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Taking The Virtual Path to Becoming a Registered Nurse

SUNY Plattsburgh student practices on dummy on hospital bed.

The job outlook in the health care sector continues to improve. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in the nursing field is trending upward faster than other sectors. In fact, a growth rate of 16% is expected from now through 2024 among registered nurses.

So it’s no surprise that education in nursing and medical practice is a sought after degree field in college. And for the busy professional, online learning provides access to the education and training needed to become a success in the registered nursing field. Just ask Mike Sylvain of upstate New York.

Mike is a Registered Nurse who works in the operating room at Glens Falls Hospital, in Glens Falls NY. He started in the RN to BS program at SUNY Plattsburgh in August of 2014 and will graduate in May of 2017. His story of online learning in the midst of work and family life is another shining example of this type of access providing a new path to career success.

Registered Nurses have many choices when it comes to online learning. In choosing SUNY Plattsburgh, Mike wanted to be affiliated with a known school that had an excellent nursing program. Knowing the challenges that enrolling as an online learner while juggling work, family, and school can bring did not slow him down. “Over the course of my career, I have worked with many nurses and have been impressed with many of the SUNY Plattsburgh BSN nurses that I have worked with. The flexibility of scheduling classes year round at SUNY Plattsburgh gave me the flexibility I needed to be successful.”

Hard work leads to success

Mike Sylvain in front of hospital equipment.

Plattsburgh student Mike Sylvain stands in front of equipment at Glens Falls Hospital.

The biggest challenge for any student juggling work and school is time. Since online learning generally provides students the opportunity to learn on their own time, they need to concentrate on balancing school, home, and work life in order to not let any produce negative affects on the others. For students in SUNY Plattsburgh’s RN to BS online program, most class assignments are due on Sundays, which allows you the weekend to finish up any work due for the week. The classes are challenging and the workload is demanding but achievable.

According to Mike, SUNY Plattsburgh’s nursing program is smaller than some other online programs, which allows students the chance to get to know some of their online classmates. It also means that Professors know who you are. “I have found faculty to be very responsive to student needs during my studies,” Mike says.

In addition to the size of classes and the connectivity to faculty, the RN to BS program at SUNY Plattsburgh also offers clinical opportunities to its students. It’s a key benefit to the program, since clinical placements give students a taste of the careers they are aiming for upon graduation. Many may not be familiar with online learning offering real world experience to students.

“One of the other reasons I chose SUNY Plattsburgh was because of the clinical requirements. I wanted a program that would expose me to other areas of nursing that I was not familiar with. I am in the process of finishing Public Health Nursing and it has been a great experience. I truly believe that the courses I have taken here are helping me to be a better nurse.”

The effort and commitment needed to succeed through an online curriculum is different than the typical classroom, and Mike recognizes that. Based on his personal experience, he says “My advice is get started as soon as you can. Its overwhelming to think about having to complete 12 plus classes so you have to take it one class or two at a time. If you have never taken an online course I would suggest taking one class to start in order to understand the workload and the pace of online classes. Before you know it, you will be making plans to graduate!

“I have been very pleased with my experience at SUNY Plattsburgh! The nursing faculty combine academics and real life nursing experience which means they know what it means to be a nurse. The faculty will set up your clinical experiences for you working with choices that are convenient to where you live. Other schools have clinical requirements that students must set up themselves which can prove to be challenging! Lastly, all aspects of dealing with SUNY Plattsburgh have been easy and pleasant from registration to financial aid. I highly recommend the RN to BS program at SUNY Plattsburgh!”

Learn about the R.N. to B.S. Program and how to apply with Open SUNY.

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