There is no question that the online pathway for higher degrees in nursing is flexible and conducive to busy lifestyles. With many programs, you can start at multiple points during the year, take one course at a time, and go to school on your own time, in your own place.
But, I do get the question frequently from prospective students about what it takes to be successful in this very different learning environment.
- Is your daily routine organized?
Online learning depends on you being present in the online classroom between 4-5 days per week to engage in virtual discussions with your classmates. Some schools require virtual live classes at set times. This requires that you put together a weekly calendar to organize your time. It also means that you need to carve out a quiet space and quiet time at home.
- Are you comfortable with using technology to communicate?
The average school’s technology is not much more complicated than texting, posting on Facebook, or learning the basics of Microsoft Word. However, in a professional environment, you will need to structure your communication into full sentences and paragraphs. If your keyboarding skills are not quite up to par, you may want to plan on additional time to do your posts and write papers.
- Do you have a support system?
Adding school to your life will require some sacrifices of time with family and friends. Do you have people in your life who understand your goals and will support you when life, work, and nursing school together may seem too much? It also helps to have a colleague who is going back to school as a “study buddy.”
- Are you disciplined enough?
Going back to school, online or on campus, requires a significant commitment on your part over one to two years. Are you ready to stretch your critical thinking skills and learn about how to be a better nurse? Because life will happen during your journey. You will need to be resolute in structuring your study time.
When I engage with prospective students, some are afraid that they will not build relationships in the online classroom like they do in the traditional classroom. Never fear, you will be in a cohort of colleagues that will bond just as well, if not better, because online learning requires that you engage continuously.
You will be in constant communication in the online classroom, rather than meeting once a week for classes. Over the years, I have seen some deep friendships develop between individuals who live half a world away. Try it. You will love it!
ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE THE LEAP?
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