What are the benefits of an online-only FNP program?

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An FNP student studies online.

Graduate degrees are prerequisites for registered nurses looking to move into family nurse practitioner roles. Why? It is an eligibility qualification by both the AANP and ANCC in order to sit for FNP certification. There are numerous programs available to aspiring FNPs. RNs making this transition mid-career might consider pursuing 100 percent online offerings, such as the Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program at Bradley University. These unique instructional tracks offer significant benefits:

An impactful academic experience

On-campus education advocates have long questioned the effectiveness of online degree programs, implying that technology-driven curricula cannot possibly match classroom-centric higher education experiences. This could not be further from the truth. Online FNP programs are just as effective as their traditional counterparts. In fact, these instructional tracks come with advantages that are unavailable to on-campus learners, according to an article published in U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

For one, online FNP programs facilitate seamless collaboration via the latest distance-learning tools, which give students access to discussion forums and other communication features. These technological components level the communicative playing field, making it easier for all students, including those who normally become uncomfortable when speaking in public, to contribute, thereby enriching the learning experience for everyone. Of course, as students use these digital assets, their online communication skills grow — an ancillary benefit that should not be underestimated in today’s data-driven world.

Additionally, students enrolled in online FNP programs tend to absorb information more effectively than peers taking in traditional lessons. Rich multimedia features make the difference here, as students can take advantage of interactive and engaging learning tools that are just not available in modern classrooms. These well-documented benefits have prompted students across the country to embrace online programs, analysts for the Babson Research Group found in 2018. Between 2015 and 2016, enrollment in online courses increased more than 5 percent, with 6.3 million U.S. learners participating in such classes.

For RNs enrolled in the online MSN-FNP program at Bradley University, the advantages don’t stop here. The quality of the content covered in the instructional track separates it from other comparable higher education offerings. Students navigate a 74-credit-hour curriculum, which begins with a set of core courses covering various clinical topics key to modern FNP work. In Advanced Pathophysiology, future FNPs acquire a detailed understanding of human anatomy and various investigatory best practices — salient skills for advanced practice nurses, nearly all of whom regularly evaluate and diagnose patients. Classes such as Nursing Theories: Analysis and Development and Leadership in Health Care Delivery take wider views of the FNP career trajectory, tackling some of the more expansive clinical theories that influence how these skilled medical professionals operate in the context of entire institutions and systems.

The online MSN-FNP program at Bradley also includes a number of concentration courses that help aspiring FNPs develop patient population-specific clinical skills. During these classes, students learn how to care for children, the elderly, women, and patients with acute and chronic conditions. Each of these courses comes with a clinical practicum during which students work with real patients from each of these populations. The online MSN-FNP track at Bradley closes with Professional Aspects of Advanced Nursing Practice, a two-credit course that explores the functional aspects and challenges of FNP work.

In the end, students enrolled in high-quality online FNP programs such as the one offered at Bradley University not only benefit from the baseline advantages associated with web-based learning but also gain access to powerful course content that can lay the groundwork for career success.

Lower logistical hurdles

Students enrolled in traditional on-campus programs devote considerable time to navigating logistical concerns, including housing and transportation. These variables not only complicate the process of earning an education but also come with significant costs. For instance, U.S. master’s students enrolled in on-campus programs during the 2016-2017 school year paid an average of $10,450 for room and board, according to research from The College Board. Although transportation costs are more nebulous, they can still add up. For some aspiring FNPs, these fees can be prohibitive.

Students pursuing FNP degrees via online instructional tracks deal with few logistical complications. Apart from configuring their online learning system profiles and finding time for class and study, aspiring FNPs enrolled in such programs have to do little else — no driving or setting up temporary housing arrangements, and none of the associated costs.

The right institution

These benefits make online FNP programs ideal for RNs with an ADN or nursing diploma intending to move up the clinical ladder and take on advanced practice nursing roles. Of course, simply enrolling in any available FNP program is not enough. Aspiring FNPs must carefully evaluate their options and select strong graduate instructional tracks that set them up for success. The online MSN-FNP program at Bradley University is among these offerings. The program, which has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Higher Learning Commission, gives students the opportunity to cultivate versatile clinical skill sets designed for the modern health care environment.

Enrollees can complete the program at Bradley in as few as nine semesters, all without stepping foot on campus and incurring some of the costs that come with traditional graduate education. Are you interested in enrolling in the online MSN-FNP program?

Connect with Bradley University today.

Recommended Readings:

Bradley University curriculum: Online BSN to DNP

Do’s and don’ts of family counseling


Bradley University

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners – Qualifications

American Nurse Credentialing Center – FNP-BC Eligibility

The College Board

Babson Research Group

U.S. News & World Report