Online nursing programs are becoming increasingly popular by allowing busy nursing professionals to advance their academic qualifications while simultaneously working in the field. And in line with this rising adoption among students, employers are also increasingly recognizing the value of an online degree.
“I think most employers are accepting of [online nursing degrees],” James Kinneer, vice president of people and organizational development at the Indiana Regional Medical Center, told U.S. News & World Report. “I think companies are looking at the candidate as a total package. And really, they’re less concerned with where the degree came from than the overall skills or ability to perform.
Though nurses can enroll in any type of nursing program online, remote options are especially appealing to those who wish to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), as DNP students are usually professionals who are already working in the field and want to balance coursework with busy schedules.
For students such as these, an online DNP is a wise choice based on its flexibility, convenience, affordability, skill development, networking opportunities and enhanced learning experience. Here are details on each benefit:
As a nurse, you undoubtedly have numerous responsibilities vying for your attention at any given time. From long shifts at any hour of the day or night, to commitments with your family and friends, you may find that throwing school into the mix could be a challenge. But with an online DNP program, you don’t need to worry about arranging your schedule around classes at a physical location. You can complete your courses at the time and place of your choosing, which means that if your work schedule changes, you can alter your study schedule accordingly and not worry about missing important lectures.
With this flexibility, you can dedicate yourself to your studies during the convenient times where you can best focus on your coursework.
When it comes to attending a brick-and-mortar institution to complete your DNP, the physical location may be a limitation. You can only choose from schools in your area, and depending on where you live, there may not even be an institution nearby that offers nursing programs. This can be especially problematic if you have a job or family obligation that would make it difficult to relocate to pursue your degree.
An online program allows you to advance your education at a convenient location, eliminating the need for a move or long commute. This means that you can continue your regular activities, including working full or part time in the field, while completing your DNP coursework, all from the convenience of your own home or favorite coffee shop.
A DNP is an investment in your future. But for your degree to pay dividends down the road, you need to start by making a plan for the financial component today. For many, the affordability of an online degree program is one of the biggest perks offered by remote learning.
In terms of tuition, online and brick-and-mortar programs are generally similar in pricing. But a remote degree can help you save in a number of different ways. A big part of that is commuting expenses. Whether you are avoiding a costly move to a new town or simply eliminating repeated gas and parking fees from driving to campus, these components can add up quickly, resulting in serious savings.
An online program also gives you the ability to continue working while pursuing your degree, which means you can avoid the financial burden possibly caused by lost wages if you had to take time off to go back to school.
In the current technology age, online skills are invaluable. This is especially important as communication increasingly moves online in health care. Today, nurses and other health care professionals work with electronic health records and other computer-based storage systems to share information both within and outside their organization. And patients are also using these methods to communicate with their care team, leveraging patient portals and other online options at an increasing rate.
This strategy is becoming increasingly common. A report by the American Hospital Association found that only 42 percent of hospitals gave patients the option to view their medical records online in 2013, but that number had risen to 92 percent by 2015.
Though these forms of communication hold numerous benefits for patient care, nurses need to be well-versed in online methods for these strategies to be successful. An online DNP program gives you the opportunity to develop online skills and become more comfortable performing daily tasks in this format.
When you attend a DNP program at a physical location, you usually interact with people who are from the general area. The remote nature of an online program expands your network to people from all across the country and even around the world. That includes both your classmates and your instructors.
Keep in mind that these classmates and professors are critical members of your professional network, the people who can help you make progress in your career after graduation. A 2016 survey by the Adler Group found that 85 percent of all jobs today are filled by networking. You never know where your next job could come from.
Enhanced learning experience
Oftentimes, what you get out of your degree depends on how much you put into it. And that includes course participation. In a physical classroom, you can likely sit in the back and escape notice. But the online format of a remote program changes the way that you interact with your instructor and classmates. Online students are typically required to post in online forums, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to share their perspective.
Through remote learning, you will likely find that you are more engaged in the courses and will additionally benefit from the perspectives of others, enhancing your learning experience.
If you are interested in pursuing a remote degree, consider enrolling in Bradley University’s online DNP. The program combines a world-class education with the many perks of remote learning, creating an educational experience specifically tailored to your professional and personal needs.