An advanced degree can mean higher salaries, better opportunities, and personal growth. However, juggling a high-demand career as a nurse while going to school can be daunting. Many nurses are now considering online nursing education as a way to advance their knowledge and professional standing. You might be asking, “Is this a good option for me?” Here are things to consider.
Pros of Online Nursing Education
A significant advantage of online learning is flexibility. The online, asynchronous model — such as what is offered at Aspen University — allows students to work at midnight, 2 in the morning, noon, or whatever time you’re available.
Great for Those Who Prefer to Self-Motivate
When it comes to studying online, motivation comes from within. Some people think online learning is easier. “As an educator and former online student, I disagree with calling online nursing education ‘easy.’ Accessible? Definitely! Easy? Not the case,” says Dr. Jeannie Randall, instructor and Practicum Coordinator at Aspen University. “I have found that online learning requires quite a bit of self-motivation and self-discipline. You need to take responsibility for understanding assignment expectations and submitting work on time.”
Connect with Nurses from All Over the Country
Online learning means you get to interact with peers at a much broader scale than brick-and-mortar schools. A nurse can learn about issues, trends, and opportunities that she or he would otherwise have been unaware of. “I’ve even landed a few jobs over the years in other parts of the country due to my relationships made online,” adds Dr. Randall.
“In my experience, I’ve had the pleasure of working with numerous online students and instructors over the years and developing meaningful relationships,” says Dr. Randall. Reputable online nursing education programs provide interactive classrooms and discussion boards to discuss relevant topics with instructors and classmates each week. Instructors provide feedback in many formats, including written feedback, audio-visual recordings, live webinars, and live phone calls.
Cons of Online Nursing Education
Lack of Daily Structure
Asynchronous, online education typically does not require students to check-in at any specific day or time. For some nurses, the lack of face-to-face contact can be a disadvantage. Without a good sense of organization and time management, it is easy to miss a deadline for online coursework and face a penalty that could impact your grade and overall learning.
Something to consider first and foremost is accreditation. You need to ensure your program is accredited as you may have trouble gaining or advancing employment if your degree is from a non-accredited University.
Is online nursing education right for you?
The choice is yours. If you are self-motivated and looking for the opportunity to advance your education, then a flexible, accredited, online nursing program is an excellent option. Good luck on your journey!
Dr. Jeannie Randall DNP, MSN, BN, RN has been a registered nurse since 1992. She has an extensive background in most areas of adult nursing including med/surg/OR/ER/long term care, nursing management, and education. She has also been an instructor with Aspen University since 2014. She has an excellent understanding of online learning as both a student and an instructor.