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Prereq rigor vs nursing school?

Pre-Nursing   (1,808 Views 17 Comments)
by Gokuuu Gokuuu (New Member) New Member

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I'm curious how difficult nursing school is compared to the prerequisites. Most of my classmates take one prerequisites at a time, so I assume that's what most people in nursing school have done. My question is, for someone like me who's taken microbiology, bio-organic chemistry, bio-psych, and critical thinking in the same semester (not an unusual schedule) would nursing school feel easier than these prerequisites?

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a school nurse.

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Depends on how you deal with the clinical component- it's nothing like classroom work...

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Quota has <1 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Oncology.

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I took my prerequisites one at a time because I was still working full time. My first degree was in Biology so your current schedule is very normal to me as well. I just finished an accelerated BSN program in August and the hardest part was learning how to answer NCLEX style questions. While I wouldn't call most of the content easy it wasn't that hard either. With my accelerated program it was a lot in a short period of time though.

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I took pre-reqs 1-2 at a time because I was working and because that was all I could afford to pay for out of pocket as I went along.

Nursing school was more intense because I was a full-time student in an accelerated program. Some of my coursework was more difficult than pre-reqs, some felt easier. I think I worked harder, but also enjoyed myself more because I was *finally* just being a full-time student and learning the skills for my future career. I think comparing nursing school to pre-reqs is like comparing apples and oranges - they're both fruit, but a little different from one another.

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umbdude has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a RN.

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I'm curious how difficult nursing school is compared to the prerequisites. Most of my classmates take one prerequisites at a time, so I assume that's what most people in nursing school have done. My question is, for someone like me who's taken microbiology, bio-organic chemistry, bio-psych, and critical thinking in the same semester (not an unusual schedule) would nursing school feel easier than these prerequisites?

It varies, some people think nursing courses are easier and some think they're harder.

For me, nursing courses were a bit harder because there's a lot more material and the exam questions can be tricky. Some of the questions were written by professors who didn't know how to write exams. But as long as you study hard, do practice questions, and have a solid foundation (strong GPA in pre-reqs), you should do just fine in nursing school.

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CalicoKitty has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Med-Surg Nurse.

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There are a bunch of components to nursing school. The clinical aspect, where you're trying to do everything your clinical instructor wants their way (which changes with each clinical) and doing the patient care stuff. Then there's the science stuff, like pharmacology, with a decent amount of memorization (drug names, class, action, side effects, etc). There's the writing stuff, like ethics or leadership. And then there's the nursing courses which encompass learning various disease states of people, the lab values and vital signs, anatomy and physiology, etc.

And finally, the "how to answer NCLEX style questions" part. They tend to be unlike most questions in other courses. Many feel like 'trick' questions. Many are "the best" (where none are the true best, but 2nd/3rd best). Many "except" questions. Many select all that apply (such a scam, like 4 t/f questions in 1!). The prioritization (first/most important), which assumes you can't do 2 things at once (call for help and stick a patient on oxygen). Since most nursing schools try to teach to the test, having good test taking skills is integral. And these tests aren't really much like other courses (though I did have an advanced biology teacher that gave some pretty wicked tests you could learn a lot from)..

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My experience/observations only:

The type of difficulty nursing school involves requires being astute at perceptions and reading people and situations (assuming there isn't difficulty with the subject matter itself - which in your case there shouldn't be as it is certainly no more difficult than the subject matters you have mentioned). If you can quickly figure out the interpersonal and situational aspects of an encounter, it'll be a relative breeze. If you can't or if you're the type of person who doesn't easily see outside of your own thoughts/perceptions/feelings, it could be incredibly difficult. IME this is true whether you're working with a patient, being observed by an instructor, working with a staff nurse in clinicals, or answering "NCLEX-style" questions on a test. Knowing information is half of it, and knowing what is desired/expected of you (and the best way to handle it) is the other half. IMHO there is a fair-to-high amount of "play this game and get it done" mentality required. $.02

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Aliens05 has <1 years experience.

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Like most of the other members that have replied I agree it kind of depends in terms of what type of learning you are best at, and probably even depends on your school specifically. My school had pre-reqs like college algebra, A&P I and II, Microbiology, Chemistry, and some psychology and sociology classes. I too took basically one at a time (although I had a previous Associate degree from 10 years ago in gen eds). I had to retake the science and maths.

In my experience the pre-reqs were easier, and it wasn't even close. Now I will remind you I took one at a time, but having been out of school for 10 years, I was able to somehow pull a 4.0 on the pre-req classes without really much dedication in terms of studying. I mean most of the sciences are memorization which comes very easy for me, and the social classes are mostly just writing a paper over you opinion where you can't really be wrong.

Nursing classes are way different. You have to memorize some, and kind of know specific odd little details that may encompass two-three sentences in the 98 pages you have to read for a test. Then you have to apply that knowledge to a situation, work the situation through in your head to arrive at a best answer. It was a totally different animal than pre-reqs and for me personally that was not a good thing. It also took probably more than 10 times the amount of time dedicated to studying etc,. than it did for me when I was doing pre-reqs. This is just my experience, yours could be different, either way I think it is something you can for sure accomplish regardless of if it is more difficult or not.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience and works as a case manager.

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Pre-reqs can be done on YOUR schedule. Take one or take five courses a semester, it does not matter. If you are admitted to nursing school.. you are now owned. You will have scheduled lecture times, lab times, and clinical rotations. There is NO leeway with completing any of those. If you do not fulfill the nursing instructors requirements, you're out of the program.

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66 Likes; 1 Follower; 24,166 Visitors; 2,243 Posts

I'm curious how difficult nursing school is compared to the prerequisites. Most of my classmates take one prerequisites at a time, so I assume that's what most people in nursing school have done. My question is, for someone like me who's taken microbiology, bio-organic chemistry, bio-psych, and critical thinking in the same semester (not an unusual schedule) would nursing school feel easier than these prerequisites?

There's an actual course called "Critical Thinking"? What do you do for it - what do the readings/lectures/assignments entail?

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Luchador has 5 years experience as a CNA, EMT-B.

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There's an actual course called "Critical Thinking"? What do you do for it - what do the readings/lectures/assignments entail?

I taught a course with that title. I had the youngsters read selections from Aristotle's Rhetoric and then we used his rhetorical analysis tools on various selections and even some news videos. For example, Trump pretty much relies on appeals to pathos.

On the topic of the original post, I was a "B" student in pre-reqs but I'm a solid "A" now that I'm actually in RN school.

There is a lot of fuss about "critical thinking" questions-- but really they are just vague or poorly worded multiple choice questions. Putting in the time reading the material and learning how to take the tests will get the job done.

As others have said, the clinical component is a different critter all together. When you stick a patient with your instructor watching and blow the vein will you cry and have a melt down? Stuff like that.

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To me, so far nursing school is way easier than my prereqs were.

The NCLEX style questions: If you've ever taken any license or certification exam, you've been exposed to this type of question. If not, pretend you're turning on your light from the switch but it's not coming on. You checked the bulb, it looks burned but it's screwed in all the way. How do you fix it? Then you'd have choices like maybe turn the lamp on, make sure it's plugged in, change the bulb... Well, the burned looking bulb tells you the bulb died, and you need to change it. The NCLEX questions are just that, applied to nursing. It's not hard. It's basically "how do all these details affect the answer?"

Then the other scary part, having to apply what you learned instead of memorizing it... That's called college. Millions of people succeed at doing that every year. Physics majors calculate the mass of random stars in the sky, and tell you how far it is, and some other interesting stuff, as just a routine part of their classes... You can handle nursing.

You're going to find that once you get into nursing, it's nowhere near as hard as the internet wants to make you think it is. It's definitely a challenge, but it's only school. It's only as hard as you make it.

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