Minors That Complement a Nursing Degree

By Mindy Longhurst

A nursing degree from Brigham Young University provides students with a comprehensive education including a diverse range of healthcare-related subjects. Though a minor will add to a student’s already heavy workload, learning about fields that are complementary to nursing is beneficial. Global women’s studies and gerontology are two subjects that line up perfectly with a nursing student’s career goals.

Global Women’s Studies Minor

The newly created global women’s studies minor encourages students to be more compassionate and caring when interacting and caring for women. Learning more
about women, especially from a global perspective, can help nurses to be more effective in the workforce.

Nursing students can complete this minor without delaying graduation or adding too many extra classes to their schedule. It requires only a three-credit Introduction to Global Women’s Studies course, two one-credit colloquium classes, two three-credit elective sessions such as women in science and women’s health issues, and two nursing classes they are already taking: the public and global health nursing course practicum and the nursing capstone project.

According to the program outcomes for the minor, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the ways that different institutions, issues (such as media or religion), and factors (such as the workplace) intersect with and affect women’s lives. They should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the worldwide contributions of women to history, culture, politics, health, science, religion, and family.

The program also expects that students will read, write, and think analytically. They will be able to conduct research using primary and secondary sources and communicate that research effectively in oral, written, and multimedia presentations. Delsa Richards, the nursing undergraduate studies secretary, believes that receiving a minor in global women’s studies will encourage nursing students to become better nurses. She says, “Nursing students and professionals interact with many women. Having a deeper understanding of women will increase their compassion and capacity as a nurse. It is an interdisciplinary minor to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways that gender plays a critical role in the lives of women and men. This will help the students learn more about the people that they are going to help.”

Gerontology Minor

Given the nation’s aging population, the gerontology minor is a valuable addition to a nursing degree. Gerontology involves caring for elderly individuals and handling their health needs. Students who minor in gerontology will learn about the aging process and its psychological and sociological implications. They will also learn how to improve their elderly patients’ quality of life and how to help them get the most out of their later years.

Because nursing students are already required to take courses in gerontology, it is easy for them to obtain this minor. Any nursing student who does not have a capstone course focused on labor and delivery or pediatrics is automatically eligible for the minor; students who have a capstone project focused in labor and delivery or pediatrics can still
achieve the minor if they want. However, a student must declare the minor to receive it. There are currently 69 nursing students enrolled in the gerontology minor.

Having a gerontology minor inspires nursing students to gain additional skills to help their aging patients. Older people tend to have more complex care because of different social, emotional, and physical issues. Gerontology work also includes understanding which signs of aging are normal and which are not. Associate teaching professor Dr. Blaine Winters assists students who want to obtain the gerontology minor. “I believe
having a gerontology minor will help after graduation,” he says. “The majority of the patients that they are going to take care of in their careers are older adults, so having this knowledge and focus will support them.”

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