The Internet has vastly changed nursing education, and in many ways, for the better. However, online programs are not for everyone, and a campus nursing degree is a much better option for most individuals. Nursing programs especially should be conducted in person rather than online for the following five reasons:
1. Nursing school requires you to learn a lot of information in a short time period. A campus nursing degree allows you to acquire this information in a variety of ways. You complete reading assignments, listen to professors, participate in discussions with classmates, write notes, ask questions, practice skills and role play difficult situations. Online classes try to simulate this process through recorded lectures, learning modules, and videos, but there is no real substitute for the multiple ways that the brain is processing the new information.
2. Focus. A perk of the online learning model is that you complete it on your own time. But really, what are you doing when you are supposed to be studying your pharmacology? Facebook. Grab a snack. Youtube video, another Youtube video. Text a friend. Check Facebook again. One hour later, you finally start reading your material. This is the danger of the Internet. While it is a useful tool for research and education, it's also full of distractions. On campus, a classroom setting will help keep your attention focused on the discussion.
3. Group work. Collaborating with colleagues is an essential part of being a nurse, so it has become integrated into nursing programs. Campus nursing degrees offer a convenient place to meet, as well as time that everyone has carved out of their schedule, before or after class, to discuss the roles of each individual in the group. Online nursing degree collaboration is often done through email, which is not an efficient means of communication when compared to a brief, in-person conversation.
4. Friends. Related to group work, friends found while studying for a campus nursing degree are invaluable. In addition to making the experience more fun, a good group of peers can fill you in when you miss a class and study with you before tests. Also, who else is going to listen to you complain about the rigors of nursing school and completely understand? Who else will help you move a patient during clinicals? And when it is all over, your nursing school friends are a built-in networking resource as you begin looking for a job after graduation.
5. There is no such thing as a 100 percent online nursing program. Between clinicals and lab skills, an online nursing program is a bit of an inaccurate term, because these experiences cannot be replaced by any kind of computerized learning. Completing nursing school on your own time is not really feasible when clinical and lab hours must be scheduled outside of your home.
Ultimately, you should know yourself and the kind of learner that you are. If you are independent, disciplined, and focused, you may have success with an online program. However, a campus nursing program will allow for a wider variety of learning strategies to come together and enhance your learning experience. Look for campus nursing programs near you in order to get started on your path to becoming a registered nurse.
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