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What are the best electives to take for a nursing major?

Due to the fact that my schedule is very tight and I only get to take a few electives, I was wondering what electives are best for my major. Is there any that would help me to build relationships with my patients, help me further my nursing skills, or be good extra knowledge to have as a nurse?

nursing electives

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Patricia’s Answer

Science: biology & chemistry (you may need organic chemistry depending on where you go to school).
Anatomy & physiology
Communication classes: how to establish a therapeutic relationship.
Depending on how to want to practice once you graduate, you may need child development or psychology
or gerontology.
Writing classes ( you will be doing papers; again depending on where you go to school [2 year or 4 year education], you
may be doing a lot of papers).
Cultural diversity class (you will treat a patient/client differently depending on their cultural background).

The top 3 items are most important.....the others may not be available.

Good Luck. There are many niches in nursing. You will find something that fits you.
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Carole’s Answer

Congratulations on pursuing a career in nursing Kelli! If you are still looking for answers to your questions here are some suggestions. Courses on therapeutic communication would be very helpful in connecting with your patients. Mental Health is a major issue in nursing today so any psychology courses that help you understand mental health and illness would be key as you will come across this in all areas of nursing and a solid background will be very beneficial. A course in caring for the older adult is also key at this time as this is the population you will care for most. The older adult is a very complex patient due to their multiple comorbidities, normal changes of aging, the difference in how they present with disease, as well as psychosocial and financial issues they face. Ethics would also be a very helpful elective as there are many ethical dilemmas the may arise in your career. A course in ethics will help you understand what it is and how to deal with ethical dilemmas. I hope this is helpful for you. Good luck!
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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Kelli!
Welcome to the family. My suggestion would be to look at classes that will prepare you for a variety of situations outside of the required pre- reqs.
1) Consider a relevant foreign language. I took Spanish. I lived in California and I’m in Texas now. I’m not fluent by any means but it helps.
2) Consider some kind of statistics course. Helps with data interpretation and will be a benefit if you start looking at grad school. Makes the research papers you will write in nursing school easier
3) A basic computer course including topics like PowerPoint, Excel, Word etc ( or other similar products). You will need them in nursing school
4) A class for YOU to make YOU happy. Nursing is a tough career. Even with a tight schedule, take something that YOU enjoy. You can’t care for others if you don’t take care of yourself. Art? Music? Dance?
Best wishes.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Anything that helps you learn more about special populations. And different cultures will be a huge benefit. Basic foreign language course in the most common second language used on your area and learning the ABCs in American Sign language. You will have interpretation available in the hospitals but just having a slight ability to communicate or even the fact that you are attempting goes a long way to establishing trust with your patients.
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Cathleen’s Answer

Hi Kelli! Congrats on choosing nursing! I will presume that your program is a BSN or ADN program that requires you to take a basic Psychology Course so let's talk about electives. If it is available, Abnormal Psychology is hugely helpful to understand people's behaviors. Ethics is also a good one as it trains you to be a critical thinker (hugely important in nursing). Don't be afraid to choose an elective that is not nursing related but something that you are curious about or love. At best, nursing school is a grind-you need a class you can look forward to taking that is outside of that realm to keep your balance. Wishing you all the best!

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Cathy’s Answer

In my opinion, I think any additional composition or speech classes would definitely help overall. Charting is all about the written word, being succinct is imperative. Speech is essential, talking in front of groups happens everyday, especially in an educational institution. Any psychology or sociology class will help you overall as well in dealing with people, from your patients to your unit manager. As a nurse you will always be educating your patients and their family, an education class would help you here as well. Of course, an additional language is always good, I know enough Spanish to get by, but it's not enough in healthcare. If you already have an additional language you speak, take a class in medical interpreting or just a conversational class. As a new nurse you may not see it, but a class in management, leadership, or project management will also help you deal with people and would help further your career.
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Holly’s Answer

I just graduated and I did so many things. Find classes than interest you and can have relations to health care! I took several psychology course because I like it. I got to do patho psychology which was all brain related and psycho-pharmacology. Those both related well to nursing and I enjoyed them. I HIGHLY suggest getting your CNA license. It really shows you how to care for patients and how to work with the variety you will see. It also helps you understand how you will want to treat your CNA once you’re a nurse. Classes can be hard but don’t give up. Find your learning style now. I did not when I was in college my first time. I got a different degree but went back for nursing and knew my learning style, that was what helped me study and excel the second time. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! That’s what teachers/professors are for!
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Sandra’s Answer

I think you should use electives to learn the things you love. Nursing is a career in lifelong nursing. I love attending conferences often. I would say electives are for you...something that interests you. But, an elective that I took to help me learn about people/interact with people in general was anthropology.
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Ijeoma’s Answer

Introduction to communication and a Psychology would really help. A nurse needs effective communication skills, not just to better understand her/his patients but to also manage conflict. A Psychology class will also give you a little background for mental health nursing.
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Patricia’s Answer

Science: biology & chemistry (you may need organic chemistry depending on where you go to school).
Anatomy & physiology
Communication classes: how to establish a therapeutic relationship.
Depending on how to want to practice once you graduate, you may need child development or psychology
or gerontology.
Writing classes ( you will be doing papers; again depending on where you go to school [2 year or 4 year education], you
may be doing a lot of papers).
Cultural diversity class (you will treat a patient/client differently depending on their cultural background).

The top 3 items are most important.....the others may not be available.

Good Luck. There are many niches in nursing. You will find something that fits you.
0
Updated Translate

Ijeoma’s Answer

Introduction to communication and a Psychology would really help. A nurse needs effective communication skills, not just to better understand her/his patients but to also manage conflict. A Psychology class will also give you a little background for mental health nursing.
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Margaret’s Answer

I would suggest any extra psychology classes. I received a minor in psychology and it has been very beneficial.

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Rosie’s Answer

Good morning,

Typically you have certain electives you must take according to the nsg program you want to attend. If by chance you finish all required "electives" then it's a matter of choice. Either you can take something that will benefit you in your nsg career or you can simply take a brk so to speak and take something that may allow a better life/school/work balance. I wish I could definitely tell you specific ones to take but it all depends on the school and what they offer. Hope this helps. Good luck to you.

Rosie recommends the following next steps:

Research different colleges and their nsg programs and what classes are required
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Holly’s Answer

I just graduated and I did so many things. Find classes than interest you and can have relations to health care! I took several psychology course because I like it. I got to do patho psychology which was all brain related and psycho-pharmacology. Those both related well to nursing and I enjoyed them. I HIGHLY suggest getting your CNA license. It really shows you how to care for patients and how to work with the variety you will see. It also helps you understand how you will want to treat your CNA once you’re a nurse. Classes can be hard but don’t give up. Find your learning style now. I did not when I was in college my first time. I got a different degree but went back for nursing and knew my learning style, that was what helped me study and excel the second time. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! That’s what teachers/professors are for!
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Debbie’s Answer

I am assuming you need electives for a declared minor in a nursing program. I think there are plenty of psychology classes that would be more than useful and applicable to any specialty nursing practice. Best of luck! Welcome to the club!
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Colleen’s Answer

Any elective that helps develop your skills of observation. Patients cannot always express themselves, the ability to pick up on any and all body language is crucial.
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Andrea’s Answer

general care, quality and human warmth and guess everything related are basic support!!
Menta care is one of the most important!!
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Sophie’s Answer

Dear Kellie,
Thanks for looking into nursing profession. A wonderful profession with most versatility. Other than pre reqs , I would say some communication classes, inter personal relationship, customer service, business, and IT basics would be some will give an upper hand when you start the profession. It can be a very high stressful job , knowing you as a person will help you react to the fire coming at you. This job require a great deal of organizational and critical thinking skills and quick response to situations. It would help to have some humor in your pocket to alleviate some of the anxiety.
Seem like you are already in the right path by inquiring this, take your time to learn and be patient with yourself.
Good Luck in your journey. Please reach out if you have any more questions.
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