Online Challenges when Earning a BSN
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 project—this 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.