More RNs than ever are making the move to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). For working nurses who want to reap the benefits of a BSN without putting their careers on hold, an online RN to BSN program can be the perfect solution.

RNs who are new to online courses may initially find the format challenging. Taking time to become familiar with common issues in online courses can help RNs make the most of their classes. Here are five tips for success in an online RN to BSN.

1. Get to know the online format.

Everyone who enrolls in an online RN to BSN will have a different comfort level with online courses. Students who are more familiar with traditional classes may want to plan on a little extra time to familiarize themselves with the online environment.

Taking courses with a colleague can provide built-in support. Taking advantage of student resources is also key. For example, students in the online RN to BSN program at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) can access technical support with the online course system by phone or email.

2. Take control of time.

A common complaint is that there are not enough hours in the day. Forbes contributor John Rampton suggests creating a “time audit” to see where time is actually going. Time-tracking apps such as RescueTime can help.

Social media is a common time waster. According to Digital Information World, people spent an average of 142 minutes a day on social media in 2018. That adds up to over 16 hours a week — plenty of time to knock out assignments for that BSN.

3. Stay on top of assignments.

One advantage of online courses is that students typically do not need to be online at a certain time. This same flexibility can lead to procrastination. What seems like just a short delay in getting to an assignment can quickly turn into being too far behind to catch up.

Instead of randomly fitting in assignments here and there, create a study schedule. Students can typically access the complete course outline, with assignments, at the beginning of the course. Add all assignments, exams and other tasks to a calendar, blocking off time for each one. Online calendars can provide alerts and reminders to help students keep track.

4. Reduce distractions.

Distractions are a part of life. It can be tempting to put studying on pause to throw in a load of laundry, deal with a pile of dishes or check email. But multitasking makes it difficult for any student to stay on task.

Whether it is a coffee shop, the library or at home, it is important to find a place to study with the fewest distractions. If all else fails, noise canceling headphones come in handy.

5. Take time to recharge.

Earning a BSN while working is not easy. It may seem impossible between the two to find time to relax. But taking time to recharge can improve performance on the job and in school. Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Susan Biali Haas recommends having a “go-to list” of ways to recharge.

This might mean getting some exercise or sleeping in. Maybe cooking a healthy meal or taking a tech break is the answer. With an app like InsightTimer, guided meditation can be a great way to recharge anywhere.

ADN and diploma nurses may be new to online courses, but that does not need to stand in the way of earning this valuable degree. Getting a handle on common issues that may come up can pave the way to success.

Learn more about EMU’s online RN to BSN program.