The healthcare industry is continuously evolving. Nurses, a critical part of the healthcare system, are expected to keep up with the changing industry and employers’ requirements. In addition, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that from 2021 to 2031, the employment of registered nurses will grow by 6 percent. The higher demand, advancing healthcare industry, and an aging population create an emphasis on the need for knowledgeable, skilled, and better-prepared nurses. One of the ways for nurses to be prepared and adaptable to changing times is to get an advanced nursing degree.
Nurses with advanced degrees possess extensive theoretical knowledge and skills that help them perform their duties efficiently. Because of their education, they can develop and implement nursing practices and take initiatives to bring change to the healthcare system.
Many registered nurses want to pursue an advanced degree but have to put it on hold due to working full-time or having family commitments. But through the advancement in online learning platforms, many nurses are now pursuing an online degree. So, if you are enthusiastic about providing patient care and want to change the healthcare system, you should pursue further nursing education online. You can get an MSN (Masters of Nursing Science). On the other hand, if you want a more concentrated focus on research-based practice alongside changing the healthcare system to improve patient care, you can pursue a terminal degree like a DNP (Doctor of nursing practice) or a BSN to DNP online.
Pursuing an online nursing degree is beneficial compared to a traditional nursing degree for a working individual due to the following benefits:
As a nurse, you have various daily responsibilities that need your attention, from working long shifts to personal commitments. Therefore, it is challenging for nurses to continue their education in a traditional school setting, as nurses will have to attend physical classes at a fixed time and build their daily routines around these classes. But with an online nursing program, nurses can flexibly learn at their own pace and have the luxury to take classes from any location. Furthermore, if your work schedule changes, you can change your study schedule and study during convenient times when you can focus on your studies.
- Career Advancement Opportunities
With an advanced degree, the healthcare knowledge of nursing students expands, and they can understand the healthcare system to its fullest extent. In addition, it enables nurses to pursue a wide range of career opportunities after graduating. For example, they can assume the role of a nurse educator, researcher, practitioner, and supervisor. These opportunities allow nurses to build their unique career paths to improve patient care.
- Networking Opportunities
Networking helps in developing meaningful relationships with people in your professional network. An online nursing degree allows students to expand their network with class fellows and instructors not only in the country but with class fellows and instructors in the nursing program. Networking is very beneficial for a nurse. It is essential in securing a job; according to a survey by Lou Adler, as quoted by brexi.com, 85 percent of the jobs are hired through networking. In addition to earning jobs, people in your network can provide you with mentorship throughout your career.
Networking also helps in creating a support system. Nursing is a rewarding but emotionally taxing career. Having a support system can help in relieving stress. In addition, your network can provide you with strategies to deal with stressful situations. It can also help you explore different career paths by exposing you to other specialties and roles you didn’t previously consider.
- Improved Online Skills
Besides the specific skills needed to practice nursing, students will also learn online skills. As in healthcare, communication mainly takes place online. Healthcare professionals, including nurses, share information using computer-based storage systems and store patient medical records electronically. Patients are also using these methods at an increasing rate to interact with their medical team. Therefore, nurses must be well-versed in online technology.
- Enhanced Time Management Skills
While earning an advanced education degree, you will have to deal with various aspects of your life simultaneously. For example, while working, you will learn how to manage family, students, and personal life while working. This multitasking will help you learn time management skills that will benefit you throughout your career. If you believe you are bad at time management, you can adopt some techniques to improve your time management skills.
- Variety Of Nursing Program Options
When selecting a nursing program, location is one of the deciding factors for traditional programs. Unfortunately, many people don’t pursue further education because of not being able to find a program tailored to their preference. In addition, relocating to pursue an advanced nursing degree is extremely difficult while working and having family commitments. But with the online program, a person can find a program suitable to their needs worldwide.
In online education, the tuition fee is similar to that of a traditional nursing program. But remote learning is cheaper in different ways. A big part of education expenses besides tuition fees is commuting, and students invest a lot of time and money on commuting, but with an online nursing program, students can save time and money. Furthermore, students residing out-of-city or country don’t have to spend on accommodation and meals when taking online classes.
Things To Consider When Choosing An Online Nursing Degree
Although the online nursing program has benefits, it is necessary to select the right program to take full advantage of it. There are many online nursing programs, so choosing the right one is challenging. Therefore, you must consider these factors to make the right decision.
- Check the prerequisite degrees and admission requirements like work experience, minimum GPA, and whether there will be entrance exams when searching for an advanced online degree nursing program.
- Check the accreditation of the program. An accredited program helps secure more job opportunities and makes you eligible for financial aid.
- Inquire about the percentage of people passing the license exam and the percentage of job placements. This number reflects the quality of the nursing program.
Enrolling in an online nursing program will help you pursue further education and ultimately enable you to achieve your desired career goals by enhancing your skills. However, to succeed as an online nursing student, you must be disciplined, self-motivated, hard-working, and able to manage time efficiently, as these programs require a lot of dedication.