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Online Nursing Programs

If you want to become a nurse, today's Internet technologies can actually allow you to attend online nursing programs from the comfort of your own home, with only minimal on campus, if at all, until you have to go into the clinical portion of your degree.



How do online nursing programs work?

Online nursing programs usually work like this. The first part of your coursework, nonclinical, can be completed completely online. Usually, online classes are hosted on their own websites, and your instructor will post assignments and lecture materials to the site, which you are then expected to download and complete. Discussion forums or bulletin boards allow students to ask questions and post comments. Some instructors may want you to actually "sign in" to attend online chat sessions or lectures at a specified time, much as you would attend if you were in class at the appointed hour. However, if lecture or "chat" times are not specified, you can usually work whenever you want to.

You e-mail assignments to your instructor, and they're expected to be in on specified due dates, much as it's true when you attend physical class in a traditional classroom. Although you may also be required to take exams, oftentimes, coursework functions into of examinations. If you must take tests, they may be offered online or you may be told to go to one of several locations, one of which is going to be near where you live.

Do you have to go to campus?

Some R.N. online programs will require you to spend occasional days or even weeks on campus, but until you get to the clinical hands-on part of your coursework, you may not have to attend a physical classroom location at all.

Can you work at your own pace?

You can work at your own pace, to some extent, but most online nursing programs are affiliated with traditional universities, and these follow the same schedules as a normal traditional classroom would. For that reason, you are generally required in these instances to complete your coursework within a given period of time, with scheduled assignments and due dates as would be true of any classroom work. It's also true that in most cases, you're not going to be able to "work ahead," and most programs have a schedule of six to eight weeks at a minimum.

Can you "self schedule"?

When you start online nursing programs, you are generally going to start at the same time as the traditional semester would, if the program you're attending is affiliated with a university. Even if the coursework you're enrolled in is not affiliated with a university such that you start at the semester timeframe, classes are still usually scheduled, and you go through the coursework with a group of students just as you would in a traditional setting. In other words, your class completes the coursework together, at the same time. In some cases, though, some programs to allow you to be entirely self-paced.

As with traditional nursing programs, you're probably also going to have an advisor who's going to work with you in setting up your coursework. If you are only taking a class or two, you may not have one.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of online nursing programs?

If you enjoy face-to-face contact with people when you learn, you may not like online nursing programs as much as you would a traditional one in a campus setting. However, if you are trying to juggle work and school, and/or if you're a parent who needs to have a flexible schedule while you pursue your degree, online nursing programs are going to provide you all the advantages of traditional ones, without the rigors of a set schedule.


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