Nursing classes and curriculum requirements will vary depending on the nursing degree you choose to pursue in college, but we’ll provide examples of classes to take for nursing, from LPNs to APNs.
A BSN will logically be more intense in terms of breadth and depth of courses and classes taken than LPN or ADN.
Sample classes are given below by nursing degree or program subheadings. Remember, there are pre-reqs that will need to be completed. These usually include anatomy and physiology, statistics, and microbiology, along with a few others. Current high school students should consider taking lots of science and biology courses, along with math, so when they take the pre-reqs they’ll breeze through them.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)
The shortest route to becoming a nurse is by training to become one from technical or vocational schools offering state-approved LPN programs, or from hospitals with such a program.
The program often runs from 12-18 months of classroom instruction and supervised clinical training in hospitals.
Classes and courses
An approved LPN curriculum generally includes:
Human Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Medical and Nursing Care, Mathematics and Pharmacology, Fundamentals of Practical Nursing, Communication Skills, Legal and Ethical Concepts, Medical and Surgical Concepts, Concepts on Basic Child and Adult Care, Concepts on Mental Health and Diseases, and clinical training on all concepts learned.
The whole curriculum covers 600-700 class hours and 900-1,000 clinical training hours.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
ADN programs train students to become nurses, and prepare them to take and pass the NCLEX-RN.
Throughout their studies, nursing students are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the demands required by their chosen career. It takes two (2) years to complete an ADN program.
Classes and courses
In a typical ADN program, students spend half of their coursework learning basic nursing skills, principles and philosophies in the classroom.
The other half allows them to apply those theories and principles through clinical internship, where they experience first-hand the enormous demands and responsibilities of being a nurse.
The following are the topics covered under the program:
Communication Skills, Critical Thinking, Pathophysiology, College Algebra, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Psychology, Patient Assessment and Management, Adult Health Concepts, Microbiology, Nursing Fundamentals, Mental Health Nursing, Medical and Surgical Nursing, Maternal and New-born Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Basic Nutrition, Current Issues, and Human Development.
The whole curriculum includes 18-20 courses equivalent to 115-130 credit hours.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
This is the traditional route for those who want to become a nurse. Recent developments in nursing regulation also indicate that in a few years, the minimum requirement for RNs will be BSN.
Classes and courses
To complete a BSN program, you have to take around 44 credits of basic education courses; 20 credits of nursing prerequisites on chemistry, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, microbiology, statistics, and psychology; and 64 credits of nursing-specific coursework, and a clinical internship. The first two years generally focus on natural sciences, minor nursing courses, humanities and social sciences.
The last two years focus on major nursing courses and supervised clinical training. These courses are usually to be taken sequentially. Topics covered under this program include, but are not limited to, the following:
- First Year: Chemistry (lecture and laboratory)
- Exposition and Essay-writing
- Social Science
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Advanced Essay-writing
- Critical Thinking
- Second Year: Cultures & Cultural Diversity
- Nutrition & Health
- Developmental Psychology
- Foreign Language
- Third Year: Health Assessment
- Adult Nursing Care
- Illness Management
- Professional Nursing
- Introduction to Research
- Acute Care Psychiatric Nursing
- Nursing Pharmacotherapeutics
- Fourth Year: Maternity Nursing
- Adult & Elderly Nursing Care
- Pediatric Nursing
- Medical and Ethical Issues
- Family Nursing Care
- Community Health Nursing
- Leadership & Management
Classes leading to specialty areas
RNs are in great demand in hospitals, clinics, healthcare facilities, medical research laboratories, nursing homes, and health resorts and spa.
Classes taken up in their BSN may even spark their interest and inclination, and eventually lead to specialization in such areas as Emergency Care, Home Health, Mental Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Critical Care, and Public Health.
RNs seeking certification may check out professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Association, for their competencies in various specialty areas.
After graduation …
After you graduate from an LPN or RN program, you will need to pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). If you choose the licensed practical nurse education pathway, you will take the NCLEX-PN. If you choose the registered nurse education pathway, you will take the NCLEX-RN. You may also have to register with the state you live in, as well. You could also choose to continue your education with a master’s degree.
Master of Science in Nursing
There’s certainly a lot of room for advancing your nursing career. You can take a master’s or doctoral degrees in nursing to qualify for higher nursing positions, start a career in nursing administration, or do research work with government institutions or some private organizations.
The MSN program trains students, who are duly licensed registered and practicing nurses, to move into the more advanced level in the nursing profession.
The program usually takes two years to finish allowing students to learn the specific field of advanced practice of their choice.
Classes and courses
There are several areas of specialization in nursing, and the programs vary in course prerequisites and clinical coursework.
Generally, however, programs may include the following:
Theoretical Foundation for APN, Statistics, Pathophysiology, Complex Healthcare Concepts, Nursing Informatics, Advanced Practice Nursing Research, Patient Care Management, Applied Pharmacology, Clinical Decision-Making, Healthcare Policy and Politics, Health Assessment and Management, and Primary Care.
Holders of a master’s degree in nursing become Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetists, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. Nurses in these advanced fields of nursing are called Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs).
Specific curricula will vary depending on the particular chosen. Overall, nurses take 2 to 3 years of academic learning and practical placements to become APNs.
The nursing profession will never lack for demand, and the nursing field will continually grow.
If you are interested in pursuing the field, learn which program is applicable to your ambitions, resources and circumstances.
One field may not initially be your ideal entry point to becoming a nurse, but see if it can be a good stepping stone.
See if the classes provided by that particular program will adequately prepare you for the next step.
You may also need to do more than that – check with your state nursing board if the program you’re considering will earn you credits in the higher nursing degree that you may eventually pursue.
Knowing ahead what classes will be required in the higher years may prove advantageous, too.
Do you wish to become a Neonatal Nurse in the future? Then do extra work in your Maternity and Pediatric Nursing classes.
You already know that you will have a research class in your third or fourth year; be attentive in your Statistics class while you’re in your second year because the two courses are inseparable.
Nothing beats knowing what’s ahead and being prepared! I hope this provides some idea about what classes to take for nursing.