7 Reasons to Earn Your Graduate Nursing Degree Online
May 4, 2016
Do you aspire to become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)—but wonder about the challenges of balancing on-campus studies with work and family? If you’d like to take the next step in your career, an online graduate nursing program may be an excellent option.
Benefits of Online FNP Programs
Although some skeptics still question their value, online FNP programs are quickly growing in popularity, and for good reason: Many offer the same rigorous career preparation, interaction, and student support as their on-campus equivalents. In fact, online programs from accredited, nonprofit institutions may even offer additional benefits not found in traditional programs. Below we explore some positive aspects of the online learning model.
1. Flexibility and Convenience
With an online program, you can earn an advanced nursing degree without disrupting your life. In fact, through modern web-based classroom technologies and flexible course scheduling, you can attend classes and complete coursework from home (or anywhere else in the world). This is ideal if you work full time or are a caregiver to young children or other family members.
2. Round-the-Clock Sharing and Collaboration
Learning online doesn’t have to be isolating. Technology now allows faculty and students to collaborate face-to-face in live, online classes. A smaller class size — no more than 12 students — facilitates lively discussions and brainstorming and allows everyone to participate. Outside of class, you have the opportunity to connect with professors and classmates through video chat, emails, and discussion boards. What’s more, many online FNP programs have thriving student communities that foster strong lifelong bonds.
3. Clinical Placements in Your Community
“Clinicals” are a vital part of any online FNP program, providing the hands-on learning you need to prepare for NP licensure and certification. These real-world experiences allow you to deliver advanced care to patients in an actual health care setting, under the guidance of a licensed nursing professional. Many schools will work with you to find a conveniently located placement site in or near your community.
4. Engaging, Dynamic Content
The innovative nature of online FNP programs means they can accommodate a broad range of learning styles. Coursework is typically self-paced, offering a blend of research, readings, videos, case studies, collaborative group projects, and other types of immersive content. This content can typically be accessed 24/7 through a secure, web-based platform.
5. Robust Student Support
As an online student, it’s essential to feel supported throughout your graduate nursing program. Many online FNP programs excel in this area, offering dedicated student services at every step of the learning journey. Whether you need assistance with completing the application, finding academic resources, or accessing the virtual classroom, help is always a click or call away.
6. Experienced Faculty
The best online FNP programs have faculty with practical experience in the nursing field and a commitment to student success. More than just instructors, these individuals serve as mentors and advisors to students all throughout their program and even after graduation.
7. Networking Opportunities
Virtual campuses give you the chance to connect with like-minded peers from across the world. During live classes, you’ll meet a diverse group of students who bring a range of experiences, ideas, and insights to every discussion. Some online FNP programs also offer on-campus intensives that allow you to receive one-on-one guidance from faculty, get feedback on your developing skills, and spend time with your fellow graduate nursing students.
Nurse practitioners are the fastest-growing segment of primary caregivers in the nation. And now, the availability of high-quality online FNP programs makes becoming an advanced practice nurse more attainable than ever before. Use the list above to guide you as you explore various programs to find the one that’s perfect for your needs.