Online Nursing Education – Everything You Need to Know

The projected growth rate for registered nursing jobs is as high as 15 percent for 2016-2026, according to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increased demand for nurses is expected to continue growing as baby boomers age, which creates an increased need for health care.

There are many people who are unable to attend classes in person, whether it be because they are working another job needed to pay bills, or other circumstances. Online courses for nurses are a great alternative to classroom learning, providing nurses who are entering or are in the field already, an excellent opportunity to advance their careers and expand their knowledge.

Compelling Benefits of Online Nursing Education

Nurses are busy people with full-time work. The keys to succeeding in the rigorous and demanding online education for nursing courses are allocating time, great planning and being organized. There are many benefits of committing to an online nursing program. Check out these eight reasons why students today are opting to take up their nursing programs online:

  1. Advances in online learning allow students to attend classes anywhere or anytime, making higher education available to more people than ever before. If you are a single parent with no childcare or you need to work full time and schedule classes around your job, today’s online learning capabilities ensure that there are less barriers. The discipline you exhibit by balancing several commitments, while being a great advantage on a personal level, can also be highly valued by employers.
  2. Innovations in technology have enabled students to take a more active role in their own learning, employing technology in new ways to gather information; shaping their learning experience. Students who learn this way tend to become more invested in the outcome and consequently retain more information.
  3. The primary benefit of online learning is convenience and flexibility. Online nursing programs let you set your own schedule. For students who are trying to balance a family, career and other commitments, it offers the opportunity to earn a degree without sacrificing their other interests and obligations. It also helps people living in rural areas, for whom the distance and time to travel to an institution to pursue a course may be unrealistic.
  4. There is a nursing shortage and qualified, highly-skilled nurses are needed now more than ever. By earning your nursing degree online, you will be prepared to fulfill this demand, while engaging in a rewarding career simultaneously.
  5. Students can post their homework and contribute to discussions when it is convenient to do so, especially for nurses who work shifts that make it difficult for them to attend traditional classes.
  6. Your education doesn’t have to stop at the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level. Many online schools offer the highest degree levels available in nursing, including master’s degree programs and doctoral degree programs.
  7. Different people learn differently. You can create your own learning environment that best suits you.
  8. Online learning is not as expensive as classroom learning. Unnecessary expenses can be eliminated by attending nursing school online, like room and board and gas expenses, since you can learn from the comfort of your own home.

What Should You Know before Signing Up for e-Learning in Nursing Education?

Not all programs for online learning for nurses are alike, and students should research before signing up. There are other important considerations before committing to an online degree.

  • The reputation and how a school ranks should be factors for consideration. While it is important to look at the reviews, it is also important to remember that rankings and reviews should be evaluated based on your needs and goals.
  • It is in your best interest to explore nursing programs that are accredited, as State Boards of Nursing usually only accept credits from accredited schools. The school should at least be regionally accredited (goes for both traditional and online schools); professional accreditation is a stamp of approval, above what’s required for regional accreditation. It is unlikely that credits obtained from a non-accredited program or school will be accepted by the Board of Nursing, and this can result in the denial of licensure.

Advances in technology have made it possible for nurses to obtain an excellent education, from anywhere at any time. Choosing to pursue a nursing degree online is commendable – whether your motive is to provide quality patient care, be on the forefront of medical advancement or to provide financially for your family. By ensuring the online school you are interested in is accredited and fits your needs personally, financially, and professionally, you are making the informed decision needed for your educational goals.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.