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What class in high school do I need to take if I want to be a er nurse

I am in 10 grade and want to be a #ER nurse but don't know what class I need to take .#registered-nurses

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Brian’s Answer

Hi Amya,

My daughter is a nursing student at Northeastern University in Boston and I recall sciences like Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology being a large part of her curriculum. She currently holds a Bachelors in Bio Med and is working towards her Nursing degree.

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Chris’s Answer

A great question - Nursing education is often assumed to begin with a clean slate on day 1 of college, that said there are key knowledge and skills that can be developed while in high school. Like Brian mentioned, the life science options in high school, particularly biology and chemistry will help set a foundation for the courses in anatomy and physiology or pharmacology. Psychology directly carries over into the undergraduate and clinical courses required. Mathematics will also prove useful as many new nursing students dread the "medical math" component of the introductory nursing classes and the need to be comfortable with ratios, fractions, and basic algebra.

Indirectly, one of the largest factors of success in nursing school will be the ability to effectively study. The volume of content that is presented each semester in class can be overwhelming, so whether its flashcards, phone apps, notes, etc. - knowing which methods of studying works well for you before being inundated with topics really helps.

Having the opportunity to read scientific data/journal articles and research topics accordingly can also be developed in advance. Most BSN programs have added required courses in nursing research, so the ability to navigate online libraries and journal collections and cite articles in APA/MLA format can greatly help out. The help from librarians is underrated and often underutilized.

Outside of the classroom I would recommend gaining exposure to the many opportunities in nursing as well as the demands of interacting with patients. Remember that for many interactions as a nurse you are seeing a patient and their families at their worst and often under stress. Developing a communication style that facilitates compassion and reassurance can go far in making the clinical education and eventual practice as a nurse easier. Volunteering at a local hospital or clinic often provides some great exposure to nurses to model. For a more hands on approach EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) courses are about a semester long and often offered in the summer as well, and can be done while high-school aged.

As you mentioned you want to be in the Emergency Department (ED) , gaining some experience volunteering or working as an EMT is a great way to learn about basic triage and assessment and interacting with patients and family. ED nurses are often a "jack of all trades", needing to know about many different illnesses, injuries, and their treatment when compared to nurses who specialize in a singular field. The pace of the ED is also often faster, seeing many patients during a single shift rather than caring for a defined set who are admitted. This pace and breadth of knowledge requires development of time management and prioritization. If you liken the demands of the environment to those weeks at school when multiple papers are due or there are multiple tests you'll get some idea of the environment and can help determine if you are the type of nurse who thrives in the stress and uncertainty - or if those weeks make you want to pull out your hair. The beauty of nursing is that there are so many specialties and work environments that one can choose to explore. I will caveat that by stating that ALL nursing is stressful, just in different ways and it brings up my last point - managing stress will make or break a nursing career. Classes or seminars in stress management or well care or even developing hobbies and sports in school that you can continue with will all help to achieve a balance.

I wish you all the best in your studies and journey!
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