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What’s involved in studying nursing online?

This article appears in:
Nursing and Midwifery

CDU was one of the first universities in Australia to offer our Bachelor of Nursing degree remotely (also known as online, external or distance education). We have been teaching this way for nearly 20 years, and we are experts at online education. Many CDU Nursing students choose to study online – even those who are located close to one of our campuses. Our students choose to study this way because they often have other commitments in their life that are equally as (or more!) important than uni.

Many of our Nursing students are ‘mature age students’, meaning they haven’t come to uni straight from high school. Lots of our students are juggling children, jobs and family commitments, meaning that coming to campus every week – regardless of where they live – just isn’t an option. The flexibility that comes with being able to study when, where and how it suits plays a major part in ensuring our students can complete their degree, and can achieve their dream of working as a Registered Nurse.

Frequently Asked Questions about studying nursing online

How can I study something so “hands on” online?

Nursing is a very hands-on profession, which is why all our Bachelor of Nursing students – both those who study online and those who study on campus – must participate in 800 hours of supervised clinical placement. However, over the course of the degree, our students are also required to complete various academic units – from the likes of Anatomy and Physiology, Mental Health Nursing, Public Health Perspectives and Healthy Ageing (to name just a few). These academic units can be completed remotely, with students using our online classrooms to participate in discussions, watch the lectures, complete quizzes, and to submit essays and assessments.

"I chose to study at CDU because it offers the Bachelor of Nursing fully online, which was essential for me as I work full time." Param, 2nd Year Nursing Student from WA. 

If I’m studying online, how well will I be prepared for placement?

Prior to being eligible to begin clinical placement, all our Bachelor of Nursing students must attend a 4-day, full-time, on-campus ‘Simulation Block’, where you’ll have the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice in our clinical suites, which mimic a real life hospital ward. Sim blocks are a highlight of the semester for many of our students, who come from all over Australia to our Darwin, Sydney and Alice Springs campuses. Not only are these intensive units a great opportunity for our students to put their learned skills to practice, but it’s a chance to meet classmates and lecturers in person. Students leave Sim Blocks feeling inspired, informed and ready to take on a real clinical placement!

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What’s actually involved in studying Nursing online? What might an ‘average’ week look like?

Not including the weeks you’d be on placements and attending Sim Blocks, an average week might involve:

  • Watching or listening to a weekly one hour lecture.
  • Participating in a live online classroom with your on-campus peers.
  • Reading and studying set unit materials from the assigned text book.
  • Participating in online discussions via Learnline. These discussions might relate to your lecture and the weekly set reading material.
  • Participating in an online quiz (which may contribute to your grade).
  • Submitting an essay or assignment

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Can I study from anywhere in Australia?

As long as you have an internet connection, you can study from anywhere in the country. Many of our students come from Australia’s biggest cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, while many are living regionally, rurally and remotely. About a quarter are from the Northern Territory, while the rest hail from all corners of Australia.

Why would someone study nursing online, rather than on campus?

Studying online is generally more flexible than studying on campus. Many of our students are juggling children, work, family and social commitments and regardless of where they live, coming to campus isn’t a viable option.

Our students relish the fact that they can listen to a lecture while in the car, or participate in a group discussion after the kids are in bed.

And of course, the on-campus Sim Blocks and required clinical placements ensure that all students are able to put their knowledge into practice, and are ready for the workforce once graduated.

What if I need assistance? Can I still access university support services if I am an online student?

Absolutely. We understand that all students – whether studying online or on campus – will have questions and queries, that they’ll need feedback and support, and that for online students this means their teachers and lecturers must be highly responsive to emails, phone calls and even skype sessions.

Additionally, our online students can access all manner of university-wide support services, from academic assistance, help using the library, to counselling services, to name just a few.

What are the challenges of studying nursing online?

While studying Nursing online has its many benefits, it also takes hard work and discipline. Without the structure of a formal classroom type setting, online students must ensure they’re keeping up to date with weekly lectures, readings, and online discussions. However, there are some tried and tested tricks to success: 

  • Make a plan, and stick to it. Plan out your entire semester prior to the first week of classes starting. Map out key dates – from Sim Blocks, to placements, assessments and exams. It helps to know what’s happening well in advance.
  • If something isn’t clear, raise it with your lecturer at the time. If you’ve got a question about an assessment or a concept doesn’t make sense, ensure to ask your lecturer about it right after class or post it on the online discussion board (just like putting your hand up in class). The longer you leave something, the harder it can be to catch up!
  • Be wary of biting off more than you can chew. If you’re opting to study online, it’s likely because you’ve got other commitments in your life that demand your time and attention. Rather than starting off with a full course load, while trying to maintain fulltime work, children and a social life, starting part time, undertaking a couple of units a semester can be a great way to ease into uni.

Ready to take the next step? Apply now to study Nursing with CDU. Study online, on-campus, full-time or part-time. 

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This article appears in:
Nursing and Midwifery

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