The future of nursing education is as dynamic as the field itself. There will always be campus-based programs to support and educate our registered nurses (RNs). However, online education has become an increasingly popular option for RNs looking to advance in the profession.
Opportunities for Education
Most online students are already registered nurses. They’re working full-time and looking for opportunities to return to school and advance their education. Online programs present very flexible options. Students are able to work full-time, fulfill their roles as parents or caregivers for aging parents, and complete their other responsibilities yet still be able to come back to school. That flexibility is very appealing to many students.
Online programs are often comprised of non-traditional, older students who are already licensed nurses, have one degree and are coming back for more. The flexibility allows them to accommodate where they are in life. The most successful online students are those who are very self-motivated, organized, keep a timely schedule, and stay on task.
Opportunities for Career Advancement
The field of nursing is not expected to see a saturation point for a long time. The work force currently has an aging nursing profession, consequently, there are more nurses retiring than coming in. The pandemic has also taken a toll on the physical, emotional, and mental health of nurses. Some nurses have made the decision to temporarily step out and some have chosen to permanently step out. However, others have been inspired to join the healthcare workforce and be on the front lines.
People who graduate with an advanced nursing degree programs are well-prepared to join the front lines in all settings. Graduates of an RN-BSN program are employed in familiar hospital settings from acute care to the emergency room, and from obstetrics to operating the ICU. Graduates of nurse practitioner master’s programs are mainly in primary care. They are practicing in community clinics that may be owned by a larger organization or in their own private clinics. We continue to see nurses with advanced degrees having an impact in all types of locations including community settings, health departments and school systems.
Opportunities to Make a Difference
In conclusion, nursing is a wonderful and very rewarding profession. It’s rewarding to know that although you may be exhausted after a 12-hour shift, you’ve made a difference helping a patient or their family member. The nursing profession also provides a lot of flexibility whether that is choosing a specialty area, different shifts, or ease in finding jobs. As a nursing professional with a long and varied career, I second guess myself on things in life but one thing I have never regretted or thought twice about is the profession that I chose because I chose an awesome profession.
Interested in advancing your nursing education and career?
Earn your degree online a regionally accredited university that has been an online education leader for more than 15 years. Eastern Kentucky University’s flexible, online format provides students the ability to complete coursework and assignments according to their schedule. Online nursing degree options include RN-BSN, MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). EKU also offers post-MSN certificates in family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
Complete the form to learn more about how EKU Online’s nursing programs can help advance your career.
About the Author
Dr. Brooke Bentley is the chair of Eastern Kentucky University’s school of nursing. She has been a registered nurse for nearly 28 years and a family nurse practitioner (FNP) for 24 years. She started her nursing career in the cardiac intensive care unit and then practiced as an RN in the post-anesthesia care unit prior to becoming an FNP. As an FNP, she has experience in women’s health urgent care, hospice, and college health. She began teaching in EKU’s BSN program in 1998. In 2013, she began teaching in, and became the coordinator of, EKU’s FNP program. She accepted the position of School of Nursing associate chair in 2018 and chair in 2019. Dr. Bentley’s BSN and MSN degrees are from EKU, and her PhD is from the University of Kentucky with an emphasis in nursing research related to dietary sodium and heart failure patients.