Nursing is a medical field that focuses on caring for patients and ensuring they regain their health. Nurses can choose to specialize in different kinds of nursing care, such as pediatric nursing (nursing for children), geriatric nursing (nursing for the elderly), psychiatric nursing (nursing for the mentally ill), medical-surgical nursing (working to support surgeons and physicians), and maternal-child nursing (nursing with pregnant women and their children). In all cases, however, nursing requires knowledge of anatomy, physiology, medical procedures, and medication administration, as well as a commitment to patient-centered care.
Rather than specialize in working with certain groups of patients, other nurses choose to take courses that prepare them for performing certain procedures. Some choose to specialize in the use of anesthesia (numbing and sleep-inducing drugs used in surgery), midwifery (the delivery of children and care for the mother), and critical care (the handling of patients who have serious wounds and illnesses).
Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and you should check offline or online nursing courses for this accreditation before enrolling. A degree from a college or university without accreditation cannot get you any nursing certification in many states, so checking college nursing programs for accreditation is a good way of protecting your future. Online courses in nursing are uncommon due to the need for practical field knowledge in the profession. Clinical training is difficult to offer through an online nursing course, so be mindful when looking at online courses.
An online nursing class can be useful, however, for theoretical areas of the field and those that are largely focused on memorization, such as anatomy, nursing fundamentals, and medical terminology. These online courses should allow you to answer questions such as:
As with any educational endeavor, it is important to look into the schools you are considering before enrolling. Do professors in the department have a Ph.D. in nursing or a related medical science field? Have students written reviews about the nursing program at the school? Does the school have a strong reputation for online learning or nursing?
The following is a directory of open courseware for nursing and related fields. Open courseware includes lectures, quizzes, lesson plans, class notes, and other information from courses taught at prominent universities around the globe. You can read this information free of charge, but you will not have access to professors to ask questions. With open courseware, you can learn some of the theoretical components of nursing work and get a sense of the topics you will study if you enroll in a nursing degree program.