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Tips for Nursing Students Taking Online Classes

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Updated January 11, 2023 · 5 Min Read

Tips for Nursing Students Taking Online Classes
Daniel de la Hoz / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Between 2015 and 2019, online graduate nursing programs increased by nearly 14%. But the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the need for distance learning at the bachelor's degree and other nursing program levels, with 93% of schools offering some form of virtual learning in 2020. While many students have returned to in-person coursework, others have continued online study. This switch has proven to make nursing school accessible to more people.

This guide offers tips for adjusting to distance learning, minimizing distractions, and building connections with faculty and classmates. You can also explore links to resources for online nursing students that cover topics, such as financial aid, what to expect in your coursework, and licensure requirements.

Featured Online RN-to-BSN in Nursing Programs

Adjusting to an Online School Format

  • Schedule Classwork and Other Activities

    Those unaccustomed to working at home may find themselves distracted by dirty laundry and dishes or other household members. Making a schedule that outlines school time, chore time, and relaxation/social time can help. To-do apps like TickTick and Todoist allow you to set and track deadlines for work- and school-related projects as well as personal tasks. This can help add more structure to your day-to-day routine. Many of these types of apps offer free versions and allow users to sync across multiple platforms.
  • Make Time to Leave Your Home

    Distance learning can make students feel isolated and lacking the sense of structure compared to on-campus students. Making time to get outside each day can help you clear your head, refocus, and boost your energy. Meeting a friend for a walk can help you feel connected to the outside world.
  • Avoid Distractions

    Try to set up your study space away from distractions, such as chores, the television, and other members of the household. If your space does not allow for this, positioning yourself away from distractions and using noise-canceling headphones can help you stay on track.
  • Stay in Touch

    Make an effort to set up times for phone calls or video chats with classmates to discuss school assignments, keep each other motivated, or just vent. Outside of Skype, FaceTime, or group messaging, project management apps like Trello and G Suite allow for real-time collaboration on team projects. Other tools like Doodle are helpful for scheduling meeting times with multiple people.

    Feeling alone and disconnected while studying online can impact your concentration and sense of purpose, while staying in touch can keep you moving forward.

  • Communicate With Your Professors

    Your online instructors will offer means for communicating with them, which should be a priority. They may provide an email address, host virtual office hours, or participate on message boards. Just as in on-campus learning, asking questions of your professors and receiving feedback is vital to learning and understanding the material.
  • Save Work to Your Hard Drive

    Assignments posted online can sometimes disappear, whether through network issues or other glitches. Keep a copy of your work in a hard-drive-based document just in case.
  • Monitor Exam Deadlines

    Keeping track of important deadlines, such as exams and project due dates, with a calendaring application can enable you to schedule enough study and completion time. You will also want to keep your eye on your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and certification exam dates.

Resources for Online Nursing Students

The links below lead to online resources covering NCLEX preparation, scholarships and grants, and licensing requirements for different U.S. states. Studying from home can make you feel isolated, but you can use the time saved not commuting to and from school to fully prepare for your future.

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