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Biology Major-- Im told nursing school is a lot easier?

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Im graduating with a Bachelors in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry with a GPA of approximately 3.82 and will be be attending Nursing School (BSN) after I finish nutrition and a required psychology class. I decided to go into nursing because of the possibility of becoming a CRNA and what the job essentially holds. I originally wanted to go to Medical School and go into Family Practice-but over time I started to look at school as more of an investment. Comparing student loans, time in school and salary/pay. After talking to a CRNA and looking at the life he is able to live outside of work made me start to look at this career more and more.

So, I was told from him that Nursing school would be a lot easier than what Ive been doing right now and I probably wouldnt be stressed out over the amount of work I would doing in nursing school. BUT- as I read these forums all I see is how hard school is, so many people drop/fail and how no one has a social life. Something just doesnt add up. Will someone tell me how and why this is? I dont want to come off the wrong way here but I understand that nursing school requires a limited range of sciences before you can actually apply. Whereas we have to take classes like Genetics, Calculus, Physics and so on. So, is this the reason why I was told that "I" wouldnt be stressed over school work in nursing VS biology?? Or is my friend out of him mind and nursing school is actually crazy tough?

Someone help me out here, please just give me the goods and let me know what you think. Any help is appreciated!

itsmejuli

Specializes in Home Care.

If you completed a biology degree with a 3.8 GPA, you have little to worry about with pursuing a nursing degree.

There's another career that might interest you with salary comparable if not higher than a CRNA.

Cardio-pulmonary perfusionist

http://www.mshealthcareers.com/careers/perfusionist.htm

I observed open heart surgery and talked to the perfusionist, very interesting and challenging job.

It's not that any specific thing in nursing school is academically challenging.....it's the volume of everything that can be difficult. For example, last term in our program we were taking pathophysiology, pharmacology and Acute Care (kinda like med-surg) and could be responsible for 3-4 chapters per week per class. So, 9-12 chapters of material a week....contrast that with my organic chem class (I'm getting a minor in chemistry) where we cover a chapter every week and a half. Now the O chem is more challenging academically....but nursing school has been more of a challenge in managing the volume of it all.

So, it's just a different kind of hard. The other part that influences stress levels in general is that you're not working on frogs, or with just theoreticals, you're dealing with people. It's a different mindset. You're training to possibly be the person who helps patients and their family through the worst/most stressful days of their life. So, there's an emotional aspect of all of this that can sap your energy. Learning how to manage that is all part of nursing school.

We have plenty of folks in our program who are on their second degrees, with science degrees behind them (one has a molecular bio/chem minor degree, another a biochem degree, etc)...they seem to be struggling just as much as the rest of us :)

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I agree with CuriousMe. The science requirements of nursing should be easy for you. However, nursing also includes a lot of social sciences that may or may not be difficult depending on your natural inclinications for those types of classes. Sometimes, people with strong "linear thinking skills" honed in physicial science courses struggle with the non-linear thinking required for the humanities and social sciences. Do you have any experiences with humanities and social sciences courses that would give you an indication of how you do in those?

Also, nursing school includes clinical practicums -- designed to not only teach you the physical and psychosocial care of the patient, but also to socialize you into the values and culture of the nursing profession. Sometimes, people who have done well in other realms of life struggle with that socialization process. Grading includes a subjective element and instructors are looking for the student to demonstrate behaviors that might not come naturally to you. If you rebel against that socialization/enculturation, you could easily set yourself up for frustration and failure. Clinical courses are also very time consuming.

Finally -- of course it depends on the particular school. Just like with any academic major, some schools are more difficult than others. Some are more academically rigorous than others. Some have "kinder, gentler" clinical faculties than others. etc.

Good luck to you.

I totally agree with the pp - it's not that nursing school is more academically challenging. It's the volume of material that's all thrown at you at once. I have a BS (and I was 3 credits away from my MS) in a biological science. I used to have up to 3 labs a semester which, as I'm sure you know, is 1 credit for 20 hours worth of work. In science, there is a right and a wrong. In nursing, there is so much more gray. You can prepare for a chem exam. Nothing can totally prepare you for what you will run into when you get to the hospital. I am a bundle of nerves during my drive to the hospital b/c I have no idea what my patient will really be life. Some have been super sweet. Others have been rather grouchy. You think you can memorize drugs, injections, IV soluntions etc. And you do! But then you get to the hospital and find our your patient needs a shot of lovenox. And you start thinking, okay - this shot goes into the abdomen. Or wait, am I thinking about Lasix? Also - being book smart doesn't make you good with patients or good at procedures. I'm not saying you won't be good at procedures. ;) This is just one of those things that I had to learn. It's great to say I got an A on the midterm! But there is so much more to nursing. At the end of the program, it doesn't matter whether your average is a 98 or a 76. As long as you pass the boards, your title is "RN." Honestly - with your record, I'm guessing that the book stuff is going to come much more easily to you and that will be a huge help. My class includes a lot of people who are not the most "book-smart" people but they already work in the hospital so the clinical stills come easier to them. I've had to struggle with that a bit since i don't have the same exposure.

Thank you for all the replies----

Now concerning any social sciences I have taken sociology, psychology, abnormal psychology, ethics etc. I have received all A's. So I done well in those classes.

L8RRN

Has 5 years experience.

I was a 4.0 student...until nursing school. In our nursing program, a B was like an A in other classes. BUT it wasn't that it was "hard"...it is different. There isn't always a cut and dry answer like there is in traditional type classes. You just have to get use to the NCLEX style questions. Even if you know the material inside and out, you may have an internal debate in your mind about which one is the correct answer. :-) And, at least in the program I graduated from, there was A LOT of busy work. Papers, article summaries, teaching projects, care plans, concept maps, journal entries, process recording, growth and development write ups, patho reports, medication sheets and more. Not necessarily HARD, but just time consuming and took away from reading and study time...and family time!

Good luck!

i agree completely with L8RRN...its the type of questioning that makes nursing school so different in my opinion...answers are NEVER straight forward, cut and dry like with biology classes or chemistry. there are always these shades of gray!!! AND with nursing there is a lot of priority, so you may have multiple problems, and finding the most immediate priority may be difficult....thats what makes nursing education different. everyone is my class has done well in the required pre-reqs A's or B's...and find that they gets 70' - 80's on test...why - definitely not lack of knowledge or preparation...getting accustomed to the NCLEX style questions!

greenbeanio

Specializes in mental health. Has 3 years experience.

Yup - what everybody else said - not the actual content but the sheer volume of work and the utterly hectic schedule.

You come out of class and wish you had the time to consolidate what you just learned by filling in the gaps in your lecture notes, clarifying any questions you may have, and rereading it once to get an overview. But no, you have to study for the next exam (on an entirely different topic) or work on the next paper/lit. review/care plan/take-home quiz/case study/skills lab prep sheet/clinical prep sheet/oral presentation/teaching plan/process recording/prompted journal entry or to rush off to clinical/skills lab/site visit/observation day/service learning project or SOMETHING. You're always moving on to the next thing, trying to beat the next deadline.

And then you have clinical instructors who hold your career in their hands and don't believe that therapeutic communication applies to their communications with students...

You'll survive. Just don't be surprised at how hard it is to juggle everything.

greenbeanio

Specializes in mental health. Has 3 years experience.

Oh yeah, and in my pre-reqs I got all As and 2 A-s. In nursing school I've only managed A-s and for Med-Surg I doubt I'll get even that.

Ditto to my situation!

The best advice I can give you is to shadow docs and nurses, learn what they do.

Practice of Medicine Vs. Practice of Nursing. Two different beasts.

CRNA may not be the best option.. there are CNS, NP, PA, CNM, etc.

Med school is costly, but justifiably so. Nursing school is a pretty penny too.

Med school is 4 years + residency 3-7 years.

Nursing is 2-4 years + preceptorship/advanced training.

I think what you put into it, no matter what it is, is what you will get out of it. If you take the career of nursing and graduate with your RN, your options are endless. Medicine, it is more limited. Once you graduate your residency.. it's pretty much a done deal once you sit for boards. You can always change but... my lord, why would you want to.

Nursing and medicine come closer together at the master's level, but we still operate on a different frequency than MD's do.

Nursing isn't "easier" than medicine, it's just different. Sure we don't study advanced cell bio, physics, heavy organic chem, etc, you get the point.. but that doesn't mean its easier. Nursing school places more emphasis on the treatment of the patient, not just the symptoms. Medicine is more involved on treating the symptoms, not that MDs are not compassionate or able to be treating of the patient's well being too, its just geared more one way or another.

Docs have to have a patient base to make ends meat or work shift at a hospital. Patient base means you're a potato and will take root in a particular city to remain close to your education and eventual patient base, you'll be faced with sh*tty insurance billing, doing rounds at the hospital, having to be on call, and put a lot on hold personally.. family life etc.

Nurses can be on call, but it's not like having to come into work at 4am to do emergency surgery, c-section, etc.

Nurses can pick up and move a lot easier than docs can, that is unless your in an ER or other type of shift work/no patient base.

Little to no insurance hassles, no need to pay for your own medical staff and office, malpractice insurance.

There's just a lot to compare.

Nursing isn't easy, by any means. Nursing means a lot of responsibility with little autonomy. It means having to follow orders that you may not agree with but you are not the prescriber. But nursing is for me, and it may be for you.

I strongly advise you talk to 3-4 nurses and docs in specialties that interest you and gain insight into their careers, that's the best way to really know. Nursing school isn't like the real world of nursing, the book world & real world aren't on the same page and some nursing students don't know for sure until they're working if they made the right decision and some leave and take other paths.

You're on a great site for networking, keep digging and picking brains.

LVN-RNhopeful

Specializes in ED/TELE. Has 9 years experience.

I have a B.S. in Biology and am currently in an ADN program. Nursing school is an entirely different beast. I'm an A student and I don't have to put in the degree of effort that many of my classmates do, however, it's not without its challenges. I think what's difficult is the amount of material covered in a short amount of time. And it's not just learning the material - it's also the application of the material. Genetics and its lab are quite challenging, however, there's no real potential to jeopardize someone's well-being in a science lab as there is in Nursing clinicals.

I've been an LVN for years, and I honestly can't imagine having to start with the very basics of nursing in the first semester of a nursing program. Skills that are learned in Fundamentals are practically second nature to me. So learning the skills along with the content at such a fast pace can be overwhelming. What's difficult for me is that I have a family and a job, and balancing it all is challenging.

But the beauty of Nursing is that your options truly are limitless. I wish you the best of luck.

The replies have been great. The big picture is- "Nursing school is difficult because of the amount of information you learn in a set amount of time, not ESSENTIALLY difficult as the amount of rocket science brain power used to understand a topic."

Now, dealing with "questions being straight foward, without any grey areas" that some of you say biology and chemistry fall into...well...this might be the case in a lower level class, for example, How is RNA made from DNA? Yes, by transcription. This is not the case in most classes--if it was only this simple. But I do understand what everyone is trying to explain.

Thanks much :up:

The replies have been great. The big picture is- "Nursing school is difficult because of the amount of information you learn in a set amount of time, not ESSENTIALLY difficult as the amount of rocket science brain power used to understand a topic."

Now, dealing with "questions being straight foward, without any grey areas" that some of you say biology and chemistry fall into...well...this might be the case in a lower level class, for example, How is RNA made from DNA? Yes, by transcription. This is not the case in most classes--if it was only this simple. But I do understand what everyone is trying to explain.

Thanks much :up:

I do know what you mean (I'm the one with the chem minor, so I've taken a lot of the same classes you're speaking of)....but the tricky thing about nursing school questions is they're multiple choice.....but all the answers are right. You need to find the MOST right answer (forgive the grammar ).

The thing about being an RN is you're really not paid for your physical clinical skills....most clinical skills just aren't that difficult (yes they take some practice, but they're just physical skills) RN's get paid for their judgement....so that's what the exams are about, clinical judgement.

So, when all the answers are right, which is the most right, or the priority, or the first thing that should be done, etc...

It's a very different kind of testing then I have in my science classes (bio, gen chem, o-chem, etc).

OrthoFNP

Specializes in Orthopedics.

The hardest part of nursing school for me is not knowing how well I did on a test after taking it. I can walk out of a test and have NO clue how well/poor I did. The last test I took I was convinced was my lowest score yet. It was my highest! I made a 97. That to me is difficult! Most of us are used to being tested on our content knowledge and feeling confident we know the material. You can study for days and go in to take a test and have no idea whether or not you are prepared because it is application of your knowledge base.

kimima01

Specializes in telemetry, ortho, med-surg.

The biggest mistake that I made when I entered nursing school was that I thought it would be easy because I came from a science background. As many posters have stated, nursing is an entirely different animal. Critical thinking skills reign supreme in nursing school. You may find the NCLEX style of questioning to be more frustrating because all answers can be correct. In science, answers are pretty black and white.

roma4204, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

It is a very different mindset than biology. It is all application of the nursing process and from my experience you either understand that or you're screwed.

Good luck :)

The replies have been great. The big picture is- "Nursing school is difficult because of the amount of information you learn in a set amount of time, not ESSENTIALLY difficult as the amount of rocket science brain power used to understand a topic."

Now, dealing with "questions being straight foward, without any grey areas" that some of you say biology and chemistry fall into...well...this might be the case in a lower level class, for example, How is RNA made from DNA? Yes, by transcription. This is not the case in most classes--if it was only this simple. But I do understand what everyone is trying to explain.

Thanks much :up:

I would say (as some of the other posters have) that it's not simply about mastering the content (intellectually) -- which would not be that difficult for anyone who has been successful in a previous undergrad science major -- it's that plus the real-life application of the knowledge -- exercising adequate clinical judgment, being able to deal with complex, ambivalent situations, and all the mushy, complicated human stuff that nurses deal with.