Online College Courses in Nursing
Pursuing an online degree or certificate in nursing can open the doors to a number of jobs and in the field. Ranging from certificate to master's degrees, there are numerous programs available for aspiring nurses and experienced professionals already working in the field. Depending on the degree level, school, and program, online nursing programs should take anywhere from one to five years to complete.
To become a Registered Nurse (RN), the most common path taken is earning a bachelor's of science in nursing, or an associate degree in nursing. Both programs can be taken online, or in-person, and will train students by developing sound scientific and medical knowledge combined with hands on experience in a hospital, or clinical setting. Both bachelor's and associate level students will take courses in biology, medical terminology, pathology, and pharmacy studies among others.
Another option for those wanting to participate in online college courses for nursing is to enroll in a program designed to help you earn your licensed practical nurse (LPN), or licensed vocational nurse (LVN), certification. LPNs need to complete a state approved training program, usually offered at a number of colleges, technical, and vocational schools. These programs can usually be completed in one to three years time. Students will take courses in body mechanics, nutrition, anatomy, physiology, infection control, and resident rights. You will also need to learn proper techniques in helping patients with personal care skills, like bathing and eating.
You can also participate in online nursing courses that help you become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Training is usually offered in the form of a certificate degree through vocational or technical centers. In most cases, these programs can be completed in one to two years time. These programs include courses in basic patient care, nutrition, and patient rights.
It is important to remember that a degree does not guarantee employment. It is also essential for aspiring nurses to ensure the online program of their choice is fully accredited. The U.S. Department of Education has a database of accredited institutions, so be sure to check if the school you are considering is accredited.
Nursing and Your Career
Earning an online degree in nursing will give you the skills necessary to work in a hospital, emergency care facility, doctor's office, nursing home, or home health care service. Depending on the level of education you seek, and what kind of licensure you pursue, you will gain a firm understanding of basic sciences as they apply to healthcare. These skills include developing a good bedside manner with patients, and, if you plan on becoming an RN, how to properly administer medication and treatment as prescribed by a doctor.
Generally, licensed nurses will have a better opportunity to find employment since they are equipped with the skills and certification needed to provide a higher level of care to patients. In addition to basic courses in science and medicine, you may also want to take additional courses that prepare you to work in a specialized field. For example, many RNs possess training in a specific type of medical care, such as, pediatrics, maternity care, or surgery. While an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing will equip you with the basic skills necessary to perform your job, taking courses in a specialized field of medicine can help improve your chances of employment.
Taking online college courses in nursing can also prepare you to earn your state license if you plan on becoming an RN or LPN. Both RNs and LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing before actually working as an RN or LPN. There may also be other steps required by the state you work in to become licensed, so check with your state's licensure board before registering for the exam.
In general, taking nursing course online can help anyone gain a better understanding of modern medicine and patient care. Learning proper medical terminology, pharmacology, nutrition, and bedside skills can help you find employment in a number of different fields. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of RNs is expected to grow rapidly. The field is expected increase by 22% through the year 2018. The need for RNs in doctor's offices is expected to be even greater, with jobs growing by 48% over the same time frame. The need for LPNs and CNAs is expected to grow rapidly as well. Jobs for LPNs and CNAs are expected to grow by 21% and 18%, respectively, through 2018.
Free Online Nursing Courses:
- Nursing Fundamentals – Kaplan University
- Patient Communication Skills – University of Michigan
- Organization of Organs – The University of Nottingham