What Classes Do Registered Nurses Have to Take?

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As the backbone of the healthcare system, registered nurses play a crucial role in providing quality patient care. To become a registered nurse, individuals must undergo a comprehensive educational journey that equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills. In this article, we will explore the classes registered nurses have to take, from core courses to specialized areas of study.


Registered nurses are essential healthcare professionals responsible for delivering compassionate care to patients in various settings. To ensure they are well-prepared for their roles, aspiring nurses must complete a rigorous education and training program. Let’s delve into the educational requirements and the classes that form the foundation of a registered nurse’s journey.

Education Requirements for Registered Nurses

To embark on the path to becoming a registered nurse, individuals typically need to obtain a nursing degree or diploma. These programs are offered by accredited educational institutions such as universities, colleges, or vocational schools. The most common educational routes include:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): A two-year program that provides a solid foundation in nursing theory and clinical practice.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): A four-year degree program that offers comprehensive coursework in nursing, including hands-on clinical experiences.
  • Diploma in Nursing: A hospital-based program that combines classroom education with clinical training.

Core Classes for Registered Nurses

Core classes form the basis of a registered nurse’s education, ensuring they acquire essential knowledge and skills. These classes cover a wide range of subjects, including:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology: This class explores the structure and function of the human body, providing a deep understanding of how different systems work together.
  2. Pharmacology: Pharmacology classes introduce nurses to various drugs, their mechanisms of action, interactions, and proper administration.
  3. Microbiology: Understanding microorganisms, their impact on human health, and infection control measures is vital for nurses, making microbiology a crucial class.
  4. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences: These classes help nurses develop an understanding of human behavior, mental health, and how to provide empathetic care to patients.
  5. Medical-Surgical Nursing: This class focuses on the foundational skills and knowledge required for providing care to patients with medical and surgical conditions.
  6. Maternal and Child Health: An essential class for nurses working with women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, as well as caring for infants and children.
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By completing these core classes, registered nurses gain a solid foundation in healthcare principles, enabling them to provide comprehensive care to patients across diverse settings.

Specialized Classes for Registered Nurses

Once nurses have a strong foundation in core classes, they often have the opportunity to pursue specialized areas of study based on their interests or career goals. Some popular specializations include:

  • Pediatric Nursing: Nurses interested in working with children can specialize in pediatric nursing, where they learn to provide care tailored to the unique needs of infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Critical Care Nursing: Specializing in critical care equips nurses with the skills necessary to care for patients in intensive care units (ICUs) or other high-acuity settings.
  • Mental Health Nursing: Mental health nursing focuses on caring for individuals with psychiatric disorders, promoting mental well-being, and providing support and therapy.
  • Community Health Nursing: This specialization emphasizes preventive care, health promotion, and disease prevention within communities, including public health initiatives.
  • Geriatric Nursing: With the aging population, geriatric nursing plays a vital role in providing specialized care to older adults, addressing their unique physical and emotional needs.

These specialized classes allow registered nurses to expand their knowledge and expertise in specific areas of healthcare, opening doors to diverse career opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the prerequisites for nursing classes?

Prerequisites for nursing classes vary depending on the educational institution and program. However, common prerequisites may include courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and English. It is important to check the specific requirements of the nursing program you are interested in to ensure you meet the prerequisites.

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2. How long does it take to complete the required classes?

The duration of the required classes depends on the educational path chosen. An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) typically takes two years to complete, while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) requires four years. Diploma programs may have varying durations. Keep in mind that these durations are estimates and can vary based on factors such as part-time or accelerated study options.

3. Can I take nursing classes online?

Yes, many nursing programs offer online or hybrid options, allowing students to complete coursework remotely. However, it is essential to ensure that online programs are accredited and provide the necessary clinical experiences to meet licensing requirements.

4. Are there any additional certifications or licenses required?

Yes, after completing the required nursing classes, aspiring registered nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain their nursing license. Additionally, nurses can pursue advanced certifications in various specialties to further enhance their knowledge and career prospects.


Becoming a registered nurse requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning. The classes registered nurses have to take provide a solid foundation in healthcare principles and equip them with the necessary skills to deliver high-quality patient care. Whether it’s the core classes that build a strong knowledge base or the specialized classes that cater to specific interests, each course contributes to the development of competent and compassionate registered nurses. Embark on this fulfilling journey, and you’ll be well on your way to making a positive impact in the healthcare field.

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