Online RN Refresher Course Information

Registered nurses (RNs) who have been out of the field for a year or more may benefit from online RN refresher courses. Depending on the program's type, it may be possible to pair online coursework with on-site clinical supervision to review essential nursing concepts. View article »

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Video Transcript

Online Refresher Courses for RNs

Commonly offered online refresher courses for registered nurses tend to focus on effective communication skills in the healthcare workplace, safety issues in acute care settings, and quality of nursing concerns. Specific topics vary, but there is a wide range of offerings that students can choose from:

  • Students learn the basic legal and ethical issues related to nursing in a legal and ethical implications of nursing course.

  • A medication administration course targets knowledge and practice of medication management for nurses.

  • A nutrition course considers nutritional management for nurses and reviews strategies for identifying and resolving nutritional imbalances in patients.

  • Focusing on palliative care issues, an end-of-life issues course reviews best practices for end-of-life care.

  • Providing a refresher on the basics of pharmacology, a pharmacology update course helps nurses understand protocols for commonly encountered medications, including new medication protocols.

  • Covering various physical assessment types, a physical patient assessment course helps nurses refresh and update their knowledge of such processes as advanced neurological and respiratory assessments.

  • A current nursing trends course introduces nurses to relevant theoretical and practical updates to the profession.

  • A course in nursing for special patient populations targets care protocols for special patient populations, such as those with chronic physical and mental disabilities, and refreshes knowledge of care procedures and protocols for nurses.

  • A specialist obstetric nursing course covers procedures and protocols for obstetric nursing.

  • Targeting pediatric medicine, a course in pediatric nursing covers the basis of pediatric nursing, usually emphasizing new procedures.

  • A psychiatric nursing course introduces nurses to the responsibilities and requirements placed upon psychiatric nurses, developing theoretical and practical knowledge of psychiatric nursing practice.

  • Covering theoretical and practical information, a course in gerontology nursing reviews procedures for gerontology nursing.

  • A surgical nursing course provides a review of medical-surgical conditions and procedures relevant to nurses.

  • Nurses in a domestic violence course learn about the physical, psychological, and emotional effects that domestic violence has on victims of abuse, allowing them to work more effectively with these patients.

  • A wound care course reviews acute and chronic wound evaluation and treatment in clinical nursing settings.

Program Information

Designed for nurses who have been out of active practice for a significant period, online RN refresher courses offer a clinical and didactic nursing review to prepare for re-engagement in the healthcare field. Programs are open to nurses with an active non-restricted RN license or a temporary permit to practice. Because regulations vary by state, it is important to check whether completing a particular program will meet regulations for RN licensure renewal in any given location. Nurses with an active license may gain contact hours for license renewal by participating in the didactic course component only.

Online classes typically occur on self-paced schedules with a timeline that fits a 15- to 16-week semester. Once the semester has begun, students submit assignments and take exams at their own pace, with an expectation that they complete online coursework within the semester. Professors offer feedback when students turn in assignments. Exams are taken online or at approved sites under the supervision of a proctor. Upon successful completion of their course-specific exams, students are usually required to undergo clinical training, although the number of hours required and other particulars vary by state.

For experienced nurses who need to refresh their knowledge and gain the continuing education credits required for licensure renewal there are online courses available in a wide range of subjects, including pediatrics, nutrition, pharmacology, and nursing ethics.

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