If you think nursing programs have to be taken on-site, then you are wrong. In recent years, online nursing programs are very popular. Those programs providers usually cooperates with health-care providers, so you don’t need to worry about hands-on training and experience. Clinicals can be done at a medical facility in the area that you live in, or somewhere nearby. There are online nursing programs available at all levels. No matter you are a starter or an experienced nurse, you can always find online nursing programs that fit you best. Generally speaking, there are online nursing degree programs, and online nursing bridge programs.
Online Nursing Degree Programs
There are online nursing programs for every degree level, including associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate degree. Here is a brief introduction to each degree level of nursing.
a.Associate Degree in Nursing(ADN)
Compared with other online nursing degree programs, an online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes shorter time and gives you an opportunity to start your career even if you have no experience in nursing before. Generally, an online ADN takes 1-2 years to complete. By taking ADN programs, you can learn the basics of nursing, anatomy, and other skills that are needed for your future job. After you graduate ADN, you become a Registered Nurse (RN). If you want to work as a nurse in any capacity, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam after completing the program.
b.Bachelor of Science in Nursing(BSN)
It usually takes four years for full-time learners to finish their online bachelor’s degrees in nursing. If you take this program, you usually also need to take liberal arts courses apart from your nursing and science coursework. Nurses with a bachelor’s degree (BSN) remain in higher demand and they are better paid than those with an ADN. That is why many ADNs choose to further their education and become BSNs. If this is your path, it’s possible for you to transfer credits earned during your ADN toward a BSN program. In that way, you are able to complete your online BSN programs sooner.
c.Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)
If you already have a BSN and want to further your education, you can go on to get your Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN). This won’t require you additional hands-on experience since you have obtained a large amount of clinical experience when pursuing your BSN. That makes online BSN to MSN degree programs very popular. It usually takes about 2 years for full-time students to complete their online MSN programs.
d.Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The doctorate is the highest nursing degree level. The time range for students to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) varies from person to person. If you have a BSN, it may take you about 3 years to complete it; if you have an MSN, you are likely to get a DNP in 2 years. What needs to be mentioned is that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that a DNP be a must if Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) is to be obtained. If you do not want to engage in clinical practice, an alternative is a PhD which is better suited for nurses looking to enter academia as nurse educators.
Online Nursing Bridge Programs
You may heard of online nursing bridge programs. As a matter of fact, many online nursing programs follow this model nowadays. It offers great convenience for nurses who are already working. There are many online bridge programs available, such as LPN (licensed practical nurse)-to-ADN, LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, and RN-to-DNP. The average duration of an LPN-to-ADN and LPN-to-BSN bridge program is 12 to 18 months; RN-to-BSN usually takes about 2 years; it usually takes about 3 years to complete RN-to-MSN; RN-to-DNP usually takes longer.
With so many nursing programs available online, you may be overwhelmed and wonder how you can choose the one that is best for you. In fact, there are many factors to consider to find the right choice. The first thing you need to consider is whether the program-provider or the online program is accredited. Only credits obtained from accredited programs or program-providers are recognized by State Boards of Nursing. You surely do not want to waste your time and money on non-accredited programs. Apart from accreditation, you also need to take program length and cost into consideration, as this will need to fit into your current schedule and be in your future schedule. Hope you can find the right option online.