The Pros And Cons Of Pursuing A BSN Program Online
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Pursuing A BSN Program Online: Advantages And Setbacks

Pursuing your BSN degree requires sacrifice, time, a financial investment, as well as grit and determination. Nursing students can choose from a number of different programs that differ in duration, cost, and teaching formats. Before enrolling in a BSN program, it’s important to research which program will meet your expectations. The internet has introduced more online programs, offering students the flexibility to study from wherever and whenever they’d like. The convenience is certainly nice, but online education is not the best for every student. Let’s explore the advantages and setbacks of pursuing a BSN program online.

The Advantages Of Online Learning

Students who are also working professionals, parents, or caretakers most often need the convenience and flexibility that online education affords students. Pursuing a BSN is simply one part of your lives, and they must juggle competing priorities. In an online BSN course, a student can generally complete assignments on their own time and enjoy a little more freedom over their schedule.

Another reason why online education is advantageous is that of its inclusive nature. Students who would not otherwise be able to pursue their academic and professional goals have the option online. In many cases, online education is usually the only option for students living in rural areas that do not have a centralized nursing program, complete with classrooms and live instructors. Online education has afforded the opportunity to many nursing students living throughout the world.

One compelling reason why some working nurses choose to continue their BSN program online is that they are working full time and do not have the luxury of being a full-time student. A nurse who has already received an RN most likely wants to continue practicing in the field while pursuing the BSN and be able to use what he or she is learning in the classroom through practical application in the workplace. BSN programs online allow working nurses to progress without having to halt their careers. With all of the benefits of an online education, it may be hard to image any downsides. It’s important to realize that this unstructured online format is not right for every student.

The Challenges Of Online Learning

Before enrolling in an online program, it’s important to consider your personality and work style preferences. Online students must be self-starters, independent, and internally motivated for this option to work. A student who needs structure, formal instruction, or the mentorship of a live instructor will struggle in a BSN program online. Another consideration to make is that BSN students who take classes online will have fewer opportunities to develop relationships with fellow nursing students in the classroom, relationships that would have helped them synthesize the materials and perhaps even helped them find employment in the future. Students who prefer developing close relationships with their instructors and having a physical instructor to take questions to will struggle with online education, not appreciating the lack of personal attention or relationship inherent in this type of format.

In terms of quality, online education and live in-person instruction are on par with each other. Of course it depends on many different factors, including the instructors and school itself, but generally speaking, a nursing student can receive a top quality education through both formats. Students who are naturally organized, detail-oriented, and good at keeping track of due dates and balancing academics with work and home obligations tend to do well with the unstructured online format.

Students who need accountability and struggle to remember due dates and tests tend to struggle. Students who like having a community of other students to form study grounds and to bounce questions off of each other will most likely prefer the live instruction. Introverted students appreciate that they have the option to study course material on their own and extroverts feel like the isolation of an online education leaves something to be desired. Before investing time and money in your BSN program, it is important to consider your personality, learning style, and preferences.

Final Word

BSN programs are everywhere now—at public, private, and for-profit institutions throughout the United States. As a nurse, you have many choices in how and where you’d like to pursue this next step in your professional development. Different formats work for different people, and it’s important to make the right decision for you. A wise idea is to set up informational interviews with nursing students who have completed both live and online nursing programs to get a sense of what their experience was like. Taking the time to speak to current and former students is time-consuming but makes sense when you consider the financial investment you will be making in a BSN program. Your BSN program will equip you with the academic learning and practical tools you need to forge on in your career with confidence.

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