As an aspiring nurse, you have several options when it comes to your education. You can choose to pursue an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Both degree paths will make you eligible to take your licensing exam and become certified as a Registered Nurse (RN).
Many Registered Nurses will kick off their career with an associate degree in Nursing (ADN). This level of degree is the standard expectation among employers today, and takes roughly two years to complete—making it a common path for those who want to get into the field fast. The RN courses that constitute the associate degree curriculum are foundational, and therefore vital for every aspiring nurse to know.
A bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) is becoming more popular among modern nurses, particularly those looking to advance in their roles. The BSN is comprised of both foundational and advanced RN courses, making it another viable option for aspiring RNs. The degree path you choose will ultimately depend on your career aspirations (and what’s required to get there), as well as your desired time commitment to nursing school. You can compare these nursing programs here.
No matter which route you take towards a nursing career, one thing is for certain: You will need to learn the basics. This includes the techniques and technology, the sciences and skillsets, the conditions and treatments that all pour into the nursing profession. This is the fundamental purpose of an RN degree program – to ensure you are well-equipped for the field.
Below are some of the most vital and valuable registered nursing courses you will take while in school:
- Anatomy and Physiology (I & II)
The primary role of a Registered Nurse is to assess and diagnose health problems relating to the human condition. In order to do this effectively, nurses must have a full understanding of the human body and its functioning. Through anatomy and physiology courses, RNs can learn about the chemical, anatomical, physiological, muscular, and skeletal components of the human body. They can learn about the different systems in the body – including the sensory, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, lymphatic, gastrointestinal, renal, and reproductive systems – and what conditions or diseases might affect them.
Typically, nursing schools will offer an introductory and an advanced course in these subjects. At Goodwin, RN students gain knowledge in these areas, as well as participate in lab experiments and dissections, to put their know-how to practice.
Human ailments are not always physical, so it is important for nurses to understand the psychology of the brain and human behaviors, as well as the potential developmental or mental health disorders that can affect a person. In an introductory course, you can expect to learn about social psychology, neuropsychological principles, cognition and learning, and abnormal psychology across the lifespan. At Goodwin, nursing students also complete a Lifespan Development psychology course, in which they learn about human development from personal, professional, and theoretical perspectives.
- Adults and Wellness Continuum (I & II)
Most general practice Registered Nurses will work with adults during their careers. The adult patient population faces an array of ailments, relating to both physical and mental health. In this course, titled “Adults and Wellness Continuum,” students are given the opportunity to learn about the common health problems affecting adults today. An introductory course may touch on ailments related to nutrition, imbalances, oxygenation, cardiac function, surgical procedures, and more. An advanced course may touch on more complex maladies, such as blood disorders and immunodeficiencies, in combination with other acute and chronic health conditions. At Goodwin, nursing students take part in clinical experiences in lab and acute care settings as part of these RN courses.
- Nursing Skills Development
Nursing is a highly technical career, meaning you must have the practical skills and know-how to treat patients in need. This RN course will focus on honing your skillsets and ensure you understand the foundational concepts relating to patient care. At Goodwin, special emphasis is placed on the development of communication skills, physical and psychosocial assessments, and specific skills related to nursing interventions. In addition, students are provided clinical experiences in the nursing skills laboratory and in non-acute client care settings.
- Health Assessment
A health assessment course goes hand-in-hand with skills development, and helps prepare nurses with the fundamental knowledge needed to evaluate and treat patients. Nursing students learn how to assess clients’ physical and psychosocial health, as well as listen to their patients’ reported needs and symptoms. Students also learn how to effectively intervene and treat conditions when necessary. This involves knowing how to assess different disorders, determine treatments, as well as think critically and on their feet.
Microbiology is a vital RN course for aspiring nurses, because it explains the science behind many human diseases. Students learn how microbial and parasitic organisms play a role in disease and health, and how they affect the various systems in the body. RN students gain knowledge of viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, helminths, and pathogenic agents – and further, how these microorganisms function, grow, and spread. Microbiology courses typically involve clinical and laboratory experiences in the classroom.
- Integration of Nursing Practice
This course will vary from school to school, however, it generally involves putting your learned skills to practice. Within this course, you will integrate all the methods you’ve learned and knowledge you’ve gained into a practical care model. At Goodwin, this course is very focused on complex health problems in the adult patient population. Students learn how to care for patients with complex conditions relating to neurological health, cancer, multi-system failure, mental health, and trauma. They are able to apply their skills, including both therapeutic and pharmacological modalities, into real, clinical experiences. This is one of the final courses of Goodwin’s associate degree in Nursing curriculum, and helps ensure students are fully ready to practice in a patient care setting.
Registered Nurses have a lot of responsibility in their roles. According to the Connecticut General Assembly, RNs are responsible for:
- Diagnosing actual or potential health problems in patients
- Providing supportive and restorative care for patients in need
- Offering health counseling and teaching for patients and their families
- Collaborating on healthcare and treatment regimens with medical staff
- Executing medical plans and treatments, under the direction of a licensed physician or APRN
If you are considering becoming an RN, you can ensure your success by enrolling in a career-focused, hands-on nursing program. A reputable, career-oriented program will emphasize the importance of clinical experience in the classroom, and will ensure you walk away with the skills needed to succeed. At Goodwin’s nursing school, our RN courses are designed to prepare you with the skills that employers are looking for today.
In addition, our nursing courses are flexible and achievable. There are no wait lists for nursing enrollment, and classes are offered on both days and evenings. The best part? You can still work part-time or full-time while enrolled in RN courses, and complete your associate nursing degree in just 20 months part-time.
If you are ready to get started, do not hesitate to call Goodwin’s admissions team at 800-889-3282. For more information on our nursing courses, please do not hesitate to visit us online here.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.