How Do Online Nursing Programs Work?

At any point in your life, whether you’ve just left high school, you’re tired of your current job, you’re thinking of retiring but still want to be active, or you have experienced some kind of medical incident that makes you realize just how critical nurses are, you might consider studying to become a nurse yourself.

This is one of the very many great things about nursing; it’s really open to everyone at any age, and because the demand for nurses is always high, you should be able to find a job you enjoy once you have completed your studies. Gaining a degree in nursing is the first step as not only will this show potential employers that you understand what you are doing, it will also show you whether or not nursing is truly for you. Of course, if you have chosen to study nursing, then it is likely you already know, but it’s good to be sure – sometimes the reality can differ from the expectation.

If you are considering taking the training to become a nurse, you might be wondering about online degree programs. These can be much more flexible than standard traditional programs, and therefore are often something that can work well for anyone, no matter what their circumstances might be. Although not new, online degrees are still a mystery to many. Read on to find out how they work, and why you should apply for one when you want to study nursing.

How Your Online Course Works
When you choose to take a nursing course with Marymount University Online, you will have several different options. You can start without any nursing knowledge, or you can pick a program that will develop the knowledge you already have and give you the experience and information you need to advance your career. It will depend on what stage you are at already as to which type of program you choose to study.

Your online course will be set out in different modules, and each module will need to be passed before you can move to the next. What’s great about this model is that you can study at your own pace. It might take you longer than it would at a physical college, but it does mean that nursing as a career is opened up to many people who would otherwise not have been able to do what they wanted to do. People who already have full-time jobs, for example, or who need to take care of a family (or juggle both) would find it almost impossible to also attend college. Still, with an online degree, it isn’t just possible, it’s much easier to do too.

There will also be a clinical placement element to the course, as although the theory of nursing can be taught online, the practical element does need to be done in a hospital. An excellent online college will be able to arrange the right placement for you, so you do not even have to concern yourself with that. At this point, of course, you will need to make yourself available, but there will be time to work that out since you will need to know the theory first.

Once you graduate, you will have a degree in nursing that allows you to apply for the job you have always wanted to do.

Yet you might still ask why an online degree rather than attending a physical college? Here are some of the best reasons why online is a much better choice.


One of the many advantages an online nursing degree has over a traditional one wherein a student needs to travel to or live at a college is the accessibility factor. When you are studying an online degree, you can log on at any time you want to and study as much or as little as your time allows.

As mentioned above, this opens up the field of nursing to a great many people, many of whom simply would not have been able to get involved in this kind of career (or any career other than their own that requires study) because they just don’t have the time. Finding a half-hour in the evening when the kids have gone to bed, or a couple of hours first thing on a Saturday morning before anyone else wakes up, or even taking your study with you to work and logging in during your lunch break means you now have much more opportunity than you ever would have had in the past. The nursing career is accessible to all.


Before we had all the fantastic technology that we have today, back when the internet was young, and computers were fixed in place and couldn’t be carried around, the idea of studying an online course was not something that would have appealed; it certainly wouldn’t have been as flexible or as enjoyable as it is today. Images would have taken a long time to download, for example, meaning that your short study time would be over before you even got started. As for videos, it would have been impossible to use them do to the tech not being good enough, even though in today’s courses, videos are essential.

So although in the past online courses would not have helped very much, thanks to the technological advancements in today’s world an online degree is not only possible, but the resources and the information will vary only very slightly (if at all) from a traditional school’s program. You can, therefore, have all the positive benefits of studying online and you can be
sure you are gaining an excellent education at the same time.


Networking might be something you associate with the world of business rather than nursing, but actually networking for nursing can be useful too. It’s less about getting jobs and progressing (this is done through earning your degree, studying for additional qualifications, and applying for the job you want at the hospital or clinic you prefer) and more about learning as much as you can about nursing in general.

Online courses – and other courses – will teach you a lot about nursing, but there is nothing quite like the first-hand experience which is why the practical clinical element of any course you choose to take is so important. Networking with others is another great way to gain additional insights into what you are going to be doing, and you could pick up some useful tips to help you become a better nurse.

Of course, networking can take place at a standard college, but it is less likely. That’s because the students there only there for a short time, and they will have other things to do in the evenings and weekends. They might go home, they might party, they might be studying by themselves. With an online forum and networking with the small group of people who are studying online at the same time as you, you can much more easily network
successfully, and gain many more insights.

Looks Good on Your Resume

If you want to be a nurse, you will need to have studied for an achieved a degree in nursing. That is the same no matter what hospital you are applying for or where in the country you are hoping to work – without a degree, nursing isn’t possible.

So how can you stand out when you apply for a position at the hospital you really want to work at? Surely everyone’s resumes are going to look the same with a degree qualification and a little experience?

The truth is the fact that you have studied for an online degree can help your resume look much better. An online degree requires much more discipline and focus than an offline program needs because not only are you studying a difficult subject (and nursing is difficult; there is a lot to learn, and much of it is life-saving or at least life-enhancing for patients) but you are doing so while also living your ‘other’ life. Whether you are caring for children, working a full-time job, or anything else that would prevent you from taking a traditional nursing degree, the fact that you have applied for and studied for (and achieved) an online nursing degree shows that you are dedicated, focused and that you want to do well.

This kind of initiative will always look great on a resume, and it is something that can make you stand out when there are many applications. Plus, the fact that you will undoubtedly have picked up some ‘soft skills’ when you are doing other things, skills that can be transferred to your nursing career will be useful too. These would include:

  • Time management
  • Research
  • Organization
  • People skills
  • Online skills

Utilizing any of these additional skills and ensuring they are listed on your resume will make you stand out, and combining them with an online nursing degree will certainly help you to at least get to an interview – the rest is down to you.

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