Online Nursing Schools: Successfully Keeping the RNs and the MDs Separate

There is a long lasting cliché that nurses are the doctor’s helpers who wear the white cap in hospitals and follow doctor’s orders daily.  This is far from true, as any RN will tell you, and MDs and RNs are typically disconnected in a hospital setting, working independently through their own ranks of authority.  While they team together for initial patient care, after this primary point, nurses and doctors rarely communicate face-to-face, a fact which is little known outside the hospital.  Online nursing schools have continued this tradition and have successfully found a way to educate future nurses through the internet, finding yet another way to work independently before the hospital and clinic setting.

Independence is a large part of the health care industry.  While students of online education are well aware of the way to work independently, many traditional classroom students are used to the crutch of professors or other students in their classes.  Without this crutch, online students experience a way to complete their own projects without outside help and to force themselves to create a disciplined schedule for schoolwork.  This is one of the best aspects of online nursing schools since students will have to learn independence at some point in their nursing training.  The health care industry encourages working together, but you must know how to work independently and make decisions on your own: decisions that could be life-threatening or life-saving.

The difference between MDs and RNs is well established in any health care unit, as nurses work independently and have their own system of authority ranging from the head nurse to the newly entered nursing assistants.  Doctors have a completely different type of authoritative structure and therefore the two circles rarely meet.  Consulting with a doctor only rarely happens and typically revolves around the initial moment of patient instruction.  After this point, most nurses are on their own to decide their own course of action with the patient and inform the doctor when need be.  This independence is well established in the nursing community and the sooner you can learn to work independently, the better.

The benefit of online nursing school is therefore that it teaches students a wider realm of independence and allows them to think on their own before entering residency.  By the time they reach their residency requirements, they will be well suited to be on their own in the clinic or hospital, without the need of contacting the head nurse or another RN for questions.  This early separation not only from MDs, but also from other potential RNs is a valuable tool for early nurses and helps teach them the structure of a health care setting, early on.  Keeping MDs and RNs separate is a way of life in the health care industry and not only teaches both sections to work independently, but also reminds them that they can rely on each other when they need to, without intruding on their “territory”. 


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