College is tough enough for most people, but nursing students face an additional set of challenges when it comes to getting a master’s degree. Often, nursing programs require students to complete a minimum amount of coursework before they can begin their thesis or dissertation, making it difficult for RNs to keep up with their education.
If you’re trying to get your master’s degree in nursing education but feel overwhelmed and unable to dedicate the time required, consider taking some of these steps to help you streamline your education.
Find a program that fits your schedule
Most people looking into a master’s degree in nursing education are already registered nurses. If you work full time, it may be challenging to find the time to complete a master’s degree the traditional way.
The good news is that many colleges offer MSNs in a hybrid or fully online format. Which one is right for you? Here are some things to consider:
Hybrid Learning Model
The hybrid learning model is a combination of online and on-campus learning. You may be required to complete coursework online or in-person at a location on campus, or you can do most of your knowledge online.
The hybrid model is best suited for students who have a busy schedule but still want to learn in a traditional classroom. Some schools offer hybrid courses on weekends or evenings so you can still balance your schedule but still get the education you need to succeed in the nursing education field.
Fully Online Learning Model
The fully online learning model is the most flexible option. You can complete your coursework anytime, anywhere — even from the comfort of your own home. Classes are offered live with a virtual stream in real-time or asynchronous to be completed at your own pace.
The MSN Nursing Education online model is best suited for students who desire the most flexibility and convenience. They are self-starting and confident in their ability to learn without face-to-face interaction with a professor. While you will be able to learn at your own pace, you will still need to complete coursework promptly.
Find a program that will give you credit for your previous experience and education
Depending on your previous education and experience, you may be able to use your work experience and education to apply toward credit in the standard nursing courses required for the degree. Some schools offer special credit programs for students with significant work experience in a specific area, such as leadership or critical thinking. If you’re interested in pursuing this route, ask your school’s admissions department for more information.
If you don’t have a BSN, look for a combination program
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you may be able to complete your master’s degree differently. One popular option is to enroll in an RN-to-MSN degree program. In an RN-to-MSN program, you’ll be able to complete the required coursework for both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing education in a shorter amount of time.
Don’t overload yourself
It might seem counterintuitive to put less pressure on yourself to finish quickly, but it’s important not to overwork yourself. Studies show that students with external obligations such as work or family are more prone to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. These can hurt your ability to complete your studies.
Even the most dedicated students limit how much they can handle. If you feel like you’re starting to burn out, it’s time to take a break. Choose a course load that still allows you to have a life outside of school. If you still struggle, reach out to your school’s counseling center or your academic advisor.