5 Tips for Registered Nurses Returning to an Online Classroom

nurse in classroom

When you’re 15, 20 or even 40 years out of school, the thought of writing a paper or taking a test again can understandably bring some anxiety. Add in a new, online learning environment, and school feels that much more foreign.

Just know that thousands of registered nurses have walked this path before you, and the Chamberlain community is with you every step of the way, supporting you and cheering you on.

We asked our community of nurses on Facebook to share their top tips for transitioning back into the student role after years of being in the workforce. Find their best advice for you below!

1. The Syllabus and Rubric Are Your Friends

The course syllabus is your guide to each course, laying out the readings and assignments week-by-week, so that you can plan your time effectively. The grading rubric will give you further insight into what is required to get you to an “A.” Keep them both close at hand and refer to them early and often.

“Read the syllabus and follow the rubrics. Also make sure to read the announcements, ask questions and learn how to write in APA style.” – Heather C.

“Read everything twice! Keep the rubric and syllabus out at all times.” – Andrea F.

2. Work Ahead Where You Can – and Take Advantage of Your Spare Moments 

Chamberlain’s nursing programs are designed for busy, working nurses like you – and planning will be the key to your success. Plan a time and place for your studies – and take advantage of your downtime to get in a little more study time!

“Do a little each day to avoid it being overwhelming. Take advantage of lunch breaks at your job and do some school work to maintain a good work/life balance.” – Jenna W.

“Work ahead whenever you can and get plenty of sleep!” – Jean S.

“Prepare a place and time with as few distractions as possible. My family knew that if the door was closed, I was ‘in class’ and if they left me alone, I would be done sooner.” – Sandy B.

“Keep up with all assignments and deadlines.” – April T.

“Create time to study ahead and master APA.” – Ifeoma N.

“Set aside the same study time each day if possible.” – Rhonda A.

3. Take Advantage of Your Resources

Chamberlain offers a number of resources to support your success – including Tutor.com, a 24/7 online tutoring service that is available to you at no cost as a Chamberlain student. Tutor.com connects you online with expert tutors who can help you with your coursework, writing, APA and more. Take advantage of all the resources available to you, including your professors!

“Software for APA is your friend. I recommend Reference Point. It is spot on!” – Diana T.

“Utilize academic writing resources for papers.” – Jenna W.

“Purchase the eBook! You can read your assignments on the go.” – Marisol B.

4. Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Your computer shuts down in the middle of finishing up that term paper, or you hit submit and something doesn’t go quite right. Panic ensues. Always save your work and remember to back it up to save yourself from extra work (and stress!).

 “Back everything up! Email it to yourself and use thumb drives and portable hard-drives. Save it all multiple times. My computer got a virus and crashed during the second to last class in my BSN program. I lost everything for my final project, which included all of my completed papers from the entire program.” – Emily L.

5. The Time is Now – Just Do It!

You can keep thinking about advancing your education – or you can jump in and do it!

“If you’re thinking about it, do it! Time will pass anyway, might as well accomplish a goal. It will be hard some weeks and easy some weeks, but you won’t regret it!” – Jenifer S.

“Ask for help and don't utter the word ‘can't’ or ‘old.’ You can do this! – LaNita W.

“Just do it! It was honestly a great experience. The longer you wait the longer it takes to get it done. Much better than you think!” – Christine D.

“Stick to it...it will be worth it in the long run for sure!” – Linda C. 

Returning to the classroom can certainly seem like a daunting task, but if you stick to the syllabus, stay on top of your work, take advantage of your resources and prepare for the unexpected, success is within your reach.

Related Stories:

Nurses Share 5 Unexpected Benefits of Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

Nurses: Here’s How to Balance Work, Family & School


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