Pre-nursing advice greatly needed!

  1. So before I begin I apologize as this is a VERY long post but if anyone could read it and give me some advice it would be greatly appreciated. Currently I am a semester graduated from NCSU with a degree in General Education. However, after doing student teaching I found that I did not enjoy it as much as I had thought I would and began doing some "life searching". Fortunately, I came upon a job as a physical assistant for two college aged boys who have Spinal Muscular Atrophy and are wheelchair bound and essentially only able to move their fingers/hands a bit. After helping the boys out and being their physical assistant for a couple of months I found that I really enjoyed the interaction that came with the job. After talking with my friends about potentially going to nursing school I came up with potentially a couple of plans that I could go through. However, since none of them are nurses I don't know what would be the best way to go about things. However, I came upon this forum and decided it would be a good idea to lay out my ideas here.

    Pretty much I looked at the UNC ASBN program and I found out that I only need three more classes to apply for the program: Anatomy and Physiology, Intro to Physiology, and Microbiology. Currently the job I work at runs from 9:30 am to 7 pm. However, if I potentially took a night class I think I would be able to end work at 4 pm. I say I think because the boys have told me that finding physical assistants is difficult for them because of the abnormality of the work compared to "regular jobs". I am actually currently doing the work of both the morning/afternoon assistant and the evening assistant so I am doing two people's jobs essentially. Herein lies my dilemma...

    1. I could continue to work from 9-4 pm and then take a night class at Durham Tech in the fall semester. Then I would quit work at the end of December and take the remaining two classes in the Spring. However, my concern is that the job I have now is very tiring and I won't have any energy or drive to focus on school.

    2. I could quit my job at the end of July and take Anatomy and Physiology in the fall and focus hard on it. Then, in the spring I would take the other two classes and focus on them as well. During this time I would be volunteering at UNC hospital once a week. However, I am worried about whether I should take classes at UNC or classes at Durham Tech. In one aspect Durham Tech is cheaper and may potential be "easier" so I could get that good science GPA. On the other hand UNC classes are more expensive and harder but if admissions looked at where a person took a class wouldn't it be better to take a class at UNC rather than Durham Tech?

    So these are the two paths that I am most thinking about. I know that the first path would definitely look better because I am working and taking classes but it would be immensely tiring. I understand nursing school is going to be like 300x more tiring than that so I'm wondering whether I'm just being a wuss and need to get my act together. Financial problems are also a concern, as I am 30k in debt already because of undergrad and I am working right now to just start paying off loans. My friends have told me that I should focus on school earlier because once I get a better paying job then I will be able to pay off loans easily but I'm not sure if life is that simple. Currently, the job pays $12.75 for the first 8 hours and $14 for any remaining time after that. Thus, my paycheck every two weeks is around $1000, which is a respectable amount but I am not sure if its worth working for if I want to focus on school.

    I think that covers all aspects of my future plans. I know that this is a lot to read but if anyone would take the time to read it and give me feedback it would be greatly appreciated. If there are any questions I will do my best to reply to them ASAP. Thank you.
  2. Visit dylai profile page

    About dylai

    Joined: May '13; Posts: 6; Likes: 4


  3. by   TuesdayMorning
    Let me begin by saying that I live in Raleigh and I also live on the NC State University campus. I am a non-traditional student who is preparing to enter the healthcare field.

    If you are struggling to pay your loans, you may want to look into deferment or forbearance. This may not be the most attractive option since it is usually smart to pay off loans when you have the time to truly save money and pay. From your post, I assume that you are single without children. This is the absolute best time to take care of those loans!
    If you're wanting to continue working in the position that you have now because you feel it will look better to UNC, then you must know that there are other options to obtaining healthcare experience that will potentially be impressive to the admissions committee.
    You could volunteer (as you mentioned in your second option), but you don't have to volunteer at UNC. UNC has an application process for their volunteers and considering there are a lot of pre-med students who scramble for those volunteer positions, be aware that it could be very difficult or a very long wait to get a volunteer position with them. There are other options to volunteer: Low income clinics, walk-in clinics, other area hospitals (Duke and other Duke campuses, WakeMed and its campuses, REX...).

    If you honestly know that you would not be able to focus on school after working from 9-4, then it's your call whether you take the night class and continue in that particular job. If you make a poor grade in this course, then you will absolutely HAVE to report it to the school that you apply to. I always suggest taking the option that is the cheapest because it is usually only a rumor that certain schools will look good to admissions committee. Let me put it this way: Which would look better? Prereqs at Durham Tech that are all As or Prereqs at UNC that are Bs and Cs? Only you know your academic potential. You sound as though you're worried about your financial situation, so for you it may be better to take courses at Durham Tech even if you feel you can ace courses at UNC.
    If you show a commitment to pursuing your nursing degree, then UNC will take notice of that and it won't matter if you take the courses at Durham Tech. Volunteer in healthcare related setting as well as volunteer positions that show a passion for the community as a whole.
    I am curious, though. Do you live in Durham? You mentioned Durham but you also mentioned how you graduated from NC State. Why not take the courses at Wake Tech?
    Also, if you live in Durham, have you considered attending NC Central? That university has an ABSN program.
    Becoming a nurse is not something to take lightly and neither is your financial situation. I appreciate the fact that you're taking careful consideration into your future regarding these matters.
    If you have the money to do it, then I suggest completing your prereqs as soon as possible. You can halt or lower payments on your current loan(s) and do the same when you are admitted to the program. When you're actually in the nursing program, you will be so busy that you more than likely will not be able to work.( This is debated between current nursing students, but I sense that if you're hesitant working your current job and taking only one course then you benefit from heavily focusing on school rather than working and attending school). In fact, most accelerated and even traditional nursing courses have a policy that students will NOT work during their time in the program!
    Don't push yourself or cause yourself more debt just because you believe it will "look better". You don't want to risk performing poorly because, like I said, you will be required by any program to report ALL prior institution transcripts, even if you only took one course.

    I know my answer may have not been what you were looking for, but only you know what you're capable of. You just need to be aware of the consequences if you're not honest with yourself and you also need to remember that showing a passion for people and healthcare will far outshine taking courses at a certain school or volunteering at a certain place.

    All of that being said (sorry for the long comment) could you private message me about the position you currently hold? I am interested in pursuing this if you know of a position available for me. I have seen a post on Craig's List similar to what you described that you do, but I don't know if it is the same physical assistant job that you're currently doing. You mentioned how it was hard for those gentlemen to find someone to help them, so if it is relatively close to NC State, I would be interested in applying. Thank you!
  4. by   dylai
    Thank you for taking the time to reply!

    I actually am lined up for a volunteering position at UNC currently. I have completed orientation and will be working in the Pediatric ICU. I was debating also potentially volunteering at another hospital or clinic to gain more experience as well. I currently live in Chapel Hill and commute to Raleigh for work so the drive is also draining at times.

    Basically my dilemma is I don't really know how I am going to do in the science classes. The last science class I took was freshman year of college in 2008 which was Chemistry. I took AP Biology in High School but only managed to get a B in the class although I did get a 5 on the AP exam somehow. UNC science classes are definitely difficult but I can't help but think if I just lock down and focus on the only class I would be taking in the fall (anatomy and physiology) I should be able to get an A. However, talking to my friend who is a premed student at UNC, the teacher in the fall for anat and physiology is supposed to give out monster tests. I don't want to feel like I'm copping out and just taking DTech classes because I think the admissions committee may think I'm not up to the task.

    As for my financial situation, my parents have offered to help me pay for my loans but I don't want them to help me that much becasue I am striving for financial indendence from them. However, I do have the option of them helping me out as I work towards my goal of getting into a nursing school.

    As for the craigslist ad, I did find the job on craigslist so I do believe that listing is the same one you are looking at. The house where the brothers live is in North Raleigh and is only like 10 minutes away from NCSU. I will private message you more details.

    EDIT: I actually can't private message. You may email me at and I will respond.
  5. by   ShakeItOff0515
    I can't say too much about UNC's nursing program since I am not applying to it but I did take several of my science pre-reqs at Durham Tech. I know of many students at Durham Tech who got into UNC's nursing program both the BSN and ABSN. The main thing I have noticed from the students who did get in was they had excellent grades and tons​ of volunteers hours.I would save your money, it's a HUGE difference in tuition, and take the classes at a CC.
    Last edit by ShakeItOff0515 on May 23, '13 : Reason: .
  6. by   dylai
    Thank you for your response! My friend's reasoning is though, if you were an admissions person, would you more likely accept a person who has all As in science at UNC or all As at Durham Tech. I understand that Durham Tech is no cakewalk and is definitely hard as well but if I'm applying to UNC wouldn't it be better to try and take classes at the same college?

    My undergraduate GPA was 3.2 so I'm not sure if that is considered good or only decent. How many hours is considered tons? If i volunteered for 3 hours a week until I applied would I have enough for it to be considered tons?
  7. by   TuesdayMorning

    I've email you and the subject is "All Nurses TuesdayMorning" from
    Thank you so much!!