Extremely Lost...Graduated with B.S. in Biology but Decided to Pursue Nursing

  1. Hi, I'm new to this forum, so I apologize if I am posting in the wrong place/way.

    As summarized by the title, this is my situation:
    • I graduated March 2018 with a B.S. in Biology
    • I recently decided to pursue nursing
    • I have little idea what my best options are, and am confused as a result.

    Disclaimer:
    I have read many old posts from people in similar situations as me (got a B.S. degree, trying to switch to nursing, etc.), but they have not been very helpful because they were either outdated or the information was confusing.

    Main questions:
    1. Given my situation, what is the quickest and least expensive path for me to become a nurse? (When I say "nurse," I am referring to a hospital RN, not a CNA, LVN, or LPN.)

      My short-term priority is to be able to get a nursing job, so that I can pay off debts.
      I hear "accelerated BSN" a lot, but the time+money problem is complicated by #2.
    2. I am intrigued by the idea of also becoming a nurse anesthetist (CRNA?) further down the road (further = if the way the education system works requires me to do other stuff first), since I assume I need significant RN experience first to be eligible for that track.

      However, I found "direct entry MSN programs" that seem to be a shortcut way for people to skip the "BSN" altogether and just become a "CRNA" without needing to work as an "RN" first? I don't fully understand the path, whether it has any catches, or whether it can get me to where I want faster/cheaper.
    3. What do nursing programs want to see in their applicants? Lots of community service/volunteering? Leadership history? Unique experiences?

      * The program sites I've been reading focus mostly on the pre-req courses, but I don't want to be lured into thinking that's all they look for, unless it really is that straightforward.

    A bit about me:
    • Graduated 1 quarter early in March 2018. In the middle of applying to entry-level hospital jobs, but am getting desperate because I am not qualified for anything, not even for office receptionist/basic customer service jobs. They all want certificates, which I don't have.
    • Degree is B.S. Biology(summa cum laude)
      Finished all the course series for physics, biology, chemistry, etc. + labs. The only thing I think I am missing is a specific human anatomy class, unless an admissions office can audit my transcript/degree report and tell me whether I already have an equivalent.
    • 2 years of lab research
    • 1 acknowledgement in a paper
    • 4 years of hospital volunteering (1 year as a regular volunteer + 3 years as an intern on the leadership board)
    • miscellaneous leadership roles in student organizations

    I have no idea where I stand, or whether any of the extracurricular stuff I did in college matters/translates well into a nursing track.

    If you read everything up to here, thank you so much :') I would be very appreciative of any advice.
    Last edit by dianah on May 19
  2. Visit grand_theft_avocado profile page

    About grand_theft_avocado

    Joined: May '18; Posts: 19; Likes: 17
    from CA , US

    43 Comments

  3. by   xxstarrynitesxx
    If money is an issue, the best option may be for you to look into going into a CC. You will graduate with an ADN. As you will still be Registered Nurse after passing the NCLEX, you may be able to find an employer who will cover the costs of you going back to pursue a BSN. This is not a guarantee, but the money you will save pursing an ADN can help save the piggy bank. Once you start working, you may be able to pay out of pocket after working and saving up.

    In my experience thus far with applying, most schools focus a large amount of points towards the GPA of the applicant. The school I want to get into has almost have their points coming from A&P I/II, Microbiology, and general education GPA. Another large chunk of the points comes from taking the entrance exam. There are extra points awarded for those with a BS/BA, prior medical experience, knowing more than one language, etc.

    I am not sure where you are in CA (some people move after graduating),but I feel like there are options in SoCal. This option may take a bit more time working towards your ultimate goal, but I personally do not have much experience or knowledge about other option I feel like this could help save you some money and will get you working as an RN relatively quickly. Best wishes!
  4. by   meanmaryjean
    My best and first advice for people like you is this: Spend some time shadowing a nurse. If he/she does not sit down/ pee/ eat in that 12-14 hours, then neither do you. THEN decide on a path moving forward.

    NO SNARK INTENDED: We often see these types of posts from people who hold degrees that do not lead to jobs. (Psych, biology and kinesiology are the three I most often see.)

    For many of them, nursing is not an intentional choice, but more an act of desperation ("Yikes, I've got a degree now and it just now occurred to me I wouldn't be awarded a job upon completion!")

    Be intentional about your pursuit of nursing. It is wicked hard, demanding and not for everyone. Best wishes
  5. by   elkpark
    So, what happened to your med school plans, which is what it looks like you were pursuing? You're obviously not one of the people posting here who "decided" s/he wanted to be a nurse rather than a physician about the same time s/he realized that a 2.2 GPA wasn't going to get her/him into any legitimate medical school. I agree with meanmary about investigating nursing further before rushing into a program. And, no snark intended, if it was you with the life-or-death medical situation lying in the hospital bed, would you want your nurse to be someone who purposely sought out the "quickest and least expensive" nursing education? Remember (or look up) the "Iron Triangle," aka "Triple Constraint."

    Welcome to allnurses, and best wishes for your journey!
  6. by   monkeyshines
    I know you hate to hear "it depends on the school", but it really really does. I have 4 or 5 in my area that I'm considering, and every single one does their applications differently. The ADN program that I most want to get into only does GPA, prereq GPA, and TEAS scores. They don't care at all if you have volunteer time, and there is no place for it on your application. The accelerated BSN that I've considered has overall GPA, two letters of recommendation, TEAS scores, volunteer time, interviews, and about 4 more prereq classes than the ADN program. It really does range.

    You often hear that ADN is faster than BSN, with accelerated BSN being the fastest option. This really does range as well. The biggest kicker for me is which prereqs are required. The accelerated BSN programs are technically faster, but it would take me another year to get all of the prereqs in, and therefore ends up being longer (and way more expensive).

    So yeah. Look at your options. If you're in SoCal, it might be hard to get in anywhere, and moving might be in your best interest.
  7. by   LilyRN99
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    My best and first advice for people like you is this: Spend some time shadowing a nurse. If he/she does not sit down/ pee/ eat in that 12-14 hours, then neither do you. THEN decide on a path moving forward.

    NO SNARK INTENDED: We often see these types of posts from people who hold degrees that do not lead to jobs. (Psych, biology and kinesiology are the three I most often see.)

    For many of them, nursing is not an intentional choice, but more an act of desperation ("Yikes, I've got a degree now and it just now occurred to me I wouldn't be awarded a job upon completion!")

    Be intentional about your pursuit of nursing. It is wicked hard, demanding and not for everyone. Best wishes
    OMG! This describes me. I applied to a physician assistant program and an RN program at county college. I went to CC and got my RN. Most of the pre-req classes were waved due to my BS. I got my BSN online. I think before you persue a master's, get some experience as an RN to make sure you like the nursing field. My job cancelled tuition assistance right before I needed it. Bummer!
  8. by   Rionoir
    CRNA programs require 1-2 years of ICU experience as an RN. Those direct entry programs are typically either NP or clinical something or other. Also, just a heads up you probably wouldn't be able to work during CRNA school. At all.
  9. by   grand_theft_avocado
    Quote from xxstarrynitesxx
    If money is an issue, the best option may be for you to look into going into a CC. You will graduate with an ADN. As you will still be Registered Nurse after passing the NCLEX, you may be able to find an employer who will cover the costs of you going back to pursue a BSN.
    As of now, between time & money, time is the bigger concern for me, which is why the accelerated programs I found look so enticing to me. They seem to take less time than an ADN (I saw ADNs take 2 years), so I can get a job faster. I am also scared by the idea of doing ADN > work > do employer-sponsored BSN, because that sounds like the BSN would be an entire new 4-year gig and make zero use of my existing BS. If my assumption is correct, that would become even more time consuming.

    I am very pressured to lock down on a career and start earning money asap because the parent who is the sole income earner in my family must retire soon (severe illness), and I must step in to provide. Due to my useless academic background, I am having trouble doing that, and my bigger fear of dragging down my family further is coming true. Honestly, this is all making me suicidal, and I just want to find a solution.
  10. by   grand_theft_avocado
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    My best and first advice for people like you is this: Spend some time shadowing a nurse. If he/she does not sit down/ pee/ eat in that 12-14 hours, then neither do you. THEN decide on a path moving forward.
    I see what you mean. To clarify my 1st post description, the 4 years I spent volunteering/interning at my school's hospital was basically working closely under direct supervision of a nursing team. I got to see what they do (day+night shift), and I want to do what they do.

    I also have several relatives who are nurses (nurse managers now) and they have told me about their jobs for as long as I can remember. At first, I did not take their advice to heart because I was already stuck in a BS, not a real BSN program, so I thought it was too late for me to change tracks. However, my new situation is changing everything, and I realize that it is now or never.
  11. by   grand_theft_avocado
    Quote from elkpark
    So, what happened to your med school plans, which is what it looks like you were pursuing? You're obviously not one of the people posting here who "decided" s/he wanted to be a nurse rather than a physician about the same time s/he realized that a 2.2 GPA wasn't going to get her/him into any legitimate medical school.
    I am not sure if I understand your post (though I thank you for replying). English is not my 1st language, so a lot of times I don't catch wordplays or subtleties/undertones.

    I am not posting about "medical school." My intended question is about getting into nursing. But to address your point, my original academic goal was becoming an animal researcher, but I am obviously backing out of that because
    1. extreme family emergency. I need to become the income earner now, as fast as possible, which is impossible with a PhD
    2. academic research is not what I imagined. There is too much politics and funding is a nightmare.
    3. my hospital internship w/ nurses made me realize that I love patient care (and human interaction) more than being stuck in a lab alone with test tubes for all of eternity.


    Did your reply mean that I don't qualify for nursing because I should have gotten a 2.2? I am not sure I understand, sorry.
  12. by   grand_theft_avocado
    Quote from elkpark
    And, no snark intended, if it was you with the life-or-death medical situation lying in the hospital bed, would you want your nurse to be someone who purposely sought out the "quickest and least expensive" nursing education?
    That is an interesting point. I have actually been hospitalized for a week for a life-death condition, and I spoke with one of the nurses. She had switched careers after quitting the film business, and became a nurse instead. She was very kind, and I did not feel that she was any less compassionate or professional than her colleagues.
  13. by   grand_theft_avocado
    Quote from monkeyshines
    I know you hate to hear "it depends on the school", but it really really does. I have 4 or 5 in my area that I'm considering, and every single one does their applications differently. The ADN program that I most want to get into only does GPA, prereq GPA, and TEAS scores. They don't care at all if you have volunteer time, and there is no place for it on your application. The accelerated BSN that I've considered has overall GPA, two letters of recommendation, TEAS scores, volunteer time, interviews, and about 4 more prereq classes than the ADN program. It really does range.

    You often hear that ADN is faster than BSN, with accelerated BSN being the fastest option. This really does range as well. The biggest kicker for me is which prereqs are required. The accelerated BSN programs are technically faster, but it would take me another year to get all of the prereqs in, and therefore ends up being longer (and way more expensive).
    I am starting to see what you mean about how everything varies. I was getting scared looking at all the sites, and there was no set standard. That is really making it hard to picture a clear timeline/plan of how to do things.
  14. by   elkpark
    Quote from grand_theft_avocado
    I am not sure if I understand your post (though I thank you for replying). English is not my 1st language, so a lot of times I don't catch wordplays or subtleties/undertones.

    I am not posting about "medical school." My intended question is about getting into nursing. But to address your point, my original academic goal was becoming an animal researcher, but I am obviously backing out of that because
    1. extreme family emergency. I need to become the income earner now, as fast as possible, which is impossible with a PhD
    2. academic research is not what I imagined. There is too much politics and funding is a nightmare.
    3. my hospital internship w/ nurses made me realize that I love patient care (and human interaction) more than being stuck in a lab alone with test tubes for all of eternity.


    Did your reply mean that I don't qualify for nursing because I should have gotten a 2.2? I am not sure I understand, sorry.
    No, I meant that we get a lot of people posting here who were pre-med but have now realized that their GPA is too low for them to be able to get into a medical school, so they've suddenly "realized" that they want to become nurses instead. With your high GPA, that is obviously not your situation. That's all I meant.

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