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What it's like to be in an online BSN degree program

April 27, 2020

As online education becomes more popular and more accessible, health care professionals, students, and others are increasingly advancing their careers through an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

An online BSN program has a number of benefits, can be experienced in various ways, and offers flexibility outside of a brick-and-mortar atmosphere. Here are some of what can be expected in an online BSN program.

Online vs. Traditional

An online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is often tailored to working registered nurses. The online program will specialize in serving this population. There’s not as much oversight needed with working health care professionals studying to advance their nursing degrees and career. While traditional BSN programs work with students on an entry-level basis into the health care profession, the online BSN caters to those who are already specialists in the nursing practice and provides the depth and breadth of a bachelor’s degree.

100 Percent Online vs. Blended Class Requirements

Some programs claim to be online but are not actually 100 percent online nursing programs. Some are instead blended programs with a combination of classes required for nursing taking place in person and some taking place online. A BSN online degree offers the ability to work around professional responsibilities, family obligations, and other commitments.

Ohio University’s RN to BSN online program is 100 percent online. It features eight different opportunities to start classes and the flexibility of taking one five-week nursing course at a time or spreading out the workload at the student’s convenience. The program does not require students to stay with a cohort and move through the program in a certain order.

While all BSN programs must contain a clinical component, Ohio University (OHIO) is one that accommodates that requirement with clinical digital experiences along with a final capstone course on engagement in a health care setting or public health setting selected by the student (subject to program approval).

Interacting Online with Faculty and Colleagues

Nurses trying to get a BSN may be physically separated from each other while online but they can interact with their fellow students through discussion boards and online video chat servers. At OHIO, nursing students are required to interact with classmates. Nurses from different states will often find themselves in the same online venue, giving a broader scope of knowledge from student-to-student interaction. Faculty are available to meet one-on-one through video chat and lead faculty have required interactive virtual hours. Online courses can also feature both recorded lectures and written modules from which to learn. Opportunities to meet with faculty and peers in a synchronous web-based environment are available, but not required.

Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning

While some classes required for nursing students may have synchronous components, the nine online RN to BSN courses at Ohio University are set up asynchronously. This is to accommodate the fact that many nurses work various shifts and would need to conduct coursework while others may be at work. An asynchronous schedule also helps alleviate time zone differences. Opportunities to meet with faculty and peers in a synchronous web-based environment are available, but not required.

Additional Benefits

Due to the structure of online courses and the ability to complete classes within customized schedules, nurses can get a BSN in two years’ time, on average. Those with the time to do so can complete an RN to BSN online program in as little as 12 months.

OHIO nursing students can start a BSN online degree program in a short amount of time from the date of application and the first and last courses needed to complete the program are offered in every section, allowing for the greatest flexibility in graduating.  

If you are interested in taking advantage of all the benefits associated with advancing a nursing career, request more information about Ohio University’s online RN to BSN program.