Here are some tips to help the registered nurse to make the transition to advanced practice nurse via online programs.

  • Identify and utilize your resources. Successful students understand that they cannot thrive in a vacuum. They must identify resources for information and for support. Most students will accurately identify obvious resources such as instructors, readings, lectures, etc. But your resources also include your family and your community. In an online program, your classroom can be anywhere. But that means the understanding and support of your human resources becomes even more important.

  • Set aside “real” school time. Flexibility is one of the largest draws to online education. However, it can also be a pitfall if the student does not schedule adequate time for focused study. As our Dean likes to say, “Don’t plan to do school around laundry; plan to do laundry around school.” As you plan your life during your graduate program, school must be a priority. Success requires time, energy and focus.

  • Stretch yourself. You may be an expert nurse, but the transition to advanced practice as a nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner means that your current way of thinking and practicing will be challenged and stretched. Don’t fight that—embrace your time as a student and as a novice advanced practice nurse and expand not only your knowledge base, but your very way of thinking about health care!

  • Circle back to your mission. I recommend writing a mission statement about what you want to achieve as a nurse-midwife or a nurse practitioner. Print that off and stick it everywhere, so that on the days when you want to quit, you can remember why you started. Recent students used words and phrases like this when writing their mission statements: empower, holistic care, partner with families, educate, evidence based care, normalcy of birth, team player.