Distance education has made it possible for those who wish to go into the nursing field to acquire their degrees-at least partially-and to attend classes in their field from home or from wherever there is an Internet connection. Nursing students do not need to live in the same area as the school in order to attend, which is definitely a huge change from traditional nursing education.
The infusion of technology that has accompanied distance education has also brought other benefits to nursing education. Nursing students now have better equipment to practice on, such as more advanced patient simulators and patient care devices, and better resources from which to obtain knowledge, such as the Internet and vast online libraries.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008, pg. 2), "Technological advances are increasing opportunities to improve dramatically the quality of and access to nursing education. Further, technology affords increased collaboration among nursing faculties in teaching, practice, and research. Careful use of technology in education may well enhance the profession's ability to educate nurses for practice, prepare future nurse educators, and advance nursing science in an era when the number of professional nurses, qualified nurse faculty and nurse researchers is well below national need. To take full advantage of technology in education, several factors need to be addressed by nursing and other leaders in education and health care institutions, as well as by external funders and policy makers."
Distance education has also made it possible for people from all over the world to become nurses that might not have been able to otherwise. This means that it necessarily increases the multicultural aspects of the field. It opens the doors of opportunity into the field for those who want to become nurses, but may not have the time to study at a traditional institution. Many distance learners are working adults who are very concerned with aspects such as time management when it comes to advancing their careers (White, 2003).
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008):
The United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing colleges and universities across the country are struggling to expand enrollment levels to meet the rising demand for nursing care. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is concerned about the shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) and is working with schools, policy makers, kindred organizations, and the media to bring attention to this health care crisis. AACN is working to enact legislation, identify strategies, and form collaborations to address the nursing shortage.
A nursing shortage means that there is a serious need for recruitment into nursing schools. This can be challenging with biological scares such as MRSA, which will be discussed in the subsequent section of this assignment (Goold, 2006).
According to Replidyne (2008, pg. 1), "Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is a type of Staphylococcus aureus resistant to certain