Nursing is a challenging yet rewarding career, with plenty of rigorous training and education that needs to be undertaken in order for you to become qualified. This also happens throughout your career, each time you want to progress or focus on a career in a specific area of nursing. There are many reasons why you may take online np programs. You could be a practicing RN looking to expand your career. You might also be considering becoming a nurse and already know which area you would like to work in, or not yet be sure what you would like to specialize in. Online np programs offer a flexible study option that can help you reach your dream nursing career.
1. What do they involve?
The online np programs are BSN to MSN/NP courses that will give you the skills and clinical expertise to succeed in a number of advanced nursing roles. Depending on which track you choose, the online np programs can be completed in 24-30 months. There are four different tracks that you can choose from. Each will allow you to specialize in a certain area of nursing:
- Family Nurse Practitioner Degree, 30 months to complete
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree, 28 months to complete
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Degree, 28 months to complete
- Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner Degree, 24 months to complete
The entry requirements of online np programs include a BSN degree, 3.0 GPA, and an unencumbered license. There are many modules and courses, as well as the option to study on the 7-1-7 model. This means that you get a week’s break in between each 7-week course. Courses include Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Practice and a Moral and Ethical Decision-Making residency.
2. Who are they for?
When training to become a nurse, there are constant opportunities to further your career and skills, even once you are a practicing RN. The online np programs are for RNs who want to specialize in more advanced areas of nursing. Nursing is an incredibly challenging yet rewarding career no matter what your level or role, and you can have a big impact on the industry and your patients. It is important to make sure you fit the requirements for the courses and jobs you are applying for. Planning in advance can help you understand the courses and levels of qualifications that your dream nursing career will require you to have. Online np programs are not for beginner nurses, but it is important to bear in mind that they may be useful if you want to become an NP and work in advanced nursing fields.
3. How do you become a nurse?
Becoming a nurse takes many years of hard work and dedication, including studying and in-field work. In general, the route to becoming a nurse is to study at an accredited nursing school for your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. You will then need to gain your license in order to practice as a nurse and become an RN. The licensing exams differ depending your location, so it is important to consider when state you are going to practice in. Once you are an RN, you can then look into online np programs. These are msns and are the next step in your nursing career. Once you have graduated, you can either go straight into working in that particular field or study for a dnp.
4. What skills do you need?
Nursing can take a more holistic approach to patients than some other medical professionals. In general, this means they treat the individual as a whole person, not just as their illness or condition. Nurses take into account factors other than the physical health of their patients, such as their psychological, cultural, and religious beliefs and their social environment. Nurses are also often educators and provide emotional support to the patients and their families. As well as the vital technical nursing knowledge you will need to work in the field; you will also need plenty of personal skills and characteristics, such as:
- Stamina- on an average 12-hour shift, nurses can walk up to 4 miles. You will also be lifting, and moving equipment and patients, so physical stamina and fitness are important to make sure you can get through your shifts properly. Furthermore, it is also important to have emotional stamina, in order to keep yourself safe and healthy, to maintain good working boundaries, and to continue to provide a high level of care and empathy without becoming too involved, along with many other reasons.
- Critical Thinking- nursing is rarely black and white, and you will need to use your critical thinking skills in order to assess solutions and come to the best conclusions. You will have to use skills such as judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making every day, and sometimes quickly in pressurized situations.
- Empathy and Compassion- empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s position in order to understand their emotions, and compassion is sympathy combined with the desire to help remove whatever is causing pain or upset. Both of these are at the core of nursing, and nurses have very strong empathetic and compassionate capabilities. Both of these traits can help you connect with patients and their families, making them feel more comfortable and supported in often traumatic and stressful situations.
- Communication- communication involves not only speaking but listening and observing. Nurses have to communicate with a wide range of people, such as members of the public and other medical professionals. You may have to explain complex information to someone who does not have the same level of training as you, so understand how to adapt your communication techniques to suit the situation is very important. Furthermore, nurses are often educating patients and their families on different elements of their health, so you need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively.
- Teamwork- nurses often work as part of larger multidisciplinary teams or as consultants or liaisons, and therefore you will need great teamwork and collaboration skills. This will help you deliver a high level of care to your patients and make sure you work with others to find the best solutions.
- Adaptability- the technology, theories, and ideas in medicine are always changing and adapting, so you will need to do the same. No matter what level they are at or how long they have been practicing, nurses need to be willing and able to constantly learn.
5. What are the career outcomes?
When you have completed your online np programs, you will have the clinical expertise to work in your specialist area of nursing, helping you to assess, prevent, treat, and manage acute and chronic diseases. The online np programs prepare you to become a nursing practitioner, which is a title that can be combined with further specialist areas of nursing.
These are nonphysician clinicians who can provide a large range of health care services. Nurse practitioners often specialize in chronic or acute illnesses and may prescribe medication, diagnose illnesses, examine patients, and provide treatment, similar to physicians. Depending on the state in which they practice, NPs may be able to work independently, without the supervision of a doctor or physician.
Family Nurse Practitioner
FNPs treat patients of all ages, genders, diseases, and body systems, with daily tasks including educating patients, assessing them, prescribing medication, and helping to maintain and promote their health. They provide a vast range of health services and recognize the importance of family-centered healthcare, often treating family members throughout their lives. When becoming an FNP, you find yourself in different settings, including hospitals, clinics, community centers, and telemedicine.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
PMHNPs can work as generalists, or specialists in areas such as forensics, geriatrics, or psychotherapy, offering a wide range of mental health services to individuals or groups. As a PMHNP you could work in schools, prisons, substance abuse programs, or trauma centers. Depending on the state in which you practice as an PMHNP, you may be able to practice within the presence of a psychiatrist. The varied responsibilities and tasks of a PMHNP may include educating families and staff, serving as consultants, assessing and making psychiatric diagnoses, prescribing and managing medication, conducting therapy, providing emergency psychiatric services, and managing patient care.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
PNPs specialize in the care of children from birth to young adult, dealing with both primary care with chronic and acute illnesses. As a PNP, you will be a vital part of the health care team, working either independently in private practices or alongside pediatricians. The responsibilities of a PNP include interpreting lab and diagnostic results, prescribing medication, maintaining patient health, performing physical assessments, developmental check-ups, treating various illnesses and injuries, and providing emotional advice and support to patients and their families.
Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner
This is the Primary Care type of AGNP, rather than the acute type. This means that when you work in this role, your work focuses on individuals from the stages of young adult and upwards, who are not usually ill. Your tasks can include promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices in order to maintain health. Further responsibilities can include assessing caregiver competence, educating family and caregiver, and managing the transition between different care settings.
6. Why should you study online?
Online study has numerous benefits and can provide an affordable and flexible alternative to full-time, in-person courses. The online np programs are particularly useful for practicing RNs who want to boost their education and career but continue working, as they are designed to fit around your job and shift schedule. This can make them a very attractive option for a large number of people. Online learning can also help you develop important personal skills, such as time management, organization, problem solving, and creativity. These are useful skills in any industry and role, but some are particularly beneficial in nursing.
It is no secret that studying can be very expensive, especially at the masters level. This is one of the main reasons that people do not pursue further education. Online courses can help to reduce or remove some of the common costs that students face, such as accommodation, travel, tuition, and educational materials, while also allowing you to continue working and earning money. A masters level education can also open up more career opportunities to you, and these jobs can often have higher-paying salaries too, which may make a masters degree a worthy investment in the long run.
If your local college or institution does not offer the courses or levels of qualification you need, then this can impact your career and educational progress. Furthermore, they may not offer flexible study options. This can mean you choose something else to study, which may be a waste of time or money, do not continue your studies at all, or have to make huge life sacrifices in order to continue learning. With online np programs, your location matters much less, as a lot of the learning is done online, from the comfort of your own home.
Flexible, self-paced learning has many benefits, as it can allow you more control over your learning environment, techniques and schedule. The ability to learn from home, alongside your job, means that you do not have to put the rest of your life on hold while you pursue this qualification. It also means that you can create a learning environment that works for you, helping you enjoy and engage with the material. You will become an efficient and independent learner and develop useful learning habits that you can utilize in the future whenever you have to learn something new.
Studying online np programs can help you grow and develop, both in your career and personally. You will already be a talented and skilled nurse with an understanding of the technical and personal demands of the job. If you want to specialize in a particular area, or work towards a dnp, online np programs can help you achieve this and more, in a flexible, supportive way.