Where would we be without the help of nurses? They are crucial members of both the healthcare industry and our society as a whole. If you want to join their ranks, consider attending one of top online nursing programs.
If you want to become a nurse, you have a wide variety of options as nurses aren’t just relegated to assisting a doctor in private practices. There are physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, midwives, nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, and more.
If you’re considering a career as a nurse, read on to learn more about online nursing programs and how to launch your nursing career.
Online Nursing Program Benefits
Before we break down the fundamentals of enrolling in online nursing programs, we should first take some time and outline some impressive benefits of online programs and what the programs offer.
Aside from starting your journey to becoming a registered nurse and licensed practical nurse, these programs include information that will give you the tools you need to succeed with patient care, all on your own schedule.
Online Courses and What They Can Do For You
With the normalization and widespread use of online programs at many universities and colleges, there has never been a better time to log on and get your education underway.
Let’s look at some impressive pros to online nursing programs.
Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning
If you haven’t taken online courses over your college career, there are a few fundamental aspects to familiarize yourself with. The most important is whether or not your school offers asynchronous or synchronous online classes.
The most common type is asynchronous, which means that the class doesn’t meet at the same time, allowing you to complete workloads on your own schedule.
However, some classes do prescribe to the synchronous model. These classes aim to meet at a specified time, whether to have class discussions or for the professor to deliver a live lecture.
Online Nursing Programs: The Cost
Since you’ll only be taking online courses, the other expenses found in standard universities are basically eliminated. Your tuition won’t include anything like room and board, only the cost of textbooks and the class itself.
This can be a massive plus for those who have hesitated before applying to a school because of the high costs.
More Flexible Deadlines and Schedules
Taking online nursing programs can free up a lot of time. Even part-time schedules in person can throw a busy person’s schedule out of whack. That’s why earning something like an online RN to BSN degree is the perfect remedy for a jam-packed schedule.
Deadlines give students breathing room to live their lives and get an education simultaneously.
Nursing Degree Programs Explained
It’s easier than ever to find degree programs that not only apply to your interests but fit your schedule as well. Luckily for the would-be nurse, there are a ton of different specialties in the field of nursing.
But what degree programs and online courses do you choose? It’s not an easy choice if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The most important thing is to choose what fits your interests and career trajectory.
What Fits For You?
Do you already have your RN license and want to enter a great RN-to-BSN program? Or are you fresh out of high school and want to get into the field of nursing? There are a ton of options for the aspiring nurse out there, as follows.
Degree in Nursing (ADN)
This is your standard Associate Degree in Nursing. Here is where the eager nursing student learns the ins and outs of patient care, medicine, anatomy, physiology, biology, and more.
You can join online nursing programs for your ADN at community colleges and some four-year universities. These associate degrees usually take anywhere from two to three years to complete.
These are specific online courses specially made for nurses who want to pursue their BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). It’s a great idea to join an RN-to-BSN program. The nursing field is always looking for those who set themselves apart from the rest of the pack, and earning this degree can do just that.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing will eventually become the norm requirement for many nurses: BSN graduates have a much more promising job outlook than registered nurses without their bachelor’s degree. Registered nurses with a BSN have reported more success with job searches, getting job offers, and gaining full-time employment.
Earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing can give even the most veteran registered nurse something to learn and aspire to. By partaking in an RN-to-BSN program, you free up your schedule while getting your degree from an accredited school.
You can expect to complete these programs in around two years, depending on where you decide to enroll.
RN-to-MSN programs offer registered nurses the option to go even further and earn their Master’s Degree in Nursing. This is what many nurses who want to climb the ranks of the healthcare industry strive for.
These unique curriculums give working nurses the chance to earn one of the most comprehensive educations in their major.
After completing an RN-to-MSN program, you will have earned the opportunity to secure some of the highest-paying nursing jobs available. A downside to RN-to-MSN programs is that they can be significantly more expensive than other degree programs.
You also have to factor more schoolwork into your already busy schedule. However, with online options from great schools, this is definitely manageable.
Earning your MSN is a fantastic achievement, and displays to the medical community that you are a motivated, talented, and dedicated individual ready for leadership positions. RN-to-MSN programs usually last two to three years.
Top Online Nursing Programs
Now that you know the different nursing degrees you can get, let’s look at some great online nursing schools to get you certified as a nurse.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins is one of those schools that really speaks for itself through its prestigious reputation in the medical community. Its online nursing programs are, predictably, some of the best on offer. Specifically, its different RN-to-MSN programs are varied and give you a lot of options.
Here are some of John Hopkins University’s RN-to-MSN programs:
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Entry into Nursing Program
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Healthcare Organizational Leadership Track
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Advanced Nursing Practice
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Simmons University is nearly neck-to-neck with Johns Hopkins University for some of the best online nursing programs available. They offer both online-only and hybrid education plans.
Simmons University’s programs are dedicated primarily to plunging students into detailed research assignments and clinical experience. You will gain the extra benefit of Simmons University’s tight relationships with some of Massachusetts’ most famous medical institutions: Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) — Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), in particular, is noteworthy. With this degree, you will be a certified expert in patient care. Nurse practitioners earn a fantastic amount of medical knowledge and can use it at their discretion. Nurse practitioners can see and diagnose illnesses and even prescribe medications in some instances.
Rutgers University at New Brunswick
Rutgers University offers a notable RN-to-BSN degree to registered nurses or those with associate degrees in nursing.
To apply for the online nursing program at Rutgers, you must have your RN license in New Jersey and have a degree from an institution accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN). They will also give further consideration if you possess at least a 3.2 GPA.
The program consists of 40 RN credits, 21 nursing science credits, and 33 general education credits. After completing this program, students have the option to go right into earning their master’s degree with a Rutgers’ graduate component. The RN-to-BSN program offers accomplished students the chance to earn up to 12 graduate-level credits toward their future master’s degree coursework.
Students can transfer a maximum of 94 credits to shorten their Rutgers degree, but RN-to-BSN program students must still complete at least 30 core RN credits. Its RN-to-BSN degree takes place mainly online, but practicums and clinicals need to happen in person.
Concordia University – St. Paul
Concordia University’s online programs boast excellent post-grad job results. Concordia reports that nearly 95 percent of its RN-to-BSN program students get a job soon after graduating.
The RN-to-BSN program consists of a 36 credit hour curriculum and requires applicants to hold an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) with at least a 2.75 GPA, or have their nursing license.
The program has unique classes on ethics, leadership, patient care, management, and others that will quickly propel the career of a registered nurse. This nursing program is 100 percent online. That means no synchronous meetups, giving you more freedom with your schedule.
At the end of this RN-to BSN degree, nurses will complete the Concordia capstone course to build a unique portfolio and attempt to put together a cohesive health plan using what they have learned at the university.
Final Thoughts on Online Nursing Programs
Hopefully, you now have some valuable knowledge to help you move towards your goal as a registered nurse and beyond.
Nursing is one of the most diverse and varied career paths you could possibly take part in. Many schools like Johns Hopkins and Simmons University are spearheading the effort of adding fantastic programs to the ever-growing online community of would-be nurses and registered nurses looking to improve their careers.
Nursing and patient care don’t just end at earning your license: it’s a continual journey full of learning, leadership, and compassion. If you see yourself as an eager learner, always willing to strive towards goals, online nursing programs are perfect for you.