Will my medical background help me to survive the nursing program?

  1. 0
    Hello! I am currently enrolled in a practical nursing program and I wanted to know if my medical background ( working with physicians and patients both in specialty offices and currently a hospital in a non-clinical setting, being quite familiar with medication names and usage, dosage abbreviations PO= to be taken orally, BID= to be taken twice a day, IM= to be taken intramuscular, medical terminology etc,) will make my nursing experience a little easier than perhaps my other fellow classmates? Sooooo many people tell me that they had to drop out of the nursing program once they got into their first semester because it was so demanding. I don't know if this is because they have no medical experience and are switching fields or what but I would just like to know what is so hard. I currently do not have any children but I am married. So far, I have an 'A' in both of my pre-req's. The biggest challenge for me has been trying to balance being a wife and doing all of my homework. I have gotten used to studying all the time and doing all of my hmw, even if I am up in the wee hours of the morning. But I have been able to do it and I am so proud of myself! You see, I am not what you call a traditional student. I have been out of High School for 6 years. This will be my second time going to college and I am much more motivated and determined. I currently work for a local hospital and my boss is quite supportive of my schooling. The hospital also pays for my education as long as I work at least part-time. I am going for the LPN program first because when I first went to college 6 years ago straight out of High School, all of the pre-req's required for the RN program seemed absolutely overwhelming and I thought it would take me forever just to make it thru those alone so after taking only one class and not being motivated whatsoever, I dropped out of college! To add to my frustration, many of my friends never finished their pursuit of a nursing degree either, they said it got too hard. To top it off, to this day I know people that have been in school for what seems like forever and they still aren't finished! So, realistically based on my individual circumstances, I must say that the LPN is much easier for me to do first as I only need 4 pre-req's and then I'm able to apply for my clinicals. Once I graduate as an LPN, I will be able to continue my employment at the hospital where I work considering that unlike most hospitals, they do hire LPN'S. I want to continue from there with a bridging program to get my RN. Not only will I have nursing experience, I will also have a job at the hospital. I am so sick and tired of working these 9-5 dead end jobs. I refuse to settle on 'just' being a receptionist or whatever. I am too smart for that ! I love people (sometimes) and being a nurse runs thru my veins just like my blood. It's been my desire for so very long. Learning about the anatomy and physiology of the human body absolutely fascinates me. I enjoyed A&P in High School. I asked lots and lots of questions as I am very inquisitive when it comes to science and i even sat in the front row ( i know im such a nerd If I haven't said it enough, I am madly in love with science. If this helps any, my mother is also a nurse, she is an RN. My grandmother is a retired LPN. I plan on working FT while I complete my pre-req's and then PT while I complete my LPN clinicals so that I can continue to receive my education reimbursement from the hospital. Sorry for all of the info, just want to make sure you have enough background info on me. Please tell me what you think! Will nursing school be hard for me?
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    Nursing school will be hell for you. Your instructors will chew you up and spit you out if you're not careful. At my program the instructors love to tear down anyone who is smart and competent.

    You need to change your attitude. You are no different from anyone else. You are no more prepared than anyone else. You are there to learn. Be humble and don't draw any negative attention to yourself.
    Esme12, DixieRedHead, KimberlyRN89, and 1 other like this.
  5. 4
    Don't get too cocky.Knowing some abbreviations and having worked in an office doesn't really equal medical experience.
    pebbles, MPKH, Esme12, and 1 other like this.
  6. 3
    I wondered the same thing myself. I worked for a GI, and also was a pharmacy tech for a while. I think it will be helpful that your mother is a nurse, because she may be able to explain things to you but truly I believe that every program is different. Nursing isn't all science, it is a lot of critical thinking. The science part is a piece of cake, but the critical thinking nursing mindset takes a while to get into.

    I am going to a school in which you graduate with your AS in Nursing and the program is 16 months. It may be a little more intense than the program you are enrolled in, I don't know. Bottom line: you will not sleep. You will forget to eat. You will never get caught up on work and you will never relax throughout the program.
    You did say you are more determined and dedicated now, that will help you push through but it won't be easy. Think of the hardest you think it could possibly be and multiply that by about 20. Also, perhaps doing the LPN and then RN will be easier but I don't think so.

    In our nursing orientation they told us to say good-bye to our family for the next 16 months and get acquainted with the 20 students we were surrounded by because they were the only people we were going to see. They were right. Also, even with all of my experience in the medical field what we know previously is NOT what is to be done. They will expect you to leave your knowledge at the door because a lot of times what is done out in the real world isn't what they are teaching you and they want everything done the way they do it.

    Good luck. It won't be easy but if there are people passing the nursing programs everyday you know you can do it too.
    Esme12, KimberlyRN89, and mrsbreebree like this.
  7. 2
    Nursing school is hard, plain and simple. It is just hard for different reasons for different people. Any knowledge you can bring in will be helpful and even being comfortable around patients should all help, but it will not make the process easy. Nursing instructors are tough and want to make sure you can handle the stress that comes with being a nurse. They will break you down more than once, no matter how much you know. I am a straight A student and do very well in clinical, but I don't know everything and my instructors will grill me until they find something I don't know. It just seems to be the way it is done.

    I wish you the best with your journey through the LPN program. As tough as it can be it is completely worth it. I will graduate in June at the age of 36, so I am not what you would call a traditional student either. Most of my classmates are in their late 20's or 30's and some in their 40's and 50's...makes for some interesting classroom discussions.
    KimberlyRN89 and mrsbreebree like this.
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    Thank you so much for being so supportive! I don't mean to come off as cocky or errogant as some people have mentioned. I just know that I am competent and I absolutely love a challenge. I just feel that I can do it considering my mother is a RN and I also have the support of the Nurses at my current job. I know it will be a challenge but I am so ready for it! My pre-req's are boring me and my brain is ready to be challenged

    Quote from Brewergal
    I wondered the same thing myself. I worked for a GI, and also was a pharmacy tech for a while. I think it will be helpful that your mother is a nurse, because she may be able to explain things to you but truly I believe that every program is different. Nursing isn't all science, it is a lot of critical thinking. The science part is a piece of cake, but the critical thinking nursing mindset takes a while to get into.

    I am going to a school in which you graduate with your AS in Nursing and the program is 16 months. It may be a little more intense than the program you are enrolled in, I don't know. Bottom line: you will not sleep. You will forget to eat. You will never get caught up on work and you will never relax throughout the program.
    You did say you are more determined and dedicated now, that will help you push through but it won't be easy. Think of the hardest you think it could possibly be and multiply that by about 20. Also, perhaps doing the LPN and then RN will be easier but I don't think so.

    In our nursing orientation they told us to say good-bye to our family for the next 16 months and get acquainted with the 20 students we were surrounded by because they were the only people we were going to see. They were right. Also, even with all of my experience in the medical field what we know previously is NOT what is to be done. They will expect you to leave your knowledge at the door because a lot of times what is done out in the real world isn't what they are teaching you and they want everything done the way they do it.

    Good luck. It won't be easy but if there are people passing the nursing programs everyday you know you can do it too.
  9. 0
    If you are determined, than you will be able to do it. When I started my LPN program, I had been a CNA for 2 yrs. While it did help me w/ the basics (bed baths, vitals, bed making,etc) that was pretty much it. Over 80% of my classmates had some form of healthcare experience(CNA,GNA,med tech, medical assistant, paramedics,phlebotomist,the list goes on & on lol), but believe me WE ALL STRUGGLED lol! Just remain focused & tell yourself that you CAN make it through.
  10. 0
    I am a CNA, have been for the last 11 yrs. It has helped me to some degree but it did not put me a step ahead of anyone! I had an advantage in the first couple of weeks in the basic patient care portion but then again I had to relearn the "textbook" style of care. I feel I am the exact same as other students with zero medical history. Just my 2 cent, good luck!
  11. 0
    I am currently in my 2nd semester of nursing school. I achieved nearly straight A's in all my prerequisites, and I have a very broad base of medical education. What I can say is that my education has been a really good foundation for nursing school. Being able to think critically is the most difficult part of going for nursing school. I have about 7 years of direct one-on-one patient care, where interpreting signs and symptoms and then coming up with a care plan is extremely necessary. It is that ability to integrate the patient's presentation, signs, symptoms, and lab work, that is very important in nursing school and as a nurse. It is specifically that experience, along with my background, that is making nursing school relatively easy for me. It is a lot of work.

    Do not misunderstand me, when I say it is relatively easy for me. Nursing school is still very difficult, but I find it easier than some of my classmates. The biggest difficulty in nursing school, so far, is the sheer volume of information that they present. The next most difficult thing is determining what each instructor wants as far as their care plans and the material that they are going to test on. The other thing I tell my classmates is not to study the same way I do. The reason being, I have such a broad education in medicine that integrating the new knowledge from nursing school is easy. If I was having to learn the information from the beginning, without the base of knowledge that I have, I would be studying very differently.

    So, I guess the point of all of this is, whatever the previous experiences you've had, you're going to have to adapt to a whole new reality. That new reality is nursing school, and it will be quite like nothing you've ever had before. Much of what I know is useful, but I to have to learn a whole new way of thinking. In particular, all of my education has been in the medical model. I can take signs and symptoms and lab work and come up with a diagnosis of sorts for what is wrong with the patient. In effect, I can figure out a disease process that is affecting the patient. The new process. I have to learn is determining what the disease process is doing to the patient, regardless of what the disease process is. The next thing that is very difficult, and probably the most difficult thing for me, is coming up with a nursing diagnosis. The reason being is that the nursing diagnosis describes the patient response to the disease process rather than the disease process itself. It's a whole different way of thinking for me. I'm starting to understand it, and I even understand why nursing school requires care plans to be done. That does not mean that I like doing care plans… I just understand the purpose.

    I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you find your studies relatively uncomplicated and easy to understand, if not extremely voluminous.
  12. 3
    FYI, abbreviations , most of them, are going the way of the dinosaur.

    I am a smart woman, always have been. You will find when you go to nursing school that you will not longer be the smartest person around, you won't even be the smartest person in the room. It can be humbling, and it will do you a world of good.


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