The Pros and Cons of Online Nursing Classes

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the pros and cons of online (aka hybrid) learning

If you’ve found this article, it’s possible you’re interested in a hybrid ABSN experience, but maybe you’re not 100 percent sure if it’s right for you. Well, we’re here to help you understand the pros and cons of hybrid online nursing classes.

Many online-based nursing programs work by combining immersive computer-based lessons that students can complete from home with in-person skills labs as well as in-person clinicals. Hybrid ABSN programs provide the best of both worlds, allowing you to study safely from the comfort of your house without sacrificing the social element in-person learning with a cohort provides.

Notre Dame of Maryland University’s Hybrid Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program gives students the opportunity to study and complete nursing theory coursework via an intuitive e-Learning platform in as few as 15 months. With this learning modality, you can complete interactive exercises, participate in class discussions, and communicate with instructors all without stepping foot in a physical classroom. While you’ll still have to attend in-person labs and clinicals regularly and adhere to instructors’ deadlines, this online-based ABSN program option brings a level of convenience and autonomy to the nursing theory learning process.

nursing student practicing in skills lab

For those who prefer a more traditional learning format, we also offer an on-campus ABSN program. Both paths provide students with the same access to supportive faculty mentors, state-of-the-art nursing simulation labs, and clinical experiences at some of Baltimore’s most renowned health care facilities.

To help you decide if a hybrid online nursing program such as the one NDMU offers is right for you, or if our campus-based program may suit you better, we outline the pros and cons of hybrid online nursing classes compared to traditional nursing programs.

The Pros of Online Nursing Classes

As we head into a new year, we do so facing new challenges. Luckily, tackling challenges and finding creative ways to solve problems is what nursing is all about, and the Accelerated BSN program at Notre Dame of Maryland University is no exception. We mitigate the risks of gathering in-person during COVID-19 by employing thorough and rigorous precautions, ensuring that you can proceed with labs at our Elkridge Learning Site and clinical placements with a sense of security.

  1. Online learning is pandemic-approved. It may seem obvious, but online learning greatly reduces the time you’re around other people. Rather than sitting in a classroom with other students, you receive the same top-notch curriculum through our intuitive e-Learning platform and engage with the class via discussions boards and interactive modules.
  2. Online learning offers convenience. As long as you stick to the due dates set by your instructor, you can complete your work at your own pace. This means you have plenty of time to review as needed, but you won’t be held back, either. If there’s a concept you’re comfortable with, you can work ahead to get a jump-start on your upcoming lessons, too.
  3. Online learning provides a quality education. A common misconception is that online learning compromises quality for speed or accessibility. That’s not the case with our online-based accelerated nursing program. It provides engaging and challenging nursing theory coursework that will ready you for a rewarding new career path as a nurse. It also affords life-changing opportunities that will help you transform the world through nursing.

The Cons of Online Classes

While online learning adds a level of flexibility to earning your BSN, it isn’t for everyone.

  1. Not every student learns the same way. If you’re a student who thrives from face-to-face in-person interaction, then our traditional on-campus Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program may be more in line with your learning preferences.
  2. Don’t get too comfortable! Some folks find it hard to study and work in the same place they relax, so learning from home can present a challenge. Our advice is to create a separate learning space to keep you focused. Consider creating a home office or even just a chair at the kitchen table rather than a spot on the couch.
  3. Connection issues. Let’s face it, sometimes the internet can act up. It can be frustrating to deal with the whims of technology when you don’t have an IT person in the building ready to help.

If you have concerns about hybrid learning, reach out to us with questions. For those who prefer face-to-face learning environments, our on-campus learning modality is a more traditional, lecture-based option with classes offered at NDMU’s main campus in Baltimore.

You Can’t Become a Nurse 100% Online

The curriculum pathway you choose, hybrid or on-campus, will determine where you’ll need to complete your lab work. Even if you choose the online-based path, you still must complete hands-on work in both skills and simulation labs, meaning that you’ll be on-site often. If you enroll in the Hybrid ABSN program, you’ll attend your labs at the ABSN learning site in Elkridge, which is off-campus.

Upon entry you’ll have your temperature checked, be expected to maintain social distancing and wear a mask at all times. Our site also offers hand sanitizer stations, floor markers, and other resources to keep you and your peers safe through COVID-19.

three NDMU nursing students with lab coats working with a simulation manikin

On-campus ABSN students will complete nursing skills and simulation labs in-person at our Center for Caring with Technology located on our main campus in Baltimore following similar COVID-19 safety measures.

Both state-of-the-art learning sites feature:

  • Advanced hospital equipment
  • Medical supplies
  • Manikins (patient simulators)
  • Break rooms
  • Testing rooms
  • Classrooms
  • Lockers
  • Simulation rooms

In these lab spaces, you’ll put all your classroom or online work into real-world practice in safe settings. During skills lab, you and your fellow classmates will meet to learn how to apply safely core nursing skills like caring for wounds, checking vital signs, and inserting catheters and IVs.

During simulation labs, Notre Dame ABSN students will apply these foundational skills to a mock clinical scenario, making this portion of lab the most realistic in comparison to what they’ll experience as nurses in a real hospital setting. Simulation lab scenarios are designed to give you this practice so you can grow your problem-solving skills, one of the most important characteristics a great nurse needs to have.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations are where Notre Dame ABSN students put all they learned in other parts of their nursing education into real-world practice at top health care facilities in the Baltimore area. Because our program is accelerated, you’ll begin your clinical placements in your first semester, giving you plenty of experience in many diverse settings. This ensures you’ll be comfortable with patients and competent to begin practicing once you graduate and pass the NCLEX® licensure exam.

The Nursing Demand

A big reason Notre Dame of Maryland University has expanded its ABSN program options to include a hybrid option is to help ease the demand for registered nurses in the area.

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 17 percent by 2029, much faster than the average for all other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The vacancy rate for nurses shows that it’s becoming tougher to keep up with filling these openings. But with programs like NDMU’s Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program in Baltimore, we can help supply that demand sooner.

Are You Ready to Start Your Accelerated Nursing Education?

There are pros and cons to online nursing classes, most of which depend on your preferred learning style and environment. Both our hybrid Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program and campus-based ABSN program provides a clear pathway for you to safely become the best nurse you can be.

If you’re ready to begin your nursing journey, reach out to one of our admissions counselors. All are on hand to walk you through the Notre Dame ABSN admissions process and help you assess which learning modality is the right move for you. You won’t know until you contact us.