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Nursing after pre-med coursework?

I completed a bach. in biology with a focus on pre-med and was planning on pursuing pharmacy school. Unfortunately, my plan didn't work out as I hoped. I have worked in pharmacy for 3 years now and I find it horribly monotonous and unrewarding. The pharmacists I work with in retail are extremely stressed and overworked working 14 hour days without even getting a lunchbreak. That's something I do not want to deal with and I didn't even mention the robot like job duty that the pharmacists and myself have to perform in retail pharmacy.

So, I'm looking into other health careers and nursing is near the top of my list. Are there any nursing programs in or near PA that allow you to obtain a masters level nursing degree or something along those lines. The reason I ask is because all of the pre-med courses I took (anatomy/physiology/etc.) were more difficult than the classes the nursing students were taking. Do these classes count towards my degree or do I have to start all over from scratch?

msn10 specializes in cardiac, ICU, education.

The reason I ask is because all of the pre-med courses I took (anatomy/physiology/etc.) were more difficult than the classes the nursing students were taking. Do these classes count towards my degree or do I have to start all over from scratch?

Um, let me stop you right there before my fellow colleagues begin their discussion. I also alert my fellow nurse to take a deep breath before responding.

Personally, I had to take almost all the same classes as pharmacy, pre-med, PT, etc. Many of the health sciences are required to take classes such as anat/phys ( I had to take 8 credits) chemistry, biology, etc. While you have a great start with all of your sciences, you obviously will have to do the nursing courses - you will probably qualify for the MSN or second degree nurse program. Villanova University College of Nursing has an accelerated BSN (14 months) for those who already hold a bachelor's in another specialty, but I am not sure about other PA schools.

Also, if you are looking for a break from 14 hour work days without lunch, you may have to think twice about nursing.

I had done a similar path... now in nursing realm I see the pharmD in the hospital an awesome job.... patient interaction.. advancement... good pay... respected member of health care team.. I'd look outside the pharm retail environment at the hospital pharmD.. I find it to be very interesting.. my 2 cents.

You may be in for a rude awakening. Some of those courses like anatomy, physiology and chemistry are not more difficult than the nursing classes, they're pre-reqs for nursing.

You may or may not have already taken all the prerqs for the nursing programs in your area - look up the schools near you and check their requirements. But I HIGHLY doubt you will be going straight into an MSN program based on your BS in biology. You still have to go to nursing school, get an ADN or BSN, pass the NCLEX and become an RN before getting an MSN. You may very well qualify for an accelerated BSN program and that would be preferable when going for a Master's but I have seen some RN-MSN bridge programs where you can start with the ADN and the BSN is rolled into the program.

Thanks for the information on the programs.

I didn't mean to offend by the "more difficult" aspect of the courses I took as far as anatomy/phys etc. go. I'm thinking about this as my career too and certainly don't belittle nurses they are just as smart as anyone else and often times I feel nurses/pa's give better care that docs. That being said I know at the two universities I attended the nursing anat/phys had much less material than the pre-med and I took the nursing versions of those classes at penn state. That is why I referred to the pre-med class in that manor.

Regarding pharmacists in the hospital could you give me anymore info? Do those pharmacists really seem to like their job? The pharmacists I have spoken with about hospital pharmacy, some of which have actually done hospital, told me there was very little patient contact and they mostly sat in a white room checking scripts and consulting physicians. What I want is patient contact, I want to help others and I want to feel like I'm making a difference. Don't get me wrong I LOVE the "idea" of what a pharmacist is supposed to do but in reality i found it's much different.

Also nurses aren't given breaks either? I don't mind a long day the reason I don't like it is because I see the pharmacists I work with and how dead they are everyday. They can barely get a bite to eat or even go to the bathroom they are so overworked. It makes me sick honestly. There have been a lot of dispensing mistakes that I think are attributed to this that I have seen and being that both a pharm. and nurse along with all the other health professions are holding patient lives in their hands I feel both should be given adequate breaks.

lkwashington specializes in Tele, ICU, ED, Nurse Instructor,.

If you decide to go to school for you MSN. You can get in you may have to study for a year for your RN then take the NCLEX and pass. Then continue with your MSN. I read a post on here about this process. I know you dont have to start all over. There is another option. Good luck.

Also nurses aren't given breaks either? I don't mind a long day the reason I don't like it is because I see the pharmacists I work with and how dead they are everyday. They can barely get a bite to eat or even go to the bathroom they are so overworked. It makes me sick honestly. There have been a lot of dispensing mistakes that I think are attributed to this that I have seen and being that both a pharm. and nurse along with all the other health professions are holding patient lives in their hands I feel both should be given adequate breaks.

That would be a perfect world. Unfortunately, reality isn't perfect. Nurses often have no breaks, or are stuck eating lunch while charting. There are many shifts you will work 14hrs + with no break. Don't forget you'll probably work nightshift, too.

That's very unfortunate to hear. I guess it's like this almost everywhere. The nurses I know, one being my best friends mom, are forced to take 30min breaks to eat lunch at the very least. .... I will never work 14 hours straight without being able to keep my own body going regardless what my employer says or my profession.

One pharm I work with was almost fired from CVS because he would get up and leave the pharmacy to use the restroom and eat. After he threatened the district manager with a lawsuit because it's against regulations to eat around medications (bodily fluids and such) that are being dispensed to the public he never heard another word about it.

caroladybelle specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

Also nurses aren't given breaks either? I don't mind a long day the reason I don't like it is because I see the pharmacists I work with and how dead they are everyday. They can barely get a bite to eat or even go to the bathroom they are so overworked. It makes me sick honestly. There have been a lot of dispensing mistakes that I think are attributed to this that I have seen and being that both a pharm. and nurse along with all the other health professions are holding patient lives in their hands I feel both should be given adequate breaks.
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Uhhh, it isn't much different in nursing.

By "law", we are supposed to get a break - we are legally permitted them and our paycheck charged for them. However, chances are we rarely leave the floor in many (most) places, and scarf down food between answering phone calls, and often even bedpanning pts, answering call lights.

Why, you ask? Because in many facilities, there is no additional staff during breaks....which means that you are passing your pts to be covered by a nurse that essentially be carrying twice the load, and invariably very little time to give them report. If you leave the floor, you come back to a mess, when that nurse has little time to cover your lights and theirs, and addition, will have to pick up theirs when they leave. It often is easier to eat between doing one's work, sadly enough....especially if we want to leave on time.

Barring California, there are no ratio laws and the nurse is "nurse, transport, aid, PT, OT, and RT". You cannot leave until your work is done (including charting) and if you clock out late, management will penalize you for it, whether they have floted people and left you short staffed or not. You are expected to go into report at 0700 and get out by 0730 - report on 6-12 pts), yet still answer all call lights, all phone calls, ready pts for transport if they need it, give stat meds, round with MDs, and get an admission settled if they come at shift change (and there is always an admit at shift change). Sound impossible - it is impossible. But if you clock out later than 0736, your manager will flag it as "poor time management".

This is life as a nurse in a large number of facilities out there.

Plus, you work holidays, nights, weekends. You also will deal with a whole lot of unpleasantness and messiness that pharmacists do not have to deal with.

Do these things lead to error? Of course they do. Does it change the facilities staffing? No, it does not. Instead they play with barcoding (which several studies have demonstrated does not reduce errors) and things like double checking high risk meds (which adds even more to the workload, as no other duties are taken off the staff to compensate). And they arm nurses with beepers to instantly summon them whether necessary or not, eliminate quiet med rooms (because the families want to see the nurses "on the floor"- to heck with letting them concentrate to give meds safely) and give them phones, requiring us answer within two rings with the hospital approved greeting, whether we are changing C'Diff diaper or not.

Nurses also get assaulted more than pharmacists do as well as do more lifting.

While there are good places out there, more and more facilities are cutting staffing to the bone. ALL licensed personnel in many facilities are being run ragged. And if you complain, management will tell you "there re plenty of other applicants that want jobs here".

Unless you didn't make the grades, your Bio major puts you four years away from a medical internship.

HiHoCherry-O specializes in CVICU, ED.

The pharmacists at the hospital where I work LOVE their jobs. I'm kind of jealous:rolleyes:. They do spend a lot of time cross referencing medications, dosing coumadin, antibiotics, double strengthening drips for critically ill patients or special populations etc. They also respond to STEMI's in the ED and codes throughout the hospital. As they near the completion of pharmacy school they often get to pick which specialty they like i.e. emergency department, critical care, oncology etc. They can have as much or as little interaction with patients as they like. Most of the time it is to verify meds, allergies, follow up etc.

Also. . .as FlyingICU RN mentioned, you are only four years away from completeing an MD. . . something to think about.

XingtheBBB specializes in OR, peds, PALS, ICU, camp, school.

Unless you didn't make the grades, your Bio major puts you four years away from a medical internship.

Honestly, that's the route I would go.

Look into both. Not just breaks and hours but also philosophy of each. If I had it to do over, I'd take medicine but many nurses would still take nursing.

I finished pre-med and I decided to go for nursing and all the basic pre-med classes transfered to my nursing school ( chemistry, anatomy, biology) etc. So yes, most pre-med classes count towards nursing degree. It also depends on the college. Physical therapy, dentistry, medicine students take almost the same exact classes the first 4 years of college...and their classes change when they go to graduate school.

Edited by healthstar

Esme12 specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

Also nurses aren't given breaks either? I don't mind a long day the reason I don't like it is because I see the pharmacists I work with and how dead they are everyday. They can barely get a bite to eat or even go to the bathroom they are so overworked. It makes me sick honestly. There have been a lot of dispensing mistakes that I think are attributed to this that I have seen and being that both a pharm. and nurse along with all the other health professions are holding patient lives in their hands I feel both should be given adequate breaks.

Welcome to our world! At least now I know we nurses aren't the only one's treated this way!:)

Nurses in many settings, especially bedside nursing, have a hard time squeezing in time for breaks, lunch and even going to the bathroom. There is just so much that needs to be done that something has to give. Twelve hour shifts easily turn into 14 hour shifts when trying to wrap up loose ends (eg finish the charting that there wasn't time to do because one was doing the things that now need charting). Of course, nurses are supposed to have their lunch break and not supposed to work beyond their shift, but sometimes there's just too much to do - which is what it sounds like retail pharmacists are having to deal with. Nurses, too, struggle with trying to minimally meet all the demands and still have time to provide personal, quality care that one takes pride in. I imagine retail pharmacy has many of the same constraints and pressures of bedside nursing... reimbursement structures and rates that don't support adequate staffing of licensed personnel who end up being spread too thin.

Maybe before making any choices about "what next" you can take this time to get a better feel for the realities of various professional options. The few hospital pharmacists I've met seem pretty satisfied with their work - much more so than with retail, anyway. Similarly, bedside nurses can be so squeezed that many people going into nursing hope to avoid it or at least only do a year or two to build up their nursing skills and then hope to be able to get into a different kind of nursing. Of course, there are other pros and cons to other kinds of nursing, such as potentially less flexibility or having to be more business-savvy as opposed to just putting in hours and getting a paycheck.

Thank you all very much the responses have given me a lot to think about. My overall gpa is 3.4 not stellar but not bad either and I didnt' try my hardest. However, my pre-req gpa for pharm/med school is much higher than my overall. It's more along the lines of 3.7/3.8.

That being said I will take the advice and at least take a shot at the MCAT because I think I'll regret it my whole life if I don't at least try. My situation right now is that I'm 23 (still very young I know) and have a girlfriend and a 7 month old baby boy. I kinda wrote off medical school because I was interested in getting into the workforce as fast as possible to support my family. That's why I have been looking at nursing/PA routes over going the distance for a doctorate degree. Not getting the residency of my choice in med school also scares me and I would hate to be forced into a lesser residency if I didn't live up to the expectations required for the ones I prefer.

I guess it's not that much longer in the grand scheme of things but I have a lot of studying ahead of me if I am going to brush up for the MCAT's. It's been quite a while since I studied for the PCAT I'm gonna have to relearn a lot of material :uhoh3:

I'll also try to get a better feel for hospital/clinical pharmacy. The descriptions you have all given me are very different from what the pharmacists I met have told me. However, I know your not just making this stuff up and I do have a real interest in pharmacy, especially if I can land a job like that where I can actually see and speak with patients about treatments etc.

Edited by beastykato

I kinda wrote off medical school because I was interested in getting into the workforce as fast as possible to support my family. That's why I have been looking at nursing/PA routes over going the distance for a doctorate degree.

You would find the route to NP / PA equally costly, (Opportunity cost), look up the term.

As for a residency of your choice, who cares, the single biggest advantage for an MD is the ability to hang out your own shingle, and the "Boomers" will be making that route quite profitable in the years to come.

Good luck!

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