Free Online Nursing Courses You Can Take Right Now icon

Free Online Nursing Courses You Can Take Right Now

| Daniel Bal

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Are you considering a career in nursing? Get started by taking a free online course from the comfort of your home.

Some online classes cover the same topics as traditional college courses, without the cost. Universities offer these opportunities to connect interested students with additional courses or programs. Free online nursing courses can also keep professionals abreast of developments in the field.

Featured Online Programs


Care Relationships

Care relationships explores relationship development and preservation between caretakers and their clients. Lessons present compassionate care strategies for a variety of circumstances. Nurses learn to develop positive relationships with patients and identify ways they can foster those connections.

This eight-hour, self-paced course is available through Open University's OpenLearn program, which provides free online classes in a variety of subject areas. The course examines case studies in social interaction, taking on roles, patient and caregiver relationships, teamwork, working in difficult situations, risk assessment, communication and engagement, and handling difficult communications. Upon completion, students receive a certificate of participation.


Cultural and Linguistic Competence

This course teaches healthcare providers to recognize and meet patients' needs despite social, cultural, and/or linguistic differences. The course's target audience includes physicians, pharmacists, physician's assistants, and nurse practitioners, along with general healthcare workers. Participants learn to identify and overcome barriers to treating members of the LGBTQ community, non-English speakers, and underserved communities.

This self-paced, online course is available from ScientaCME, an organization that develops continuing education opportunities for healthcare professionals. ScientaCME holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners accepts the American Medical Association Physician's Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 credit from ACCME-accredited organizations as proof of continuing medical education.


Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training Course

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers this free training course for individuals who perform infection prevention and control (IPC) in nursing homes, although all nurses can benefit from the program. Upon completion, participants can identify how pathogens spread, risk factors, and infection prevention practices specifically related to nursing homes.

Learners take 23 modules and submodules that are each 30-90 minutes long, completing around 19 hours in total. Course topics include the infection preventionist role, infection surveillance and outbreak management, infection prevention practices, and antibiotic stewardship.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation designates the CDC as an accredited source of continuing education. The course awards AMA PRA Category 1 credit upon completion.


NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

This course from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health explores the risks associated with working long hours. Training participants learn to identify the health and safety risks attributed to long shifts and develop workplace strategies to combat these negative effects.

The self-paced program comprises 12 modules split into two parts. Part one focuses on identifying problems related to shift work and long hours, while the second part presents risk reduction strategies. Each module takes 5-20 minutes to complete, and the entire program is less than four hours long. Participants earn 1.7 contact hours for completing the training.


Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses

Each module in this CDC training course helps nurses recognize and prevent violence in the workplace. Participants learn to recognize risk factors, identify behavioral warning signs, and implement a workplace violence prevention program.

The self-paced course consists of 13 15-minute modules and lasts approximately three hours in total. Modules examine the consequences of workplace violence, risk factors, and prevention strategies for organizations and nurses alike. Participants earn 2.4 contact hours upon completion.


Nursing Studies - Diet Therapy

This course offers strategies for incorporating diet therapy into treatment plans. Nurses learn to create specialized diets for patients as they explore the importance of therapeutic dieting, especially when treating digestive disorders and diseases.

The course's two modules focus on seven topics and take 1.5-3 hours to complete. Course topics include reasons for therapeutic dieting, standard hospital diets, and nurses' roles in diet therapy. Upon completion, participants acquire an official certificate to share with potential or current employers.


Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics

Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics presents a variety of methods for interpreting clinical research results. Ideal for anyone who reads clinical literature, the course introduces common terms and concepts in statistics. Participants gain broader insight into statistical analysis and hypothesis testing.

The 27-hour course is six weeks long, and learners spend 3-6 hours on lessons each week. The curriculum focuses on defining study types, describing data, understanding statistical analysis, hypothesis testing, appropriate test selection, and analyzing the accuracy of results. Individuals who complete the free course may purchase an optional certificate of completion.


The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age

The Medical Research Council Versus Arthritis Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Aging developed this course for anyone wondering why bones, joints, and muscles deteriorate due to age. Course participants gain a better understanding of how exercise and diet benefit the musculoskeletal system.

The self-paced program requires three hours of study per week for a total of three weeks. Course content addresses the ways in which age, physical activity, and diet affect the musculoskeletal system. Participants also explore the impact of musculoskeletal aging on both society and the individual's quality of life. Individuals who finish the course may purchase a certificate of completion.


Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us

Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us explores the physiological and anatomical processes behind basic bodily functions. Ideal for current and prospective healthcare professionals, the course takes a holistic look at the mechanisms that underlie vital signs, along with effective measurement strategies.

The 13-hour program from the University of Pennsylvania takes six weeks to complete. Each week focuses on a single vital sign, including pulse/heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, temperature, respiration rate, and pain. After finishing the course, participants can purchase a certificate of completion.


Strategies for the Management of Sepsis

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) offers this introduction to the newest approaches in sepsis management. Participants survey studies and clinical trials to learn about methods involving fluid stewardship, vitamin C, vasopressin, and angiotensin II. During this one-hour activity, nurses compare the risks of administering colloids and crystalloids, identify techniques to complete bedside assessments, and learn to treat refractory hypertension.

Participants receive one contact hour for completing the session. The AACN is an accredited continuing education provider and offers additional free courses for members.


Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Care

Salisbury University's course on Alzheimer's diseas and dementia was developed for current or future caregivers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals interested in learning more about the disease. Participants learn to identify risk factors and key symptoms and select the best medications and treatment plans.

The self-paced course takes five weeks to complete, with approximately 2-3 hours of material presented each week. Five modules address pathology, risk factors, stages, symptoms, and diagnosis. Participants may purchase a verified certification after completing the course.


Self-Study STD Modules for Clinicians

The University of Washington's School of Nursing offers two self-study modules on STDs and HIV.

The national STD curriculum includes modules on chlamydia, gonorrhea, HSV, HPV, PID, syphilis, and vaginitis, each of which cover 6-10 topics. Most modules focus on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Those who complete the program qualify for one AMA PRA Category 1 credit.

Nurses who select the national HIV curriculum study six modules covering screening and diagnosis, basic HIV primary care, antiretroviral therapy, co-occurring conditions, HIV prevention, and key populations. Participants earn one AMA PRA Category 1 credit for every module they complete.


Structural Racism in Healthcare

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) developed their course on structural racism in healthcare to help professionals understand health inequities. Lessons explore the ways disease may be racialized and how racism affects patient care.

Participants explore the complex relationships between health, science, and race through the lens of current events. ENA holds ANCC accreditation as a continuing professional development provider for nurses, and participants qualify for one AMA PRA Category 1 credit.


How To Taper Patients off of Chronic Opioid Therapy

Presented through Stanford Online, this one-hour course is intended for healthcare professionals, from primary care practitioners to those specializing in fields, such as oncology, psychology, and addiction medicine. Using case studies, participants weigh the risks of taking opioids against the benefits as they learn to safely and effectively taper patients off of pain medication.

Class topics include preparing patients for tapering, determining the signs of addiction disorder, and providing patients with pain management alternatives. Those who complete the course receive AMA PRA Category 1 credits.


A Nurse's Guide to Preventing Compassion Fatigue, Moral Distress, and Burnout

The American Nurses Association (ANA) developed this class to equip nurses with exhaustion management methods. Nurses learn to diminish the psychological impact of morally complex situations as they acquire techniques for easing burnout and develop new ways to build durable medical teams.

Participants acquire techniques for maintaining resilience and motivation despite increasing demands in the workplace. Lessons introduce concepts from neuroscience and behavioral research that help combat physical and mental fatigue. The ANA is accredited by the ANCC as a provider of continuing education for nurses, and those who complete the course receive 1.4 contact hours.


Advanced Cardiac Life Support - ACLS

This advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) course is ideal for medical students and healthcare professionals, such as nurses and emergency responders. Participants learn to identify and implement the appropriate medical techniques and interventions during cardiac emergencies.

Featuring over 27 lectures and approximately two hours of content, the course includes self-assessment and review questions, audio lectures, and video presentations. Class topics cover basic life support techniques, the anatomy of the heart, resuscitation, medical devices, bradycardia, and tachycardia. Individuals who complete the program are qualified to take the ACLS certification exam.


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