The Decision To Study Nursing Online

How do you define nursing?
The definition of nursing covers a broad area in the healthcare industry. Almost everyone has some sort of contact with the nursing profession over the course of a lifetime. The ultimate aim of nursing is to provide quality care for all individuals regardless of cultural background or age. Nurses focus on the physical psychological, emotional social and intellectual needs of everyone.

The practice of nursing is regulated at the state, as well as the national level. Nurses immerse themselves in the extensive study of theory and clinical techniques in a variety of specific areas. Within each area of study the profession combines social science, nursing and medical theory, physical science and new technology to care, treat and cure a plethora of human illnesses and diseases.

Is the nursing profession a wise choice?
The Department of Labor has recently released the latest projections on nursing opportunities. The healthcare industry is expanding as such an incredible rate that 213,000 new nurses will be needed to fill job vacancies in 2010. By 2015 that figure jumps to almost 382,000 jobs and by 2020 over 800,000 new nurses will be needed to maintain an effective healthcare system. Hospitals are offering bonuses and advances to experienced nurses and are designing insurance and retirement plans that are well above average. New nurses can take advantage of a flexible schedule which includes three day work weeks and paid vacations.

A licensed practicing nurse can earn $35,000 the first year without overtime and some hospitals pay as much as $40,000. Registered nurses can average over $47,000 and if a nurse has earned a BSN that figure can be well over $52,000. Nurses who have a MSN earn over $63,000 and if a nurse has a doctorate, the first year salary can be over $75,000 especially in hospitals in large cities. For more career information on earnings, degrees and schools, visit online nursing education.

Is classroom study or online study the best way to earn certification? 
The classroom has always been the traditional way to study nursing. Most people believe that the classroom offers more information and closer student-instructor interaction. The size of the classroom and disturbances in the class, restrict the instructor from giving each student one-on-one attention. The classroom does have several issues. In today’s environment job responsibilities and family commitments make it difficult for students to study at the same time and place everyday. Classroom study usually includes activity fees as well as other fees, which are over and above the tuition and those fees can make it difficult on some students. More students are opting to study online for those reasons.

Online study gives the student flexibility and is usually less expensive. Students can design their study schedule around work and family and can do most of the theory work at home. Teleconferencing and emails give the student more personal interaction with the instructor and forums and chat rooms give the student the opportunity to share information and discuss courses and techniques with other students. Overall the online study of nursing gives the student more interaction with the instructor as well as with other students.

Can I complete my clinical work online?
Most classroom studies offer clinical courses onsite at a designated time and place, which does make it hard on some students. The lack of flexibility with classroom education does have an impact on students who are working or have families. Online clinical study is done in several ways. Local hospitals host visiting instructors, so online students can do clinical work and some hospitals use staff nurses as instructors, which gives the student more time to complete the courses. As the clinical techniques become more advanced, hospitals assign mentors to students so skills and procedures can be practiced effectively. Video demonstrations give students the option of doing some of the work at home and instructors are always available through emails and teleconferencing. Most online students complete courses faster than classroom study, which makes studying nursing online a viable and cost effective way to earn nursing certification.

- Peter Larsson
AfterCollege Blog Contributor

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