Online Nursing Courses Find the best online courses for health care professionals

expert contributor
Barbara
Dr. Barbara Ann Johnston Barbara Ann Johnston, PhD, RN and CNE has…Read full bio

The health care industry is constantly evolving, so it is imperative for nursing professionals to keep their knowledge and skills current. Online nursing courses can provide a convenient way for students to continue their education, whether they want to brush up on areas that need improvement or learn new subsections of nursing that will help them expand their professional horizons. Explore online nursing courses, find information on the types of classes available and discover other valuable online resources nurses can take advantage of below.

Online Nursing Courses Search Tool

In order to reap the benefits of online nursing courses, students should find classes that will help them meet their educational and professional goals. To help with this search, prospective students can use the tool below and sort online nursing classes based on features like topic, price, course length and start date.

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What Types of Nursing Classes Can I Take Online?

Although some schools offer online pre-nursing courses to the general public, such as classes in anatomy and physiology, in most cases, nursing classes are only available to those working toward a degree or those currently employed in the field. The table below breaks down types of online nursing courses and the people who generally enroll in them.

Certificate For-credit Informational
What is this type of course?
Certificates are available in different subsections of health care, such as gerontology, pain management and perinatal care. Colleges and universities offer for-credit classes to online students enrolled in nursing degree programs. Informational courses are available for specific nursing topics.
Who takes this type of course?
Professionals can take these courses to show their expertise in a specific area of the nursing field or to learn new skills. Students preparing for their careers in the nursing field. Nurses who want to gain knowledge and skills in a specific nursing topic.

Best in the Field: 5 Key Online Nursing Courses

Those who want to enroll in online nursing courses can find many quality options that cover a variety of subjects from information about diseases to privacy regulations for patients. The list of the top five online nursing courses listed below includes information on where they can be found, how much they cost and how long they take to complete.

Best Practices in Nursing Documentation: Writing Effective and Legal Proof Notes
  • Offered by: Lorman Education Services
  • Price: $99
  • Length: 6 modules
  • Format: Videos, audio files and reference manual
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course gives nurses invaluable instruction on how to ensure that medical records are complete and accurate. Specifically, students learn the purpose of medical documentation, the impact privacy laws have on how nurses document patient information and how medical records are used as evidence in court cases. In addition, this course dives into the consequences of poor documentation.

Don’t Post That! Social Media Best Practices for Nurses
  • Offered by: Lorman Education Services
  • Price: $99
  • Length: 7 modules
  • Format: Videos, readings, and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Posting the wrong thing on social media can be problematic for people in any field, but for those in the nursing profession, it can be disastrous. This course teaches about the negative ramifications that social media can have for nurses—particularly if they’re sharing information about their patients. Class topics include social media policies in health care facilities, patient use of social media and regulatory issues that can arise because of social networking activities.

Nursing Studies – Communication & Transcultural Factors
  • Offered by: Alison
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 4 modules, 2-3 hours
  • Format: Reading material and assessments
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Having the skills to treat a diverse range of patients is essential for nurses in today’s hospitals and health care facilities. This course starts with a basic introduction to patient care and assessing patient needs, then dives deeper into topics like therapeutic communication techniques, transcultural awareness and communication strategies for deaf, blind and non-English speaking patients.

Nursing Studies – The Physical Examination
  • Offered by: Alison
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 2-3 hours
  • Format: Readings, videos, discussions, and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Physical examinations are typically the first step in creating an effective and appropriate care plan for individual patients. This class teaches strategies for performing physical exams, vital sign measurement and specimen collection.

Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Offered by: Ed2Go
  • Price: $149
  • Length: Six weeks at four hours per week
  • Format: Lessons and final exam
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Nurses who want to use their health care expertise in legal settings can learn how to do it through this course. This class familiarizes students with the work that legal nurse consultants do and provides an understanding of their role in the judicial system. Students learn how to build a successful consulting practice as well as how to conduct legal research and prepare for trials.

Top 3 Reasons to Take an Online Class in Nursing

Online nursing courses are a convenient way for students to meet their educational and career goals at the click of a mouse. In addition to the ability to fit coursework into busy schedules, there are a number of reasons why students elect to take nursing courses online, including the following:

1 Increase professional nursing opportunities

Students can take courses online that lead to certificates of completion, which can be used to demonstrate expertise in a specific nursing field to current and potential employers. Many of the continuing education requirements that nurses must meet to maintain professional certification can be completed online as well.

2 Earn a nursing degree faster

Students earning a nursing degree can use online courses as a way to gain additional credits that can be counted toward their degree, thus allowing them to complete their programs faster. While open online courses are no substitute for degree and certificate programs in nursing, those that are eligible for school credit can help students earn their credentials faster.

3 Learn new health care skills

Even students who don’t earn certificates can use online nursing courses to gain new skills that they can incorporate into their daily work. From care techniques to communication skills, these courses can enhance the way nurses treat their patients.

Explore Apps & Podcasts for Nurses

Apps

In order to deal with the demands of their jobs, nurses often use tools that help them work more effectively and efficiently. Below are some apps designed specifically for the rigorous work duties of nurses.

Nursing Essentials

$5.99 for iOS, $7.99 for Android
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Nursing Essentials

This app includes information that helps nurses make patient care decisions quickly. Users can search for definitions and abbreviations as well as calculate medication doses, dial emergency numbers and take patient notes.

RNAO Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Free
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RNAO Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

This app includes guides for nurses in areas such as mental, emergency and primary health care.

Nursing Care Plans

Free for iOS, $0.99 for Android
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Nursing Care Plans

This app helps nurses who specialize in different areas—including maternity, pediatrics and psychiatry—craft individual care plans for patients with its 300 examples. In addition, there is information on diagnoses and rationales.

NurseTabs

Free
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NurseTabs

This app focuses on three areas of nursing: fundamentals, surgical and pharmacology. It also includes information on 120 skills and procedures for each area.

Podcasts

Nurses are usually on the go, so podcasts are an excellent way for these busy professionals to get information they can use on the job. The following are examples of popular nurse-focused podcasts:

This weekly podcast includes news that affects the nursing profession, tips that nurses can use when working with patients and in-depth interviews with practitioners.

This podcast explores hot topics in nursing and conducts interviews with experts in different nursing specialties.

The Nurse Keith Show Keith Carlson Recent Episode to Try: Putting Your Nursing Stake in the Ground

This podcast focuses on career development for nurses and includes topics like finding a job, overcoming discouragement and interview tips.

Nurse Talk Casey Hobbs, Dan Grady Recent Episode to Try: End Of Life Option Act takes effect in California Part 1

In this podcast, two veteran nurses share their experiences and talk about issues in the field.

From the Expert: The Online Learning Experience for Nurses

How can students benefit from taking classes online?
Barbara Dr. Barbara Ann Johnston

Students can benefit as these courses provide a great deal of flexibility for learning for individuals who find difficulty attending a class at a particular day and time on a regular basis. Online courses provide students the opportunity to take a class and/or an entire program on a subject matter not offered at a college or university in their home area.

What should students look for in these classes?
Barbara Dr. Barbara Ann Johnston

The courses, if taken toward earning a degree or academic certificate or continuing education units, should be offered by an institution accredited to offer that course for the required purpose.Policies are available to the learner regarding costs, registration processes, grading, faculty response time to students and software needed to accomplish the course.

Also, the credentials of the faculty and his or her experience should match the focus of the learning activity. It is preferable if course offered by college or university is taught primarily by full-time faculty at the institution. There should be a syllabus or clear directions for what is expected of students to complete the objectives of the course, guidance to resources the student can use and the criteria for grading the activities.

What types of continuing education courses can be satisfied online?
Barbara Dr. Barbara Ann Johnston

The course or program can be on many topics, but the continuing education entity must be accredited either nationally, regionally or statewide by an official agency to offer these credits. Depending on the focus, the continuing education may be used for a license renewal, in some instances for new skills leading to salary increase or promotion, meeting a new federal or state law affecting a select profession or business entity, or providing safety for the public.