Many people wonder if they get practical experience in an online MSN program when they are not familiar with the setup of these modern nursing programs. In the past, all graduate nursing students were required to attend on-campus courses to earn their Master’s degree, making it possible to get practical hands-on experience. When you study online and use distance education courses, getting the practical experience that you would expect to get from a nursing program is not as easy as it would be in a traditional program. Whether or not a Master of Science in Nursing program offers you the option to get practical experience depends on the program and your own background. Read on, and find out what you should expect from an online MSN program.
Students Who Already Possess Practical Skill Can Study Nursing Online
One of the unique things about nursing is that a great deal of skills that you need as an entry-level professional in the field must be acquired from hands-on experience in a clinical setting. This is why entry-level students studying to become a CNA, a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse must spend a great deal of their time in a brick and mortar school or a traditional hospital setting. Some of the entry-level programs, like Associate of Science in Nursing, do allow students to complete all of the lecture sessions online and the practical curriculum in person.
Because graduate-level students in nursing have already earned their nursing degree and gained hands-on experience, they may not even need practical experience to meet qualifications to earn their Master’s degree. Whether or not practical experience in needed will depend on what specialty in nursing that you are pursuing. This is something that should be considered before you decide to study online for your MSN.
Acquiring Only Formal Knowledge in Nursing
Just because you want to study for your MSN degree online does not mean that you cannot get newly acquired practical knowledge in the field. The purpose of an MSN is to advance your technical knowledge in nursing and to become an expert in a specific area where practical skill is needed. While some may think that online learning is not suited for nursing professionals who want to become experts, this could not be further from the truth. Online programs are actually very beneficial, because many students already possess the practical skills that they need and are only in search of acquiring new, formal knowledge. If this is your goal, there are plenty of online only programs that are accredited and well-established.
Finding Online Schools that Offer you Practicum Opportunities
Most traditional programs require that you complete practicum courses so that you can show proficiency in knowledge application. There are online MSN programs that will help you arrange time in a medical care center, or a hospital, where you can complete hours to meet practicum requirements. This helps you gain confidence and helps the school verify that you are ready to graduate from the MSN program.
It is very important to compare online MSN programs before you apply or enroll in courses. Make sure that the school is accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and then move on to learning about curriculum requirements. If you want hands-on experience, find a college with a requirement for practical experience in an online MSN program.