What You Will Learn in a Nursing Degree Program

Nursing degree programs are designed to equip students with the critical thinking skills and education necessary to care for patients with a wide variety of illnesses, injuries and medical conditions. These programs are composed of classroom learning, lab work and clinical learning. Nursing majors will take courses in human anatomy & physiology, cellular biology, nursing principles, behavior health, psychology, interpersonal communication, pathology and pharmacology. During clinical rotations, students are supervised by a clinical director while they learn to take medical histories, develop a plan of care for a patient and perform the duties expected of today’s nursing staff, such as starting IVs, administering medications, turning and bathing bedridden patients and keeping patient charts accurately.

What You Can Do with a Nursing Degree

Nursing is a much more versatile career choice than you would imagine, as you can specialize and gain certification in a number of specific areas, depending on what area of health care you are interested in. For example, you can become a pediatric nurse, and work only with children, or a geriatric nurse, and work only with the elderly. If you have a passion for helping people with cancer, you can become an oncology nurse. With a nursing degree, you can also work in a number of health care settings, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home health care agencies and hospices. If you continue your education at the graduate level, you can even become a nurse educator or a highly-paid advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist.

Why a Nursing Degree Is in Demand

Nursing degrees are in demand because there is an ongoing nursing shortage throughout the United States, and students are pouring into nursing degree programs in hopes of excellent job prospects upon graduation. They will not likely be disappointed, as registered nurses are quickly able to find gainful employment in nearly any region of the U.S. In fact, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by a whopping 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is expected to especially boom for nurses in doctor’s offices, home health care services and nursing homes, the Bureau says. Students are also drawn to nursing degrees because of a strong desire to help and care for others.