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Best Electives for Nursing and Medical Students

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When working toward a degree in nursing, pre-med, or other health care professions, there are many required courses and prerequisites that may take over your class schedule. Electives are also necessary, but making decisions about the right elective courses can be a challenge. Do you want something fun? Something easy? Something that will be a help to you in your future career?  Here are a few great electives choices and how they can come into play in your medical career.


Understanding how the human mind works is a useful tool in any profession, but particularly in the medical field. In a clinical setting, having a working knowledge of general or abnormal psychology can help in handling patients. Coursework like the psychology of aging or child psychology can also be useful for students with a career focus in those areas.

Foreign Language

A basic knowledge of a foreign language can help give medical students a leg up on the competition in the job market. Being able to speak and understand Spanish, French, or other languages depending on the communities in your area will allow you to better communicate with patients and provide a higher level of care.

Public Speaking

The verbal communication skills acquired in a public speaking class can be put to good use on a daily basis in an office or clinical setting. Additionally, public speaking courses can provide the skills necessary to do community outreach presentations, teach community education classes, or present at conferences and seminars.


While this is a required course for some medical degrees, other career tracks may offer nutrition as an elective. This course will give you great information and training on getting better nutrition for yourself and also provide you with information that you can later pass on to your patients.


Basic sociology coursework can help nursing and medical students to understand social behavior and interaction.  This knowledge can be very useful when relating to patients of different backgrounds and walks of life.

Medical Terminology

Surprisingly, Medical Terminology is considered an elective at many schools for nursing and other medical field majors. This is a great choice for an elective, as it will make understanding terminology in your required courses a bit easier and help you as you complete other course work.

Logic and Critical Thinking

Having solid logic and critical thinking skills is important in every line of work, but is particularly crucial for those in the medical field. Logic and critical thinking elective can give you the tools you need to make more confident and solid decisions in your own life as well as on the job.

Of course, all work and no play makes for a less enjoyable educational experience, so mix in some just-for-fun electives to keep boredom at bay! Choose art, music, or even a genealogy course if those are subjects that interest you.  Finding that perfect balance of fun and serious study creates a great start to a satisfying career in the medical field.

If you are a nursing student about to graduate and want to get a headstart on your job search then check out our nursing jobs page to find opportunities across the country!

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Contributor Ron Washburn

Ron is currently the executive vice president of Soliant and has been with the company for more than 28 years now. He oversees our nursing and allied health division and has been with Soliant since its small beginnings in the early 90s. He’s an integral part of our organization, and not only hosts trainings for our groups but manages company events and continues to run a desk of clients and candidates. He is experienced in contract placement, recruiting, permanent placement and internet recruiting within the healthcare industry. Ron possesses a Master's degree focused on Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from Georgia State University. Don’t forget to check out the rest of his blogs!