How much Chemistry do you need to know to be a nurse?

  1. Hi
    I have a dilemma. I am currently studying Chem. 101 as a prerequisite to get into nursing program. My teacher is very poor, so much so, the Dean is considering offering us the option of retaking the class for free. So my questions are how much chemistry do nurses actually used day to day. I am on a time line and I really don't want to repeat the class unless absolutely necessary. At the same time I don't want to feel lost in the nursing program or after I graduate.

    Thanks for your advice.
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    About andrea5

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 13; Likes: 1


  3. by   clee1
    LPN or RN school?

    Honestly, neither has to know a whole lot about chemistry....

    Nurses administer meds, verify that what is ordered is not contraindicated, that the proper amount is given at the proper time, and to know when it is appropriate to hold a particular med depending on the condition of the pt., etc.

    A MD has to know some chemistry; a nurse has to know about acid/base balance, homeostasis, etc.

    I think you will be OK with a passing grade w/ a cruddy instructor. HOWEVER, if your entry to a program is competetive based on GPA, you may want to have a "do-over" to take a better mark.
  4. by   Daytonite
    You need to know basics of chemistry. The body is a walking bag of electrolytes and fluid. You have to know how electrolytes interact. You need to understand acids and bases as these things are critical to the functioning of the lungs. The heart depends on potassium and calcium. Chemical bonding goes on all throughout the body. Most college programs require a course in organic chemistry that is specifically tapered to the needs of the healthcare professions.
  5. by   BRemus
    Basic chemistry is probably what you should know but I never took any for either my LPN program or my RN one and now that I want to get my BS I am almost considering one in health sciences rather than nursing because I am afraid to take chemistry. Hang in there and if they offer the class for free I'd take it. Good Luck to you
  6. by   SFCardiacRN
    I passed nursing (ASN) without chemistry. It is more of a pre-req for Physiology than nursing.
  7. by   neneRN
    I didn't take any Chemistry (ADN) and I've been nursing for 5 years without any problem! As another poster said, you do need to know acid/bases/electrolytes, but you are taught these things in Physiology and during the nursing classes.
  8. by   lilboboxox

    i'm a senior in my bsn program. i am a nursing & foreign language double major with a chemistry minor. i minored in chemistry because i loved it. but i dropped it recently; i was convinced by my dean and my academic advisor that i will never use it in nursing. whoa? i was sad, but it lightened up my course load considerably.

    but still! just do your best and do well in all your nursing classes and you can't go wrong!
  9. by   MIA-RN1
    I took chemistry in college back about 16 years ago or so and passed by I think one or two points. Hated it.
    Now I'm about to finish up my ADN degree and I can honestly say that none of it seems relevant to chemistry.
    BUT I think I would have done better in physiology--which IS a part of the nursing education that you need---had I done better in Chem.
    But even that said, our instructors have gone over everything like fluid/electrolye balance, acidosis/alkalosis and all the other phys./chem stuff. It just takes me a little longer to 'get' it than others who did better. So you may be okay with what you get for this course. And there are always books and stuff you can refer to later if you have to.
  10. by   rosemadder
    I have used absolutely nothing from my Chemistry class...I will be going to graduate school eventually so maybe Organic Chemistry will be useful at that point.