Distance Education: One Solution to the Nursing Shortage?


As I enter my second year in nursing school, I see how hard a time friends, relatives, and fellow employees have had getting into a nursing program. There are many nursing schools, but the challenge begins with being accepted to one of those programs. This article takes me back to when I was trying to get into nursing school and how hard it was for me to get into a program.

Before I was accepted into the nursing program at Saint Anthony College of Nursing, I found myself researching online programs so that I could get my education started and get closer to becoming a nurse. With the nursing shortage becoming more apparent, the search for alternative learning strategies is at the forefront of research and discussion.

“It is estimated that more than 1.2 million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2014″ (Mancuso-Murphy, 2006, p. 252). This is one reason why an alternative to nursing education, such as distance education, is so critical at this point. I currently work at a hospital as a certified nursing assistant and see how the nursing shortage has affected my unit and the rest of the hospital. It seems to affect all people involved in nursing care, not just nurses. Distance education may be the key to the shortage of nurses around the world.

The article discussed the importance of finding an online nursing program that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. This is of major importance because of the many online sites that offer classes. On the Internet, it may be hard to find programs that are what they say they are. That is why I think that it was so important that the article supplied the readers with the information needed to find programs that are accredited.

The article also discussed the importance of being accountable for yourself when taking a distance-education course. Although courses may offer flexibility to students, there still has to be dedication by students to get work done, without the guidance of teachers in front of them. Being a student taking an online class takes self-discipline. A nurse who finished her nursing degree online told me that it was hard at first to get adjusted to doing it on her own, but once she got the hang of it she was glad with the choice she made.

The nursing shortage is a problem that we as nursing students hear about on an almost-daily basis. That is why this article is so beneficial: It helps show that there are more opportunities for someone who is searching for the right program.

Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN [R], FAAN–editor

Carlee A. Koerner
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Student
Saint Anthony College of Nursing
Rockford, IL

References

Mancuso-Murphy, J. (2006). Distance education in nursing: An integrated review of online nursing students’ experiences with technology-delivered instruction. Journal of Nursing Education, 46(6), 252-260.

Talbert, J.J. (2009). Distance education: One solution to the nursing shortage? Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 13(3), 269-270.

If you found the previous article informative, you should check out more in our distance education section, or read some of these articles below:

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