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Has anyone done their pre reqs while out of the US?

Hello everyone!

Im just starting to get my head around deciding whether to go back to school to become a nurse on an accelerated program. I'm 26 and American, and have been living abroad since I was a teenager. I've been working in public health policy and management for a few years, previously in Africa and now in Papua New Guinea. I'm essentially as far away as a girl can be! I'm planning to go to school in New York or New Jersey so I can spend some much overdue time with my parents.

I have a BA and a Masters, both in social sciences so I need to go back to do all of the pre reqs. Ideally I'd like to do all of them in the next 12-18 months - has anyone been able to do that while working full time? I'm worried about doing all online courses - will they be frowned upon by admissions? Will my unusual work history be an asset or a barrier? Will I feel like a fossil starting nursing school at 28?

Would love any advice! thank you

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

I think we (nursing) attract second-career people from all walks of life an previous professions. One of the biggest problems? Born-again nurses who are enormously dissatisfied (appalled, shocked, dismayed, etc) by the reality of nursing compared to their previous working environment. Nursing is essentially the "liberal arts" of the health care professions - integrating knowledge from a variety of other social and hard science disciplines - so your background won't be a problem.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Be sure you have several "plan B" options in place in case you are not accepted to the schools you prefer. Admissions are highly competitive in many areas of the country. Admission criteria is highly variable, but GPA is one of the crucial elements & many schools calculate this based on cumulative GPA rather than limiting it to only pre-reqs (just a warning).

Many nursing programs will only accept theory-based online classes, so this means you have to take all lab classes (Micro, Chemistry, A&P, etc.) in a traditional environment. Be sure to check with the programs you are interested in. It may be challenging to accomplish these in your current environment.

Good luck!

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Your previous work history will very likely be a big plus -- what wonderful experience you're going to have to draw from!

Yes, it's entirely possible to get pre-reqs done in that amount of time...except unless you're starting from the very basics. I assume you mean you only have microbiology and the A&P set (maybe some chemistry) to get through? That should only take two semesters/quarters, maybe 3 since you'll likely not have any other humanties-based reqs to complete. It depends on what your reqs are and what you're missing.

...and NO, you won't feel like a fossil starting out when you're 28. :rolleyes: I'm 28 and I just finished my first year. I'll be 31 by the time I'm really in the swing of things and working. Seriously, you won't feel old. You'll feel glad that you aren't the only one who is older (you will be surprised how much company in the later 20s-30s set you'll be in the company of) because some of these young whipper snappers are crazy and entitled. Your maturity will be a much-appreciated asset by your instructors.

Good luck!

Thank you both so much for taking the time to respond! I have spent the last few years working with very remote health facilities in the developing world (no doctors, no plumbing, unreliable supplies, no waste disposal facilities, no electricity, sometimes no road!), and its the dedication of those incredible nurses that makes me want to do this. Its great to hear from people who have already made my dream a reality.

I'm glad to know that the GPA is important - I was very earnest in my undergrad and have a 4.0, though not a single science course so I will need to go back and do all pre reqs. Im most worried about doing online courses using third world internet and not being able to do real labs - though I know a few virtual labs are out there.

I'd love comments from anyone else out there who has done similar :)

I did all my prereqs online, minus Anatomy and Physiology. I started in Spring of 2013, and am finishing up this summer (though I took a few classes I didn't need after all for the schools I chose to apply for, so if you can narrow it down you can definitely cut that time down). During all of last year, I was working a little less than full time (Peace Corps); this spring and summer, I wasn't working. So, it's doable. Actually, I think my school would've accepted online A&P, but I chose to do it in-person to get back into the swing of things. And a lot of schools DO require in-person labs, so that could be a factor in which schools you apply for.

It's definitely doable if you're dedicated and can force yourself to study for a class you never physically attend. Of course, you'll also have to have reasonably functional internet, so if you can't get online pretty regularly you could have a problem. But if you are prepared and do your online stuff as early as possible, you'll have time to figure out options when the internet goes down.

Also, this was already said, but your background will absolutely be a plus.

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