Free Online Courses for Nursing Students and Healthcare Providers

According to the World Economic Forum report on the jobs of tomorrow, care professions are among seven clusters of future professions that show the biggest growth in numbers of opportunities in 2020-2022. There is a clear demand for nurses around the globe. Thus, we've compiled the list of free online courses being offered in medicare that nursing professionals can educate themselves in for added competencies.

As the population grows older in the developed world, the shortage of nursing professions also keeps increasing. The U.S., the U.K., and Australia are particularly looking for nurses from other countries. A similar shortage is prevalent in much of Western and Northern Europe. To illustrate the point, in 2016 the total number of nurses in the U.S. was 2.9 million and the demand is expected to grow to 3.4 million in 2026. Therefore, despite their strict immigration policy, Americans are recruiting nurses from other countries and offering them permanent residency after the first 5 years of employment.

An average registered nurse in the U.S. is paid a salary of 73,000 US$ per year. A nurse who is experienced in specialty areas such as assisting during cardiac surgeries and other surgeries is paid about 20 to 30 percent more. The salaries for nurses who have additional qualifications in fields such as pain management, neonatal intensive care, psychiatric care, anesthesiology assistance, dementia care are paid significantly higher and this pay package usually goes up to 170,000 US$.

Young surgical nurse holding respiratory equipment for patient
Young surgical nurse holding respiratory equipment for patient

The trend in most of the developed world is similar and the pay scale depends on the GDP per capita of each country. As a consequence, the interest in qualifying as a nurse has been growing since the shortage is expected to persist in the medium term. According to the World Economic Forum report on the jobs of tomorrow, seven distinct clusters of future professions show the biggest growth in numbers of opportunities in 2020-2022. One of the clusters is care professions.

Let’s have a look at some of the free online courses being offered in medicare that nursing professionals can educate themselves in for added competencies.


Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Care

This course is being offered by Salisbury University which is a part of the University System of Maryland.

Nurse playing jigsaw puzzle with a woman in a nursing home
Nurse playing jigsaw puzzle with a woman in a nursing home

The program is especially for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Important areas such as cognitive symptoms including memory loss, problem-solving, depression, hallucinations, and paranoia are addressed in the course. In addition, since there is no cure for the condition the course shall take you through lifestyle-based preventive strategies and the medications.

The length of the course is 5 weeks and you shall be required to put in 2 to 3 hours each week. This is an intermediate level course and the medium of teaching is English.


Essential Competencies for Nurse Preceptors

The course is offered by the University of Maryland, Baltimore is specifically targeted at student nurses. Student nurses entering the environment of patient care often find themselves a little disoriented. The program prepares you to be able to provide patient care to the best of your ability. Registered nurses provide students with clinical experiences.

The course specifically covers preceptor roles and responsibilities, clinical teaching, critical thinking and decision making, and more. The program lasts seven weeks and requires an effort of 1 to 2 hours each week.

General nurse meassuring a blood pressure
General nurse meassuring a blood pressure


Essentials in Clinical Simulations Across the Health Professions

Clinical situations can be varied and oftentimes bewildering. The course offers clinical simulations and covers 7 key areas.

The program takes you through getting started in simulations and fundamentals, standards of best practice which are also simulated, developing a simulation center, basics of debriefing, evaluation methods, and more.

The program has been devised by The George Washington University School of Nursing. The course lasts 7 weeks and shall require approximately eleven hours to complete.


Herbal Medicine

Very little is known even to the medical community about herbal medicine. Let’s take the example of opioids. In 2017 alone more than 191 million prescriptions were written across the USA for opioid pain medication. This means almost 59 prescriptions per 100 people. The resulting deaths led the FDA to put its foot down and many of the multinationals were pulled up and the largest producer and others finally agreed to discontinue the production of such painkillers. Since then the focus has been to develop painkillers based on Curcumin and different berries.

Herbal Medicine concept
Herbal Medicine concept

The demand for alternatives to established pharmaceuticals is picking up rapidly, particularly for common illnesses on account of legitimate concerns for safety.

The course is offered by the University of Minnesota helps you gain the foundation to be able to begin including herbal medicines in your repertoire. It takes you through the therapeutic properties and efficacy of ‘alternative’ medicines, quality control thereof, and also potential side and adverse effects.

This course taught in English is subtitled in several languages and takes about 18 hours to complete.

Mindfulness in Integrative Healthcare

This course, also offered by the University of Minnesota addresses the benefits of mindfulness in Healthcare. Over the last few years, the scientific community has finally recognized the importance of meditation or as they call it mindfulness.

Even states in clarity “Life can be stressful, especially when coping with illness,​ grief, anxiety, or depression. One way to help calm your body and mind and achieve some peaceful moments is through meditation. Studies show that practicing meditation may help a number of health conditions, as well as promoting better sleep and lifting your mood.”

Similar is the opinion of a vast number of mental healthcare providers now, many of whom advocate doing away with or reducing the usage of psychotropic drugs.

The course helps you assess when mindfulness may be helpful to your patients, educate them about the potential benefits, and refer them to mindfulness programs and resources. Furthermore, the course helps you explore mindfulness through presentations and direct experience and takes you through research that supports mindfulness.

The course is taught in English and takes about 10 hours to complete.

It’s all the more interesting that completing the above two courses provides nursing students of the university with added credits. Specifically speaking the above two courses have been developed to meet the Minnesota Board of Nursing continuing education requirements.

Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney

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