As COVID-19 continues to disrupt life and studies on college campuses, enrolling in an online nursing program is probably an increasingly attractive option. If you are pursuing a career in nursing, understanding the differences between online nursing schools and campus-based ones will make it easier for you to decide. Here are four things you should consider at the outset:
1. Technology Has Come a Long Way
In the past, only a certain portion of nursing school curriculum could be taught online. The reason for this was because of limited technology. Nurses would still need to be involved in various labs to get the practicum necessary to graduate.
As schools around the country have enhanced their technology, it makes it easier to attend a school of nursing completely online. It offers an immersive curriculum in order for students to understand the various topics.
Particularly within the past decade, web-based teaching has increased considerably. It allows teachers to answer questions live and allow students to work with one another in team settings. This is being seen not only in nursing schools but throughout all of higher education.
Even students who did not grow up learning on computers have found that they are able to embrace online learning. Nursing systems, specifically, provide online tutorials, use 3D images, and other enhanced programming in order to make up for what would traditionally be lost from a face-to-face classroom environment.
2. What Nursing Lab Options Would Work Best for You?
Throughout nursing school, labs are a significant component involved in teaching. It allows students to understand how they will need to work with doctors and patients in order to perform on the job daily.
In a classroom, students will have the ability to simulate real-life situations. They can “act” as a nurse in order to perform the necessary activities. Whether it’s to draw blood, conduct the lab on a patient, or save a life, they will have the ability to walk through the various steps in person.
Online, simulation labs are available. There are plenty of universities getting creative with how they are going to train students filming various scenarios and using ambulance and flight simulators can make it easier for students online to feel as though they are in the moment. It enables students to think about their approach, communicate, and take action.
Although some of the virtual clinical simulation labs are a culture shock, it allows online students to get the same level of education as those who are in the classroom.
Additionally, some schools provide the opportunity for both in-person and online courses. This would allow you to take some of the lecture courses online while still being able to go into the classroom for the labs. It comes down to deciding what you are most comfortable with – and what a particular school offers.
3. Looking for On-Campus Experience, or Convenience?
Online nursing schools offer a significant amount of convenience. It allows you to get the education you want without having to consider the distance to the nearest campus. As long as you have access to WiFi, you have the ability to attend your classes.
Some classes allow you the added convenience of being able to log in at any time within a 24-hour period to listen to the lectures. You can work the assignments on a schedule that works for all that you have going on in your life. Other classes, however, may require that you log in at a certain day and time.
Beyond the location of the school and the timeframes, you also have the benefit of being able to work in a more independent environment. More specifically, for adults that are considering going back to school, many prefer an online environment once they become familiar with the technology. It can boost confidence as they don’t have to worry about having their age being questioned while sitting in a class with students half their age.
4. What are Your Learning and Career Goals?
Everyone has the opportunity to choose the type of nursing school program that works best for them. When you decide that you want to become a nurse, you will need to find a certified program that allows you to work within the environment you feel the most comfortable in.
While online programs provide a significant amount of versatility and convenience, some people prefer to interact face-to-face with the professors and their fellow students.
As you explore the different programs, you will want to look at the intensity of the simulation labs. Ask questions about the technology used to ensure that you get the level of education that you deserve. Once you graduate from a program, whether it is online or in-person, you will be expected to have a full understanding of the curriculum you have been taught. As such, if you are going to engage in online labs, it needs to be on a level where you can translate that information to doing it in person.
Regardless of what you decide in terms of the type of class, you’re given the same curriculum. Further, you have to decide on the kind of RN you wish to be. Nursing schools will give you access to courses that focus on various specialties:
- Critical care
- Pain management
With over 100 specialties out there, you can focus on simply being educated as an RN or decide to dive into one of the specialties. You can always cross-train between some of the specialties, too. As you become more familiar with the options, you can work on customizing your curriculum to ensure you get the right education for the type of nurse you are passionate about becoming.
Evaluate Your Priorities and Explore Your Opportunities
Don’t be afraid to explore the opportunities that are provided to you by a college or university, whether it is online or not. Ensure it is going to support your career goals.
As long as you can pass the NXLEX-RN exam to prove that you have met the requirements to work as a nurse in the US and you have passed an English language competency exam, you have the ability to work all across the United States.
The first step is deciding that you want to be a nurse. You don’t have to attend and graduate from an Ivy League college that is not only far away but also expensive. You simply have to obtain the necessary education to become a registered nurse – and there are plenty of opportunities out there.
The choice is yours. Attend online or in person. Online nursing programs have evolved dramatically over the past few years, allowing you to get a comprehensive education in a way that is convenient (and affordable) for you.
For more information on planning your nursing career, visit this link: Nursing Career Opportunities.
Learn recruitment strategies that tie in with National Nurses Week and how they can be a helpful tool in gaining quality nursing staff that you are more likely to retain. With the national nursing shortage still an issue today, recruiting new nurses for your clinical positions as well as enticing new student nurses is a top priority. How you go about recruitment can make a difference in whether potential hires choose your hospital as their place of employment.
The Importance of a Recruitment Strategy
The nursing shortage doesn’t necessarily affect your ability to
find new hires. Because many hospitals have difficulty with
retention, nurses are often looking for new jobs. There are also
still plenty of nursing students entering the profession. The real
issue is how to attract them. This is where your recruitment strategy
becomes invaluable. It’s also vital to keep in mind that your
retention strategy starts with your recruitment efforts. The steps
you take to recruit new nurses to your program is also what will make
them want to stay if you handle it properly.
According to the American
Organization of Nurse Executives, a conservative
estimate of the money a hospital spends indirect
recruitment costs related to a turn-over is $10,000. Building a
robust recruitment strategy that is backed by the same fervor of
retention efforts can help eliminate the need for this expenditure.
Why National Nurses Week is the Perfect Opportunity to Utilize Your Strategy
During National Nurses Week, employers take the time to celebrate
their nursing staff and recognize the hard job they have. Many times,
the best recruitments strategies come down to which hospital showed
they were the most invested in their employees. That’s why
utilizing National Nurses Week in your recruitment strategy can be so
helpful – your current employees have a lot to say in the matter.
of nurses surveyed in Nurse.com’s salary survey
said that salary was of utmost importance for job satisfaction, money
wasn’t everything. And salary didn’t just mean the
dollars they took home. A high salary may look enticing, but
cost-of-living has to be factored in as well. Indeed.com
surveyed nurses as well, according
to their data, scheduling flexibility and work-life
balance often took priority over salary. They also reported that 26%
of nurses with existing jobs say they’re contacted weekly by
recruiters. Standing out from the competition is a must.
With the market as competitive as it is, healthcare organizations need to find new and unique ways to recruit potential hires. National Nurses Week allows you to highlight what makes working for your facility so outstanding. Below are some options for using this week of recognition to help recruit new talent.
When you begin highlighting your open positions via job boards, mass emails, and other techniques, consider the impersonal nature of such strategies. Rather than sending the same form email to all 50 candidates, personalize each with a message related to National Nurses Week. Contact them to show appreciation, maybe including a discount, freebie, or invite to an event you’re holding. You may also want to point out why they’d be a good fit, using specific reasons that stood out to you during the interview process. Tout their potential and offerings, not yours, during this exchange, and you’ll show them that you’re already a step ahead of the competition.
Show, Don’t Just Tell
Part of the promise is what comes of it. Make sure that you are following up on your promises that you make to your potential hires. Give them proof that you’ve been faithful to your word. Perhaps having special nurse week marketing materials that showcase happy employees talking about what is best about your hospital or having a coffee hour each day where a satisfied family comes in and tells about a nurse at your facility that stood out. The more good publicity you can get from happy patients and current staff, the better it looks. Of course, please don’t force it or coerce it in any way, because doing so will come out and backfire.
Let the Data Drive You
One of the smartest things you can do when it comes to hiring is to
defer to the data. Not only by doing your research on how things
historically go, but by collecting some data of your own. Asking your
potential hires questions regarding why they did or didn’t choose
your hospital, which recruitment strategy enticed them the most, and
even how they prefer to find a job can all be a great source of
information to help drive your recruitment strategies. Involving your
potential hires and current nurses can also lead to more trust, as it
creates a feeling of being heard and valued, which is a trait that
many employees look for in a job.
National Nurses Week is an excellent time to implement this. Along with a note of appreciation to each nurse, include a survey with some of these questions and then a section asking how you can make their job better as well as how you can continue to show your appreciation. Consider incentivizing the return of the survey by making it anonymous or adding a gift upon completion. You can even send these surveys along to student nursing programs, giving the students a personal one-on-one invite to tour your hospital or shadow a nurse for a day. Former nursing staff in good standing could also get a survey asking why they left and letting them know you appreciate them and are remembering them during this week.
Your Existing Nursing Staff Should Not Be Overlooked
Letting your nurses know they are appreciated should be a daily occurrence, but during National Nurses Week, it can be especially helpful. Your existing nursing staff is one of the best ways to find new nurses. If they are happy, they will be more likely to recommend an open position to a friend. This is even more true for traveling nurses who may encounter unhappy employees on their journeys. Be sure to treat them just like the long-term staff and find a way to recognize them as well. Consider treating your nurses to some bonus activities during the week, such as a free meal. If you decide to have events during the week, invite the nurses’ families. And remind them how to care for themselves to maintain a positive work-life balance.
Open Your Doors to New Hires
Having an event during National Nurses Week that is part job-fair and part celebration can go a long way with nursing students and potential hires. Give them an inside look into what working for your hospital would look like. Treat each person as if you are genuinely invested in their success by helping them take steps toward getting their first program acceptance or new job. Along with inviting them in for a tour, give them a chance to meet some of the staff they would be working with, including nurses, management, and doctors. Provide a photographer that can take free headshots for their portfolios. Don’t focus on pushing your recruitment strategy and instead let each person walk away with a booklet that covers the approach along with other relevant information about your hospital. If you impress them upfront, the brochure will be the icing on the cake.
Put Out a Press Release
National Nurses Week is the perfect time to announce something new your program is offering or doing. Recently, the news was released that the US Senate vowed to strengthen academic nursing. They were strategic in announcing it during National Nurses Week. Why? Because nurses are paying attention. It’s their week of recognition, and more news comes across their desk that they might want to pay attention to between those discounts and freebie offers that also inevitably come.
Take a Page from the Book of Success
Ideas abound for how to make an impression on potential candidates. If you’re looking for fresh nursing talent and you’re willing to invest in them early, why not take a page out of Western Governors University’s book? To celebrate National Nurses Week in 2016, they awarded scholarships to nurses across the nation. Your program could offer this to student nurses as well as tenured nurses looking to advance in their careers by going back to school.
A Call to Action: Begin Today
Increasing your chances of attracting top nursing talent takes a
focus on your potential hire’s best interests. What do they want?
Professional development, flexibility, work-life balance, unique
perks, fair pair, tuition assistance, and other such incentives go a
long way. Taking a personalized approach and showing how much your
facility values its nursing staff will attract more potential hires
than you expect. It’s easy enough to implement that you can begin
right now. The key is to make sure you continue appreciating your
nurses every day of the year, as well. For more information on
supporting your staff, nurses, or other departments, see
library of published resources that are designed for
those in the healthcare field.
Every morning starts the same way for Veteran Kenneth Tutt, age 79. At 8:00am he makes a phone call to Nurse Practitioner Rhonda Weinhold. Weinhold is a VA Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) provider. She has been working with Tutt for four years. Together they review his weight, blood pressure and sugar levels. “There is no doubt in my mind I would not be here if it was not for this program,” said Tutt.
Home-Based Primary Care is a VA program bringing primary health care into Veterans’ homes. HBPC provides integrated, patient-centered care for Veterans with complex medical needs. Veterans in the program are assigned a primary care provider like Ms. Weinhold, based at the Staunton, Va., community-based outpatient clinic. “The families, the caregivers in the home, they really depend on us,” she says. “A lot of our patients consider us part of the family.”
“So Many Medications!”
Recently, Weinhold began something new for Tutt and several other patients that has helped to reduce their medications and resulted in higher satisfaction with their quality of life. Not long ago, she attended a VA Geriatric Scholars Program class, which inspired her to develop a medication management program to review patient medication prescriptions. The idea came in part from a HBPC routine: setting up monthly medication boxes. “We love doing it, but we noticed our patients were on so many medications. We just thought, are there medications we could potentially get rid of that actually might be doing more harm or that are not needed?”
She teamed up with HBPC team member Jena Willis, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), to develop the idea. The review, it turns out, often results in a reduction of medications. Weinhold says it is good because, “Research shows the more medication patients are on, especially for the elderly population, the greater the risk for falls.” In fact, Tutt admits to having fallen at home a few times in the past. They consolidate the medication de-escalation recommendations, adding them to each patient’s electronic health record. Tutt, like most HBPC patients, takes a lot of medications for a variety of health conditions.
asked veterans, “How do you feel about trying to get off some medicine?” Tutt
thought, “It was a terrific idea.” The project has helped Tutt feel he’s got a
better chance of being the person he’s always been. “I’ve been an outdoor
person all my life,” said Tutt, who served in the Navy from 1958 to 1970. “I
garden, I raise flowers. I’ve had to cut back, but I’m still mobile.”
HBPC: Keeping Patients Safe in their Homes
“Our goal with Home-Based Primary Care is patient safety,” said Weinhold. “We’re there to keep them safe in the home and to keep them in the home as long as possible.” As they fine-tuned their process, Weinhold brought others onboard. It was a team effort. Three registered nurses met in person with 80 patients over six months. “We were able to reduce the number of medications an average two medicines per patient,” said Weinhold.
After their success in Staunton, they were able to coordinate with Salem VA Medical Center (VAMC) pharmacy residents’ grand rounds presentation on the de-escalation of therapy for the medical department there. The Salem VAMC is Staunton’s Community-Based Outpatient Clinic’s parent facility. The residents added the information to their presentation as an introduction to the rest of the medical facility. “The most rewarding thing is providing improved quality of life for our patients, whether it’s three more days, three more years, or 30 more years,” said Willis.
Maureen Jerrett is a contract
writer for VA Geriatric Scholars Program
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An anonymous Penn State donor couple has made a gift of $5 million to endow a scholarship for students with financial need in the College of Nursing. This is the largest single gift the college has received in its six-year history. In addition, the University is matching the gift 1:1, bringing the scholarship endowment total to $10 million. Students from western Pennsylvania and rural regions of the commonwealth will be given first preference for the awards.
“The College of Nursing’s potential for impact on the health of communities across the commonwealth is vast, and these donors have recognized that potential through this remarkable gift,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Their support will help to address the commonwealth’s pressing need for health care professionals and allow recipients to forge meaningful careers in nursing, transforming their own lives. We’re very grateful for this generous gift.”
College of Nursing undergraduates who must meet the cost of a Penn State degree with loans graduate, on average, with an educational debt of more than $42,500. Recipients of the scholarship, however, will receive annual awards of up to $10,000. This will significantly reduce their debt and allow them more latitude to choose jobs in high-need but lower-paid geographic areas and medical fields that present the most urgent need for nurses.
“The extraordinary couple who made this gift have been impressed by the excellence of Penn State’s nursing programs,” said Laurie Badzek, dean and professor of the College of Nursing. “In particular, they appreciate our work to prepare a generation of nurses with a solid grounding in geriatrics and community health.”
“Nursing is a discipline that touches everyone’s life at some point, and these generous donors are helping to ensure better care across the commonwealth,” said Susan Kukic, director of development and alumni relations for the college. “While they have chosen to remain anonymous, they are important role models whose vision for the future of our students and our college will, I hope, inspire others to consider how they can support excellence in nursing and nursing education.”
For information on this scholarship and the nursing program at Penn State, visit here.
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