Online nurse practitioner programs provide a highly flexible method for working nurses to pursue a master’s degree in order to advance their career. Nurse practitioners (NP) are registered nurses (RN) who have been trained to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. The focus of most NPs is on health promotion and education, as well as disease prevention.
Benefits of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
Online nurse practitioner programs were developed with the working nurse in mind. Many working nurses are juggling several responsibilities and find it difficult to commute back and forth to campus so value the opportunity to study online. The growing popularity of online nursing programs at all degree levels has prompted many nursing schools to expand their formats to include this study option.
A second benefit of online programs is that they typically sot lest to attend than do traditional campus based programs. This is because online program have reduced overhead costs in terms of building space and materials.
Selecting an Online Nurse Practitioner Program
While online nursing programs offer several benefits in terms of cost and convenience, you should select a program only after performing some due diligence. The following are some suggested steps to take when researching different programs.
Ensure that the program is accredited
It is very important that you attend a school that has received accreditation by either the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These agencies have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education as official accreditation agencies of nursing education programs. Attending an accredited school validates the quality of education you will receive and ensures that your degree will be accepted by your State Board of Nursing. You will also need to attend an accredited school in order to be eligible for federally-based financial aid.
Know your Learning Style
Not all distance learning programs are the same. Some program stress student independence while others offer a good deal of support and offered in a quasi-campus format with scheduled class times and faculty advising. In general, the greater level of independence a school offer, the greater levels of motivation and self-discipline students must possess.
Online study does involve teacher and student interaction
Even the more independent programs do include some measure of interaction among faculty and students, as well as student-to-student. There are several ways that this interaction occurs, from message boards to virtually-based advising sessions, discussion groups, live chats, and topic forums. Building relationships with faculty and other students will increase your motivation and focus while also providing a method to get help with challenging material Discussion groups provide a forum to raise opinions and question regarding specific issues brought up “in class.” Connection fosters relationships and sense of community and lifts the sense of isolation that can experience during the course of the program.
Utilize Online Resources
There are many online resources to assist nursing students with coursework, such as medical dictionaries and thesauruses. Students may also utilize search engines such as Google, Ask.com or Yahoo by typing a search term for nearly any medical topic into the browser. In addition, such Web sites as WebMD.com and MayoClinic.com offer a plethora of information regarding a wide variety of medical conditions..
Online Nurse Practitioner Program Admission
For the most part, admission requirements will include graduation form an undergraduate institution that has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education with a minimum GPA of 3.0; .a valid and unrestricted RN license. Two or three letters of recommendation from instructors or supervisors, résumé or curriculum vita, along with an essay of career goals. Some schools may also require students to submit scores from the Graduate Record examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
Online Nurse Practitioner Program Curriculum
Full time students can expect to complete the program in eighteen to twenty four months. Programs may also be completed on a part time basis which will extend the time to completion to about three or four years.
Core coursework in most online nurse practitioner programs includes medical ethics, health policy planning, health economics, nursing informatics, public health nursing, research and statistics, as well as leadership in nursing. Once core coursework is completed students will then take classes in their specialty area, whether that be Generalist Nurse practitioner (NP); Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP); Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP, or Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP). Specialty coursework will also include advanced clinical practice with targeted patient populations.
Top Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
University of Phoenix
American Sentinel University
Grand Canyon University
Top Nurse Practitioner Programs in the United States of America Campus Based
University of California-San Francisco
University of Washington
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Oregon Health and Science University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Maryland-Baltimore
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
University of Alabama Birmingham
Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing
University of Pittsburgh
University of Colorado – Denver
University of Chicago Illinois
University of Kentucky
Georgia Southern University