Are online ANP degrees destroying our credibility?

  1. 1
    I was talking to a private practice doctor about an opening in his practice. Currently, I am employed by the hospital. He told me that they will only consider PA's due to having more of a hard science based training and longer residency. I have heard this before and brushed it off. Especially, considering that would only be of factor for new grads possibly. I brought this up and he gave me a second rejection with a whole new excuse. His practice as a whole were considering hiring NPs until a PA brought up you can get your degree online. He stated they can not take our education seriously with such low standards. UUUURRRGGGHH. I didn't really know what to say. Mostly due to not expecting that response. Either way he is not someone I would want to work for with that attitude. I want to know what other people's thoughts are regarding the online programs? Will it hurt our profession and the quality of our reputation?
    kelleytison likes this.

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  2. 322 Comments...

  3. 7
    Did you graduate from an online university? Shouldn't he only be taking your credentials into account? And yes, I think online education (especially the for-profit institutions that set the bar for entry extremely low) is really hurting our field.

    While online eduation is a problem, I think for-profit and "professional" institutions are the true issue. Since all these programs really care about is your money, they don't care about GRE, GPA, etc. They're willing to give any warm body a degree. Would you see a physician who didn't take the MCAT or who had low grades? It's ridiculous and shameful.
  4. 2
    I think it has hurt us ... I have already heard this reaction from a number of physicians and other NPs. I was honestly at a loss as to how to defend my profession. I don't feel comfortable (or obligated) defending the hiring of an NP who graduated from a diploma mill or some random state school that uses an online program as a cash cow. So much of the hiring process, particularly of new grads, is facilitated by name recognition of your school and it's reputation for high admissions standards and rigorous clinical experiences. Graduates of online programs don't seem to come with that type of 'minimum quality' guarantee. I can see why a PA who graduated with a standardized education might be hired over a NP who graduated from Kaplan, st joseh's, USA, or one of the other big online programs. My area has a number of good NP schools and it's pretty clear that graduates of online programs are heavily discriminated against in the hiring process (I have never encountered an online grad in practice in my area- it would be like a unicorn sighting.). The issue of hiring PAs over NPs doesnt seem to be as common. I wonder if this is something that will change with more prestigious and recognizable schools like Georgetown starting to churn out outline grads?
    kelleytison and lindarn like this.
  5. 7
    No, I did not. I graduated from an in residency program. We actually took some of our classes with the PA students. He is not someone I would want to work for anyways.

    I am with you. Who proctors their tests? Their husbands or friends? I am okay with some online classes, but all tests should be taken in resident. You can just look up answers online or in a book. It really makes me angry that our credentialing leadership is allowing this to occur. In the end we all have to take the same test, but I feel maybe we should make these national certifying exams harder. In the end I do not feel that patients would be comfortable knowing their provider has an online degree and has never stepped a foot in labs getting their degree (no undergraduate doesn't count). Seems like a good Saturday Night Live episode. Sorry, enough said.
  6. 13
    " I wonder if this is something that will change with more prestigious and recognizable schools like Georgetown starting to churn out outline grads?"

    As someone who has taken graduate level classes at a private college, I can say without a doubt my classes have been some of the hardest I have ever encountered during this past year. All of my professors are either MDs, PhDs or a mixture of both! I have considered switching from local college program to Georgetown just because of the "name" and the fact that they will take my credits previously earned. Truthfully, clinical placements matter and should be the basis for evaluating an NP and their training. Another factor which has is never accounted for is that most nurses have been nurses for awhile. I am an ER nurse, am able to work independently, identify illness quickly and have the critical thinking skills necessary to see "sick" as opposed to "not sick". Perhaps NP programs should require "5" years of nursing experience as opposed to just one based on the lack of clinical experiences and sites provided that match PA schools......perhaps, entry requirements should be stricter and apply to everyone. Perhaps, Nursing should just get it together!

    Another factor to be considered should be the school rankings. My ASN was obtained from a top community college whose initial entry of 144 students during my initial year, ended with 52 graduating (some of those 1 time repeaters who did not start with me). My BSN was in an onsite/hybrid program whose graduation rate again was <50% and whose standards were sky high. My current graduate program is at this same institution and had a requirement of 3.5 GPA or higher in addition to the standard requirements.

    I don't believe in the C=RN, I don't believe in good enough. The patient deserves nurses of a higher quality who put in the effort required to be good at their jobs, part of this is performing well through "hands on", the "written word", and ability to "find the answer" and to know when the answer is you cannot fix the problem and the patient must be referred. (A problem with many GP's too!)
    Online schools aren't the problem.....lack of standards throughout the system that makes graduating from them is!

    TinaMas, kelleytison, slhuillier, and 10 others like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from coast2coast
    So much of the hiring process, particularly of new grads, is facilitated by name recognition of your school and it's reputation for high admissions standards and rigorous clinical experiences.
    This is what I'm hoping. I will be attending a top school and I'm hoping it will ensure that no one questions my education. Still, the number of programs with little to no entry requirements that keep cropping up is seriously alarming.
    Last edit by myelin on Feb 18, '12
    sapphire18 likes this.
  8. 9
    I think the example given bespeaks more of ignorance on behalf of those individuals than to the detriment of online education.
    jleonard90, Julia77, brownevh, and 6 others like this.
  9. 2
    I think it would be interesting to see what national certification test scores and passing rates looked like for resident vs on-line ANP programs. I also, wish they would make the test harder. It makes our education look easy if people can take on-line courses and easily pass our national certifying exam.

    The doctor is not ignorant. There are online ANP programs. He is not someone I would want to work for as an NP. I can kind of see his point and that is why I started this thread. I am generally just a spectator on this forum, but this got me a little angry. I doubt many people could pass the USMLE taking online medical school courses. The PA programs do not have online degrees and I am unsure if many people could pass their national certification taking online courses. I just think it drags us down a road of being looked at as the back door to practicing medicine. Not that my thoughts matter.
    on eagles wings and lindarn like this.
  10. 3
    In a word: yes.
    myelin, elkpark, and Altra like this.
  11. 16
    I'm starting an online DNP program this summer. Currently I'm completing an RN to BSN program online. I must say it is much more difficult than my pre-licensure education, which was at a brick & mortar school. I am presented with the course material and basically teach myself. We have exams, and they are open book. But the time to complete the exam is very limited. You cannot leave the site during the exam and if you're going to look for the answer in a text book, you had better know exactly where it is. You can take notes & follow them for the exam, but you had better be damn meticulous. It's not as easy as people think. I've maintained a 4.0 with 8-10 hrs of work most days. I am not actively employed presently. Through the amount of research required, I have learned a tremendous amount. Don't knock online school until you really know about it.

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