For those "medicly minded" students feeling like they're in the wrong field of study.

  1. Fellow suferrers,
    I'm writing this because there may be others like me out there before I realized that nursing has almost nothing to do with science, or medicine, and is often at odds with the medical community. These facts may have alot to do with why nursing is the Rodney Dangerfield of the hospital and "don't get no respect" from administration and has a poor public image.
    I've spent the better part of the last year trying to rationalize nursing didactic focus. I can find no value in it that develops the critical thinking skills that those pronursing advocates would have you believe exists. I also don't understand how a bachelors degree in science can be awarded to a person completing four years of training in that supposed science with only a college level math and one lonely little chemistry course. I figured that the science in nursing would be unique, but not so unique that it did not resemble science at all. I kept waiting for the next set of classes to show some inkling of medical knowledge until the day I recieved the "pharmacology" packet. The one class out of twentyfive that had real promise of laying out some scientific information, but clung desparately to its psychosocial touchy-feely model. None of the contraindications were explored and the assessments all involved hypoventilation as a focus. The main theme for that packet was drug calculations, which are nothing more than operations with fractions. I could go on of course, but if you are a scientific minded person you have been feeling this since the prerequisites, so you know what I'm talking about.

    Really, I should have given this up a semester ago, but I had to explore the possibility that it may have been just a poor attitude about something new. I can honestly say that the attitude belongs to nursing's curicculum. Ever since Florence Nightengale nursing has been struggling to define an identity. If they use the medical model they wouldn't be unique enough to justify a separate identity. That yearning for identity complicated the use of anything medical, though they obviously already had a separate identity within the medical model since the job desciptions between nursing and other allied contrast. I'm here to tell you that nursing has quite successfuly cut-the-cord. There is very little to hold interest to the scientificly minded individual. The problem with that course is that nursing is now so estanged from the medical community that birthed it, that it doesn't work in medicine at all. Nursing is psychology and philosophy, masqerading as a science. By its own efforts it has become so separated from medical thinking that it is now dysfunctional in it.


    It is not you.

    Nursing just doesn't work for someone that thinks about medicine. The students that are fond of the sciences now in prerequisites and loathe the psychology and developmental theories, will neverfind what they seek in a nursing program. You will be miserable, as I was, and you will make the people around you miserable.

    You can't hold your breath until NP classes either. The same anti-medical thinking dominates that too. Save yourself, and your brilliant and exact medical thought process, and see nursing for what it is.

    This past week I have prepared to start work on the pre-coursework sciences that I'm lacking for a degree in physiology and neurobiology. I will become a physician's assisstant. The curicculum in the last two years is the same medical model that the physiscians themselves trained in. It's the same program. I will then chose a specialty to train in and will diagnose and treat disease under the supervision of a physician as a colleague, not an adversary to thier philosophy of patient care.


    It's not you..................really.
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   legsmalone
    I am sorry to read that you have felt the science lacking in your program. I consider myself fortunate at this point, now having read your post to have had a program where not only do we deal with the "touchy feely" portion of the nursing, but also know the patho of the disease, the way the medications and treatments work to alleviate symptoms and perhaps even cure, and ultimately how all those tie in with the touchy feely side of things.
    It is true however, nurses are not doctors, we were never meant to be. I came into my program, thankfully, with eyes wide open. Doctors treat the physical ailments, nurses are there to make sure the patient is cared for holistically. I don't want the doctor's job, they can keep it. And I will very happily return to school to obtain my NP.
    I wish you much luck with finishing your PA
  4. by   jessjoy
    I must say that I entered the Nursing program because of my interest in Pathophys and Anatomy. I am in the ADN program and will be graduating in May. I have heard your complaints from many a Bachelor student. I graduate in 6 months and have never once heard the name Florence Nightingale (unless my classmates and I are ribbing each other) The ADN programs seem to be much more focused on the actual disease processes and the rationale behind the nursing interventions rather than the theory of nursing as in many bachelors programs. When we do papers they are papers on diseases, not "how to be a good nurse" The only time I felt that there was any emphasis on the "touchy feely" part of nursing was in psych. I eventually will continue on and get my bachelors but I feel that my ADN program has really given me a great medical foundation. Nursing isn't for everyone----if it were than there wouldn't be a shortage! Good luck to you---
  5. by   legsmalone
    Originally posted by jessjoy
    I must say that I entered the Nursing program because of my interest in Pathophys and Anatomy. I am in the ADN program and will be graduating in May. I have heard your complaints from many a Bachelor student. I graduate in 6 months and have never once heard the name Florence Nightingale (unless my classmates and I are ribbing each other) The ADN programs seem to be much more focused on the actual disease processes and the rationale behind the nursing interventions rather than the theory of nursing as in many bachelors programs. When we do papers they are papers on diseases, not "how to be a good nurse" The only time I felt that there was any emphasis on the "touchy feely" part of nursing was in psych. I eventually will continue on and get my bachelors but I feel that my ADN program has really given me a great medical foundation. Nursing isn't for everyone----if it were than there wouldn't be a shortage! Good luck to you---
    A good program, whether ADN or BSN should be a balance of both. I did hear the name Nightengale, but I can also look at a patient and know the disease process, and will complete my BSN in June. Any program that neglects the entire picture isn't worth anyones time IMHO.
  6. by   babynursewannab
    I am also sorry you had that experience. We had a number of science related courses and, as a former molecular biology major, I was surprised at the level of scientific difficulty encountered by the nursing program. I, myself, am extremely medically/scientifically focused and am happy with the nursing experience. Some of your points I recognize, though. There is sense of self-alienation with nursing from the rest of medicine...Think nursing diagnoses. Also, the touchy-feely part. However, addressing the touchy-feely, that is important to know/learn/have when used IN CONJUCTION with the medical and scientific understanding.

    I plan on going for my masters in either midwifery or nurse anesthesiology. The former is more touchy and the latter is, without a doubt, highly scientific. So, it just depends.

    I'm not slamming you, just pointing out. I'm truly sorry you didn't find what you were looking for. If you leave this BB, I know that I will miss your wit and insight. You've been a trip here!

    Good luck!
  7. by   Stargazer
    Nursing just doesn't work for someone that thinks about medicine. The students that are fond of the sciences now in prerequisites and loathe the psychology and developmental theories, will neverfind what they seek in a nursing program. You will be miserable, as I was, and you will make the people around you miserable.
    Peeps, I honestly don't know where the hell you're going to school, because I have read many similar complaints by you in the past, and I have to say, NEITHER of the baccalaureate programs I attended were anything like what you're describing.

    I had to pass microbiology, organic chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology courses as prerequisites before I could even start nursing courses. Pharmacology, A&P and patho were major components of every class from OB to Advanced Med-Surg in class and we were tested on these constantly, in class and in clinical.

    Our first day of OB, we received a 25-page handout, our instructor introduced herself and said, "Welcome to OB nursing. We've got a lot to cover, so let's get going." I practically choked on the amount of info she shoved down our throats in the next 2 hours, and none of it was touchy-feely.

    In Advanced Med-Surg, we were learning ALL the major cardiac drugs, learning to read EKG's, covering endocrine disorders in depth and in detail, calculating burn percentages and fluid replacement for major burns, learning about V/Q mismatches--you name it. The vast majority of our "touchy-feely" stuff was reserved for our once-weekly student-led class seminars.

    Frankly, it sounds like you just ended up in a sucky program. I'm sorry about that, and I highly encourage you or anyone else who feels they're not getting what they need out of their program to investigate others. I changed nursing schools halfway through (not for curriculum reasons). It can be done.

    But because your program sucks, or even all the programs in your area suck, or you've talked to several people at different schools who feel their programs suck, it doesn't follow that all BSN programs are weak in sciences or that the field of nursing in general is pseudoscience. I'm damned proud of my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, because I earned it, and I use the "science" more than the touchy-feely stuff every single day.
    Last edit by Stargazer on Dec 17, '02
  8. by   oramar
    Would this scientifically minded person please clarify what they mean by suferrers. Do you mean sufferers? When I first read it I thought it meant surfers. I got off on the wrong foot in the posting because I got this picture in my mind of student nurses on surf boards. Sort of like that avatar some of us use. I missed the pathophysiology in my nursing courses myself. At least I did not think there was enough of it. So I took a course on my own. Guess what, they added that same course to the course requirments about five years later. Just remember that the book says that this symptom equals this disease because this body part is malfunctioning. In real life, real people with real diseases are not usually anything like the book says they should be. If being scientific were enough we could demonstrate that alcohol and tobacco and drugs are bad for people with statistics and they would stop. We all know it ain't that simple. :kiss
    Last edit by oramar on Dec 17, '02
  9. by   fergus51
    Good luck Peeps! It did sound like you got a sucky program. Mine was heavily geared towards A&P and pathophys and clinical after the first year (which was very touchy feely). I hope PA school suits you better.
  10. by   EmeraldNYL
    I'm sorry you feel that way about nursing. I too am scientifically minded, having a BS in biology. However, I feel that my nursing program is very scientifically-based, placing a lot of emphasis on research and evidence-based nursing. Of course, I still had to suffer through a class in Alternative therapies (where we talked about reiki and the "healing powers of crystals"!!). I feel that wellness is more than just the absence of disease-- it is also emotional and psychosocial well-being as well. Even more physicans are beginning to realize this and treat the patient more holistically. My fiance attends an osteopathic medical school and he gets just as much "touchy-feely" stuff as I do in my nursing program. It is very important to have a knowledge of science, but it is also important to know how to treat the patient effectively as a PERSON, and not just a disease. It's called having a good bedside manner. If you really feel this way, maybe you shouldn't be in a medical field at all and instead do research or something. Sorry to be harsh, but medicine involves a lot more than just hard science.
  11. by   gonnabeanurse2
    Nurses treat human beings. Human beings are holistic creatures. Psychology and philosophy are encompassed in a holistic creature. This is the philosophy of the program that I am in. We were taught on day one that a human being is more than just mere "parts" , meaning that a person is more than their illness. Nurses treat the entire being....not just the disease. If you think about it that is a great privelage.
  12. by   Dr. Kate
    Glad to hear you found the courage to make the change. It's often hard for those of us who are comfortable and suited to nursing to realize that some people are not. It cna be equally hard to know of you're staying or leaving for a reason other than inertia or fear.
    Good luck to you.
  13. by   LasVegasRN
    Great post, Dr. Kate.
  14. by   New CCU RN
    Peeps,

    I just want to wish you good luck. Like Dr. Kate said, it does take alot of courage to realize you need to make a change. I can understand some of your points and do at times crave a little more science in nursing... that is why I went for ICU and that's why I am planning on becoming a CRNA.

    However, there are times that I wonder if nursing was really the best place for me. I envy you that you are able to make the change. Anyhow, I wish you lots of luck. I am sure you will make a wonderful PA!

    Best wishes...

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