Nursing education is constantly evolving. Over the past few decades – and even in the past few years alone – there has been a significant increase in self-directed learning systems and techniques coming to the fore. While nurses typically study independently to prepare for examinations and coursework, self-directed learning often removes the need for direct instruction.
These days, it is easy to learn various skills with video resources and online guides, but why is self-directed learning through established universities and colleges so beneficial to future nurses – and why should prospective students seek out these opportunities?
Here are a few points to consider.
You’ll build crucial self-management skills.
Nursing work, while inherently collaborative at times, will revolve around autonomy. As a graduating nurse, you’ll head to a healthcare setting, where you’ll manage your patient cases, create care plans, and seek support from other specialists.
That means that from the outset of your career, you’ll need to be a self-starter who isn’t afraid to manage your own schedules and development plans. Many top universities offering nursing accreditations – such as the University of Indianapolis and their online MSN-NE qualifications – will support self-study as much as possible to help you build this confidence in autonomy. Institutions such as the University of Indianapolis will encourage you to create your timetables and workloads from afar.
Developing autonomy early on will help you be resilient in the face of different challenges and relationship-building you’ll need to consider once you are working in a healthcare setting. It is healthy to ask for help when needed, but self-directed learning will help you build confidence in your self-management skills.
You’ll develop ownership and accountability.
All nurses must develop a sense of ethical accountability for their work. Self-directed learning ensures that students understand that they are the only ones who affect the outcomes of their education – and this is a healthy mindset to adopt when working solo under your own steam.
You’re not always going to be supervised, and you’ll need to make snap decisions on the job based on your skills, knowledge, and experience. This means you need a sense of accountability and a willingness to take ownership if cases don’t transpire as they should.
Learning accountability skills is important for keeping a fast-paced healthcare system moving. There’s no time or space to argue over who does what and who is to blame for various incidents.
You can learn at your own pace.
One of the major boons of online self-study is that, as long as you organize your schedule well, you can learn and develop in your own time at a pace and rhythm that suits your needs and lifestyle.
This not only opens up doors to prospective nurses who want to fit education around busy lives, but it also helps to provide them with the skills to balance study modules while actively working in healthcare.
However, flexibility isn’t always guaranteed when working in healthcare; there will be plenty of situations in which you need to be flexible. Therefore, by self-studying, you have a great opportunity to build on your adaptability and versatility. It pays to build organizational skills during studies and before you enter the workforce.
You’ll build confidence.
While self-directed study and learning may seem daunting initially, it’s an immensely freeing experience. Many nursing students prefer working from home thanks to their familiar environments and freedom to manage their workloads.
This will change once you work in a healthcare facility, but it’s a confidence-building experience that will transfer to your life post-graduation.
Throughout self-study, you’ll learn that you have immense potential and don’t necessarily need someone to guide you at all times. You’ll become self-reliant and resilient, which will help you to navigate some of the snap decisions you’ll make on the job.
Nurses who choose self-directed study may have an easier experience adjusting to autonomous decision-making in clinics and hospitals than those who rely on fully guided research. Of course, there are merits to both options, but the sooner students adapt to self-reliance, the sooner they’ll adjust to the fast-paced, self-motivated world of nursing.
Nursing is exciting and varied, and many students get into the healthcare industry purely because they want to manage their workloads. The great news is that they can start as early as their initial studies if they take ownership of their workloads and time management.
Time management and self-organization are two skills all nurses should develop as a priority. Focus on becoming adaptable, and you’ll quickly find it easy to adjust to your new career.