Can nursing school be done online?

Today, lots of courses are available online. Traditional programs that lend themselves to book studies, such as creative writing, business, and mathematics, remain popular options for online learning.

But hands-on programs haven’t been left out of the mix either. Culinary arts, personal fitness training, and even some automotive courses have become popular options in the online realm.

What about nursing programs or other healthcare-related courses where you are gaining knowledge and learning techniques that will eventually impact actual patients? Can nursing school be done online?

If that’s a question you’ve been pondering, then you will be encouraged to know that much of your nursing program could be offered online, but not in its entirety.

Nursing schools realize there are some aspects of the profession that need face-to-face instruction, while others lend themselves well to distance learning. In this sort of environment, it helps to know what to expect and why the online approach fits a nursing curriculum.

Here are five reasons why the online format fits nursing programs:

  • Hybrid format – More than likely, the school you choose is going to offer the nursing program through a hybrid option, meaning some courses will be offered online and some will be offered in person. The in-person segments of the course will require you to attend sessions on campus or at a designated learning facility. This allows you the best of both worlds: learning at home and together with colleagues. Before you enroll in an online nursing program, be sure to ask where the in-person courses are located so you know in advance how far you’ll need to travel.
  • What you learn online – Online programs are a great way to earn your associate’s degree as well as to qualify for an RN licensure. Again, instruction will probably come via hybrid programs, splitting the learning environments between a college classroom and online instruction. While not all schools function the same way, it’s a safe bet that the non-clinical parts of your training will be conducted via the internet. Clinical requirements, however, are typically held at medical facilities in your area.
  • Learn at your own pace – Given the complex nature of nursing school, many nursing students prefer the online format because it allows them to learn at their own pace. For example, if you feel like you need more time when learning the various names and functions of a certain part of the body, you can slow down and move on when you’ve mastered it. And, on the flip side, if you feel the coursework is moving too slow for your taste, you can move ahead to future lessons before other students are ready to tackle them.
  • Earn your degree while you work – Easily one of the most appealing aspects of online nursing degrees is that many students keep their day jobs while going to school. This keeps the money coming in while they work toward rewarding (and often better-paying) nursing careers.
  • Similar coursework – What you learn in an online course will be nearly identical to traditional courses. You will also have access to your instructor and classmates through a variety of media: email, web portals, and other forms of technology will allow you to join in discussions almost as though you were sitting in a classroom with everyone. Another plus of taking courses online is that students often benefit from the instructors’ lecture notes provided in written form.

One last benefit

Some employers are more impressed with online learners who take courses around their family lives and other commitments. Doing so shows them the passion you have for your career and that you are willing to put others’ needs before your own. It takes initiative to finish any educational program, but especially one that relies on your drive to complete coursework on your own time! Use your interview as an opportunity to illustrate your commitment to your education and to your nursing career.


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