There are many nurses who are currently working on furthering their careers by becoming Nurse Practitioners (NP), this leads to an interesting question, should an NP be able to obtain a degree with only taking online classes?
The other day at work, one of my NP friends made a great point, there is something to be said about learning in a classroom versus learning online.
She then went on to explain that it is questionable that as NP’s we are able to receive an online degree, yet Doctors are not able to complete an online degree.
As NP’s we do work under a physician, however, there is still the ability to diagnose, treat, interpret, and prescribe like a physician.
Are we lucky or are we missing out on valuable information. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) there are more than 205,000 Nurse Practitioners in the US and the number is continuing to rise as the need for NP’s continue to grow.
This means that more universities have jumped on the health care provider train and are finding ways to provide programs geared to those of us that are already working.
Online classes, can seem easier at times, however, having taken several there are in general more written work due each week, there seems to be less tests, and those tests that are taken are usually timed (and based on the honor system).
The majority of online classes hold discussions or online lectures weekly, very similar to those of a classroom setting, the downside is you have to be dedicated to paying attention otherwise you can become distracted by your surroundings.
The benefits of learning hands on can be completed on clinical sites, some schools now have you choose or find your own clinical sites, this can be both a blessing and a curse.
I currently know several nurses that are in nurse practitioner programs, one is in a hybrid program where she goes to class once a week and still completes assignments online, she said that the information she learned in the classroom has been invaluable.
When it comes to it, it would appear that learning styles could dictate which programs would work best for the individual.
Some nurses may excelle with an online class, while others would not receive the valuable information needed to be successful.
As the future of nursing continues to change and the needs continue to change, more and more options will become available to us in the future.
With the use of online classes to complete and further our degrees it would appear that nursing is actually leading the trend by using technology as a tool, while still providing us with the best education available.
I still personally am happy that you can become a Registered Nurse without having the experience of a classroom setting, with lectures, skills labs, and clinicals this is a critical aspect of becoming a nurse which may lead some of us to become Nurse Practitioners one day.