Not strong in math or science, should I not pursue nursing?

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Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 11:20 am
Not strong in math or science, should I not pursue nursing?
Hello all!

This is my 1st post. Very Happy I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself before I ask my question. I currently work as a Nurse Recruiter for a well known hospital and I am NOT an RN. I have worked in Human Resources/Recruitment for 5 years.

During this time I have learned a whole lot about nursing and also about healthcare. In July 2004, I gave birth to my son and was changed. I received such wonderful care at the hospital I gave birth at that I was inspired to become an RN. I've only been doing nurse recruitment since May of this year. Virtually ALL of my nurse managers tell me I should pursue nursing because of my type of personality etc. So I am seriously thinking about doing this. However, I am horribly intimidated by the fact that I have never been strong in my math and sciences. How will I get through nursing school if I am not strong in these areas?

Would you recommend anyone pursue nursing school who might struggle in math and science?

Thank you for any advice you can offer!

JEN :wink:
 
Ginger Snap
 
Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 02:10 pm
You only have to pass those classes, not excel at them. You do need to understand basic math and how to solve problems using proportions.

As far as the sciences, it is important to know why you are doing certain things, but once again, it's not imperative to excel at these courses. They will help you strengthen your logical and critical thinking skills, too. But being excellent at these subjects will not improve your bedside nursing skills.
 
anglfaith1
 
Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 03:15 pm
^ Thank you for that.

I have talked to a lot of RNs who have said similiar things to me as well. I just get intimidated to actually do it.

JEN Very Happy
 
growlowbunch
 
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 12:52 pm
Most colleges offer free tutor sessions for undergraduate classes such as math. You can do it.
 
rascal
 
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 08:55 pm
here i am at the ripe age of 46, Smile traveling that path to becoming an RN. not there yet. But i feel you. This college thing is great. at first i was so afraid. how in the world will i ever get thru these classes? do homework, etc. well, the way i have approached it. ok, one classroom at a time, one concept at a time, one homework assignment at a time.
staying organized. ok, this is my math notebook. This one is my chemistry homework-notebook. and the first time i took algebra, well, i was flunking it. And i nearly cryed thru the whole quarter. I dropped it, and re-took the class. another teacher made all the difference for me in the world. I ended up with an A the 2nd time around. Chemistry, i suspect, will be the same story. The first time, i nearly flunked it, and i am re-taking it. And hiring a tutor to help me once a week. But the college does have a free chemistry lab where you can get free tutor help during the lab hours. but those are the only 2 that i have had trouble with. i am nearly on the honor roll to my delightful surprise.
YOU CAN do it. just accept it one piece at a time. It is not as overwhelming that way. and you will be surprised at how fast you chip away at the goal. these quarters seem to fly by.
hope this helps in some way.
And if i can be a help to you somehow, let me know. (just one student to another...offering to be a help)
 
Bossy 1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 08:06 am
Anglfaith1

Unlike some of the other post, I discourage anyone from just squeeking by in their path to becoming a registered nurse.

"You only have to pass those classes, not excel at them."

This is the wrong attitude. Would you want someone like this to care for your loved one? Remember that the degree obtained is a Bachelor of SCIENCE in Nursing. Never settle in doing a half-assed job in learning. This is true as a student or as an experienced nurse. Push; push yourself to be the best. The best that you can and then realize that there is always more out there to learn.

However, I do have some encouraging news.

Non-traditional students do better; they are more focused and often set the high end of the bar. And you have something that will help you even beyond that and you don't even realize it, "...I am horribly intimidated..." We experienced nurses call this the healthy level of fear. This intimidation or fear will keep you focused, careful, motivated, and aggresive in your desire to improve. We experienced nurses love new hires that are intimidated because we know that they will ask before they do something questionable. You are safer and more careful. It is the young "I know it all's" that scare the sh*t out of us preceptors and experienced nurses.

Pursue nursing. It is wonderful, but it's not easy (during school or in the field), but that's okay. You don't become a nurse looking for "easy." Study hard and since you've had a child and worked with nurses, I think you will now find math and science far more intresting than you did when you were in high school. It's that interest that will forward you from one level to the next.

Best of luck,
Bossy
 
Lotus006
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 10:39 am
Bossy wrote:
Anglfaith1

Unlike some of the other post, I discourage anyone from just squeeking by in their path to becoming a registered nurse.

"You only have to pass those classes, not excel at them."

This is the wrong attitude. Would you want someone like this to care for your loved one? Remember that the degree obtained is a Bachelor of SCIENCE in Nursing. Never settle in doing a half-assed job in learning. This is true as a student or as an experienced nurse. Push; push yourself to be the best. The best that you can and then realize that there is always more out there to learn.

However, I do have some encouraging news.

Non-traditional students do better; they are more focused and often set the high end of the bar. And you have something that will help you even beyond that and you don't even realize it, "...I am horribly intimidated..." We experienced nurses call this the healthy level of fear. This intimidation or fear will keep you focused, careful, motivated, and aggresive in your desire to improve. We experienced nurses love new hires that are intimidated because we know that they will ask before they do something questionable. You are safer and more careful. It is the young "I know it all's" that scare the sh*t out of us preceptors and experienced nurses.

Pursue nursing. It is wonderful, but it's not easy (during school or in the field), but that's okay. You don't become a nurse looking for "easy." Study hard and since you've had a child and worked with nurses, I think you will now find math and science far more intresting than you did when you were in high school. It's that interest that will forward you from one level to the next.

Best of luck,
Bossy


Hey Bossy,

Thanks for that....as a student beginning nursing school this January, I am a bit intimidated. I have taken my pre-req courses...like Anatomy, Micro and Chem, but it's good to know that veterans in the field are sensitive to new students with lot's of questions.

Also, I agree with you about not doing your classes half ass. I was a Criminology Major at age 18 at the University of Florida. I am now 26 and feel that Nursing is my true calling.

I am pretty strong in sience courses, but it's not as if I had taken an intense science course since highschool.

I did well in Anatomy I and II, and in Micro....but Chem took practice for me to do well. I didn't take that class lightly. I did all the assigned homework, worked in the study guide, and always asked questions in class.

-----

I would always get a little annoyed when some students would slack off....or say that they didn't want an Anatomy exam to be cumulative because they "forgot all that stuff alraedy."------Are you KIDDING?!?@

Don't you think it's important to remember and understand Anatomy?


--------------------------a bit of a rant there.


Also, one more thing, if you dont do well and "just squeak by with "decent grades" in those classes.....chances are there is someone else who did very well....and that's the person who will get that slot in a nursing program somewhere.

Best of luck to everyone... Smile
 
Ginger Snap
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 01:05 pm
Quote:
This is the wrong attitude. Would you want someone like this to care for your loved one? Remember that the degree obtained is a Bachelor of SCIENCE in Nursing.


LOL, Bossy, no one was saying "Do a Half-Ass Job". For some people, getting a C in Chemistry is their very best, and it's hard work for them to get there. That C is a great victory (see rascal's response). But, last time I checked, knowing what shell the electrons are in and following their movement around in space has very little to do with making me an excellent nurse. But it does help me to understand pharmacology, and physiology, all important if you plan to work in certain specialties, like Cardiology.

Bossy, you need to remember that some women feel a certain amount of anxiety around math and the sciences, and so they allow themselves to feel intimidated by these subjects, causing them to perform poorly. It doesn't mean they aren't smart and they can't excel at being a nurse (where people skills are equally, if not more, important). It just means they may struggle in the classroom. That's a huge difference.

Would you want someone to care for your loved one who got straight A's in the classroom but could not empathize with their patients? Someone who doesn't know what it means to struggle and work hard to achieve their goals?

And as a P.S., I graduated Magna Cum Laude from one of the top nursing schools in the country (even carried a pre-med course load during my undergrad work), and got Sigma Theta Tau honors, so I did excel at the sciences as well as my nursing classes. But I had to take the "soft sciences" like sociology and psychology, too. However, most of my patients don't really want to know how smart I am, or how I performed in my undergrad work, they want to know how much I care.

Quote:
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care

John Maxwell


And, if you have a BSN, you are at least marginally aware that some nursing theorists describe nursing as the science of HUMAN CARING.
 
anglfaith1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 03:19 pm
Ginger Snap wrote:
Quote:
This is the wrong attitude. Would you want someone like this to care for your loved one? Remember that the degree obtained is a Bachelor of SCIENCE in Nursing.


LOL, Bossy, no one was saying "Do a Half-Ass Job". For some people, getting a C in Chemistry is their very best, and it's hard work for them to get there. That C is a great victory (see rascal's response). But, last time I checked, knowing what shell the electrons are in and following their movement around in space has very little to do with making me an excellent nurse. But it does help me to understand pharmacology, and physiology, all important if you plan to work in certain specialties, like Cardiology.

Bossy, you need to remember that some women feel a certain amount of anxiety around math and the sciences, and so they allow themselves to feel intimidated by these subjects, causing them to perform poorly. It doesn't mean they aren't smart and they can't excel at being a nurse (where people skills are equally, if not more, important). It just means they may struggle in the classroom. That's a huge difference.

Would you want someone to care for your loved one who got straight A's in the classroom but could not empathize with their patients? Someone who doesn't know what it means to struggle and work hard to achieve their goals?

And as a P.S., I graduated Magna Cum Laude from one of the top nursing schools in the country (even carried a pre-med course load during my undergrad work), and got Sigma Theta Tau honors, so I did excel at the sciences as well as my nursing classes. But I had to take the "soft sciences" like sociology and psychology, too. However, most of my patients don't really want to know how smart I am, or how I performed in my undergrad work, they want to know how much I care.

Quote:
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care

John Maxwell


And, if you have a BSN, you are at least marginally aware that some nursing theorists describe nursing as the science of HUMAN CARING.


Whoa! I felt this was very well said and actually gives me some hope.

By nature I am a driven person and I know I would be able to be a good nurse. I have struggled in math and science in school and it is due to a horrible teacher I had as a young kid who intimidated the crap out of me. I think I can turn that around though. Some peoples brains just don't get those types of subjects as quickly as others. I am also an extremely caring person and my nurse managers here say I have a very calm and approachable aura to me. In turn RNs like to talk to me and are drawn to talking to me. That type of thing cannot be taught in nursing school. I just need to integrate the two together.

Thanks for the support!

JEN :wink:
 
Ginger Snap
 
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2005 02:44 pm
Quote:
managers here say I have a very calm and approachable aura


That's a good sign. The ability to maintain your composure under stress is a great quality to possess in nursing, and one that I am constantly praised for by my managers.

It sounds like you have the qualities to succeed in this field, just don't get negative on yourself. For those things that you find difficult, remember it's persistence, planning, and repetition that pay off in the long run. Do or see something a thousand times, and on the 1001th time, it will make a lot more sense to you than the 1st time.
 
trent1a1
 
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2005 06:37 pm
Don't Give Up!
I just wanted to say that I was in the same boat as some of you. When I decided to become a nurse I had been a music major and was working for my doctorate. I had never had a science course except for biology which I had flunked in high school. I decided that if I could not pass the sciences I was not cut out to be a nurse. When I first started, I was not doing well until I started buddying up with other students who were doing well in the classes and they started to teach me how to think and approach the material. I find that once I learned how to think scientifically, I started doing very well. I was able to use this thinking process throughout school and ended up at the top of the class. I encourage everyone who has trouble with the sciences to buddy up with those who are doing well in the classes. Most of them have a unique approach and have ways of making you see the material in a different light. This should be done throughout nursing school since nursing is a science. It always helps to see the material in different ways.
I also wanted to say that you should not be discouraged if you do not get an A or a B in the class. I know lots of students who were book smart but could not carry the nursing process in the books to the bedside. It does help if you do well in the sciences but that is not the only thing that makes a nurse a "good" nurse. However, if you want to go onto be a nurse practitioner or a critical care nurse, a throurough understanding of the sciences is a necessity. I feel that those who do not understand the principles of science will have a tough time understanding such concepts as hemodynamics, ventilators, blood gases, cardiac dysrhythmias, and pharmacology. So, I encourage you to learn as much as possible. I feel that the struggle will be well worth it in the end. Nursing is a very rewarding field! Good luck.
 
Bossy 1
 
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2005 08:51 am
There is only one thing I feel that I really need to comment on which is the following quote from Ginger Snap:

Ginger Snap wrote:
Quote:

Bossy, you need to remember that some women feel a certain amount of anxiety around math and the sciences, and so they allow themselves to feel intimidated by these subjects, causing them to perform poorly.


Ginger Snap, for someone who graduated with all the bells and whistles that you listed, I am really surprised that you would be chauvinistic on this level. There are many MEN that are also anxious in regards to math and science. Honestly, I don't believe that the sex of a person matters when it comes to a persons capacity to learn or anxiety level. Male or female, if you want to learn and excel, you have to study and practice.

Also...

You said, "...most of my patients don't really want to know how smart I am..." Unless you work in newborn nursery or a place where the patients don't have the capacity to know how smart you are, EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW AND CARES exactly how smart you are. My God, you are caring for them or their loved one; your knowledge base is what will give them the comfort they seek. Every answer or explaination you give is a reflexion of your knowledge base and if someone thinks you are less than acceptable, "how much they care" will be made very clear to you.

If you ment that patients don't care about Magna Cum Laude, Sigma Theta Tau, CCRN, CEN, etc... You're right, they don't care and neither do your colleagues.
 
Ginger Snap
 
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2005 11:26 am
Quote:
If you ment that patients don't care about Magna Cum Laude, Sigma Theta Tau, CCRN, CEN, etc... You're right, they don't care and neither do your colleagues.


That's exactly my point.

Remember, I also said that nursing is the science of human caring. Nurses work in a variety of settings, and what constitutes excellent nursing in one area (the ER, example) will be entirely different in another setting (home health care, or ambulatory care, for example). If you've spent your entire career in the hospital, you can get a lot of tunnel vision on this point, where so much of what a nurse does is focused on the completion of tasks and funneling patients through the system. It gets easy in acute care to forget the human being behind those blood gases . . . It's possible to be a great technical nurse, but be a real ass when it comes to dealing with people.
 
DIVANURSE
 
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2005 03:29 pm
I think it is awesome that you want to become a nurse. I think that if you put your mind to it you can do anything. To be a "good" nurse you have to have heart. You need it for stressful work conditions that nursing will present. You need it to see pass the patients illness and realize that you are dealing with a person as well as their illness. And if you can manage that and pass, then you are on the right track. Notice I didn't say pass with an A+. Some of the best nurses have struggled through school. It takes common sense and book sense to be a great nurse if you have only one these you are in for a rough ride. Chase your dreams and desires.
 
zeldanator
 
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2005 08:54 pm
Not strong in Math or Science
I had tutors for Inorganic Chem. and took A&P twice. I also had friends in class help me memorise formulas to get a passing grade in Algebra. I cried often and thought of dropping out of nursing school on many occassions. I do not agree with Bossy about these courses holding alot of meaning to your nursing career unless you are going into Admin. or management and need to do financial reports etc. Pharmacy will do all the calculations needed these days for IV drips etc. again, unless you are in the unit where fast thinking about drip changes are needed. I am retired from nursing now but did it for many years, both in the hospital and the last decade in home health and hospice. In nursing school, you must keep your grade point average above a 3.0 or a 3.5 so passing the sciences with a B is by all standards sufficient and not to be viewed as weak or substandard. Hang in there students, and dont let the Bossy's get you down.
 
peaches 1
 
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 04:39 am
Half-assed effort in math/science....
At the college I went to, you had to make at least an 84 on everything to stay in the nursing program. An 83 or less was considered an F. You did nothing "half-assed", or you were deleted from the nursing program. They did not, as they put it, "lower their standards for anybody". But, I must say, when they got finished with me, I went into boards knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that I would pass, and did.
 
 

 
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