What Are the Core Courses of Most Two-Year RN Programs?

A two-year degree in nursing prepares you to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to begin entry-level work in nursing. Most two-year programs require courses in anatomy, physiology, nursing fundamentals and more. Learn more about core courses required to become a registered nurse. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Two-Year RN Program Overview

A two-year nursing degree program is commonly called an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). You can find these programs at many community colleges, technical schools, colleges and even hospitals. After completing an ADN, you'll qualify for registered nurse (RN) licensure and entry-level RN positions in hospitals and other medical facilities.

The core of a two-year RN program consists of general, nursing principle and clinical courses. Required general courses include anatomy, physiology, psychology and microbiology. After these are completed, courses in nursing principles are required. The final part of a two-year ADN curriculum includes clinical nursing courses. Clinical internships and externships are common in many RN programs.

Important Facts About Two-Year RN Programs

Online Availability Some programs may offer a blended option that allows you to take some courses online
Key Skills Critical thinking, communication, empathy, attention to detail, organization
Specializations Specializations vary depending on work setting. Some examples are perioperative nursing, nursing based on health conditions, nursing based on populations
Continuing Education Nurses looking to widen their job opportunities might consider an RN to BSN program.

General Courses

Anatomy and Physiology Courses

Most anatomy and physiology courses are one course split into two parts. The anatomy portion of the class covers the identification and location of each part of the human body. The physiology segment of the course covers the function of human body systems. This course is essential for your nursing career because it helps to develop your ability to understand patients' conditions and to communicate medical issues with doctors and patients in medical settings.

Microbiology

This course typically includes both lectures and laboratory sessions. You'll learn about microbes and the need to disinfect and sterilize equipment in order to prevent infection and the spread of disease.

Psychology

An introductory course in psychology provides a background in human behavior and development. Topics covered include human emotion, memory and learning.

Nursing Principles Courses

Basic nursing principles courses cover topics such as health care techniques, physical assessments, vital sign measurement and medical ethics. Principles of nursing classes may be one course or a series of courses, depending on the school. Pharmacology is typically an individual course.

Pharmacology

A pharmacology course covers therapeutic use, identification, dosing and side effects of commonly prescribed drugs. Proper dosage calculations and your legal responsibilities for safe handling of narcotics are discussed.

Clinical Nursing Courses

These courses can be individual courses in surgical, psychiatric, pediatric, maternity or emergency nursing, or they can be lumped into a few courses and given a generic name, like nursing process. These courses cover the specific clinical process of each type of nursing and combine lectures with hands-on experiences.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Keiser University

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  • Northern Kentucky University

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