Nursing is a career with a huge number of opportunities for progression, growth, and improvement. Qualified nurses with a BSN can move in almost any direction that they like within their career path, whether that involves becoming a specialist in a certain area of healthcare or moving up the career ladder into management or advanced nursing positions. However, to be able to unlock these career progression benefits and turn their goals and ambitions into a reality, nurses often have to be prepared to get a graduate qualification such as a master’s degree in nursing. Studying while working long shifts and unsociable hours as a nurse does not sound like an easy task. The good news is that with online degree programs now growing in popularity, nurses have access to a wider range of options that are more suitable for their situation. Here are some of the main reasons why more nurses are choosing to get graduate qualifications online.
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Unlike attending nursing school on campus and being required to get to lectures and classes for a certain time, many online graduate nursing programs are much more flexible for students. They allow nurses to plan their own study times based on their needs, making it much easier to turn up for lectures and classes even after a long night shift. Online graduate nursing programs have become the answer for many full-time nurses who want to progress in their career but are not in a position to take any time off work while they are studying for a master’s or similar.
The reduced cost of studying online compared to studying on-campus is just another reason why more nurses are choosing to get their graduate qualifications online rather than on-campus. While tuition prices for both online and offline degree programs are largely similar, nurses who study online have several more cost advantages compared to those who do not. First of all, the online study allows nurses to continue working and earning money as normal while they study by fitting the degree around their work schedule. As a result, nurses who choose to get a graduate degree online might find that they do not need to borrow as much student loan since it is easier for them to cover some or even all of the cost from their salary. Along with that, the fact that studying for a nursing graduate degree online can easily fit around your commitments means that nurses save on the cost of commuting to campus or relocating to a different area to be closer to nursing school.
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Before the rise of online nursing degrees, many nurses found themselves in a situation where they had little choice but to go for the nearest nursing school option when advancing their career. Established nurses who are settled in a certain area and have commitments to uphold, such as looking after their family, might not be in a position to relocate to a different town or state to be closer to the nursing school of their choice. On the other hand, when studying online, nurses can choose from a wider range of nursing school options since location is no longer a deciding factor. It is much easier for them to study at a school that is physically located hundreds of miles away since all they need to access the classes is a device with an internet connection.
Due to the shortage of nurses in the US right now, more and more employers are offering support to nurses who want to improve their knowledge and skills with a graduate degree. Everybody benefits when a nurse decides to pursue further education, and employers know this. However, the shortage of nurses has made it very difficult for employers to allow nurses to take time off work in order to attend classes on campus. As a result, most employers will be much more supportive of an online degree since it offers the flexibility that both parties need. Employers who offer tuition support options may do so on the condition that nurses choose to study online rather than on-campus, to avoid losing out on valuable employees.
It is no secret that nursing is a high-stress job role. Nurses work long hours and they are often tasked with helping people who are at the lowest point in their lives. Adding studying for a graduate degree on top of this, especially when the nurse needs to travel to campus and attend classes at set times, can become very overwhelming. In comparison, online degrees aim to reduce the amount of stress experienced by nurses who are studying for their graduate degree while working by putting the student in more control. Graduate nursing students have the option to choose when the best time for them to study is, whether this is in the early mornings, evenings, or weekends. The added flexibility and ability to make your own choices is essential to stress management at a time that can be very fast-paced and demanding.
In the past, online degrees were often viewed as ‘less than’, and nurses were apprehensive about studying for a graduate degree online as they worried that they might have problems in the future with finding employment or getting taken seriously in their profession. However, today, while most online nursing programs will still have some in-person element to them in the form of clinical placements and experience, they have become widely accepted as just as valuable, if not sometimes even more so, compared to on-campus degrees. Many employers respect nurses who get graduate degrees online since they know that this takes a large amount of dedication, discipline, and self-motivation, especially when done alongside working full-time as a nurse.
For nurses, the options for career progression are endless, but almost all of them will require a graduate degree. Online graduate degree programs for nurses have made it easier than ever for these professionals to take their career in the desired direction.