it was reported that the majority of students prefer online learning due to flexibility in terms of space and time.
2. Ease of Entry
Many nursing degree programs, such as associate degrees, require students to have a certain entry level of academic qualification (e.g., diploma or equivalent), which can be challenging to obtain for some people. However, an increasing number of nursing schools are now offering alternate routes in the form of foundation years for students who aspire to become a nurse without particular qualifications, making it easier for people to enter the nursing field. Similarly, access courses also prepare students who want to pursue a career in nursing but lack entry-level or relevant qualifications.
3. Cost Effectiveness and Affordability
Nursing degrees offered online are often more affordable than traditional on-campus nursing degrees, as there are fewer associated expenses.
According to Academic Influence, the financial and economic factor is one of the major determinants of selecting a specific degree program. Online nursing education offers a significant advantage as it facilitates the students and university management to spend less on learning. Online nursing programs’ tuition costs are relatively lower than those that offer on-campus training.
Students have the advantage of cutting back on different expenses, such as commuting and fees associated with learning materials. PDF versions of books and course materials cost less as compared to paper-based materials.
Another beneficial aspect of the online nursing program is that students can organize their assignments and workload at their own pace and according to their convenience. Numerous online nursing programs are also designed in ways that allow professionals and students to allocate their spare time without having to face difficulty in completing the coursework.
5. Technological Skills
In contemporary nursing practice, using recent technological tools is mandatory to make advancements in the field. Online nursing programs require the students to understand the use of online portals and ways to run simulations, virtual labs, or clinical scenarios.
Hence, such courses instill technological skills by providing an advanced understanding of using different tools and software. Technical proficiency developed during online studies is a valuable asset that helps nurses in their fieldwork, such as accessing patient information through electronic records.
6. Reduced Peer Pressure
The emergence of virtual education media has transformed traditional ways of learning and teaching. In traditional classrooms, many students feel reluctant to participate in classrooms. Online nursing programs offer opportunities for students to remain actively involved in the discussions by posting their opinions on different prompts.
The online medium helps in boosting the creative thinking abilities of all students. It also reduces peer pressure which is one of the major hindering factors in learning and negatively impacts education. Numerous studies have also reported that students feel less stressed in the online classroom compared to on-campus classes.
Students who feel anxious while talking in public can express their thoughts and communicate through text, audio, and messaging. In online classes, students can share their input and openly articulate their ideas.
7. Documents Tracking
Storing and arranging the books, course material, and assignments is a hassle in paper format. On the contrary, online databases and various tools make it easier for students to classify the material. Moreover, such tools provide quick access to the documents when required. Hence online nursing programs help students in staying focused and organized in their learning process.
Online education has significantly transformed the learning dynamics and has shifted the trend to a more flexible and self-paced approach. These are just some of the reasons why people may choose to pursue a nursing degree online. Ultimately, deciding whether to study online will come down to the individual’s circumstances and preferences.