Nursing degree after Biology degree

  1. Hello-
    This question is directed towards those nurses and nursing students who had received a b.s. (Preferably in Biology) prior to attending nursing school. I currently have a degree in Biology (pre medicine) and am considering applying to the BSN program at MSU Denver for Spring 2019 start. I have talked to numerous former Biology students who are currently enrolled in nursing programs and they all say the same thing when I ask about their programs ease and intensity and whether or not a degree in Biology prepared them for nursing school. I get a resounding, "This is the easiest thing I have ever done." Honestly, these responses terrify me more than they ease my mind. Can nursing school really be as easy as my friends say or are they just trying to sound "cool?"

    So, to all my fellow Bio friends, did your degree in Biology prepare you for nursing school and in what ways? Where do you feel that your background in Bio helped and where might it have hurt?

    Thank you.
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    About Eboehler

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 7; Likes: 4

    17 Comments

  3. by   mmc51264
    I was a pre-vet Biology major. Other than having to take A&P (I had taken comparative anatomy and animal physiology) definitely help me. Nursing school is still extremely difficult, not like anything else you have taken.
  4. by   RNperdiem
    How far along are your friends in their nursing program?
    If you have a degree, you have the advantage of being familiar with college-level courses.
  5. by   sallyrnrrt
    I was a biology Major for 3.5yr., Honestly nursing school was a cake walk.
  6. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    I was biology first. When I switched gears to nursing, I found the academia of Nursing school not overly challenging. Working so closely with patients was a huge adjustment from a personality standpoint, but academically I think my biology degree prepared me really well.
  7. by   Eboehler
    @RNperdiem Thank you for the reply! I just love that this forum exists so that everyone can feel encouraged and supported! Most of my friends are in their final semester and I have a few just starting out. I completely understand your point about having an advantage being familiar with college level courses. It will definitely be helpful as far as time management goes and knowing what will be expected of me.

    Did you find that nursing school was a healthy mix of science based and clinical based coursework or mostly clinical practices based on a basic understanding of science? My science background is very strong having taking courses in Advanced Human Physiology, Advanced Human Anatomy, Immunology, Histology, Neurobiology, Genetics, etc. With that being said, a pre medicine degree is good for just that (all the stuff you need to know before going to med school, PA school or PT school). As far as patient treatment is concerned, that information is minimal at best. I am so nervous about attending nursing school and I am just hoping that these BIO courses will benefit me in some way. I am so unsure about what to expect.

    Again, thank you for your reply and guidance.
    Last edit by Eboehler on Mar 14
  8. by   Eboehler
    @sallyrnrrt Thank you for the reply. Honestly, I was hoping to hear that. lol. I'm still very nervous though, but I suppose that is to be expected when you're about to walk into the unknown.
  9. by   Nonyvole
    Graduated with a biology degree. Molecular biology, to be exact.

    Went back to nursing school.

    And yes, it was much easier than my biology degree was. But I do acknowledge some facts. Such as: I was an older student, so not focused on the partying aspect of life, and I'd also learned my trouble spots with school. Like I couldn't study at home, I had to study at school, in the library. I knew time management and the risks of procrastination. I was also able to skip most of the pre-reqs, because I had done them all, so until the actual nursing program started, I was able to take one pre-req a semester and fill the rest of my schedule with fun stuff. But it also applies to once the program started, when it was all nursing classes, all the time.

    My professors made it easier, too, because while in biology I was expected to know everything, nursing freely admitted that no, I didn't need to be able to parrot back the book. I needed to be able to take what I was learning, combine it with my previous knowledge, and synthesize the answers based on different situations.
  10. by   caliotter3
    If nothing else, a person who obtained a degree in biology will most likely have good study skills. That would help in nursing school.
  11. by   JBMmom
    I also have a BS and MS in Molecular and Cell Biology. However, I think you're comparing apples and oranges with the two degree programs. I found my Biology based degrees more challenging in an academic way- memorizing pathways, reactions and developing an indepth knowledge of cellular function took more hours of studying than the nursing courses I took for my ADN. However, I found nursing school challenging in a different way, learning to answer test questions where many of the answers are "mostly right", putting together care plans and learning to deal with people where there is far less black and white than there was in the academic world of right or wrong answers. I think that being successful in my science degree programs required me to learn how to learn, so I had that going for me already in nursing school. I got through most of nursing school by studying from 4-6am on Saturdays. Learning efficiency was key for me, with a full time job and a family to juggle along with nursing school.
  12. by   Eboehler
    Wow! Thank you so much for all of the replies! I'm starting to get a better feel for what the nursing curriculum will involve and it is helping to ease any doubts and frustrations I might have had. I enjoyed reading your comments and experiences and am truly thankful for such thoughtful responses.
  13. by   cleback
    I don't have a stem degree but I went back to school for a time after my bsn degree to fulfill premed requirements. Honestly, the two are pretty different and it depends on what you excel at. the non-nursing science classes are harder academically... BUT in my physics class I could get a 60% on an exam and still get an A, with nursing I had to get 94%. The bar was much higher in nursing school.

    Also, in general, nursing school requires more responsibility. You actually have to come to clinicals and class prepared. Professorso will call you on it if you didn't. With the exception of labs, my science classes were... well, attendence was optional. All you really had to do was pull an all nighter before an exam and everything was good.
  14. by   Oldmahubbard
    Anyone who has obtained a previous hard science degree will find nursing school comparatively easy.

    The clinicals can be a lot of pressure, but not because they are "hard". In large part, it is because nurses start eating their young right away.

    Also, students typically don't have much time to prepare for the clinical, often just one evening.

    The average hospitalized person has some 10 diagnoses, often more, and is probably on at least that many drugs. Counting prns, 25 different drugs would not be unusual.

    So you've got one evening to look all that up, try to figure out priorities, and write up a care plan.

    Meanwhile you don't have a good grasp of the context of the situation, simply because you are a newcomer, and you've been told some conflicting things.

    And right away, even as a student, you are socialized to understand that everything is your fault.

    You will be regarded with suspicion until you prove yourself, which is not true in other professions.

    So, yeah, it can be "hard", but not hard like organic chemistry or calculus.

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