How To Teach Nursing Skills Online: The Complete Guide


We all know becoming a nurse requires a lot of hands on time and work experience but how much can you teach online.  And what resources are available for you.  This article will show you everything you need to know.

Before you start teaching nursing online you need to know the following:

  • Course Outline
  • Equipment
    • Hardware
    • Software
  • Creating Training Content
  • Course Hosting
    • Learning Management Systems
    • Third-Party Platforms
  • Work Experience
  • Nursing License Requirements
  • Online Nursing Resources
  • Assessment Of Your Students

Let’s jump in and find out what you need to start teaching nursing skills online.

Course Outline

Before creating an online course it is very important to define its outline. There are three main aspects you want to set up before moving on:

  • Nursing Level
  • Target Audience
  • Course Pricing 

Make sure you provide them with a clear description of the course outline. This way, they will have realistic expectations and managing the students expectations is important to their success.. 

Did you know that students that have unrealistic expectations about the course are more likely to fail it? To learn more about the other 7 common reasons why students fail online classes, take a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: 8 Reasons Students Fail Online Classes (And What You Can Do)

Nursing Level

There are 5 different nursing levels that are internationally-accepted:

  • Level 1 – Novice Nurse (NN)
  • Level 2 – Proficient Nurse (PN)
  • Level 3 – Expert Nurse (EN)
  • Level 3+ – Mentor Nurse (MN)
  • Level 4 – Assistant Nurse Manager/Clinical Resource Nurse (ANM/CRN)

Decide what level of nursing you are going to teach depending on your experience and knowledge. If you are unsure about the nursing levels in the USA and what every level means, you should take a look at the following article.  Each country has its own levels and you should google this in your local country.

ARTICLE: (RN) Nursing Levels Explained  

Target Audience

This part is strongly related to the previous one. The target audience must be in accordance with your nursing level. Decide whether students you are going to teach:

  • Hobbyists 
  • Professional Development
  • New to Nursing

Apart from their previous experience, you should take into account basic demographic characteristics, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Prerequisites

Course Pricing

Course pricing is a very important aspect when creating an online class. Basic factors that help you approximate your course’s price are:

  • Your time
  • Course Costs
    • Creating Content 
    • Hosting Materials
    • Additional Costs
  • Target Profit (~30%)

To learn more about how to set the right price for your online course, I recommend reading the following article:

ARTICLE: 10 eLearning Pricing Models Online Teachers Must Know

Equipment

Before creating your online course, make sure you have all the necessary equipment. The checklist should include both hardware and software. The software will be mainly used for creating content and conducting live online classes. 

Let’s find out what equipment you need to teach nursing online.

Hardware

There are certain pieces of equipment that are mandatory for teaching nursing skills online. There is also some additional hardware that will definitely enhance your students’ experience and will make the teaching process way easier for you.

The hardware you need for an teaching online nursing is:

  • Laptop or Computer
  • Video Recording
  • Audio Recording

Laptop or Computer

Online teaching requires a laptop or computer that you can use to create training content and to conduct classes. To teach basic nursing skills online you shouldn’t need expensive computer equipment.

There are some standard requirements for a computer that will run smoothly and nicely during your online classes. Generally any computer less than 4 years old of around $500 will do for this style of training.  For most training online an i3 or i5 Intel processor with 4gig of RAM with a solid-state disk (SSD) or 8 gigs so RAM with an older style hard drive is more than enough. 

The most important characteristics of your computer are:

  • Processor
  • RAM
  • Operating system
  • Hard Disk Space

If you are unsure about how what are the requirements for a good computer, I suggest checking out the following article:

ARTICLE: eLearning Authoring: A Perfect Professionals Computer Setup

Video Recording

When teaching nursing skills online, you should take advantage of video training content. This way your students will be able to visualize and get a better understanding of the topic. 

Apart from the video training content, you might want to consider using live classes as the main method of teaching. If you are not yet decided if live classes are the right approach for your course, I suggest reading the following article:

ARTICLE: Teaching Live Online: The Pros and Cons 

In terms of hardware creating video training content uses a webcam, a dedicated camera or a mobile phone on a stand.  This is ok for creating eLearning content.  If you are using it for running live classes you will need a proper webcam or full camera. 

If you are using a laptop for your online courses, it probably has an integrated webcam. I strongly advise against using it for teaching online. This is due to its poor quality resolution and poor low light capability.

To create high-quality videos you will need a dedicated webcam or a full camera. My recommended ones can be found on the Recommended Tools page.

Audio Recording

A high-quality microphone is very important for you as an online teacher. It allows you to communicate effectively with your students. If you also have a dedicated webcam, live classes will be an amazing experience for both you and your students.

Audio training content might need some additional editing before going live. This can be done easily using the right software. If you are not an expert in matters of audio editing, I suggest reading the following article to find out how you can improve your audio quality:

ARTICLE: Editing Audio : Sound Like A Pro In A Screencast

Most nowadays laptops contain an integrated microphone that can be successfully used for basic activities such as standard audio-video chats. However, when you create training content you are aiming for high-quality audio recordings. That’s why I strongly advise against using the built-in microphone that comes with your laptop. 

You should spend some extra cash to get a high-quality dedicated microphone. There are heaps of devices available on the market and I recommend you get one that fits both your budget and your needs. You will want a directional microphone that has noise cancelling which will help you in small rooms like at home or the office.  You can find my favorite microphone on the Recommended Tools page.

To learn more about what additional equipment you can use during your online courses you should take a look at the Equipment section in the following article:

ARTICLE: Setting Up For Online Teaching: Everything You Will Need 

Software

When you are teaching nursing skills online you need to use the right software for creating your content. There are heaps of tools that can be used for free but more complex software solutions will require a paid subscription or license. 

Below you will find a list containing applications that you can use to create the most commonly used training content formats. 

Text

The most popular tools you can use to create and edit text documents are:

If you want to create and edit eBooks of Help style HTML content for your nursing course you can use one of the following:

Graphic

If you want to capture screenshots for your online nursing course you can use:

After you take a computer screenshot or a photo with your phone you may need or want to make some changes to your graphics or photos.  You will need 2d graphics software for that and I have listed some for your below.

Several of the graphic editing applications available are:

Audio

Among the most popular software used for audio recording and editing the most noteworthy are:

Video

As well as recording with your phone, webcam or camera to use in your training content you can also record your computer screen as well.

For screencast purposes you can choose among the following applications:

If you are unsure whether to use screecasts during your online nursing course, I suggest carefully reading the following article:

ARTICLE: Spice Up Your eLearning With A Screencast

After you’ve finished recording your video, to edit the raw footage you can use:

Creating Training Content

After making sure you have all the necessary tools you can start creating your training content. Teaching nursing skills online should be done using videos, images, graphs, and other visual learning content. 

To learn more about the available training content format that you can use to teach nursing skills online, I reading the below mentioned article:

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types

Use the above-mentioned software to create high-quality content. If you want to put your best foot before, I suggest taking a look at the Articulate Authoring Tools. Either Storyline 3 or Articulate 360 can be used to create and bundle amazing training content for your nursing course. 

If you are not sure which one to choose.  I recommend taking a look at the following article that compares the most important aspects of the two applications:

ARTICLE: Articulate 360 vs Storyline 3: Which Is Better For You?

Course Hosting

Now that you have your training content you will need to decide where to put the content.  If you are part of an educational institute you may already have a Learning Management System or website to host your content.  If not you may want to make it publically available for sale either directly to customers or through an educational content wholesaler.

If you are hosting yourself there are two main options when it comes to publishing your course online:

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  • Third-Party Platforms

Let’s find out which one fits your online nursing course.

Learning Management Systems

Learning management systems (also known as LMS) are among the most commonly used course hosting solutions. They have some core features that increase the proficiency of the educational process. 

The main features of a learning management system are:

  • Content Storage Solutions
  • Payment Handling Methods
  • Teacher-Student Communication
  • Assessment, Quizzing, and Grading
  • And more.

There are several LMS available on the market. Below you will find the most important features provided by two of the most popular learning management systems.

Google Classroom

http://classroom.google.com/

Google Classroom is a learning management system that can be used for free by any individual tutor. It is available worldwide and includes heaps of helpful functions. Apart from individual teachers Google Classroom can be also used for free by eligible schools.

If you do not fit the requirements for the free version you will have to pay a monthly / yearly subscription fee that is calculated in accordance with the number of students and teachers you will add. 

The most noteworthy features of Google Classroom are:

  • Cloud storage (through Google Drive)
  • Web conferences (using Google Meet)
  • Assessment & Quizzes (using Google Forms)
  • Forums and Discussion Stream
  • And more.

If you want to use Google Classroom to teach nursing skills online but you do not know anything about its interface and functions.  I would recommend reading the following article:

ARTICLE: How to Use Google Classroom as a Teacher: The Complete Guide 

You can check out the complete list of articles related to Google Classroom to find out everything about this powerful learning management system below.

ARTICLES: Google Classroom Articles 

Moodle

http://moodle.org/

Moodle is an internationally-recognized learning management system that can be used without paying any fee. The only cost that may be related to the usage of this LMS is the cost of hosting. 

If you have your own web hosting provider you do not have to worry about paying for Moodle. On the other hand, if you do not have a custom domain you will have to pay a subscription for the cloud-based version of Moodle. 

Moodle has a lot of powerful features. You can check out its complete feature list here. If you feel like this LMS lacks one function that you might need you can always take a look at the plugins database. All the plugins can be integrated for free into your LMS. 

There are heaps of useful plugins. For example, you can use one of the available plagiarism detectors. This way you will make sure that your students submit plagiarism-free content and are graded based on their work. To learn more about how to detect plagiarized content you should take a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: Does Moodle Check for Plagiarism?

You can learn more about how to use Moodle to host your online course by reading the articles at the link below.

ARTICLES: LMS Moodle Articles 

Third-Party Platforms

On the Internet you can find heaps of platforms that allow teachers to host online courses on different topics. This type of hosting provides one major advantage compared to the learning management systems, increased market exposure. All the students that have a valid account on the website can access and enroll in your course. 

If you want to use one of these platforms for your online nursing course take into account that the price will be decided by the platform. This will probably have a negative effect on your profit but will also diminish the cost associated with advertising your course.

The most popular third-party training platforms are:

Each website has its pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide which one fits your needs better. Make sure you carefully read the rules associated with hosting your course on each website in order to avoid any inconvenience.

Skillshare

https://www.skillshare.com/

Skillshare is one of the most popular teaching platforms available on the internet. It features millions of registered users. This website allows teachers to upload their training content and host online courses for free. 

The main advantage is that there is no need to worry about marketing your training course. Skillshare will do it for you without any additional fee. All the registered students will be able to see your offer and decide whether to sign up for the classes or not. 

The catch to Skillshare is they put 30% of the member fees into a royalty pool that teachers get paid depending on how many minutes students watch of their content out of the total minutes watched by all students.  This is the worst of the platforms for earnings and competition is fierce.

If you want to learn more about teaching online courses on Skillshare, I suggest taking a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: Is Teaching on SkillShare Worth it? Here is the Truth

Udemy

https://www.udemy.com/

Udemy is another well-known teaching website similar to Skillshare. It allows teachers to host their courses online and find interested students that will join their classes. Udemy features the a huge variety of subjects and topics that can be taught on their platform. 

However, just like the topic variety is very large so is the competition regardless of the topic you are planning on teaching.  There are already educators that are running their online courses on Udemy for most common topics so it is worth thinking on how your content and your experience helps it stand out.. This can be overcome by providing high-quality content to your students and earning their trust. 

You can however set your own course price if you are promoting it yourself.  The problem is if Udemy promotes your course they will discount regularly to 80% and 90% to attract new users as well as huge discounts to existing users.  If the student comes through their marketing they take more of the course cost.

Work Experience

Having practical experience is a must before becoming a registered nurse. Compared to in class training online courses do not provide their students with internship programs. This may be an inconvenience especially when there are no available nursing work experience programs at the local hospitals, care facilities or other locations nurses are needed. 

Your students or you can get in touch with the local hospital or a nursing home that is willing to provide the students with work experience. To be certified by any country nursing regulatory authority.

There are many specialties of work experience you can get when signing in to a nursing program:

  • Surgery and critical emergency trauma care
  • Paediatrics 
  • Anaesthesiology and pre-surgery processing
  • General medicine
  • And more.

Nursing License Requirements

You know already the requirement for nurses in your country but you will have to make sure the theory and practical components are built into your courses.  For the USA regulatory requirements I have supplied the link below.

LINK: Nursing License Requirements (Sorted by state)

Generally, if you want to become a nurse you must complete one of the following tasks before registering as a certified nurse:

  • Earn a diploma from an accredited nurse training program
  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing (also referred to as BSN)
  • Earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (also called ADN)

NOTE: This is for the USA and you will have to check your local country educational requirements.

Online Nursing Resources

On the Internet there are heaps of resources that you can successfully use to train future nurses. The most popular online nursing resource websites are:

Let’s see how you can use each website in your online nursing course.

DailyMed

http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov

DailyMed is an international database that contains all types of drugs available in the US. It allows nurses to learn and understand the use of every pill. This platform also contains all the labels, warnings, and recommendations related to the most commonly used medications. 

The students can search for a specific drug using the following keywords:

  • Drug name
  • NDC code
  • Drug Class
  • Set ID

It also contains a section that shows off news related to the changes that occur in the United States in terms of nursing, pharmacy, and medical field. Nurses are allowed to download spreadsheets containing the labels of all drugs available on the market. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

http://www.cdc.gov/

This website is established by the US government and contains relevant information related to past, present, and future diseases. It can be used during online nursing courses to learn about how to recognize and prevent the most common diseases. 

CDC website contains discussions and news related to the current events taking place in the medical field worldwide. That’s why it represents a high quality reference for all the nurses regardless of their experience. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention approaches different topics such as:

  • Covid-19 Pandemic
  • ADHD and COPD
  • Cancer
  • STDs
  • Heart Diseases and Diabetes
  • And more.

It also contains statistics about diseases and the worldwide risk factors. 

Nurses’ Code of Ethics

http://nursingworld.org/codeofethics

This website provides nurses with guidance in terms of ethics and human rights. It helps students to understand what behavior to adopt in every situation. Moreover it allows them to determine what is and what is not acceptable when you are taking care of a patient.

The complete version of the Nurses Code of Ethics can be read online without any paid subscription or registered account. If you want to use it, you can ask your students to click on the following link:

LINK: Nurses Code of Ethics – View Only 

National League for Nursing

http://www.nln.org/

This platform represents a network for all the nurses. It brings all levels of nurses all together and allows them to exchange opinions, pieces of advice, and experience. The registered members benefit from professional development opportunities, research grants, and testing services. 

The National League for Nursing website also provides members with heaps of courses, including vocational and degree programs.

Assessment Of Your Students

Regardless of the taught topic, assessment is the most important part of the educational process. This also applies when you teach nursing skills online. If you are using a learning management system you can easily assess your students using the available options. 

The most suitable methods that can be used to prove their skills are:

  • Videos of them applying the taught procedures
  • Letters from certified professionals
  • Certificates of work experience from local facilities

NOTE: For letters and certificates of work experience they have to show specific lists of how the students have met the competencies of the course.

You can ask your students to record themselves when practising the procedures that have been taught during your online course. This way, you will make sure that they have genuinely understood your materials. 

Certified professionals can be used as a reference by your students. Their skill can be certified by a professional in the medical field that supervises their training. Having someone that works in the field and is already familiar with the procedures to test your students’ knowledge is a great idea.

Your students can go out and get work experience from local nursing facilities. For example, they can sign in to an internship at the local hospital or for a training program at a nursing home. Either way they will receive a document that certifies the hours of work experience they have fulfilled. This document can be successfully used to prove their skills.

To learn more about how to assess your students I suggest reading the following article:

ARTICLE: 13 Ways To Assess Online Students

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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