Is chemistry important to become a nurse?

Nursing Students Pre-Nursing


Specializes in LTC, Med-surg.

My chemistry class is frustrating me to no end. I don't even get why my nursing program

requires pre-nursing students to even take chemistry I and II. I've heard it from nurses

themselves that they don't even use chemistry nor remember it. What is the point

of learning chemistry? Other people tell me its a "weed out" course which I think is true.

I am struggling in this course now, my average is a 78%. I think its just going to get worse.

I am so scared and frustrated because this is the only class I am having a problem with.

I just think chemistry is so pointless. Who cares about redox reactions or how to draw

resonating structures.

I find chemistry highly relevant to anything in the medical field, and to anything else in life-as nerdy as that sounds. Organic Chemistry is especially crucial in understanding certain concepts in nutrition. It also helps put the missing pieces together when you're learning some parts of biology and genetics. So although you may not use redox or tautermerization reactions as a nurse, it is important in understanding the concepts of why certain things become the way they are. One thing that I learned in my general chemistry courses and found very useful is stoichiometry, it's especially important when dosing patients with different drug concentrations.

See if your school offers any tutoring services, I went to a few of those when I took all my chemistry courses and they helped a lot.

Chem goes hand in hand with A&P and bodily interactions. I am not even in nursing school, so I can't say if Chem is important for nurses, but it sure is important in knowing what is going on in the body.

Specializes in School Nursing.

I'm wishing I had an intro to chem class at this point.. we're encountering a lot of chem in A&P...

Specializes in CNA.
I just think chemistry is so pointless. Who cares about redox reactions or how to draw

resonating structures.

People who insist on hating chemistry often cannot be convinced otherwise. These are often the very same people who stumbled through basic physiology because they thought that was stupid too. (Because of all the dumb chemistry involved).

Some of these people are in my nursing class and they are having no end to trouble with pathophys. They never get ABG analysis other than this word: "ROME." That is the sum total of their chemistry application to the subject - and you have to know more than that.

My cousin was once complaining about have to learn math and chemistry as she prepared for nursing school. Her goal at the time (like every freaking pre-nursing student) was to be a CRNA.

I told her, "If you cannot be bothered to learn simple chemistry or algebra, I don't want you near any life threatening drug or any drug administration equipment used on me." Sure you can find concepts you'll never use, but that doesn't mean learning them is a waste of your time. If you cannot see this, I don't want you as my nurse.

In general, if you are going to do something, do your best at it. You might find yourself needing it some day.

Not everything that gets covered in a standard O chem course is vitally necessary to nursing, but a basic, general understanding of the biochemistry of the human body and how it interacts chemically with its environment, is vitally necessary to nursing, same as a general understanding of A&P. I can't imagine trying to function as an RN without the strong background in the hard sciences that my program provided, and I certainly would not want to ever be hospitalized and dependent upon a nurse who thinks chemistry is "pointless."

I know that a lot of students struggle with chemistry (I tutored O chem in my nursing program), but it's definitely worth the effort. Best wishes!

Specializes in Emergency Department, House Supervisor.

I absolutely abhor chemistry...but I would not safely practice nursing without a basic understanding...

Think acid/base balance...

Think potassium pump...

Think Normal saline...

Are you feeling me yet?


If anything, try to think about it this way: critical thinking and taking in new information carves new neuropathways in your brain. You are becoming more intelligent, you are becoming more efficient with your thought processes. However, the only way to do this properly is through repeated and uninterrupted studying. I am not enjoying my chemistry class either (but it's more because my professor doesn't KNOW any chemistry, the material is ok) but I'm studying hard for that A. At first I was stuggling but then I realized that I was trying to fit my study time in at work (I am in customer service, was trying to do it between phone calls) and also at home, where my daughter would always interrupt me (she's 5). Even though this time combined was 5-6 hours per week, it wasn't doing much for me. So I started actually studying away from any distractions (including a computer, the worst catalyst of my ADHD) and started learning a lot more quickly. Try to appreciate the material you are learning and go someplace quiet and focus on it. I am in o-chem and my professor is skipping any parts that have to do with nutrition or physiology :( she is focusing only on IUPAC naming of organic compounds and reactions. I told my husband I wasn't sure how much of this I'd actually be using but I'll play the game to get the A and get to the next step. If you keep thinking "this is so stupid" and "what a bunch of nonsense" everytime you are in class, you aren't going to learn it.

Specializes in Family Medicine, Medical Intensive Care.

Pointless? Far from it. Like elkpark stated, not everything in a chemistry course is vital to nursing. However, the concepts you learn in the course helps you gain a deeper understanding of normal physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. I can't speak for other's nursing programs, but my instructors drill fluid and electrolytes in our brains like nothing else. If there is one thing I'll remember when I graduate, it will be fluid and electrolytes. With that being said, understanding and treating fluid imbalances, electrolyte imbalances, and acid/base problems requires a solid foundation in chemistry. Also, dosage calculation looks similar to the math problems in a chemistry course. At least, they do to me. :specs:

Specializes in Aspiring for a CCRN.

Knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry will come in handy when you want to understand anything that has to do with the living (and the dead if you're interested in forensic pathology), from a complicated, sophisticated mechanism to something as banal as preventing a hangover.

For example, why do we get thirsty when we drink alcohol? And, why do knowledgeable people recommend that we drink plenty of water to prevent hangovers? Why do medications do what they do and how?

Science is not here to torture us, contrary to the very popularly-held belief. :)

Hang in there and enjoy the process!

I'm taking Chemistry now but in my state none of the ADN programs even require Chemistry. I am definitely overwhelmed by it. The concepts I'm good with but the calculations are killing me. I'm hoping to get caught up and get a better handle on it over the Thanksgiving break. If I'm still lost, I'll consider tutoring. I found some websites and even phone apps that are helpful. Try googling Khan Academy Chemistry. Hope it's helpful knowing your not alone. Many people and I'm sure great nurses struggle with Chemistry. Good luck!

I don't know how important chemistry is in nursing, as I am not in nursing school YET! However, I am taking chemistry right now and it is really tough. We have a terrible instructor and everyone in the class is struggling. I had an A until last week's test, which brought me down to a B. I have the final to take on Monday and if I nail that I might get an A. It is so frustrating. I actually like chemistry a lot. It is a lot of hard work, but is pretty cool. I wish I had a different instructor and it would be even better. Just wanted to say I am sorry you are struggling. It is tough...believe me I know. You can do it. I FINALLY have all of the math stuff down, so that is half the battle I think. Good luck!


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