If you are ready to start working toward becoming a nurse, consider a nursing program that incorporates online learning. Many of the benefits of online learning can improve your nursing school experience, such as increased flexibility and independence. While there are a few disadvantages, you can prepare and adjust accordingly.
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 nationwide. 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?
We’re committed to helping you gain a high-quality, well-rounded nursing education at Averett University. Our ABSN program in Norfolk, Virginia, allows you to reap the advantages of online learning while gaining extensive hands-on clinical experience in diverse practice areas. By building off your previous college experience, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as few as 16 months.
With the rise in popularity of online degrees and learning, you may wonder whether getting a nursing degree online is possible. Nursing is a hands-on practice that requires experiential learning, so, you cannot receive a nursing degree through a 100% online degree program.
Many nursing degree programs, such as Averett’s ABSN program, utilize a hybrid method that combines online learning with experiential components, such as hands-on nursing simulation labs and clinical rotations. This hybrid format combines all the benefits of online learning with hands-on experiences so you can receive a high-quality, comprehensive education in an accelerated timeline.
Below is an exploration of the advantages and disadvantages of online learning and how online learning fits into our rigorous curriculum.
Online Learning: What Are the Advantages?
Online learning has many advantages not available in traditional, in-person lectures. Let’s look at some benefits of 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 to school around your schedule. You can balance other commitments such as family time and housework.
With online coursework, you attend virtual sessions, complete assignments, read chapters and case studies and review for tests when and where it works best for you.
You can study virtually anywhere you can take a computer and find an internet connection. Averett’s online learning management system (LMS) allows you to log into the online portal from your laptop or PC, giving you free, easy access to course materials at any moment.
You must still stick to your coursework schedule, completing all assignments on time. But the freedom to study and complete coursework in any place you can focus, such as a café or the comfort of your own home, is advantageous, especially if you learn better in such an environment.
2. You Participate in a Variety of Learning Styles
At Averett, our online learning management system (LMS) offers interactive content suited to various learning style preferences. Traditional nursing programs often consist of a lecture, where you take notes while following along with a presentation. Some students need help focusing, and watching a lecture may not be how you learn best.
Our online resources allow you to study and review materials in a way tailored to your ideal learning style. You can repeatedly review challenging concepts, taking as much time as needed. Online learning utilizes a variety of learning styles, so you can participate in a manner that best suits your needs. You can incorporate visual, auditory, reading, and writing strategies into your studying.
3. 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 lecture classes, you’re learning mainly at home.
You can 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 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.
4. 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 taking notes.
It will likely take some time in the ABSN program to maximize your studying efficiency. You may be slow initially 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.
5. You Have More Independence
One of the best advantages of a hybrid online nursing program is that this learning system 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.
With online learning, students lead their day-to-day studying and get what they put in. For students with high drive, managing their learning helps them feel more ownership of the education they receive.
6. 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 meet with a study group regularly. 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.
Nursing school is intentionally challenging to prepare students for the rigors of a nursing career. Read more to learn how to succeed in nursing school.
Online Learning: What are the Disadvantages?
No matter how positive the advantages are, disadvantages are inevitable. However, when you know certain drawbacks, you can prepare to accommodate them. Below are a few disadvantages to online learning and how you can adjust to mitigate them.
1. Reduced Face-to-Face Interaction
Online learning requires you to work independently with reduced face-to-face interaction with peers and instructors. While this may be a positive for some students, it might feel unfamiliar to others.
Fortunately, Averett’s online ABSN coursework offers plenty of opportunities for communal learning, so you don’t feel as if you are learning alone. You will communicate with your cohort through discussion forums on the e-learning platform and interact face-to-face during simulation labs and clinical rotations, allowing you to build connections.
You can also communicate with your instructors one-on-one via phone, email and text. You can even set up times to talk during in-person or virtual office hours whenever you need assistance or guidance.
2. Requires Self-Determination
Online learning requires self-determination to stay on top of assignments and prepare for exams. While the increased flexibility allows you to establish your study schedule and coursework times, you must be able to plan accordingly and adhere to a schedule.
Consider your due dates, exams, simulation labs and clinical rotations to plan work and study sessions. Your coursework is designed to prepare you for the curriculum’s hands-on components, so you must create a schedule that enables you to complete your work on time, adequately prepare for courses and receive enough sleep to participate in the hands-on components.
This can be challenging, so it’s essential to plan your week at the start and stick to your schedule the best you can. Remaining organized and determined will make balancing the curriculum’s online and hands-on components easier.
3. Potential for Technical Difficulties
Working with technology always has the potential to be unreliable. Fortunately, Averett’s platform support team can assist you when problems with the e-learning platform arise.
Issues outside your control, such as device or internet connectivity, are also essential to consider. When one device fails, you can access the e-learning platform on another.
If you cannot connect to the internet from home, Averett’s ABSN learning site is a comfortable and quiet place to work on your coursework. You could also head to a library, quiet coffee shop, a friend’s house, or anywhere that offers a space to focus and work.
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 healthcare facilities throughout the region.
Skills and Simulation Labs
Skills labs allow students to practice what they’ve learned online in a contextual healthcare 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.
Simulation labs allow students to practice caring for high-fidelity manikins that exhibit lifelike symptoms and real-time reactions to care, developing their clinical judgment. Again, instructors are on hand to manage the simulation and provide student performance feedback.
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 direct hands-on hours at top healthcare facilities in Virginia in Norfolk and across Hampton Roads.
These placements provide real-world experience in various 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.
If you want to enroll in nursing school, consider earning a BSN to kickstart your career. Read more to learn why a BSN in nursing is worth it.
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. We can enroll more students each year by offering three start dates annually — in January, May and August.
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, contact our admissions team today.