Courses Needed to Be a Registered Nurse

A prospective registered nurse (RN) must receive training in several of the basic areas of nursing, such as nursing for psychiatric patients, mothers and newborns. Courses to become an RN are found in full degree programs.

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Essential Information

RN courses are most often taken in associate's and bachelor's degree programs in nursing. While both types of programs prepare students to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and get licensed to work as RNs, bachelor's programs can lead to additional career opportunities in teaching, research and management. Some bachelor's programs, especially those offered online, have RN licensure as a prerequisite for enrollment.

Aspiring RNs usually take a set of pre-nursing courses in topics that might include anatomy and physiology, psychology and microbiology. An introductory nursing course provides an overview of patient care techniques. Students then learn to perform health assessments, administer medications, provide patients with health and wellness advice, and supervise other nursing professionals. Students also gain hands-on clinical experience at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels throughout their program.

List of Classes

The following are descriptions of classes students frequently encounter in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in nursing.

Medical-Surgical Nursing Course

This course provides broad study in all aspects of nursing practice for adult patients. Coursework covers treatment of disorders in all major systems of the body, including respiratory, neurological, musculoskeletal and renal disorders. Students also learn procedures for caring for patients undergoing surgery.

Nursing Pharmacology Course

Pharmacology courses familiarize nursing students with the drugs and medications they will encounter during their work. These drugs include those used to prevent or treat illness and those used in diagnostics. Students learn about drug classifications and effects, as well as methods of administration.

Health Promotion Course

A registered nurse's role is not only to treat patients but also to promote wellness through healthier living. This class provides information on nutrition and disease prevention that registered nurses can pass on to patients and the families of patients. It also includes information tailored to the needs of particular groups, such as the elderly, children and the permanently disabled.

Mental Health Nursing Course

Patients with psychiatric disorders or mental illness require unique nursing care. Students in this course learn to diagnose issues in mental health patients and develop both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatment plans. Psychiatric patients may be found in hospitals, community care centers or mental health institutions, and coursework addresses the role of nursing care in each.

Maternity Nursing Course

The focus of maternity nursing courses is on care for the whole family through the entire childbearing process. Topics include women's health, reproductive health and care for pregnant and postpartum patients. Students are trained in care for high-risk and complicated pregnancies.

Nursing Management Course

Registered nurses must often direct and supervise other medical staff. This course helps students develop leadership and interpersonal skills while learning to delegate responsibility, balance workload and resolve conflicts. The class also explains the organizational structure of hospitals and other healthcare facilities, addressing issues that can affect an organization, such as budgeting and staff changes.

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  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Clinical Nursing
        • Critical Care Nursing
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Neonatal Nursing
        • Nurse Anesthetist
        • Nurse Midwife
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Occupational Health Nursing
        • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
        • Pediatric Nursing
        • Registered Nurse
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nurse Anesthetist
        • Registered Nurse
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nursing Science
        • Registered Nurse
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nursing Science
        • Registered Nurse
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

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