B.s. Biology Wants Nursing Degree
Q: I was wondering if anyone had any experience in using their B.S. degree
in Biology to become a nurse? I got my B.S. in 1988 and have been
working in various biology fields as well as teaching high school. I
would now like to look into a nursing program but don't have the time
to start from scratch.
Does anyone have any advice on what I could do and/or suggest any
A:Look in your area for "second degree" BSN nursing programs. These programs take in those with Bachelor's degrees in most any area, and accept them into nursing programs. Normally the only required courses would be nursing, and nursing related courses. In other words one does not need to take liberal arts, or other courses required for a BS degree. However if you do not have the required nursing pre-requisite courses (usually Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Finite Math, Sociology, Physiology and perhaps a few others) you will need to take them either before being formally admitted or during the nursing program. Since you already have a BS degree you might as well go for the BSN if possible. Associate and diploma (if you can find one), programs still take the same two to three years a second degree BSN program does, so you are not saving any time by not getting your BSN now. This is because essentially all nursing programs run two to three years, what differs is the amount of pre-requisites and college credits needed to full fill various states mandates to obtain an Associate or Bachelor's degree. In a BSN program one spends two years doing college course work/pre-requisites before declaring your major/being accepted into the nursing program. Associate programs normally only have six months of "pre-nursing" before one can apply and or be accepted into the nursing program formally. Even if you are only mildly thinking about entering a nursing program, it behoves you to start contacting schools NOW. With the "nursing shortage" being widely reported by the media and good life time jobs hard to come by for many, nursing school applications/enrolment has sky rocked. Most schools are reporting a two to three year wait for prospective students. With the above in mind, you need to find a school and sit down with a counsellor to see what you need in terms of credits/courses to enter their program. You can use the time "waiting" for entry (if any) to start any required non-nursing/pre-nursing courses you need for entry into the program. Trust me, the more non-nursing courses you get out of the way before entering the program the better. Nursing school even for the very young and bright is no cake walk. It is two years of very intense work/study so the less on your plate the better. Finally keep that GPA up. Most schools only take those with 2.5 or above, but in these times of large applications a "C" average just does not cut it. A friend of ours daughter has a 4.0 and still is waiting almost over a year to make the cut into Hunter College's nursing program. As if this response was not long winded enough, should explain the above. Nursing programs unlike many other college degree programs have a finite number of students that can be accepted into each new class. Several factors, including the clinical instructor to student ratio play a part in this. Right now there is a huge shortage of nursing instructors which further limits nursing school class size. So let's say an incoming class for your average nursing school is 50 students and 140 apply. If 100 of those applicants completed the pre-nursing sequence with a GPA of 3.5, those with 2.5 (the school's minimum requirement) are out of luck for that class. If the remaining 40 have 4.0 GPA and better, of those holding only 3.5 but below 4.0 some are not going to make the cut. Back when nursing wasn't a "hot" profession it was not unusual for those with only the minimum requirements to make the first cut, but that has changed. Also since nursing programs are hierarchically arranged (one cannot take Med/Surg II before Med/Surg I, and cannot take any nursing classes at all until formally admitted to the program, each delayed semester/year puts graduation off by the same amount of time. Finally you should ask any prospective nursing program the cut off time of accepting past college credits. Some schools will not take science credits over 10 years old, but most are a tad more liberal with other credits. If your school of choice will not take certain credits, that is yet another class you must take. If one has a natural science Bachelors, such as this individual, then they have studied math through at least the calculus level (and/or taken Calculus based physics). I'm sure that will satisfy the math requirement hands down. As for chemistry, I would be genuinely surprised that ORGANIC chemistry is required, as opposed to inorganic/freshman/general chemistry. Organich chemistry is used to weed folks out who want to go to med school, and I didn't recall seeing many nursing students in my course. And, as others have stated, seek out a "Nursing as a Second Degree" oriented program. More likely to fit your current situation than a generic program.