The need for nurses continues to grow, but so too do the educational requirements. An RN is no longer enough to advance your nursing career; instead, for an increasing number of positions, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is required. Online programs can offer a flexible and convenient way for working RNs to earn a BSN degree, but potential students may not know what an online nursing program entails. We interviewed Linda Pray, a student in our fully online RN to BSN degree program, to learn what the life of a nursing student is like.
Back to the Study Basics
An RN to BSN program typically attracts students who have been out of school for a while and in the working world. That means these students have to relearn good study habits. Pray says the key to success is finding what works.
Breaking up study sessions with leisure activities is also a great strategy, especially when you’re working through a frustrating topic. “You need to refresh to stay energized to meet all your obligations,” Pray adds.
One common problem students find themselves in is getting behind before they even start. “The worst thing you can do is procrastinate,” Pray said. By procrastinating, you ensure that you’ll have even less time to complete assignments. This can result in rushed work, and even not being able to complete an assignment. By planning out when you’re going to complete coursework, you can eliminate some stress and help achieve a better result.
Balancing School, Work and Family Commitments
“Unfortunately, life does not stop once you make the commitment of going back to school,” Pray said. But with the support of her families at home, work and Notre Dame College, she has made the commitment to her education. “My colleagues at work encourage me to succeed and are excellent proofreaders,” she added.
Although the tasks may pile up, Pray finds any opportunity possible to complete work. “I can often be found at my computer at odd times of the day and night. No opportunity is missed to put all the pieces together,” she said.
Benefiting Professional Life
Pray believes one of the biggest positives of her experience has been how it has helped her nursing career in general. “I think from a professional standpoint it has opened my eyes to research- and evidence-based practice and all the changes that are currently taking place in the health care field,” she said.
Although the program has required hard work and commitment, for Pray, it has been worth it. She is also finding new life in her current job from her time as a student. “Taking the time to earn my BSN is a deeply personal journey that has not only been incredibly satisfying but has reenergized my enthusiasm for nursing,” Pray said. This program has also given Pray the opportunity to realize that learning extends far beyond her college course. “This program has made the journey into becoming a lifelong learner an achievable goal,” she added. Pray also stated that the program was uplifting both professionally and personally.
Help from Notre Dame College
To support nursing students throughout their program, we offer a variety of resources to help students succeed. The online format of the program means that students can study when and where they want, but it also means that students must be able to navigate the technology. Notre Dame offers online help for technical problems. “I cannot tell you how helpful I found the help desk staff; they were able to calm my fears and help me resolve my issue very quickly in every case,” Pray said about the online support staff available to Notre Dame students. She recalled having several fears calmed by the helpful staff who resolved issues quickly. There was also a nursing reference database offered by her employer that made researching far easier.
Using Online Program Advisors
Pray also received personal support from an online advisor. “My online program advisor has been so helpful to me,” she said. “She reaches out to me often to touch base and to see how I am doing.” Pray’s advisor regularly offered advice on how to accomplish goals, as well as advising course selection and sharing experience from other students.
The relationship between Pray and her advisor allowed her to feel encouraged throughout the process. “I think at this point I can look back and wonder if I would have stuck with it without her constant support and encouragement,” she said.
As for failure, Pray isn’t worried. Even after struggling through an assignment, she acknowledges the benefits of forgetting all the doubts she has. “I sometimes can’t believe how well something comes together once I get over the fear of failure,” she said.
With her experience coming to a close, Pray has been deciding what’s next for her. “I have no immediate plans after graduating, other than taking a deep breath and pausing to enjoy a major accomplishment,” she said. Although she isn’t considering anything right away, she expressed desire for another goal: “I may want to continue on and earn my MSN.”
After all of the hard work, Pray knows she has gained extensive experience to use and share. “I will take what I have learned and use it to not only improve my practice but to encourage others to grow professionally as well,” she said.
For more information on how to gain an experience like Linda Pray’s, visit one of our nursing program pages today.