Online Program Management companies (OPMs) are taking the online nursing education market by storm. As higher education institutions compete to meet student expectations in a digital world, OPMs create, manage, and market education programs for these schools at a cost. These corporations shoulder upfront costs of developing and setting up the virtual nursing degree programs so universities don’t have to.
Building Out Both Traditional And Virtual Classrooms
While traditional colleges and universities are well-established contenders in the arena of in-person, face-to-face education, OPMs allow these institutions to branch out and offer nursing education online. Remote graduate nursing students have unique schedules and needs, so a different skill set is required to recruit them, as opposed to the conventional classroom student.
From a recruitment standpoint, OPMs provide a valuable service on the front-end. OPMs deliver innovative marketing to prospective and future students in this technological era with the return of a sizable applicant pool for their higher education clients.
A Conscionable Approach to Nursing Education?
But not everything is promising with this organizational model. Many professionals in higher education share the same concerns about the integrity of the Online Program Management model—that the conflicting goals of education for the greater good and business revenue by a corporation are incompatible.
By outsourcing their online nursing programs and subsequent marketing, traditional universities stand to lose authenticity in their brand and transparency in their recruitment efforts. Are OPMs merely filling desks or targeting students who fit the culture and philosophy of the institution?
While the moral ramifications of recruiting by OPM are unknown and will continue to be debated, the results are clear. The fact that the OPM market is a billion-dollar business implies that they are doing something right.
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife and freelance writer. She has ten years of nursing experience and graduated with a MSN from Frontier Nursing University.