Why a Nursing Student Should Learn Microbiology?


Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, that are invisible to the naked eye but have a profound impact on human health and disease. Microbiology helps nursing students build their foundation in the importance of health and safety in the nursing profession. This prerequisite course can help nursing students gain a firm grasp of what their day-to-day lives will consist of once they become nurses.

Nurses must have sufficient education and training in microbiology to perform many roles within clinical nursing practice, such as:

  • Administering antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents
  • Collecting specimens for microbiological testing
  • Preparing specimens for transport and delivery to the laboratory
  • Educating patients and families about infection prevention and control
  • Communicating results and recommendations to the healthcare team
  • Developing care plans based on results of microbiology studies and patient immunological status

Microbiology also helps nurses understand the pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various infectious diseases that affect different body systems and organs. Nurses encounter patients with infections in various hospital units, such as burn units, obstetric units, intensive care services, central sterile supply units (C.S.S.U), operation theaters, and communicable disease wards. In these units, nurses need to know how to prevent contamination, sterilize the environment, maintain hygiene, control the movement of microbes, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases to other patients and staff.

Microbiology helps track the negative and positive outcomes of the microbes’ work. Microorganisms have the ability to change as they affect their environments. The adaptation to certain therapies and medications is what makes the study of microbes so important to the nursing profession. For example, some bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics, making them harder to treat. Some viruses can mutate and cause new strains of diseases, such as influenza or COVID-19. Some fungi can cause opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients. Some parasites can cause chronic infections that affect the quality of life.

Therefore, microbiology knowledge is essential for nursing students to become effective nurses in practice. By learning about microbiology, nursing students can enhance their skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, and teamwork. They can also develop a sense of curiosity, responsibility, and professionalism in their field. Microbiology can help nursing students prepare for the challenges and opportunities that await them in their future careers.