Nursing programs have been offered in an online format for a number of years. This venue offers nurses the opportunity to advance their education in a flexible structure that addresses nurses’ needs. Allowing for 12-hour shifts, family life and other activities, an online program brings education to the nurse rather than the nurse having to determine how he or she can get to classes at a specific time in a specific place.
In addition, online programs draw students from across the nation and around the world. Nurses attending classes in an online program benefit from insights presented by faculty and peers who can expand discussions and understanding past what might be found in a specific healthcare organization or geographic locale. Since the world tends to be “shrinking” on many fronts, it is a definite benefit for nurses to exchange ideas and information with professionals from around the globe.
National accrediting associations use the same rigorous standards to assess and evaluate the quality of nursing programs offered online as those that are campus-based. Having been through multiple accreditations, I am well aware of the rigor and quality of those reviewing nursing programs on the ground and online. With so many nursing programs accredited with a hybrid or totally online format, the quality and credibility of the online degree is well evidenced.
Having been in a position to manage and hire nursing faculty, I have sought out those who have doctorates in nursing. Faculty who graduated from an online program demonstrated the same high standard of professionalism and academic preparation as those who graduated from an on-ground campus. Since the entire faculty held doctoral degrees, the same academic rigor was evidenced in their dissertations or capstone projects. Nurses’ success or failure as a faculty member had more to do with their own professionalism, ability to interact with students and dedication to the requirements needed within the faculty position rather than the venue in which they obtained their degree. I would not hesitate to hire a nurse professional that graduated from an accredited online program if they possessed the degree requirements and skill sets needed for the job.
About the Author:
Dr. Mary Bemker is the academic coordinator for Sullivan University’s College of Nursing. She has worked as a nurse for over 25 years in hospital, community and academic settings. She has also been involved in four accreditation efforts for nursing programs, three of which she led. Recently, Dr. Bemker conducted two workshops for the Kentucky Counseling Association, and she is an active member of the East Louisville Sunrise Rotary Club. She is currently under contract with the American Nurses Association to edit a text for Doctor of Nursing Practice students, and is on international professional journal boards. In her free time, Dr. Bemker enjoys reading, quilting, gardening and spending time with family.