5 Tips for Succeeding in Online Nursing School

Connect with other students in your online nursing degree program

As a working nurse with obligations, taking on another responsibility — especially one as involved as earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree — may seem daunting. The flexible online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) makes achieving your goals more accessible. Here are five tips and techniques you can use to make your new schedule more manageable.

1. Keep your eye on the prize.

Keep your reason for going back to school in front of you, especially when things seem challenging. One of the best motivators for forging ahead is to keep your mission front and center.

With a BSN, your earning potential will increase, according to DiscoverNursing.com, which reports that a BSN-prepared nurse can earn between $57,000 and $130,000 per year, in contrast with the $54,000 to $88,000 per year associate degree-prepared nurses earn.

You will also have more options for specialization. Many of the 104 nursing specialties listed on DiscoverNursing.com require at least a BSN.

You will have a degree that is in great demand, according to a survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in which 79.6 percent of hospitals and healthcare facilities responding strongly preferred to hire BSN-prepared nurses.

2. Be smart with calendars and to-do lists.

Staying organized is key to your success in an online program. Unlike traditional classes that are typically more rigidly structured, online classes are more flexible, says U.S. News & World Report.

One suggestion is to get organized from the start of the class. Include all of your assignment due dates in your calendar, and consider creating online or paper folders to organize your weekly assignments.

When creating to-do lists for home and work, keep them simple and realistic. Creating extensive to-do lists can set you up for failure.

3. Connect with other students.

Create a study session with your fellow students, suggests Scrubs magazine. It is a good way to hear other students explain concepts, which can reinforce what you have learned in class.

Also try reaching out to other students on non-academic issues. If you are enrolled in an online RN to BSN program, there is a good chance others will have similar life experiences as you. The program is geared towards working nurses, many of whom likely have families and responsibilities. Your classmates are also navigating the challenges of work, home life and school.

4. Reach out to your professors.

Connecting with your professors early can help prevent unforeseen problems and help you know what to expect from the class. For instance, one student quoted in U.S. News & World Report says that having taken previous online courses and finding them easy, he assumed his new course would follow suit. After the professor returned several assignments to the student for revisions, he changed his approach and contacted the professor for help.

The online RN to BSN program at CMU is taught by the same professors who teach the on-campus program. You will also have access to one-on-one nurse advising services that can help you understand required courses, start dates and appropriate courses to enroll in. You are never alone in the process — CMU is dedicated to your success.

5. Have a dedicated workspace.

Do you have a workspace that is clean, clear and free of outside interferences? U.S. News & World Report says one thing that students of online and traditional courses have in common is the need for a place to do schoolwork — whether that space is at home, a school library or a coffee shop.

Earning your degree online is flexible and affordable, but it still is another responsibility in your life. Keeping focused, learning to create effective schedules, reaching out to faculty and other students, and having a dedicated workspace are some techniques you can use to succeed. Earning your BSN online requires making adjustments, but it is doable — and it is well worth the investment.

Learn more about the CMU online RN to BSN program.


Discover Nursing: Find Your Path in Nursing

Discover Nursing: Explore Specialties

American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses

U.S. News & World Report: 5 Tips to Succeed in an Online Course

Scrubs Magazine: 6 Best Ways to Stay Focused

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