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The Breakdown

Nursing can be incredibly rewarding, both as a career and an academic pursuit. Whether you are diagnosing, examining or treating a patient, at its core nursing is about nurturing. You help people heal, you help people adapt and you help people cope.

If you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you’ll clearly need to load up on a number of science classes. You will study everything from anatomy and human development to health patterns in mental illness. While your first few semesters will be dedicated to classroom learning, starting sophomore year most programs will have you begin your clinical training. During this time you’ll get a taste for what it’s like to work at a hospital, taking patient reports, examining patients and administering medication. You will also start to get an idea for what area you might want to focus on, be it pediatrics or emergency care.

It is important to note that all aspiring nurses must take the National Certification Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) upon graduating from an accredited nursing program. You must pass this test before becoming an officially registered nurse.

Nursing students must have an aptitude for science and be sound communicators. Indeed, strong listening skills are a must as is the ability to remain calm and collected in any given situation. Perhaps most important, nurses should enjoy interacting with people. After all, the job is really all about your patients.

Nuts and Bolts

A typical nursing course-load could very well include: Introduction to Psychology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Normal and Abnormal Physiology, Parent/Newborn Nursing, Life-Span Development, Health Assessment, Mental Health Promotion and Pharmacology and Leadership in Nursing.

Decisions, Decisions

Nursing students tend to have an interest in science, health and helping others. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that these majors also might consider studying biology, chemistry, human development, psychology, nutrition, neuroscience, physical therapy, pharmacology, biochemistry or social work.

What's Next

All right, the job title is in the name of the major. However, that doesn’t mean there’s only a singular path to take. On the contrary, nursing offers a wide degree of employment options. Obviously, nurses find positions within hospitals, doctors’ offices and school systems. They can also work in direct home care, nursing homes, the military and even find jobs as traveling nurses or legal consultants. And of course, they can specialize in a variety medical areas, from neonatology and surgery to gerontology and psychiatry. Regardless of focus, nurses are consistently in high demand and face strong employment prospects in the years to come.


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Don Munce