Although there are several different types of nurse training programs available, you can expect similar nursing courses throughout all of them. There are two different career paths for nurses: Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPNs/LVNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs). An LPN/LVN will typically complete a 1 year certification program with basic courses covering all aspects of the nursing field. An RN will pursue a 2 to 4 year degree that will cover all of the basic nursing courses in addition to advanced classes and clinical training sessions.
Requirements for Enrollment
Before enrolling in one of the nursing schools, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED. In addition, it may be helpful to review a few subjects related to typical nursing courses before getting started. During high school or on your own, you should study areas related to anatomy, physiology, biology, and pharmacology just to name a few. With a solid background knowledge in these area, you will be well prepared for the nursing courses you will encounter throughout your education.
Typical Nursing Courses
Whether you decide to become an LPN, LVN, or an RN, you will complete a long list of nursing courses covering a wide variety of subjects. Although every education is different, some of the nursing courses you can expect to take include the following:
- Introduction to Nursing – First and foremost, you will take a series of courses related to nursing directly. These may include lessons designed to teach you how to deal with patients in all types of settings, including emergency care situations. In addition to coursework, RNs may spend some time completing clinical training under the direct supervision of actual nurses and healthcare professionals. Introductory courses will teach you about the basics of the job and the healthcare industry in general.
- Pharmacology – These nursing courses will teach you about different types of medicine and drugs and how they affect patients. You will learn about side effects, cross-drug interactions, and information in general about various drug groups.
- Psychology – Along with nursing courses in human behavior sciences, psychology will teach you about the different mental states a patient may be going through. Sometimes, people who have been diagnosed with a serious illness or have gone through a recent trauma must be interacted with in a certain way. You will learn how to comfort and speak with patients who are suffering from a variety of medical conditions.
- Adult Health – There are several different nursing courses related to caring for and treating adult patients with a variety of conditions and illnesses. You will learn how to deal with everything from neurological disorders to vascular diseases.
- Math for Medication Administration – While math may not seem like one of the typical nursing courses, it is important to have strong mathematical skills for several reasons. For example, many nurses who work in administrative roles need review measurements and calculate medicine dosages.
- Medical Terminology – This course will teach you about many of the medical terms and abbreviations you will encounter as a nurse. It is important to learn and understand these terms in order to make quick and correct decisions in the fast-paced healthcare industry.
- Communication and Leadership – If you plan to become an RN, you may be tasked with overseeing a team of other nurses. Through a communication and leadership nursing course, you will learn how to operate as a member of a team, making sure everyone in your group is working as efficiently as possible.
- Mental Health Nursing – Nursing courses related to mental health will teach you how to interact and treat patients who suffer from psychological disorders. The goal of this course is to teach you how to help mental health patients cope with their problems and adjust to living a more regular life.
These are just some of the nursing courses you will encounter. You will have the opportunity to take more specialized nursing courses depending on your area of interest. Consult your school for more information about the nursing courses they have available.
Furthering Your Education
Beyond completing one of the certificate or nursing degree programs, there are several ways to further your education after becoming an LPN/LVN or RN. Once you complete your required nursing courses and graduate, the first thing you will have to do is earn a nursing license. This is a requirement in every states, and can be done by passing an exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
After you become a licensed nurse, you will be ready to start your career. However, you can choose to pursue one of the nursing specialties to advance your knowledge and open up new career paths. There are specialties available in several areas including types of treatments and settings like ambulatory care, critical care, and hospice. There are also specialties related to particular body systems like cardiovascular and respiratory care.