Becoming a Nursing Student Again: The Adult Learning Model
Does the idea of returning to nursing school pluck you right out of your comfort zone? You’re not alone. The good news is that earning a nursing degree online with a university that’s built on an adult learning model is a far cry from being in a classroom filled with 18-year-olds.
It’s natural for an registered nurse at any age, to fear going back to school. Many nurses are afraid of not having the aptitude to succeed, or they fear they’ll quickly become overwhelmed. They worry they’ll drop the ball somehow, or not be able to meet the commitments of their busy, full-time lives. Some feel as if they are supposed to know everything already; some are resentful when management pushes them to advance nursing education. And many are hesitant about the technology used in today’s classroom.
Well, you’ll be relieved to know that a large number of nurses return to school when they are 40-years-old or older. They too have families, full time jobs, and, like you, they have tons of life and professional working experience to their credit.
Your work experience is exactly what you’ll use as the foundation for learning new academic concepts. Your experience will guide you as a student as you develop an academic and evidence-based framework for what you already know. That’s one of the reasons why adult learning is so successful — you’re learning new information and new ways to apply your existing clinical knowledge.
Today’s online nursing degree programs combine experiential learning with action learning. What is action learning? It simply means collaborating with other nurses in your classes in regular discussions that provide you with examples and give you launching points for your own thinking. Your professor is there to support you too, to raise and answer questions so your learning is interactive, shared, and beneficial in the real world.
Today’s nursing studies strive to develop critical thinking, rather than requiring rote memorization of facts. It works like this: you read a chapter and relate what you are reading to your own experiences, through weekly assignments. These assignments can be completed around your schedule, online, throughout the week. You also participate in a developing discussion that lets you know if you’re on the right thought-track or not. And before you know it, you’re achieving goals successfully, every week!
The best online nursing universities offer you reams of support: from dedicated academic advisors, attentive faculty, fellow students, tutors, and librarians that are available 24/7. You can check in with your advisor if you ever get stuck, run into a road block, or need encouragement.
You should never feel as if you are a student learning in a vacuum. Experiential learning combined with action learning and the online advantage is like having a railing to hold onto as you progress up the stairwell of knowledge.