Quote from ANPFNPGNP
Personally, I don't think that any NP program that's 100% online is a good thing. I think it cheapens the education and we all suffer as a result. I'm very familiar with students who graduate from some online programs that I won't name. I've known students who had other people take their tests online, because the testing wasn't supervised. People say, "We still have to pass the FNP exam!" I say, "SO WHAT!" A high school student could study and pass that FNP exam...it's that easy!
One online trained NP told me she did the majority of her clinical hours with a neurologist and never once saw a child or OB patient, much less primary care patients. She attended an online FNP program. She also told me she never met her professors nor any students in her classes. This should infuriate every FNP who struggled to find appropriate preceptors during their training.
I live in a city where there is a large online FNP program and it's reputation sucks. Very few doctors are willing to hire their graduates and it has everything to do with the program being 100% online. So, maybe there is some justice in the world!
I'm so sorry you feel that way. I would, however, like to invite you to revisit a portion of your advance-nursing curriculum regarding the concept of generalization with regards to making characterizations about reality in which no evidence exists.
Now, to the OP, let me give you my point of view from the perspective of:
1) Someone who is actually engaged in an FNP program via distance,
2) Does not support the idea that an individual with just a high school education can negotiate NP boards (as this has never occurred before) and supports the utility of best evidence, which no real evidence exists (the expert posits of the former poster and the posters' friends notwithstanding) that supports the notion that a high school graduate can indeed pass boards.
3) Understands as both educator (program and institutional director), student and clinician that the quality of any educational program varies and is based largely on what you put into your studies.
4) Have worked with both online FNP and traditional onsite FNP graduates who have both impressed and frightened me, including one from an Ivy league traditional FNP program who I would not let take care of a sick fish.
Having said that, I am in the final phases of FNP training at University of Southern Indiana, which I completely recommend without reservation. There are several benefits to this program. All course work is provided by professors who maintain an active practice as an FNP. This is important because not all programs have strong clinicians teaching all components. Some institutions that I checked only have a few, and most are lost in the world of academia. That's OK, though, if you are contemplating a research-based degree. The FNP focus, however, is in the clinical environment translating best evidence into practice.
All courses at USI are televised and recorded. If you are able to make the live lectures, they always have a live monitor, which you communicate via chat in real time and the monitor sends the questions you have to the professor, who in turn provides an answer to your question in real-time.
The reading is heavy, and takes approximately 40-50 hours per week of time to keep up with assignments, SOAP, EBP projects, etc. Clinical constitutes a huge portion of the program. In all there are 665 hours, 45 of which is for assessment, 20 hours for radiology and the rest of the 600 hours is split over the life cycle and ob/gyn management (e.g.: Peds 150 hours; adults; 150 hours; older adults 150 hours; ob/gyn 150 hours). Additionally there is a breakdown of system pathology that must be completed. For example, a certain percentage of ENT, Resp, END, CVS, etc). Each clinical term requires two site visits or team meetings between the preceptor (which you have to find on your own) the clinical advisor and you. During this time clinical content in the form of mandated objectives are compared and contrasted to what the student has completed.
The above poster alluded to a distant NP student doing all of her hours with a neurologist and didn't see any peds. This would not fly at USI nor would the preceptor and agency be approved in the first place. The faculty has about a 1:10 for clinical faculty and student ratio and they keep weekly tabs on your clinical progress with you and your preceptor and are always available in real-time for questions that come during your clinical time.
Your primary preceptor has to be in family practice (not ER or urgent care) and has to have clients across the life cycle continuum. If your preceptor doesn't do OB, you have to find an additional OB individual for the final year during spring. Additionally, you have to do time with specialty rotations that you and your clinical faculty determine would be beneficial that falls outside of primary care such as dermatology, radiology, orthopedics, neurology, etc.
All exams are administered via online and are proctored by faculty. Each ISP address is recorded and all students have about one minute per question. True, cheating can and probably has occurred via this mechanism of testing, just like cheating has occurred with onsite testing with onsite supervised proctors in the classroom setting. The only difference between the two in regards to cheating are the ingenuity and process by which those who are dishonest choose to cheat.
The only real difference between USI (which has both onsite and online FNP--they are both the same) and a traditional classroom setting are these:
#1) You may not get the same clinically experienced professors at onsite training programs than you do by going through USI. Again this varies. You must evaluate each institution.
#2) You may not get the same supervision by going through onsite training programs than you do at USI. Again, this varies and the clinical faculty at USI keep close tabs on your clinical training and progression.
#3) You will spend more money in gas by going through an onsite program versus USI.
#4) You will spend more time and effort coordinating your work and family schedule going through a traditional onsite program than going through USI.
#5) You will not have the same face to face time with other students by doing an online program, yet you will interact daily with them via discussion board postings which are mandated.
#6) You will spend less on tuition at USI then any other institution in the United States (online or traditional).
I hope this has helped.