Online Education Expands in School of Nursing written by Ruth Eby, MSN, RN The Institute of Medicine’s 2010 Future of Nursing report called for nurses to “achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression” (IOM, 2010, p.4). The report also set goals to “increase the proportion of U.S. nurses with a bachelor’s degree from fifty to eighty percent and to double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020” (IOM, 2010, p. 12). Even with the economic downturn, there is continued demand for more educated nurses to provide care for aging baby boomers, fill retiring faculty vacancies, and bridge gaps as health care coverage expands. was very flexible and practical for my working schedule,” one student explained through an anonymous survey. To provide this flexibility, the online programs at IWU offer courses asynchronously, meaning students can participate at their convenience instead of being required to participate in a designated location and at a designated time, posting homework and joining discussions when it fits their schedule. For nurses who work off-shifts or rotating schedules, this is an especially attractive benefit. While flexibility is important, some students are concerned by online’s perceived drawbacks, believing, for Indiana Wesleyan’s School of Nursing example, that an online education may offers a variety of fully accredited probe of lesser quality. Yet according to the grams designed to meet this demand American Association of Colleges of by providing bachelor’s, master’s, and Nursing, there is no significant differdoctoral-level programs, all in an onence in student outcomes between online format. Several new programs are line and traditional nursing programs. in various stages of development. Both types of programs fulfill the call of the Institute of Medicine for nurses IWU SON Online Offerings to achieve higher education in order to SON Division of Post-licensure Nursing meet the care needs + Bachelor of Science in Nursing of the public, and + Parish Nursing Certificate both can provide a SON Division of Graduate Studies in Nursing fulfilling, equipping Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) learning experience. + Nursing Administration + Nursing Education Others worry that in + MSN/MBA dual degree online classrooms + Primary Care (family nurse practitioner) they will not have + ASN/MSN—new in 2014 the opportunity to + MSN post-MBA—new in 2014 get to know other Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)—new in 2013 students. And while online education Unlike traditional, site-based edudoes not offer face-to-face interaction, cation, online learning provides a there are many other opportunities to convenient, flexible format that allows connect with classmates and faculty. students the opportunity to earn a The online format provides an envidegree while balancing family, career, ronment in which students learn with and other obligations. “The program and from colleagues who may be across Overheard on Facebook Join the conversation at facebook.com/IWUSofN. Heidi Driver Shank Luv IWU School of Nursing! Great group of people! 4 School of Nursing SPRING 2014 town, across the state, or across the country. By sharing with one another, students learn about what is happening in nursing beyond their local area. “I felt that my cohort was a close knit group,” a student said. “People may think that online classes are impersonal, but I think these classes promote camaraderie.” IWU’s faith-based programs play a role in this bond—for example, by students sharing concerns and needs in courses’ online prayer forums. In addition, in some courses students may choose to attend supplemental sessions through synchronized web conferencing where they can see and hear one another as well as work together with documents online. As accredited programs, each of IWU’s nursing degrees requires practice experiences. These rich experiences enliven theory and its application by allowing students to observe and interact with those working in their future roles. The experiences provide the preparation necessary not only for the completion of program requirements but for successful transition to nursing practice. As seasoned professionals, the faculty and staff of the IWU School of Nursing encourage and equip all types of nursing students. “I just want to salute my facilitators,” a student shared. “They have been [extraordinarily] supportive for this challenging chapter in my life.” IWU’s professors are dedicated to providing a Christ-centered academic environment for learning where students can develop personally and professionally—whether that environment is on-site or online. + WANTED CRNAs, MILITARY: If you are a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) or are an active-duty or retired military service member, we want to know! Please email us at n u r s i n g . i n fo @ i n d we s . e d u .