With the proliferation of online nursing degree programs, more nursing students are able to advance their careers in one of the most exciting, challenging and in-demand healthcare professions. By completing their bachelor’s degree in nursing, graduates can then go on to be certified in any number of advanced nursing fields. As with any educational program, online or off, personal success comes with personal responsibility and due diligence. Here are some tips for obtaining a nursing degree online.
DO: Research schools before applying
There are many benefits in completing a BSN degree online, including the fact that courses are often less expensive and there is more flexibility as to when classes can be taken. In order to get the most benefit, prospective students should research various schools in order to find the best match for their study habits and current situation.
Some factors to take into consideration include:
DON’T: Wait too long to complete and submit your application
One of the biggest mistakes prospective nursing students can make is to wait too long to apply to an online program. This only forces students to rush their application and potentially make serious mistakes. School administrators look for a neatly packaged application that arrives prior to the deadline. They expect all questions to be answered completely with full consideration, all academic records to be enclosed and proof that all requirements have been met.
DO: Be computer savvy
Earning an education online will require basic computer skills. Students should be able to use the Internet to communicate and research, show proficiency with word processing software such as Microsoft Word, be able to upload and download files and send emails with attachments.
DO: Network with other nurses
Save contact information – Students should save important contact information such as names, phone numbers and email addresses of other students and faculty members so they may stay in contact after completing their degree. It’s never too early to start developing a professional network.
Seek out mentors - Mentors play a vital role in supporting and encouraging students, and students should not be shy about asking the people they admire to become mentors.
Attend nursing conferences – Students should attend nursing conferences when possible to meet people and network themselves. Bringing business cards is a great idea and a professional way to make a lasting impression. When a connection is made, the nursing student should quickly follow up with a “thank you” email.
DON’T: Be disorganized
Create folders – Students receive an almost constant flow of information while completing their degree and all of this information must be organized properly. It’s a good idea to create a filing system using a folder system on the student’s main computer that will allow for easy access to research, documents and assignments.
Assure proper time management – Students need to be able to manage their time effectively, especially if completing their degree while still working full or part time. When working on class projects, make to-do lists and prioritize every task. Keeping the work or study area tidy can help ensure time is not wasted looking for notes or other necessary items.
Keep an appointment calendar – Disorganization doesn’t only lead to wasted time and energy. It can also lead to missed deadlines, lost opportunities and unnecessary late charges. Keeping an appointment calendar, physical or digital, will help ensure important dates and times are not missed.