Online Learning During Working Towards a Doctoral Degree

While working towards a doctoral degree, nurses often have to simultaneously manage their work, education, and personal lives. Doctorate needs a significant amount of time and effort as it contains much practical and theoretical information and the development of many professional skills (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006). Although online learning saves some time and offers flexibility, it also requires students to be diligent and responsible (Gillett-Swan, 2017). For this reason, online universities such as Walden give tips to enhance one’s studying – they mainly concern time management, the use of technology, and planning. In this paper, I will review a strategy that I have been using during my previous studying experiences – study scheduling. I will also consider the idea of creating a specific place to study and evaluate it according to my personal characteristics.

The strategy that I try to use regularly is creating a schedule for studying once I get access to future classes and assignments. Walden University (n.d.) highlights this study habit as it improves a student’s time management and allows one to stay punctual, even when juggling work and education. For example, when I start a new class, I look over all available class dates and assignment deadlines. Then, I examine my work schedule and mark any spaces where I have time to study. I also map out the days when I am not working to ensure that there is a balance between my rest and learning.

Accidents happen, so I do not always follow this schedule. However, it is advantageous as it grants me a sense of preparedness. When working and studying at the same time feels overwhelming, I turn to my schedule to see that I still have time or that I can rest. This way, I manage both the time I study and the stress that education entails. As a result, I also engage in problem-solving, especially if I see that I do not have much free space in my schedule – thus, this strategy aids in attaining other vital soft skills (Moore & Pearson, 2017). Although I am still working on improving my time management, this system helped me to have a better grasp of the information I digest during my classes and assignments.

Currently, I am often working on my assignments wherever I can. While this gives me flexibility, it is often challenging for me to separate education from free time or to feel as though I am ready to learn. For this reason, I want to try a strategy of defining my space (Walden University, n.d.). I believe that designating a workspace and making it comfortable for studying could help me concentrate on the courses better. For example, I could clear out a table and remove all destructions when I sit there. I could put my phone away or wear headphones to reduce outside noise.

To sum up, I have already developed some time management strategies for my online classes, but I can always incorporate new ideas to overcome my weaknesses. Scheduling allows me to plan ahead and manage my stress from working and studying at the same time. Designating a space for studying may direct my attention to learning and eliminate distractions. I will try this strategy when taking on new courses and see whether it makes me feel as though my rest and study times are separate.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Author.

Gillett-Swan, J. (2017). The challenges of online learning: Supporting and engaging the isolated learner. Journal of Learning Design, 10(1), 20-30.

Moore, K. A., & Pearson, B. J. (2017). Soft skills in an online class. Horttechnology, 27(5), 583-585.

Walden University. (n.d.). Earning a degree online? Top seven success strategies for new online students.