What to Know About Becoming a Nurse Online

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While you can become a nurse through online coursework, “becoming a nurse online” is not a completely accurate description of the program. There are many misconceptions about online nursing programs, such as that they are 100% online. So, what’s online learning and its benefits? What are some other misconceptions?

nurse sitting at desk looking at computer

With the increase in popularity of online learning, you might have noticed that many nursing programs offer online coursework. So, is it possible to become a nurse online? Yes and no.

Becoming a nurse online is a bit of a misnomer. Nursing programs that offer online learning to their students are not completely online. Students are still required to participate in hands-on experiential learning so they can acquire necessary nursing skills they will rely on throughout their careers. So, while online learning is part of your path to earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in these programs, it is not the only step.

Through Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, students complete their coursework online while participating in hands-on, in-person simulation labs and clinical rotations in metro Detroit.

Despite nursing programs not being solely online, online coursework has the potential to enrich your education and help you meet your goals of becoming a registered nurse. Below is an exploration of what an online nursing program is, its many benefits, and an overview of some common misconceptions.

What is an Online Nursing Program?

As stated before, an online nursing program is not 100% online, and instead combines online coursework with in-person nursing simulation labs and clinical rotations. This combination provides students with the flexibility of online coursework and the valuable skills that comes with in-person learning.

With Madonna University’s 16-month ABSN program, you’re getting a top-quality nursing education tailored to your needs. Our online coursework is not an adaptation of campus-based lectures, as many universities have been forced to offer, but rather developed intentionally to provide learners a rich experience designed to accommodate a variety of learning preferences.

This means that no matter how you learn, you’ll find elements in our online programming that support you in a unique way.

Interactive innovations — such as videos, discussion boards, quizzes, and more — help to support all different types of learners and are housed on Canvas, an online learning management system, allowing easy recall if you wish to revisit a lesson or exercise. This is especially helpful when studying and preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Madonna University’s ABSN program fosters a supportive learning environment that prepares you to answer the call to become a registered nurse without compromising convenience.

woman holding moving box

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The Benefits of Becoming a Nurse Online

There are many benefits of online learning that you would not experience in a traditional in-person lecture. Online learning is structured to benefit the student by making the coursework and instruction as accessible as possible.

As mentioned, online learning utilizes a variety of learning activities to ensure a wide range of students can comfortably learn. Online coursework is structured to engage with social, verbal, tactile, logical, aural, and visual learners.

Additionally, online learning provides the flexibility to learn, study and “attend class” at your own pace and according to your schedule. Provided you meet your professor’s deadlines, online coursework is malleable enough to fit in your daily life.

This flexibility encourages self-discipline, accountability, and critical thinking, three characteristics that help you build autonomy, which is essential to nursing. While you must assume additional responsibility to ensure you meet the demands of online coursework, you teach yourself how to maintain autonomy in your studies, and ultimately, your future career.

3 Common Misconceptions about Online Learning

Despite the growing number of people becoming a nurse online, some students still consciously steer clear from online learning, mainly due to common misconceptions. Below are three of the most common misunderstandings about online learning. Understanding them is key to determining whether becoming a nurse online is right for you.

Misconception 1: Communication with Your Instructor is Difficult

An online education can be just as interactive and purposeful between you and your instructor as traditional learning environments. Through an online learning management system, you are connected to your instructors and fellow classmates. In Madonna University’s ABSN, users communicate with instructors through email, video conferencing and discussion forums.

However, if you prefer to meet face-to-face with instructors, this is also an option. At Madonna University, you will have access to many of the same resources as on-campus students. You can set up in-person meetings with instructors and have access to our online learning specialists to answer technical questions.

Misconception 2: You Can Work a Full-time Job While Becoming a Nurse Online

Pursuing an online nursing program is not a decision to take lightly. It requires much preparation, time, and energy. That said, working full-time during your nursing school journey is not recommended.

Madonna’s ABSN program is compressed into four semesters and moves quickly. Between online coursework, hands-on labs, and clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities, you can expect to spend up to 40 hours a week completing lectures, assignments, writing papers, responding to discussion boards, and more.

To be successful in our ABSN program, you’ll want to set daily learning goals to stay on track, as you’ll be responsible for remembering assignment and project due dates.

Misconception 3: Anyone Can Succeed in an Online Education

It takes a particular individual to succeed in an online educational environment, especially if it’s accelerated, like Madonna University’s ABSN. Because online coursework brings a level of flexibility and convenience to the learning process, you’ll be responsible for managing your time wisely.

In addition to time management, it’s also best to:

  • Be self-disciplined
  • Be organized
  • Be persistent
  • Have a routine and dedicated study environment
  • Understand how you learn best
  • Anticipate stress

Online coursework does not mean easier workload. As you progress toward earning your BSN, keep a level head and seek support when needed.

Madonna nursing student sitting at desk typing on laptop

What to Expect in an Online Program

Now that we have debunked common misconceptions, let’s explore what you should expect from an online program.

An online nursing program specifically tailors the coursework for online learners. While you may have friends at other schools who have had poor experiences with online learning, online coursework at nursing schools, such as our program, was not a last-minute adaptation of a traditional classroom experience.

In the Madonna ABSN program, you will participate in interactive learning objectives to promote engagement and reinforce nursing concepts, such as dragging and dropping an organ into its proper location within the human body. Other learning components include:

  • Discussion boards
  • Research papers
  • Assignments with real-life connections
  • Quizzes, activities, and logic games
  • Recorded lectures
  • PowerPoints, YouTube videos, and web conferencing

While your courses will be online, so much goes into nursing that you must learn through hands-on experience. Students who enroll in our ABSN, or another online program, must commute to in-person nursing simulation labs and clinical rotations.

These courses are an essential part of becoming a nurse online. Simulation labs and clinical rotations are where you apply the knowledge gained from online coursework to real-world practice.

Skills and Nursing Simulation Labs

Skills and nursing simulation labs serve as a trial run for the materials you learn online — allowing you to put your knowledge to use in a low-stakes environment overseen by instructors.

At Madonna University, our nursing skills and simulation labs are designed like a hospital, complete with advanced medical equipment, supplies, and high-tech manikins that realistically simulate a variety of functions.

Madonna ABSN students in simulation lab

This creates a safe, risk-free environment for our students to learn and apply essential nursing skills. You will learn how to properly handle and become comfortable with various pieces of equipment, such as vials, needles, and stethoscopes.

In skills and nursing simulation labs, the manikins become your first patients. You’ll learn to monitor the manikin’s breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate patterns, and even perform wound care. Additionally, you’ll learn to:

  • Perform holistic head-to-toe assessments
  • Insert a catheter
  • Take vitals: blood pressure, pulse, and respirations
  • Care for wounds
  • Insert nasogastric (NG) tubes

In addition to skills labs, you will also partake in simulation labs. While skills labs focus on teaching you necessary nursing skills, nursing simulation labs revolve around realistic scenarios that challenge you to problem solve, collaborate, and think critically without the fear of causing harm.

There, students may, for example, play different roles in the timed simulated scenarios, acting as a nurse, doctor, or family member, to improve communication skills.

Clinical Rotations

In addition to the labs, you will also complete in-person clinicals. Clinical rotations are performed at local healthcare facilities, under the guidance of licensed clinical staff. You will build your independence throughout clinical rotations, working your way up to providing direct patient care.

You can think of your clinical rotations in our ABSN program as a 16-month job interview. Everything you learn online will prepare you to work and network with medical professionals. You will work with top-notch staff over the course of your clinical rotations, building relationships and networking for your post-graduation future.

Madonna University’s ABSN clinical placements are held with one of our academic practice partners, Ascension Michigan. Through the 16-month duration of the ABSN program, you will work with patients in a variety of specialties, including:

  • Adult and Older Adult Health
  • Maternity and Pediatrics
  • Acute Care
  • Mental and Behavioral Health

Your first clinical experience, Holistic Mental Health Nursing Care, will begin in your second semester. Other clinical placements you will experience throughout the ABSN program are medical surgical, health in the community, and population.

Your accelerated nursing clinicals at Ascension Michigan will require you to not only observe but get directly involved and apply your nursing knowledge. Learning these essential nursing skills and successfully applying them during clinicals at Ascension Michigan is an important step toward graduation and your future as a registered nurse.

Madonna ABSN students sitting in classroom

If you’re ready to earn your BSN, read more to learn everything you need to know about getting into nursing school.

Become a Qualified Nurse through Madonna University’s ABSN

Madonna University’s ABSN incorporates online learning with hands-on simulation labs and clinical rotations so students can get the most out of their education while becoming a nurse online. Online learning’s flexibility and emphasis on self-discipline and accountability allow you to shape and fit your coursework into your schedule.

Through Madonna University’s ABSN, you can earn your BSN in as few as 16 months. If you are a transfer student with a minimum of 60 college credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA, or have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, you can start your nursing journey with Madonna University after completing any outstanding prerequisites.

Madonna nursing students in sim lab

Our rigorous and comprehensive curriculum prepares you to take the NCLEX with confidence, so you can earn your licensure and begin practicing as a qualified registered nurse.

Contact an admission officer at Madonna University today to start taking the steps toward earning your BSN. Our dedicated admission officers are here to answer your questions and assist you throughout the application process.