I have heard it said that an on-line program is not good enough to train someone as a professional medical care provider.
I have a couple of issues with that thought. First of all, the word “training” reminds me of how you educate a dog, or reminds me of the very olden days when nurses had to stand when a physician entered the room, and “nursing training” consisted of slave labor at a hospital in order to get credentialed as a nurse and you had to wear dresses and a cute (NOT) little cap at work.
The following job description was given to floor nurses by a hospital in 1887:
In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations:
- Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient’s furniture and window sills.
- Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day’s business.
- Light is important to observe the patient’s condition. Therefore, each day fill kerosene lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks. Wash the windows once a week.
- The nurse’s notes are important in aiding the physician’s work. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to your individual taste.
- Each nurse on day duty will report every day at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. except on the Sabbath on which day you will be off from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
- Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go regularly to church.
- Each nurse should lay aside from each pay-day a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you earn $30 a month you should set aside $15.
- Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop, or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions and integrity.
- The nurse who performs her labors and serves her patients and doctors without fault for five years will be given an increase of five cents a day, providing there are no hospital debts outstanding
RULES FOR NURSES
walk at all times, only run in case of fire
stand when a senior member of staff enters
always open the door for the doctor
never overtake a senior member of staff on the stairs
no make up on duty
hair not to reach your collar
nails must be short
black stockings only when on duty and no runs in them
low heel shoes
on duty by 7.00 am
in bed by 10.30 pm
I prefer to think of my learning experiences as “education”, thank you very much.
So, about on-line versus brick and mortar, I have attended both kinds, pre- and post-graduate versions. It is my experience that what you get out of education is exactly what you put into it, and is also determined by what your goals are,as well as what your instructor’s goals are. Some people just want to “put in the time” to get that piece of paper with your name on it. Others want all A’s, and still others don’t care what the grade is as long as they pass. You know, “What do they call the person who was last in their medical class? Doctor.”
To me, education is about acquiring knowledge and experience, the grade doesn’t necessarily reflect the amount of knowledge you obtained. Whether the course you take is on-line or in a class room is not relevant. The hands-on experience is pretty much the same either way, in my experience. Classroom programs have a lab in the building, on-line programs require you to come to the campus at least twice to attend lab sessions, intense week-long sessions to get the hands on skills of assessment and procedures.
Clinical hours are the same either way. There is a required number of hours you must put in under the eye of an experienced nurse practitioner in a clinic or private practice setting.
The main difference is how the classroom time is handled.
- School room classes last an hour or two, two to three times a week. There is some discussion, but generally you listen to a lecture, take notes and go home. You spend time reading, studying and writing papers to turn in, and take tests in the classroom. All in all, say 8 hours a week per class, or so.
- In the online version, class expectations are posted which include papers, group projects and the dreaded “discussions”. Imagine having a “conversation” about the subject of your current course, and every word out of your mouth has to be backed up by current research or peer-reviewed journal articles. Questions can be asked to the instructor, but everyone in the group sees the question, and invariably a class mate will jump in with an answer covered by three journal articles and personal correspondence with Clara Barton. Expectations are very high, and the research time is daunting, but you do learn stuff. You still have the papers to write, group projects, and tests. The tests are open book, which sounds great until you have the three tomes (book is not a big enough word) in front of you, and notes, and a limited amount of time to answer the questions. I also think the question are probably a little more convoluted in an open book test. End result, it’s more like 10-12 hours a week per class.
So, is brick and mortar better than online? I don’t think so. Classroom time is more fun, interaction with classmates is great (or not, depending on the classmate), the discussions are easier. You also have more time to actually sit down and study. But you have to drive to school. I think on-line programs seem more in-depth, but leave you less actual reading time (which I miss), and carpal tunnel syndrome is not far off. Also, Facebook and little games, the news and email are tempting to digress to (or blogs). Then again, you have Internet at your fingertips which is great for research, and the school library is in your own home to boot. But then, there are the dreaded “computer problems”.
The type of program you choose to get your education is not as important as how seriously you take it, and how hard you work at it. After all, the school is really only there to tell you what you need to know, it is up to you to actually learn it.