Nursing and Nursing Assistants College Major Guide 2024

What is a Nursing and Nursing Assistants Major?

Choosing a major in Nursing and Nursing Assistants is a commitment to joining one of the most rewarding, demanding, and rapidly evolving fields in healthcare. This major prepares students for a career dedicated to caring for people across the lifespan, from infants to the elderly, in a variety of clinical settings. Whether you're drawn to the hands-on patient care that nursing assistants provide or you're aiming for the more comprehensive responsibilities of a registered nurse (RN), this major is your first step towards making a significant impact on individuals' health and well-being.

Top Courses Required for the Nursing and Nursing Assistants Major

The curriculum for a Nursing and Nursing Assistants major is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to excel in the healthcare environment. While specific course requirements can vary between institutions, here are some of the top courses that are commonly part of this major:

  • Anatomy and Physiology: Understand the structure and function of the human body, from cellular processes to major organ systems. This foundational knowledge is crucial for all subsequent nursing courses.

  • Microbiology: Learn about microorganisms and their role in health, disease, and infection control. This course is essential for understanding how to prevent and control the spread of infections in healthcare settings.

  • Pharmacology: Gain insights into how drugs work in the body, including their therapeutic uses, side effects, and interactions. This knowledge is vital for safely administering medications to patients.

  • Nutrition: Explore the principles of nutrition and their application in promoting health and managing diseases. Nurses play a key role in educating patients about nutritional choices to improve health outcomes.

  • Fundamentals of Nursing: This course introduces students to the core competencies of nursing practice, including patient assessment, care planning, communication, and critical thinking skills.

  • Medical-Surgical Nursing: Focus on caring for adults with a wide range of medical and surgical conditions. This course emphasizes clinical reasoning, patient-centered care, and evidence-based practice.

  • Pediatric Nursing: Learn about the unique needs of infants, children, and adolescents in health and illness. Topics include growth and development, family dynamics, and pediatric disease management.

  • Mental Health Nursing: Delve into the care of individuals with mental health disorders. This course covers therapeutic communication, psychiatric medications, and developing care plans that address mental health needs.

  • Community Health Nursing: Examine the role of nurses in promoting health and preventing disease within communities. This course covers public health principles, epidemiology, and strategies for health education.

  • Clinical Practicums: Hands-on clinical experiences are integral to nursing education. These practicums allow students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings under the supervision of experienced nurses.

Embarking on a major in Nursing and Nursing Assistants prepares you not just for a job but for a fulfilling career dedicated to compassionately meeting the healthcare needs of diverse populations. With these courses under your belt, you'll be well on your way to becoming a competent, caring health professional ready to make a difference in countless lives.

Nursing and Nursing Assistants Major FAQs

What do you learn in a Nursing and Nursing Assistants major?

In a Nursing and Nursing Assistants major, you'll learn a wide range of skills and knowledge essential for providing high-quality care in various healthcare settings. The curriculum typically covers:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing: Understand the basic principles and procedures in nursing care, including patient hygiene, vital signs monitoring, and infection control.
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Gain a deep understanding of the human body's structure and functions, crucial for assessing patient health.
  • Pharmacology: Learn about different medications, their effects, administration methods, and potential side effects.
  • Patient Care Skills: Develop practical skills for assisting patients with daily activities, mobility, and ensuring comfort.
  • Communication Skills: Enhance your ability to communicate effectively with patients, families, and healthcare team members.
  • Medical Ethics and Law: Understand the legal and ethical considerations in healthcare, focusing on patient rights and professional responsibilities.

How long does it take to complete a Nursing and Nursing Assistants program?

The duration of a Nursing and Nursing Assistants program can vary significantly depending on the level of education and the type of program you choose:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs can be completed in as little as 4 to 12 weeks.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) programs typically take about one year to complete.
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) usually requires two years of full-time study.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs are generally four years of full-time study.

What are the job prospects for graduates?

Graduates of Nursing and Nursing Assistants programs have a broad range of career opportunities in various healthcare settings. Job prospects are generally favorable due to an aging population and a growing demand for healthcare services. Some common employment settings include:

  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home healthcare services
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Schools
  • Public health organizations

What certifications or licenses are required?

The specific certifications or licenses you need depend on your chosen career path within the nursing field:

  • CNAs must pass a state-certified nursing assistant training program and the competency examination to get certified.
  • LPNs/LVNs need to complete an approved educational program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to obtain licensure.
  • Registered Nurses (RNs) with an ADN or BSN must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed.

Continuing education is also a requirement for maintaining licensure and staying updated with the latest in healthcare practices.

Can you advance your career with this major?

Yes, there are numerous pathways for career advancement within the nursing field. With additional education, certifications, and experience, you can move into more specialized roles or leadership positions. Opportunities include:

  • Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), such as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife.
  • Gaining certification in a specialty area, like gerontology or pediatrics, to enhance your skills and job prospects.
  • Advancing into administrative roles, such as nursing manager or healthcare executive, with further education in healthcare administration.

Choosing a career in nursing offers a rewarding path with diverse opportunities for growth and specialization. Whether you're drawn to direct patient care, education, research, or leadership roles, a foundation in Nursing and Nursing Assistants provides the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this dynamic field.

Nursing and Nursing Assistants Major Resources

Professional Associations

Joining a professional association can be a great way to network, stay informed on industry trends, and access continuing education resources. Here are some key associations you should consider:

Industry Publications

Keeping up with the latest research, trends, and news in nursing and nursing assistance is crucial for your professional development. Here are some publications that can help you stay informed:

Online Resources and Platforms

In addition to associations and publications, there are numerous online resources that provide valuable information, job listings, and networking opportunities. Here are some top picks:

  • AllNurses
    • A forum where you can connect with other nurses, share experiences, and ask for advice.
    • Offers a wealth of information on different nursing careers, education resources, and job listings.
  • NursingWorld
    • Operated by the American Nurses Association, this site provides industry news, policy updates, and professional development resources.
  • Indeed for Healthcare Professionals

    • While not exclusively for nurses and nursing assistants, Indeed offers a vast array of job listings in the healthcare sector.


Lastly, don't forget about us here at Career.Guide. We're committed to providing you with comprehensive career guidance, including resume tips, interview advice, and insights into different healthcare professions. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance in your nursing career, we've got the tools and information you need to succeed.

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