How much CHEMISTRY did you take as an undergrad?

  1. Most BSN programs require only ONE five hour Chemistry class which covers general, oganic, and biochemistry subject matter. Furthermore, most BSN programs don't leave very much room for electives (espcially when you consider University mandated courses such as English, Fine Arts ect.). Here is my conundrum. I took TWO General Chemistry courses last year when my focus was more pre-pharmacy than nursing. I also took the required five hour course over the summer. Should I somehow find the time to work in an additional one, two or three Chemistry courses (those courses would probably be Organic I, Organic II, and Biochemistry)?

    Taking those classes would of course increase the possibility that my GPA will be degradated. I would be competing against pre-med, pre-pharmacy, AND future Ph'D's in the sciences. On the other hand I have noticed that SOME of the CRNA schools want a chemistry course ABOVE the basic five hour survey course (this poses a true challenge for other nursing students with CRNA ambitions since the pre-requisites for those higher level Chemistry courses are the two General Chemistry courses NOT required or accepted for the BSN).

    How did you go about balancing the desire for higher level science courses against maintaining your GPA?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   renerian
    I only took one chemistry course and I truely sucked at it.......

    renerian
  4. by   WntrMute2
    The thing is that it is about doing the hard stuff AND maintaining a good GPA. Anyone can do well in school 1 class at a time as my school's director said when someone complained their grades might suffer as the course load increased. They want hard course material and good grades. Got it?
  5. by   Qwiigley
    I took Organic Chem to RAISE my grade point ave! Seems to me with all of the extra chemistry classes, you may be close to a minor or even a 2nd BS degree. Check with a school councelor; couldn;t hurt toward your original goal of CRNA.
  6. by   kkrnkk
    Roland,
    I took two general chemistry courses before I ever decided to be a nurse and that's all I took. It really depends on the program you are applying to. Some programs don't require organic chemistry. kk
  7. by   Roland
    I am asking this question not just for myself but for all who aspire to be CRNA's. Thus in response to Wintrmute (Dave) I would state that the fact that "they are looking for both good grades and tough courses" is not the point. Instead, I seek to apply the strategy that maximizes our chances of acceptence without regard to the intensions or desires of CRNA institutions. If the goal were only to take the hardest courses availible there are plenty of high level Biochemistry and Physics courses where almost NO ONE gets an "A." The real question here is whether the "typical" CRNA school would on average accept the student with the higher level courses, but lower GPA or the higher GPA student (say by a .250 or .385) student who has taken the more challenging upper division courses. Therefore, I was seeking "data" on what the typical chemistry background of some actual CRNA's consists of. This is a "game theory" approach pure and simple the same approach for which I was trained in the military where the ultimate mission is to defeat any enemy. In this case "the enemy" is the prospect of not gaining acceptence to CRNA school.
  8. by   WntrMute2
    Using that strategy may give you a good GPA but not the knowledge required. I felt I was prepared for school but the first couple of semesters were a mo-fo as my 14 year old says. Pretty much everything taught required searching multiple sources to gain clear understanding. BTW, the director, who sits on the acceptance committee (obviously), knows or has a good idea of the relative difficulty of courses. He requested course descriptions of chemistry courses I took to assess the difficulty of those courses. I firmly believe after conversations with 2 directors after beginning school and 4 directors/acceptance committees during interviews that the schools do look at both the GPA and the level of difficulty. Remember the goal is aquiring the knowledge required not the GPA. That 4.0 won't save a dying patient, nor answer that tough chemistry question asked of you during an interview. Don't sell yourself short. My chem backround to answer you question directly is 1 semester each of inorganic, organic, done prior to school and biochem taken the 1st semester in the CRNA program.
  9. by   Doug Cameron
    Thought I'd throw in my 2 cents, for what it's worth. Originally, when I decided to pursue admission to a CRNA program, my thinking was that I should have basically the same prerequisites that any pre-med student should have: 2 semesters of general or inorganic chemistry, 2 semesters of organic, 2 semesters of biology, and 2 semesters of physics. So this past summer I took 2 semesters of general chemistry (my original chemistry was at UMass Amherst 25 years ago...needed a little refreshing...)(what a way to spend the summer...yeesh... 1 year of chemistry in 13 weeks. I would not recommend it.) My plan was to take organic in the coming fall and spring semesters. HOWEVER, I'm realizing a few things. If you are applying to an MSN school; one that requires a BSN and delivers and MSN - they usually don't require much chemistry beyond what is taken in nursing school (which often is, unfortunately, not as demanding as the "science major" chem.) I believe I saw Kevin M say somewhere that he was told "we'll teach you all the chemistry you need to know" which is probably true. Schools that deliver a MS of some sort - a non-MS Nursing school - more likely desire the additional chemistry, usually just one semester of organic, or even a biochem. For me, as these are the schools I will most likely be applying to, I will be taking the organic.
    I think in general, you want to make yourself as competitive as you can. If you are going the non-BSN route, it could not hurt to show the strongest science background you are capable of. Chemistry is a pain in the ...neck...(!) but learning it, I believe, will provide a broader background which will help anyone be a better clinician.. which is, after all, the point... even if the gpa drops slightly.
    Now, having said all this, keep in mind that I have not yet even applied to schools yet! I'm sure there are people on the board with more experience who have a different perspective. So,.....PV=nRT.

    Good luck! - Doug
  10. by   nilepoc
    I have to concur with Doug and wintermute, From where I sit the world is chemistry. I personally went back and took physics and chemistry again before applying to CRNA school. I also took molecular cell biology. i am s glad that i did this. My first semester is very science oriented. i get one talking class, and it only meets for 6 sessions. the rest of my classes are mostly pure science.

    Study hard and I recommend the extra science.

    Craig
  11. by   Roland
    possible. I am going the BSN route because as I explained below in a different post there are CRNA schools which require a BSN but NONE (at least that I can find) which exclude this degree. In addition, most of the schools in my area have phased out the ASN degree. How would one gain the required professional experience as an RN in critical care without having a BSN or ASN which facilitate their being licensed?

    I'm not sure that I will have the time to take the extra classes you suggest before graduation. Unfortunately, those upper level science courses usually have one or two three hour labs per week that are difficult to integrate into a schedule when you are in clinicals. Perhaps, I and those in my situation can study textbooks on our own (although this obviously won't help our transcripts directly). I have already made it a point to read almost every issue of Science and Nature cover to cover published in the last ten years (of course I don't even PRETEND to understand everything I read in those magazines). In addition, I plan to read as many articles in the T.E.A.L. CD-Rom as possible during the rest of school and while I'm gaining my experience.
    Last edit by Roland on Sep 8, '02
  12. by   lgcv
    Roland,
    Find out what the schools you would like to attend require. Then do that, do not overload yourself with classes you may not need. Although, I am sure they will all require an organic chemistry class, I am not so sure about the other classes. If you cannot do the classes while you are obtaining your BSN, then take them after you finish your degree. Rememeber the motto which is popular in both the military and CRNA programs "Keep It Simple Stupid".
    Relax, and have a good time getting where your going!
  13. by   London88
    I think Doug is right in his differentiating between MS, and MSN programs. My program is an MSN program, and all they asked for is a BSN, evidence of a statistics class, and a health assesment class. However, they made a point of looking at my undergrad sciences to see how well I did in those courses. The only chemistry I had was biochemistry which I took for my AD
  14. by   DIVER CRNA
    When I apply to anesthesia school next year it will be 5.5-6 years since my last chemistry course. Many programs dictate a chemistry (organic)course in the last 5 years. I majored in biochemistry and actively tutor it for medical students attached to the hospital I work in. Do you think they will be strict with this rule considering my situation. Any input would be great

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