Obtaining A Doctor Of Nursing Practice Degree On-Campus Vs. Online

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Traditionally, the choice between pursuing doctoral studies on-campus versus online involved a difference in the level of engagement students wished to experience with the school’s faculty. Online students had to exhibit a high degree of self-discipline to keep themselves on track with their classes.

Lady using laptop on table

Advancements in technology are now blurring the line between courses on-campus and over the internet. Video conferencing, social media, and the proliferation of mobile devices have managed to make online education nearly identical to the on-campus experience.

Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees can now be obtained through both online and on-campus programs, and are becoming the more favored of the two terminal nursing degrees (the other being a Ph.D.), especially in more administrative, less research-heavy fields.

DNP degrees are likely to soon become the preferred route to specialty nursing positions and high-level administration roles in the healthcare industry.

Obtaining a DNP degree is not an easy task, but it can be done just as effectively over the internet as on a college campus.

The Conventional Benefits Of On-Campus Training

When online courses were first made available, students who decided to take that route rather than attend brick-and-mortar campuses were essentially engaging in a sort of guided self-education. Online teachers would post a syllabus of study materials, grade term papers that were faxed or emailed in, and administer difficult open-book tests.

In those early years, attending classes in person instead of over the internet meant experiencing a more traditional college experience and interaction with professors and other students. For this reason, the only programs available at first were those in which student interaction and hands-on training were less important.

Whereas accounting degrees or software development programs are easier to obtain over the internet, a DNP degree program back in 2005 would have been available only on-campus because of the wide scope of DNP practical applications.

Recent studies suggest that the primary benefits of on-campus learning include students benefiting from personal connections, in-person learning involving Q & A sessions and group discussions, networking with other future professional in similar fields of study, improved student-faculty relationships, and opportunities for practical applications.

Other benefits to on-campus education can sometimes include technological requirements, such as owning an adequate computer, the stigma of not having attended a traditional college campus, credit transfers to other schools, and financial aid difficulties.

Contemporary Online Education Makes The Campus Portable

For online education, commonplace technological advancements blur all of those previously insurmountable lines between online and on-campus education. Attending classes over the internet and, in some cases through smartphones and tablets, is no longer the isolating, detached method of learning it once was.

Flexible time schedules, 24/7 access to course materials and recorded lectures, a pool of potential students unlimited by geography, multimedia and social channels of communication, and more up-to-date study materials are just a few reasons to favor an online program.

Online programs now benefit from improved internet speeds and functionality along with better hardware, more device options than just desktops and laptops, and social networks that are already deeply entrenched in the lives of potential students.

Even preceptors are now able to remotely assist the students assigned to them. “Preceptors are nurses willing to share their experience with students,” explains Julie D. Slade, RN, DNP in her article, “Using Social Media to meet the Needs of DNP Preceptors within an Online Program,” in the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics. “They are often viewed as an extension of nursing faculty.”

“Using Web 2.0 and social media tools, a virtual preceptor resource center (PRC) was created to support preceptors in their role while delivering appropriate resources,” Slade continues.

DNP programs work especially well online because much of what DNPs do involves administrative and financial disciplines and interprofessional collaborationrather than one-on-one patient interactions. Courses such as Health Care Policy and Finance, Health Care Information Systems, Ethical Leadership in Complex Organizations, and Program Analysis are the types of classes that tend to translate nicely into online coursework.

Many students considering whether to enroll in an online DNP program want to know that their credentials will impress future employers. While early online diplomas were viewed with a bit of skepticism, hospitals now consider them on par with conventional programs. An added bonus for employers is that employees who are pursuing an online DNP have more flexibility to continue working while they further their nursing education.

Employers generally want to ensure that a degree obtained online is accredited. After that, “an employer may also ask job candidates with online degrees about their in-person clinical experience – an essential component in a field that requires a lot of hands-on work,” according to healthcare writer Jordan Friedman’s article, “What Employers Think About Your Online Nursing Degree,” in U.S. News & World Report.

Accredited online DNP programs may still have residency requirements that can be fulfilled either on-campus or at a location of the student’s choosing.

Doctor Of Nursing Practice Program At Duquesne University

Duquesne University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice program trains graduates to be ready and able to affect the way healthcare is practiced. Coursework in ethical leadership, transcultural care and global health perspectives, and translating evidence into practice can enable students to become effective managers of nursing personnel from hospital ERs to traveling disaster medical teams. Contact Duquesne University today to learn more about its online DNP degree.