Online Prerequisites Help Student Become a Nurse

Online Prerequisites Student Profile: Athena Argyropoulos: BSN '18

Photo - Athena Argyropolis

Athena Argyropoulos had a vision of herself as nurse who would work 1:1 with people to understand fully their experience and learn ways that she could help fix their suffering. Her first experience with the prerequisite courses required for admission to nursing school was disappointing.

“The faculty didn't seem to care if you thrived; they didn't seem to care what you were getting out the experience of their classes.”

So she took a chance on taking the remainder of her prerequisite courses online at the MGH Institute. Cautious at first because she had heard “online prereqs are a joke—you can cheat your way through them so easily!” she persisted and completed four of her five prereqs courses online at the IHP.

"When you don’t understand something, it hurts—you are afraid you are not going to get into school. This study is not easy, but every time I got stuck, the professors would reach out to me to help me get unstuck— sometimes with FaceTime or video chat, sometimes with email."  

Taking Anatomy and Physiology online confirmed her passion for learning the science at the foundation of nursing care.

“Each week we discussed case studies in written weekly discussions. Talking with other people about real cases makes you feel empowered to learn more, and comfortable to ask more questions. When you have a strong foundation of understanding you can keep growing from it and know that you have the power to make a difference. Some of the cases we studied in Anatomy came up again in nursing classes; I was already familiar with the foundations for these conditions. I still have all of these case studies.”  

She found Microbiology to be very challenging. The material was hard and she was a bit confused at the beginning of the course.

“I struggled a bit with the first lab kit, but the instructor really helped me get through it and it all fell into place and I got my rhythm. She was always super excited about what we were learning, so you are, too. She kept up the level of challenge throughout the course, but I did fine because she gave really good, constructive feedback to help keep me on track.”

Once again, she found herself working with authentic cases that relate to health care:

“We talked a lot about cases of drug resistance; we learned about the mechanisms from a molecular level; it was the coolest thing ever! And now I see this all the time in my work in the hospital.”

In Introduction to Statistics, Athena learned more than she expected. The self-paced structure of the course helped her to further develop her skills in planning her own learning. And once again she found that her experience was directly related to her vision of herself as a nurse.

“I liked that the framework that was set up so you would learn to do research…. We have research projects in the nursing program, and I continually find that I know what I’m talking about when we go through the process.”

When asked what she would say to someone considering taking their science prerequisite courses online:

“I would tell them that learning online might seem overwhelming at first, but teachers spell out everything in their syllabus and they are really there to help you get into the swing of things. And after a second it all falls into place and it works.

Learning from a distance really helped me learn to plan. The organization of these courses taught me to take control; and I am confident about my ability to plan and organize my career going forward.

Education is essential—the quality is worth the money.”