Online Nursing Courses: How to Boost Your Nursing Career Online
There are plenty of roles and industries that might spring to mind when it comes to online courses and training. However, something as practical and hands-on and nursing may not be one of them. However, through blended learning, online MSN programs can provide students with a flexible study option that prepares them to work in more advanced areas of nursing. If you are thinking of becoming a nurse or are already a practicing RN looking to take the next steps in your career, these courses could be the perfect option.
Online nursing courses help prepare you to undertake even further training or pursue work in a specific nursing field. Regardless of where you are in your nursing journey, it is useful to look into all of the options when it comes to education and training to help plan your route into working in your dream nursing role. These are just a few things to consider and more information about how you can use the internet and online resources to help boost your nursing career.
The online MSN programs are online BSN-MSN/NP degrees. This means that they are for those who already hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and are currently practicing as a Registered Nurse. You may be working in general nursing at this stage and have some idea of where your interests and skills are best suited. If you want to take your career to the next level and continue your training, the online MSN programs can help you do this.
They will teach you the skills and knowledge required to work in certain specific areas of nursing, such as gerontology or pediatrics. The programs use blended learning, which is a mixture of learning and teaching methods. In this case, they are taught through a mixture of online and in-person teaching and, depending on the pathway you choose, they can be completed in 24-30 months. The online MSN programs are accredited by the CCNE, and are designed to be completed alongside your existing job and shift patterns. This makes it an ideal choice for RNs who are currently practicing and therefore need a flexible study option.
The online MSN programs have several requirements that you will need to fulfill to be eligible, such as holding a BSN and 3.0 GPA, and there are many interesting courses and modules within each program. These can include Role Development and Leadership, Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Practice, and Moral and Ethical Decision-Making, and you will have the option to study one course at a time for 7 weeks, with a week’s break in between. Making the most of online courses and training opportunities has many benefits, especially in an industry such as nursing, which is always evolving and in which there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement.
What is the journey to becoming a nurse?
If you are at the beginning of your nursing career and are interested in working as a nurse, you will need various levels of training and licensing to undertake even to enter the profession. The usual pathway looks like this: completing a BSN degree that can take around 4 years, followed by passing the licensing exams to become an RN and begin practicing in general nursing. This is a great time to explore different areas of nursing before deciding where you would like to focus.
Once you know where you would like to specialize and are ready to undertake the next steps in your nursing career, you can begin looking into further education options to prepare you for these roles. This is where online MSN courses can boost your career, giving you knew skills and opportunities, as well as building upon what you have already learned. After completing online MSN programs, you can choose to work in a specific role and even take it further by completing a DNP degree.
What are the career outcomes of online MSN programs?
There are many different careers that the programs can prepare you to work in, depending on the pathway that you choose. These programs aim to provide a high level of flexible and achievable education, helping you work towards your dream nursing career. The career outcomes of online MSN programs include:
Family Nurse Practitioner
Family nurse practitioners have a wide and varied job role with many different responsibilities encompassing all age ranges, genders, diseases, and body systems. FNPs focus on the importance of family-centered healthcare, and as an FNP, your responsibilities can include:
- Maintaining and promoting the health of your patients
- Educating patients
- Prescribing medication
- Creating care plans
- Acting as the primary care provider
As an FNP, you could work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, community centers, telemedicine, and areas where waitlists have historically been long, such as rural areas.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
PNPs treat patients from birth to the young adult stage and again understand the importance of family-centered healthcare. The tasks of a PNP can include:
- Treating illness and injury
- Performing physical examinations
- Educating adults and caregivers in regard to the health of their children
- Preventative health
- Growth and development
- Developmental check-ups
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
PMHNPs are trained to provide a range of mental health services to many different people, be that individuals, groups, or communities. They can work in a huge range of settings such as outpatient clinics, trauma centers, and private practices and can also choose to generalize or specialize in certain areas such as forensics. As a PMHNP, your responsibilities can include:
- Managing patient care
- Emergency psychiatric services
- Prescribing and managing medication
- Assessing and diagnosing patients
- Conducting therapy
Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner
AGNPs focus on the healthcare of young adults and older patients, as gerontology is the study of old age and aging. There are two pathways for AGNPs, either focusing on Primary Care or Acute Care, and these online MSN programs prepare you to work in the former, treating patients who are not usually ill. The tasks of an AGNP in this role include:
- Maintaining patient health via promotion of healthy lifestyle choices
- Patient education
- Caregiver education and competency assessment
- Managing transitions between care settings
The online MSN programs will provide you with the personal and technical skills and experiences required to take your licensing exams, which will then help you begin practicing as an NP.
Is nursing for you?
There are many personal and professional skills you will need to succeed as a nurse in any role, and online MSN programs can help you develop and adopt these. As a practicing RN, you will likely have many of these skills already, and the online MSN programs can show you how to apply them in the different situations you may find yourself in your new roles. Nursing is a demanding career, both physically and emotionally, and there are many years of training required to reach your ideal nursing career. Some many particular traits and characteristics are important and beneficial in nursing, including:
- Willingness to learn
These are only a few of the important traits and skills that nurses need to provide high levels of care and support to their patients and their loved ones, collaborate with other medical professionals, and be prepared to adapt to the evolving industry.
What are the benefits of learning online?
Online MSN programs are a great way to gain education and qualifications flexible, which works around your current life and schedule. As well as the important nursing skills you will learn, online learning itself can teach you valuable personal skills that will help you succeed in any workplace, as well as helping to save money and improve the flexibility of the learning process.
Many of the important personal skills that nurses need are also soft skills. These are a group of non-technical, personal skills, and they are also transferable. They include things such as communication, teamwork, organization, and self-motivation, and can be developed while you are studying online, sometimes without you even realizing it. One example of this is organization and time management. Nurses have to be incredibly organized as they will have multiple patients at one time and need to treat each one with the same level of dedication and care. When you are studying one of the online MSN programs alongside your current role, you will need to have excellent organizational, time management, and scheduling skills to ensure that you complete your course to a high level while also working and providing a high level of care to patients.
Studying can be very expensive, and the costs can be a common reason as to why people do not further education. Some of the costs that students may face include rent, travel, accommodation, tuition fees, and other living costs. Studying online may help reduce or remove some of these costs and allow you to continue working and earning money while you study. Learning mostly at home means that you could save some money on travel and commuting, and campus accommodation, and the tuition fees for online courses can also be cheaper than in-person counterparts. Furthermore, you might also be eligible for financial support from your college or university and other benefits such as student discounts.
If you find that your local universities do not offer the types or levels of qualifications you need or the style of teaching or course that would work best for you, this can delay your career advancement. It could also lead you to study something else that you do not want or need, which could be a waste of time, energy, and money. With online MSN programs, your physical location is less of a barrier, as a large part of the course is learned online from the comfort of your own home. This creates more opportunities to learn and therefore boost your career. Furthermore, you have more control over your actual learning environment allowing you to create a space to work in that suits you, fits your requirements, and promotes efficient and productive learning.
Another huge benefit of online learning is the flexibility it offers as a studying option. Online courses can be completed from different locations, at a time that suits you, depending on the type, of course, you have chosen. Self-paced learning has its own benefits, as it gives you more control over your learning schedule and the types of methods you use to learn and revise.
If you do not enjoy working in a classroom environment, or cannot commit to this style of course, then online MSN programs can provide a combination of teaching methods that works for you. Setting your own pace for your course can boost your enjoyment and overall learning experience, and you may find that you get more out of the course in general. Flexible learning can also help you become a better independent learner, which is another great skill that is useful in many roles and careers, especially in a role such as nursing in which there is constant learning involved.
The Bottom Line
Becoming a nurse is a varied and demanding career and involves many years of training and experience. If you are passionate about helping and supporting others, advocating for them, and providing important healthcare and emotional support, then becoming a nurse could be the perfect job for you. There are many jobs and roles within the profession, and online MSN programs can help prepare you to specialize in a certain area that you are passionate about. You will be delivering high-quality care to your patients and their loved ones, gaining access to more job opportunities, and even further education. Nurses are incredibly skilled individuals, and nurse practitioners are valuable members of a medical team.
Hopefully this article has given you some things to consider, whether you are thinking about becoming a nurse, or if you are considering the next steps in your career, there are plenty of options out there for a varied and fulfilling vocation.