I know it's an old topic, but I truly need your advice


After having my baby 3 months ago, I was truly inspired to go to nursing school. I'm enrolled in A & P this semester and I've just found out I have to dissect a fetal pig. I could not dissect in high school and I'm very stressed about this. I can look at blood and I know giving shots and seeing live people with wounds won't bother me, but dead bodies of any kind are like a phobia for me. I want desperately to become a nurse and I need tips on how to handle this. This is a huge issue for me. Thank you for any suggestions.


849 Posts

try to think past it. try to remember that this pig dosn't feel pain, you won't hurt it. If the smell bothers you, bring some Vicks vaporub and grab a mask from the lab and smear a little inside, masks a smell like you wouldn't believe. Also, think about the grade and nothing else, don't let your mind wonder keep focused on the prize.....acceptance to nursing school!


849 Posts

opps double post!!!


438 Posts

I agrew w/ iliel. you just need to do your assignment and not think about it. We had to dissect lab rats in my A & P class and I thought I wouldn't make it, but once we got it laid out on the table and cut open it actually was kind of interesting. We also had to dissect a sheep's brain which was also really cool once I got over the initial squeemishness (is that a word??? :D) No matter where you work in healthcare you will encounter a dead body at some point, some places more than others. Everyone gets the heebie-jeebies, you just have to swallow those feelings until you complete your job or assignment. Good luck!



558 Posts

Believe me I felt exactly the same way maybe even worse. I was so freaked by death and dead bodies I couldnt even go to viewings and funerals. But somehow things changed and I am not quite sure how but it involved a lady I had in clinicals. She was very near death and unconcious her family had been called in and we were preparing her for there arrival. We trimmed her nails, brushed her hair, put a pretty gown on her and nice smelling lotion. It was just somehow a kind and loving thing that we were doing. She did not die on my shift but somehow the experience made me feel like I helped to make her last hours more comfortable and helped the family to see her at her best one final time. After that it just sort of changed things for me and I began to see things differently I cant really explain it but most nurses I know have had some sort of experience that just eased their minds about dealing with death and the dead. I hope this helps you in someway. You will make it if you really want it. Remember death is part of the life cycle. Best of luck to you.


67 Posts

Could always take the class online!

(easier on the stomach).


wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

Thank the pig for his "sacrifice" and grab that scalpel. That pig will be yours throughout the entire semester. After you've gotten past the first couple of dissections, it will be like cutting into a pork loin.


3,905 Posts

For me, the pig was relatively easy compared with dead human bodies. The pig smell was nothing compared to human remains. Definitely could have used some Vicks for that one.

If you like learning about organ systems, you'll probably forget about the other stuff in no time, because it really does help you learn how to identify and locate things.

In the end, I actually enjoyed it, and you might as well.

nurse2be in ny

332 Posts

If it's something that, in the end, you just cannot get past, ask your teacher about other options (i.e. "dissecting" something on the computer, etc.) Good luck to you!


80 Posts

That little pig will probably be the least of your worries, once you get accepted into nursing school. You will have many more trials and hoops to jump through before your journey is over. I am almost through my 4th semester, and the anxieties are still intact. The latest anxieties come in the form of OB finals and Peds finals. You have probably heard the saying," The Lord won't put more on you , than you can handle..", right? Well, I wish He didn't trust me so much at times...LOL. The pigs and sheep brains, etc., are not too bad once you get started. As tough as I remember A&P being, I would welcome a time just to have some good ol' science to study, instead of the silly "rationale" questions on some of our nursing tests. Sorry if I kinda got off topic, but it all relates in the scheme of things. Just try to do your best, and you will make it through to the next level of torture...(just kidding...) Be cool, and good luck. Oh yeah, Merry Christmas guys and girls...PEACE, out...:roll


5 Posts

Thank you all so much for the votes of confidence. I'm just going to suck it up and get through it. I'm hoping that we have a partner at least and that will help me out as long as my partner can pitch and help me. I'm very passionate about this dream so I'm going to make it happen and I'm not going to let a fear stop me. Thanks again and Merry Christmas.


45 Posts

I know how you feel! My first day of A&P I found out we had to dissect a cat - I was so upset! I love kitties and baby mine like you wouldn't believe. I was positive I wouldn't be able to do it.

But I'll tell you honestly that it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Once we got started, it didn't even remind me of a cat anymore, I could look at it just as a collection of the parts that we needed to identify. (I also had really great lab partners who helped out a lot if I started to get squeamish!).

Good luck - you can do this!


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