Health Care Education in the 21st Century
The health care industry and the Internet have always made uneasy bedfellows, although the relationship has improved dramatically in recent years. Initially, when the Internet was less regulated, health care professionals were crying foul at the proliferation of unlicensed pharmacies and unlicensed practitioners doing business via the World Wide Web. While those complaints have subsided coinciding with a new set of laws for e-commerce, many health care professionals are still wary of the influence of the Internet on the industry as a whole. Some medical practitioners lauded the onslaught of web sites that offer free medical information while others saw it as an intrusion to their authority. Health care education suffered the same fate for quite some time. While many in the medical community saw an opportunity to expand the opportunities for health care education, others were skeptical.
Today, it is accepted that an online education is just as viable for most areas of study as a traditional campus education. While there are some positions in health care that will always require hands on learning, many can be effectively taught online. Most universities that offer online curriculum are now making degree programs in health care available. Administrative programs are the most widely offered, although there are several that lean toward the clinical side of the industry. Nurses, in particular, have a variety of choices when it comes to online education. Several bachelors of Science degrees in nursing have become a popular way for nurses with LPN or RN licensure to advance their education.
The emergence of online educational opportunities for the health care industry will have a positive effect in the next several years. With an aging baby boomer population, positions in health care are expected to rise well above the average for all other industries. New positions will be created and both new and existing positions will need to be filled. Online degree programs offer many the chances to work in the health care industry that otherwise might not be able to because of scheduling conflicts that keep them from attending traditional universities.