5 Popular Electives in a Master’s in Nursing Program

5 Useful Elective Classes to Take in an MSN Program

  • Topics in Public Health
  • Health Informatics
  • Cultural Aspects of Health and Illness
  • Ethical and Legal Perspectives In Health Care
  • Caring for Adults with Cancer

When earning a Master's in Nursing, there are many ways to customize a student's education based on personal goals, like choosing the ideal electives. While most MSN programs have straightforward tracks through which all students progress, electives provide experience in more specific aspects of nursing. The following list includes some popular classes to consider in a Master's in Nursing program.

Related Resource: 50 Best Graduate Nursing Schools in America

1. Topics in Public Health

This class addresses healthcare issues within communities by teaching methods used to identify problems, implement solutions, and measure results. Students are taught critical thinking skills as well as program implementation techniques. Topics like STD prevention, immunization awareness, malnutrition in disadvantaged communities, and elder care are discussed in regards to public health on a local level. On a more global scale, students can also learn about the spread of disease in developing nations or healthcare challenges in refugee camps.

2. Health Informatics

Nurses with an aptitude for data analysis will excel at this elective. An informatics class focuses on the theories behind data collection and design of electronic medical records systems. Students discuss both the positive and negative effects of technological advancements and learn different statistical methods for analyzing and interpreting data points. According to Forbes, this elective can lead to a high-paying and in-demand nursing position.

3. Cultural Aspects of Health and Illness

This class is a beneficial elective in any Master's in Nursing track because it teaches students to be aware and mindful of the impact an individual's background has on their attitude toward healthcare. Some areas that are discussed include race and ethnicity, economic standing, political and religious beliefs, and education level. These are all parts of a person's identity and can affect a patient's healthcare decision-making and willingness to cooperate with care. When healthcare professionals are sensitive to these issues, they can work with the patient or community to develop a plan that is acceptable to all parties.

4. Ethical and Legal Perspectives In Healthcare

From privacy laws to liability issues, healthcare professionals have many legal and ethical obligations. In some cases, the appropriate course of action may seem counter-intuitive or unethical, like in matters of withdrawing life support or letting a patient leave against medical advice. Students learn about medical law and then use this information in real-world scenarios. This helpful MSN elective clears up some ethical ambiguities, and students have the opportunity to think critically about challenging case studies.

5. Caring for Adults with Cancer

This is an example of a Master's in Nursing elective that is specific to a certain medical condition. In this class, students learn about symptoms, diagnostic methods, and the natural progression of the disease as well as treatment protocols. Along with the physical aspects of cancer, the course also describes the effects this diagnosis has on the patient from a psychological point of view as well as ways to support the family. This is one of many in-depth studies into a specific condition with other examples including kidney disease requiring dialysis and diabetes.

Electives are a great way to bulk up a resume in order to get more specialized jobs within the medical field. Whether considering these elective options for Master's in Nursing students or other classes, taking a variety of extra classes provides graduates with a well-rounded view of the nursing field.

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