There have always been critics and skeptics of online education who have maintained that students cannot learn out of a classroom setting, but none more so than the critics of health care programs. These programs appear to be created in such a way that they cannot be taught anyplace but a classroom or clinic. However, online nursing programs have emerged around the country through many online schools and offer students the chance to become a registered nurse in an unconventional, but accepted, manner.
Online nursing programs are typically not completely distance learning programs and usually work with clinics in different cities for students’ residency requirements. Nursing classes can be taught online, but when students reach the point of residency requirements, the online classes must shift to field work and students must earn a set number of hours in order to attain a nursing degree. Ordinary classroom nursing programs work in the same way: students must complete a set number of classroom instruction hours before they have to complete another set of clinic hours. The only difference with online education is that students can earn their classroom hours from home, although some online schools require students to attend classroom meetings from time to time.
Online nursing programs and other health care programs are composed in such a way that students must earn some of their hours away from the comfort of their computer. Students cannot gain this type of clinic experience through online classes and therefore must become involved with clinics after a year of online nursing classes. However, online classes help many students who do not have the time to enroll in traditional classroom courses because of their busy schedules. While their schedules must change by their second year in nursing school, the initial year of online classes means that they can hold onto their job or family life while still earning a new degree.
The only real difference with online nursing programs is the early stages of nursing school; adjusting your school schedule to match with your work schedule during this first year is demonstrative of the flexibility online education allows its students. However, nursing students need to do further research into their online nursing programs to ensure that they can complete all their early classes from home before they are required to begin attending clinics and other residency requirements.