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BSN Benefits for Nurses

Online Challenges when Earning a BSN

Published September 13, 2016 10:36 AM by Beth Hogan
In reviewing the advantages of achieving a BSN, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the challenges. Clearly, with the number of nurses achieving their BSN annually, the challenges are not insurmountable.

If you have been following my other blogs posts, I have reviewed the financial and time hurdles. I can certainly appreciate both of these, but having achieved a BSN and MSN for minimal out-of-pocket costs and sitting at my dying father's bedside as he slept while I was doing class work, I see neither as an excuse.

Some of the challenges not discussed include classmates, professors and group projects. All of these can be a challenge if you are not seeing eye-to-eye, particularly in an online setting where time zones increase demands on the student. Some suggestions I have include: If at any point you feel you're group project is not running as smoothly as you had hoped, pick up the phone and call your classmates. Explain your concerns in a professional manner. Do not be afraid to take the lead on the projectthis will give you more control over deadlines. If you set deadlines a day or two before an assignment is actually due, it enables you to have wiggle room for last minute delays or changes.

If a classmate does not respond, reach out to others in the group. They may know something you don't or may have a different perspective. Lastly, reach out to the professor and clarify expectations. I was in group assignments where everyone was expected to do a piece and was solely graded on their own aspect. For others, a group project meant everyone got the same grade. So if an aspect is not complete, you either find yourselves completing it at the last minute or your grade is impacted. For me, in two degrees, this was a rare occurrence, but it's certainly something you should be aware of. Being proactive in reaction will minimize your stress level.

If the issue is with the professor or if you are struggling with a question or an assignment, reach out. My experience was that my professors were happy to help me understand the work and were motivated to help me succeed. In being completely honest, I was certain taking statistics online would be overwhelming. I scheduled appointments with a free online tutor to review my assignments for the first couple of weeks. My first tutor was no more knowledgeable than myself, but my second was awesome! I made several appointments with him. It turned out I understood it way better than I had expected, but the tutoring was a reassurance. I learned even more with a tutor than I would have if I had just submitted my assignment.

The point being, achieving a BSN can be a challenge, but I am on the other side of my BSN and MSN in under four years. It is also very achievable and rewarding, and the BSN opens up more doors than I could have predicted.

More on new doors in the future.


I feel your pain. I have tried to obtain my BSN online but I am finding it a difficult process. The information is awseome but 8 weeks isn't enough time to learn. Aren't we suppose to learn something. Nursing also isn't just about APA format. Good luck in your endeavor

Charlene September 29, 2016 12:12 PM

Karen I am sorry for your loss and your experience.  I also was working full time, have two children, and was a single parent so I can appreciate the balancing act. I am sorry your classmates were not supportive.  

Beth September 28, 2016 9:15 PM

I am glad you were able to sit at your dying family members bedside and still do homework. My husband was dying of pancreatic cancer, I was working 12 hour shifts in the ER, driving 2 kids to sporting events and school daily, and trying to take online classes. Our group project was due on a Sunday night at midnight. My 3 other group members were in different time zones and worked different shifts. No one would step up to lead, so I put myself out there. No one responded to my emails. I contacted the professor, she said if they didn't respond, do it myself! That's when I quit. One hour before the project was due, one person responded and asked what he needed to do. The other 2 never did.

Karen, RN September 27, 2016 2:51 PM

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