Guide to Going Back To School – Online

It is that time of year when Back To School promotions are everywhere.  If you’re like me, you start to think about your own options for returning to class. However, the idea of physically heading back into the classroom is often not realistic with work and family responsibilities. Many nurses are turning to online courses in order to pursue their advanced education goals, while balancing a busy schedule.  We offer these three helpful guidelines for getting yourself prepared to go back to school online this fall.

Find a School that Builds on Your Career

In pursuing a BSN, many RNs will already have a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on. Survey and choose a program that fits with your work experiences. Select an online program that can benefit you and your career and work with your current schedule. BSN coursework allows RNs to build on experience and previous coursework, while offering a new vantage point to interpret ideas and gain new knowledge. Rather than presenting brand new lessons introducing complicated topics and theories, the focus of a BSN tends to revolve around improving your understanding of the nursing and care-providing continuum, improving critical thinking and offering elevated strategies to understand academic ideas. In addition to building on foundational knowledge, studying online with others can offer a collaborative environment fostering conversation, discussion, and growth.

Schedule Your Syllabus

One of the biggest tips for students trying to negotiate an academic career with the demands of a nursing career comes down to diligently organizing your time. Use the syllabus from your online course and plan ahead for every assignment. Mark important due dates down on your calendar including discussions and assignments. In addition, schedule time for reading and studying. It is critical for working nursing students to take the time to stay on top of their schedules and remain disciplined about their studies. Similarly, establish a workstation that you can stake out as your own. Claim a spot where you can leave your most important materials so that you’re ready to study whenever you sit down.

Connect with Instructors

Studying online for your BSN can offer the ability to develop your career without the challenge of finding time to commute to a classroom setting.  But just because you aren’t in a physical classroom, it does not mean that you can’t have direct involvement with an instructor. Seek out mentors and confer with instructors early in your online academic career. Students who study online for their BSN should work to develop a relationship with their instructors, academic advisors, and fellow students to create a network of support–even if that network is online. Similarly, students should reach out to peers to develop a network of professionals who are working toward similar goals. From student message boards to Facebook groups and social networks, developing a network of support can help you succeed in your coursework and help you grow professionally.

It’s never too late to go back to school online. Please share your personal study habits and tips with your fellow ScrubsMag nurses.


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