7 Benefits of Online Learning in Accelerated Nursing School

woman writing in notebook while using laptop

Online learning has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. With the shortage of nurses in the U.S., online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs are popping up all over the country. As you’re considering going back to school for nursing, you may wonder whether you should choose a program with an online component. What are the benefits of online learning in nursing school?

At Averett University, we’re committed to helping you gain a high-quality, well-rounded nursing education. Our ABSN program in Norfolk, Virginia, allows you to reap the advantages of online learning while also gaining extensive hands-on clinical experience in diverse practice areas. The program comprises 66 credit hours over four full-time semesters, allowing students with 60 or more college credits to earn a nursing degree in as few as 16 months.

Before enrolling in an online nursing program, it’s important to have all the information. We’ll discuss how online learning works in nursing school and seven of the advantages of online learning.

How Do Online Classes Work in Nursing School?

Online coursework is one major part of Averett’s online-based ABSN program. However, it’s not the only component. While it’s true ABSN students can complete assignments, participate in discussions and read material online, they must also complete skills and simulation labs at our program site in the Norfolk area. In addition, they must complete clinical rotations at leading health care facilities throughout the area.

Skills and Simulation Labs

Skills labs give students the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned online in a contextual health care environment. They learn how to assess vital signs, insert IVs, dress wounds and more — all under the watchful eye of instructors in a risk-free environment.

Averett nursing students in a skills lab learning to take each other's pulse on the wrist

Simulation labs allow students to practice caring for high-fidelity manikins that exhibit lifelike symptoms and real-time reactions to care. Again, instructors are on-hand to manage the simulation and provide feedback on students’ performance.

Clinical Rotations

ABSN programs also include a series of clinical rotations. In these placements, students work alongside registered nurses throughout the 16-month program. At Averett, students complete 488 clinical hours at top health care facilities in Virginia in Norfolk and Hampton Roads areas.

These placements provide real-world experience in a variety of specialties, caring for patients of all ages and circumstances. In addition, students complete 97 clinical hours via simulation at the Norfolk ABSN Learning Site. In total, students complete 585 clinical hours.

Online Learning: What Are the Advantages?

Let’s look at some of the benefits to online learning in an accelerated nursing program.

1. Online Learning is Convenient

Unlike a traditional college experience, where you must sit for hours in a lecture hall, a hybrid online curriculum allows you to adapt school around your schedule. You can strike a balance with other commitments such as family time and housework. With online coursework, you attend virtual sessions, complete assignments, do reading and review for tests when and where it works best for you.

You can study virtually anywhere you can take a computer and find internet connection. Averett’s online learning management system (LMS) allows you to log into the online portal from your laptop or PC, so you have free, easy access to course materials at any given moment.

Yes, there are still deadlines and the expectation that you’ll complete coursework as assigned. But the freedom to study in a café or a park on a Saturday afternoon is advantageous, especially if you learn better in such an environment.

male nursing student studying on a computer from home

2. You Can Easily Access Support

One of the little-known advantages of online learning is the accessibility of faculty support. In many cases, you don’t have to wait for traditional in-person office hours to connect with your instructors. You can connect with them using email, video conferencing and online discussion forums. The more you stay in contact with your professors, the more they can help you succeed.

Online courses mean you can stay in touch with fellow students, as well. Many students feel more comfortable participating in class discussions when they can do so in an online forum. Online discussion boards can reduce the anxiety that comes with public speaking. They also allow students to really think about the subject matter and form their best responses, contributing to the discussion when they’re ready.

3. You Can Tailor Your Learning Style

At Averett, our online learning management system (LMS) offers interactive content that is suited to a wide array of learning-style preferences. Traditional nursing programs often consist of a lecture, where you take notes while following along with a presentation. Some students have difficulty focusing, and watching a lecture may not be the way you learn best.

Our online resources allow you to study and review materials in a way that’s tailored to your ideal learning style. You can repeatedly review concepts you find challenging, taking as much time as you need. Online learning adapts to your unique learning needs, and you can incorporate visual, auditory, and reading and writing strategies into your studying.

4. Online Learning Benefits Your Family

If you have a family and children, incorporating online learning into your nursing education will benefit them. Rather than needing to spend six or more hours on campus in classes, you’re learning largely at home.

You’ll be able to take your kids to school, eat dinner with them, and be present for their lives, even if you’ll be studying. Studying from home makes it easier to manage your children while also staying on top of your studies. Note that it’s ideal to have a spouse or other family nearby who can help support you in caring for your children during the busy studying schedule that comes with an accelerated nursing program.

5. You Can Maximize Your Time

Another of the key benefits of online learning is the efficiency factor. In an accelerated program, you want every minute of studying to count. It saves you time if you can spend hours interactively studying your review guides, rather than sitting blankly in a lecture hall scribbling notes.

It will likely take some time in the ABSN program to maximize your studying efficiency. You may be slow at first as you figure out your ideal study methods. However, as you expand your base knowledge and improve your study techniques, you’ll become more efficient and effective at studying. This means you’ll be able to make the most of your study time.

6. You Have More Independence

One of the best advantages of a hybrid online nursing program is that this system of learning offers more independence and accountability than traditional in-person classrooms. At Averett, you get independence through the online component, but you still have the overarching structure of deadlines, in-person exams, and regular interaction with instructors and students.

If you want to go back to school for nursing, you’re likely a committed and responsible individual. In that case, you may thrive with the freedom of online learning. Averett ABSN students oversee their own learning, so they organize their schedule and study in the ways they see fit.

With online learning, students lead their day-to-day studying, and they get what they put in. For students with high drive, managing their own learning helps them feel more ownership of the education they receive.

7. You Can Incorporate Group Studying

Online learning opens the door for effective group study scenarios. Successful ABSN students often do well because they make a point to regularly meet with a study group. Small groups help students learn faster through collaboration and peer teaching. Peers help each other study and keep each other accountable, taking their knowledge to the next level.

Because a hybrid online ABSN program gives flexibility in your schedule, and you don’t need to be at class at a set time every day, you’ll have more time for self-directed group learning. With more time for this valuable activity, you’ll maximize your success.

Start Your Journey of Becoming a Nurse

Becoming a nurse means you’re entering a rewarding and fast-growing profession. If you have at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible to enter the ABSN program and take advantage of the benefits of online learning. Offering three start dates annually — in January, May and August — we can enroll a greater number of students each year.

The online coursework in the Averett ABSN program is flexible and interactive, but it is only one part of the learning process. If you’d like to learn more about our blended learning model and how it could help you become a skilled, practice-ready nurse, reach out to our admissions team today.