Until recently, most of us would not have considered online learning to fulfill our career ambitions. However, now there is no need to attend classes away from home or navigate the various challenges this can pose.
Modern methods of remote learning offer the flexibility that busy people need, in addition to more affordable course fees and professional qualifications. Online classes differ from in-person, so it pays to be prepared. However, with some smart planning, you can get the maximum value out of your time as a healthcare student.
Gain practical experience in clinical work
If you lack medical experience or are moving to a different field, it pays to get an idea of what your future role could involve. Nursing is incredibly rewarding but also requires dedication and commitment, so try job shadowing or volunteering if possible. Even helping to take care of family members at home can provide you with significant clinical experience. This can also help when you apply for positions after graduating, as medical facilities will want their prospective employees to have a realistic idea of what to expect from a healthcare career.
Be proactive in your learning
At the start of your course, map out what will be asked of you by the end date and check your progress each week. In a physical college or university, the instructor might provide everyone with a reminder about upcoming tests or due essay dates, but when you study online, this is up to you. Set aside time to complete what you need to work on, and resist the urge to finish assignments at the last minute, as this rarely produces great results. Staying organized and self-aware ensures you keep your studies on track, even if life outside becomes a little rocky.
Have a suitable space to study
You can study anywhere that makes you feel comfortable, but most people find that it helps to have a dedicated learning space. Returning to the same place will also have a routine, and sitting down to work will become a habit.
Some students work best in their own room, while others favor the dining room table or outdoor space. You could try out a few locations until you find the environment that is ideal for you. Wherever you set up a home office, your productivity levels are more likely to stay buoyant if you treat yourself to a few important extras. High-speed internet access ensures you avoid frustrating periods of lag, while a pair of headphones can make it easier to focus on lectures – especially when other people are at home.
Minimize everyday distractions
Apps on your phone, Netflix on your laptop, and friends dropping by unexpectedly can all leave your studies in second place. However, because some courses are quite short, it pays to find a strategy for resisting these tempting distractions. At Wilkes University, the accelerated Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program can be taken completely online over 12 weeks. It is a post-master’s qualification, which means you’ll leave with the skills needed to excel in top nursing jobs, whether you plan to take on a management position or a clinical role. To complete a three-month course like this, it’s essential to remain focused and disciplined with your study time.
Schedule time for breaks
Researching a topic, taking notes, and completing your assignments can be arduous. On top of these tasks, you also need to attend lectures and be part of the online classroom conversation. It’s a lot to fit in, but instead of grinding through for hours, give yourself regular breaks. Taking ten minutes out of every hour to make a coffee, walk around or browse social media can refresh your mind and keep you from feeling tired.
Be a social participant in the course
Online programs usually have forums and chat groups where you can come together with your peers to socialize and discuss the course. Engaging with your classmates might involve discussions about managing your workload or issues raised in the syllabus. You can ask other students or your instructor questions if you need clarification on a specific point.
This can seem like another chore to add to an already hectic schedule, but it can prevent you from falling behind or losing motivation. Try to fit in a quick visit to the forum every day. This could be just before dinner or during your morning commute – whenever your daily routine allows.
Take care of your health
You may be hoping to work in a caring role, but in the rush of studying, working, and family life, it’s too easy to forget your well-being. To study effectively, set aside time for self-care. This will mean different things to different people. You could try going for a walk around your local community, cooking yourself a healthy meal, or taking a long, luxurious bath. If you felt calmer and rested as a result, you’re more inclined to work productively and manage stress well.
Stay in touch with loved ones
Starting a new academic course can leave you anxious about fitting all the work in, but staying social is important. Whether you have a regular coffee date with friends, go shopping with your mother, or visit the program’s virtual study group, reaching out can have a calming effect. Without support from others, it’s all too easy to feel isolated and burned out. Plan your work schedule to include a few mornings, afternoons, or evenings each week for socializing. Whether it’s going well or you’re having a hard time, sharing your feelings is always a positive experience.
Online healthcare classes give you far more choices when it comes to qualifying. You won’t have to sacrifice family time or give up work, and you can be on track to your dream job within months. Remote learning comes with unique challenges, but by looking after yourself and establishing a schedule, you’ll be happily on your way to graduation.