Nursing is a healthcare career with seemingly endless opportunities for advancement and progression, with several alternatives for nurses to take their careers to the next level. If you are currently working as a registered nurse or an advanced nurse practitioner, there might be several reasons you are considering the possibility of returning to school to study while continuing to work in your position. Whether you want to take on a management or executive position, or work in advanced clinical practice, seeking an advanced nursing degree can help you achieve your ultimate career aims and goals.
However, going back to school and pursuing an advanced degree can turn out to be a little challenging if you are already working full-time as a nurse. It might also make it difficult for you to find a balance between other personal and professional commitments.
In such situations, online learning is the best option for you. In today’s digital age, online learning has grown in popularity in every field, including nursing. Most of the advanced nursing courses are specifically designed with working nurses in mind, as they provide a flexible and convenient way for them to complete their studies and advance their careers while simultaneously working in their current roles and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Benefits of an online degree for working nurses
An online nursing program has numerous benefits, ranging from flexibility and convenience to cost efficiency. While the coronavirus pandemic may have accelerated the massive shift to online education, technological innovations and online learning platforms have boosted the value of an online degree by delivering a more personalized educational environment for nurses looking to advance their careers and hone their nursing skills. Therefore, more and more people are opting for online educational programs despite the end of the worldwide quarantine and the pandemic dying down.
The following are some of the benefits of online learning programs that have made it possible for working nurses to advance their careers while maintaining their current positions.
Cost and time-effective
As a working nurse, you know that both time and money are at a premium. These two factors are most probably the biggest roadblocks that are stopping you from earning your degree and extending your career as a nurse. Fortunately, online degrees are often less costly and more affordable than traditional programs. This is because in-person degrees require additional payments for transportation, building expenses, operational fees, childcare costs (if applicable), course materials, gas prices, and commuting expenses.
Online degrees mitigate these expenditures, as students receive all their learning material online in the form of e-books (generally cheaper than physical books) and are not obligated to go to an actual building. As a result, graduates of online courses have less of a financial burden while working and progressing in their careers.
Scheduling and flexibility
If you are a working nurse, an online course gives you the flexibility to balance your work and education without giving up your job and arranging your course load around your schedule. These programs are tailor-made to fit your needs and allow you to study whenever and wherever is best for you.
Suppose you are at work and have some time to spare; you can simply take out your chosen device, log on and study without sacrificing your busy schedule to learn at your own pace. The only requirement of such online degrees is that you meet your deadlines, while the rest is up to you and can be fitted around your busy life.
Diversity of course offerings
When it comes to online learning, you will come across many options available to choose from in terms of your qualification levels, content, or subjects. If your local institutions do not offer the type of training or qualification you are looking for, then the best solution is to opt for an online course offered by a respected platform, as they can provide you with more options in regard to choosing a specific course.
For instance, if you want to pursue a terminal practice nursing degree such as a DNP, to advance in your career, your best bet would be to join the online program offered by the University of Indianapolis. This program is based on a part-time format designed to accommodate working nurses. It prepares them to influence healthcare innovation, actively improve patient and population health outcomes, acquire doctorate-level skills, and reach the peak of their careers.
Learn at your own pace
If you are committed to a job on top of juggling family obligations, you may only be able to dedicate a certain number of hours per week to your degree. Thanks to online learning, individuals can organize their workload at their own pace and at a time when their brains are most engaged.
Some people tend to understand and learn quickly, while others take their time to get a grasp on a particular concept. This shows the difference in their pace. In such cases, e-learning programs work best as they allow you to access coursework 24/7. So, if you are having difficulty understanding something, you can replay a video or review the coursework an unlimited number of times. Similarly, if you are already well acquainted with a particular topic, you can skip past it and save time.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
Nursing is a very demanding profession with long shifts that can last over 24 hours at a time. As a full-time nurse, you are most probably familiar with the fact that family time is precious. So, signing up for another career-related commitment can be incredibly taxing for your personal and familial relationships and disrupt the balance between work and life.
What is great about e-learning is that you can catch up with your coursework anytime, anywhere. So instead of traveling to a med school campus to take lectures at a specific time of the day, you can save time and spend it with your family.