Nurses need to complete a variety of tasks daily – and the job requires more than just checking vital signs, doling out medicine, and giving kids stickers.
As a nurse, you oftentimes need to react quickly. What would you do if one of your patients had a mental health issue? Or what if there was an emergency during a baby delivery procedure – would you be prepared to help?
Nursing programs are designed to help students gain the skills and knowledge they need to care for others. Introductory practical nursing courses are important for building a foundation of nursing skills like surgical procedures and medicine administration. However, because nurses work in many different settings, experience with specific subject matter is necessary if you want to be able to think on your feet.
All the information a future nurse needs to know can’t be crammed into the introductory courses. That’s why courses that focus on specific medical specialties are so important – and will give you an edge in your future job search.
So how do you know which courses you should take? That depends on the type of work you hope to eventually do. These are some of the practical nursing courses that will help develop specialized skills as you progress towards your practical nursing degree:
This class is a must-have if you want to work with newborns or families in the future. Caring for a mother and baby postpartum requires special knowledge of child birth and potential complications.
Even if you’ve already had a child yourself, chances are you were too busy to really notice what the doctors and nurses were doing to help your delivery be successful.
What you’ll learn: The stages of pregnancy, child birth, and postpartum, including high-risk infant care. You’ll also learn about sexuality and fertility issues.
Where you can apply these skills: Obstetrician/gynecologist’s (OB/GYN) office
Nutrition is a big part of overall health, so it’s a subject where nurses must be well-versed. Nurses regularly interact with patients, so being able to guide a patient’s nutritional choices may help them prevent future health problems.
What you’ll learn: How nutrition affects the body, and how a person’s health changes throughout his or her lifespan.
Where you can apply these skills: Hospital or general practitioner’s office
A patient’s physical health isn’t the only part of care a nurse has to consider – mental health is important, too. Even if you don’t decide to work in the area of mental health exclusively, chances are that, sometime in your career, you’ll encounter a patient with a mental illness.
What you’ll learn: The types of mental health aspects a nurse might face. Facets of medicine, therapy, and rehabilitation are all covered.
Where you can apply these skills: Psychiatric hospital
Geriatric nursing focuses on the needs of older patients. While this course will prepare those who want to work in a nursing home setting, the skills you gain here can also be applied in a broader context. Nurses work with patients of all ages in nearly every setting, so knowing the unique needs of older patients is crucial.
What you’ll learn: The normal aging process, and the cultural, legal, and ethical aspects of geriatric nursing.
Where you can apply these skills: Nursing homes, hospice care