Evening Nursing Programs Overview

Get information about undergraduate and graduate nursing degree programs with night classes. Explore course requirements and career options by degree level, and find out what is required for registered nurse licensure.

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Essential Information

Evening nursing programs are designed to help working professionals earn a degree by offering classes that don't interfere with their daytime schedules. These programs provide similar coursework to full-time day programs, but take longer to complete because class times are shorter. Most evening nursing programs award an associate's degree, though some accelerated programs confer bachelor's or master's degrees.

Associate's degree programs feature clinical experiences and coursework that prepare students to pursue registered nurse (RN) licensure and work as RNs. These programs don't require previous health care work experience, and students learn to help doctors diagnose and treat illnesses, take patients' vital signs and offer health care advice.

Professionals who already work as RNs can enroll in an evening RN-BSN program to earn a bachelor's degree. These programs cover advanced nursing topics, including pathophysiology, health assessment and nursing management. Students participate in hands-on simulations and may pursue advanced nursing positions upon graduation. Working RNs may also pursue an RN-MSN degree, which usually includes advanced health care and business coursework. This kind of evening program is designed for RNs who want to become managers or nurse practitioners.


Associate's Degree in Nursing

Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs that are offered in the evening allow students to attend classroom lectures and gain clinical experience outside of regular working hours. Students in evening ASN or ADN programs learn about the practical skills and theoretical foundations of nursing, including medical diagnoses, patient care and vital sign measurement. Associate's degree programs provide students with a broad nursing education and usually don't require incoming students to have previous health care experience.

Program Coursework

The classes in evening ASN or ADN programs emphasize topics in the natural sciences, social sciences and medicine. Students learn to measure patients' pulse and blood pressure, assist doctors in diagnosis and treatment, give patients wellness information and assess general health. The topics below are usually covered:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing ethics
  • Community health education
  • Pediatric care

Popular Career Options

People who earn an ASN or ADN are eligible to become registered nurses (RNs). RNs can work in clinics, hospitals, schools or physicians' offices. Many nurses work with specific patient populations or in certain situations. Listed below are some common career options:

  • Staff nurse
  • Pediatric nurse
  • Critical care nurse

Licensure Information

To become an RN, associate's degree graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Eligibility criteria to take the exam vary by state but usually include no more than completion of an approved nursing program.

Evening RN-to-BSN Degree

RN-to-BSN programs are designed for registered nurses who want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Those who complete an RN-to-BSN program can earn their BSN in a shorter time frame than those who earn a BSN without any previous experience. Many programs offer classes in the evening and on weekends to accommodate students' work schedules. RN-to-BSN programs cover advanced topics in nursing, as well general educational subjects. Students usually complete in-depth, hands-on simulations.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants must be registered nurses to be admitted to an RN-to-BSN program. In addition to possessing knowledge of nursing theories and practices, incoming students need strong skills in math, communication and the physical sciences.

Program Coursework

Classes in RN-to-BSN programs cover the critical thinking and analytical skills used in patient care. The topics listed below are usually discussed:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Nursing management
  • Health assessment
  • Health maintenance
  • Professional nursing development

Popular Career Options

People who complete an RN-to-BSN program often qualify for specialized or advanced nursing positions. Many nurses work with specific patient populations or in certain situations. The careers noted below are popular options:

  • School nurse
  • Surgical nurse
  • Emergency room nurse

Evening RN-to-MSN Degree

RNs who want to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) while remaining employed can enroll in an evening RN-to-MSN program. Most RN-to-MSN programs allow students to specialize in a particular aspect of nursing.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants must have worked full-time as RNs prior to beginning their coursework. Most programs require applicants to submit letters of recommendation, copies of their college transcripts and scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Program Coursework

Classes in RN-to-MSN programs emphasize theoretical, practical and professional skills used in advanced nursing positions. Students learn business and social aspects of nursing, as well as technical skills. Students often learn about the following subjects:

  • Nursing research methodology
  • Nursing leadership
  • Politics in health care
  • Health care policy
  • Statistics in nursing

Popular Career Options

People who complete an RN-to-MSN evening program are qualified for supervisory and specialized nursing positions. Many graduates work directly with patients, while others take administrative roles. Some career options are included below:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse educator
  • Clinical nurses specialist
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