Disruptions caused by public health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and new technologies in the education system have necessitated adopting new approaches to learning. Many professionals, including nurses, are adopting these new learning systems to become certified to practice as health professionals.
In fact, many students are choosing this option to get their degree faster, even though nursing is a profession that requires hands-on, in-presence learning and participation. The big question is, how do people learn to be nurses and become certified without face-to-face tutoring? This article will explore how it is possible, why it is necessary and how you can go about it.
Why is it possible to study nursing online?
Becoming a professional nurse requires extensive coursework and a mandated number of clinical hours completed in person within a stipulated time. Today, with the increased popularity of online learning, many students are choosing to complete their coursework online, adopting a hybrid approach to becoming certified as a nurse. However, there are certain programs you can do entirely online because:
- It is an add-on to your previous degree or diploma
You can complete a nursing degree online without face-to-face tutoring time if you already have a previous certification in nursing, such as an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). The earlier degree provides a strong foundation for clinical practice and experience, allowing you to upgrade online.
- Deployment of new tech for learning and evaluation
New innovations in the edtech space continue to simplify learning, even for practical courses such as nursing. These innovations allow students to interact with their tutors and complete extensive coursework in real-time, virtually.
- Adjusted curriculum
It is possible to train as a nurse online because, over the years, the curriculum has been remodeled and adjusted to fit more with the realities of the information age. The curriculum is now more flexible and easily adaptable for virtual learning.
There is an increased level of collaboration between students and faculties today, meaning that students and tutors now take part in asynchronous interactions, whether in full-time or virtual programs. At both personal and institutional levels, such as universities, schools of nursing and healthcare institutions, learning resources are being shared and received online.
- Simulated practice learning
Nursing is a very practical course. So, there is a need to deploy simulations as a mode of imparting knowledge to students. Online nursing degree programs often include some kind of “virtual hospital” where students can practice using case studies and scenarios.
- Flexible clinical experience
Some online degree programs offer flexible clinical experience programs, meaning you can get your clinical hours at any designated clinical center. Such an arrangement allows students in small communities and inaccessible areas to obtain their clinical experience in a hassle-free way. Flexible clinical experience also allows students to make use of their skills to improve healthcare delivery within their communities.
Why are online nursing programs necessary?
Although it has been shown that it is possible to get a nursing degree online, many people still doubt the usefulness of these kinds of programs. However, the fact remains that we need these programs to fill in gaps in the health education sector and make our health professionals better skilled without any major compromises in their careers and personal lives. These programs help to:
- Improve qualifications
Online programs are the easier way to gain more qualifications as a nursing professional. For example, if you already have an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), are a registered nurse (RN), or have a certain number of clinical hours logged, you can undertake an entirely remote program. For example, an RN to MSN-FNP program.
Such a program builds on your existing degree so you can transition into graduate-level course work to earn a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) without first earning a bachelor’s degree.
- Manage public health crises
Nurses are crucial frontline workers in the event of any public health emergency. They are usually exposed to a higher risk of infections, whether it is a pandemic, epidemic or hospital-based infection. However, nursing students do not have to be exposed to similar risks in their education, and online courses help manage that.
- Reduce unequal distribution of health professionals
Access to nursing education can be difficult for some people based on their gender, sexual orientation, location and many other factors. This may lead to a shortage of healthcare professionals, particularly nurses who are vital to the healthcare delivery system. Online programs give this category of students access, reducing the inequality in the distribution of healthcare professionals.
- Reduced cost of certification
Online degrees can help cut the costs of becoming trained and certified by eliminating the added costs of transportation, accommodations and other expenses inherent in in-person programs. Registered nurses who want to upskill can do so without making drastic lifestyle changes as they can easily fit the program into their existing schedule.
Obtaining a degree in nursing online is not only possible but also valuable to nursing students, tutors, professionals and the entire healthcare ecosystem. However, if you choose to undertake an online degree program in nursing, you must understand the stakes and act accordingly.
Becoming certified as a nursing professional is not a walk in the park. In your journey to become certified, make sure you choose quality, accredited programs that are sure to benefit you and adequately prepare you for practice. However, it is not enough to choose the right programs. You must ensure you participate fully and put in the work needed. Online learning is primarily about testing the extent of your self-discipline and commitment.
In conclusion, if you wish to enroll in any program online, whether it’s training to become a nursing assistant or an RN to MSN-FNP program, it is essential that you start by looking at the requirements as early as possible and prepare what will be needed for your admission.
Usually, most institutions will require your transcripts from your previous institution, your resume or cover letter and a license as evidence of your practical experience.