Nursing Prerequisites Courses Online

By Brenne Meirowitz
Duquesne University School of Nursing allows graduate students to complete all necessary nursing prerequisites courses online, whether they are working towards earning a nursing degree or certificate.  Nursing degrees or certifications may be complete with little or no on-campus attendance, utilizing the school’s state-of-the-art learning technologies and the Internet.  When compared to on-campus courses, nursing courses taken online are identical in their objectives and rigor.

Online nursing degree students pay the same tuition as on-campus students; online course credits are structured no differently than the same course taken in a classroom.  Whether a student chooses to take online nursing classes or in combination with on-campus study, their diploma, certificate, or transcript will bear no distinction from that of a traditional Duquesne on-campus student.  However, students are required to visit the campus once a year for a period of one week, which is usually the week prior to Thanksgiving.

Duquesne’s graduate distance learning allows students to complete their education with the flexibility that not all nursing schools offer, because virtually no on-campus classroom attendance is necessary.  The only prerequisites for nursing courses online are basic computer skills including:

  • Send and receive email
  • Attach, send and open documents from email or Internet sites
  • Participate in online chats
  • Research topics using the Web resources
  • Use Internet library databases

How does it work?  Students complete all coursework, including nursing prerequisites courses online.  Course instructors use special Internet-based software for instruction, as well as post their lectures and reading assignments online.  Student participate in the virtual classroom by using several formats including contributing to an online thread or message board, online chats, live virtual classroom meetings, and phone conference calls with other students and their instructor.  The educational platform that Duquesne uses is the popular, Blackboard, a Course Management System (CMS) used widely among universities.  In addition to learning, students can access their grades, course calendar, course descriptions, transcripts, student loan, or tuition status.  Information about their instructor is also posted online, such as their educational background, areas of expertise, areas of research, other classes taught, office hours and location, phone contact, and email.

The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) currently offers three areas of specialization – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Forensic Nursing, and Nursing Education.  Prior to beginning core course work and clinical requirements, students must complete 21 credits of FNP nursing prerequisites courses online.  The maximum allotted time to finish the MSN program is six years.  The MSN student pursuing a career in Nursing Education must complete 14 credits in nursing education in addition to coursework required by the MSN program including clinical core courses.
All applicants into the MSN program must have fulfilled the following nursing prerequisites prior to admissions:

Undergraduate statistics course or equivalent

Undergraduate physical assessment course required for the Family Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Education programs

Computer literacy (including the ability to send and download attachments) or completed courses in word processing, spreadsheet, database management and presentation graphics

Duquesne also offers two online doctorate degrees -  a PhD, which focuses on research, and a DNP, which has a clinical focus.  The student on the PhD track must complete the following nursing prerequisites courses online or on-campus:

Graduate course in Statistics (6 credits) -

Graduate course in Nursing Theory (3 credits)

Graduate course in Nursing Research Methods (3 credits)

Computer literacy or completed courses in word processing, spreadsheet, database management, and presentation graphics

The DNP track requires that applicants have completed only two nursing prerequisite courses online or on-campus prior to admission – either an undergraduate or graduate course in Statistics (3 credits) and a graduate course in Nursing Research Methods (3 credits).

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