Students seeking a nursing degree are required to pass general education and nursing courses as determined by the college or university and obtain enough credit hours for an associates, bachelor's or graduate degree. Typical coursework in a nursing degree program includes anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology and psychology.
Nursing students must also pass courses covering concepts of mental health nursing, patient assessments, patient management and adult health concepts. Course topics also cover the basics of illness management, family nursing care, medical ethics and community nursing. A nursing curriculum within a degree program also focuses on adult acute and chronic disease, maternal and child health, psychiatric and mental health nursing and theories regarding physical and behavioral sciences. Most nursing degree programs require a minimum number of hours spent in clinicals where students work directly with professional nurses and patients in health care facilities.
As nursing students are finalizing paperwork, the core focus is to pass state licensing exams for certification as a registered nurse. Nurses must be certified and licensed to work in a medical care facility. Associate degree programs work to prepare students to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses, whereas bachelor degree programs prepare registered nurses to obtain certification as BSNs. A student interested in a career as a nurse practitioner must obtain a master's degree in nursing.