Am I on the right track???

Hi everyone!

I’m currently doing my pre-med at a community college and just have a couple of questions to ask and see if I’m on the right track…

I got a bachelor of science in nursing three years ago and now working part-time as an RN and going to school. I’ve decided to go for medicine, so I started the pre-med classes that I didn’t take before or during nursing school. Basically, I’m taking all the classes. I took chem I and Physics I already and currently taking organismal bio and Physics II. I’m thinking of taking bio II and calculus or chem II next semester.

People asked me why I’m taking bio again given that I already took the higher division of bio like anatomy and physio or even pathophysio in nursing school, but I talked to the advisor at the community college I’m in now and she say I needed the organismal bio. I’m not sure if I’m on the right track or am I wasting my time taking bio??

Also, I taken some classes at this same college i’m in now when I was an undergrad a few years before. So when I send in the tanscript when I apply for med school, will the “unneeded” class affect the gpa? What should I do to get my gpa up?

Thanks & and nice to meet you all!

I am not familiar with “Organismal” Biology - but did you jump right into Antaomy and Physiology etc without taking Basic Intro Bio? If so your advisor is probably right. Basic Bio is what is met by the usual pre-requsites -

You might get some info on this - ie can more advanced courses substitute for the basic Bio by asking at specific medical schools you are interested in. I think I got a bit of leniency on Chemistry this way.

The A & P you will do in Medical school will be at a much higher level than the typical communuty college A & P for nursing programs. Still - it is good you have taken these as they will for a good base on which to build. I did A & P at our local community college ans well as Micro Bio – it was no substitute for the Med school classes but I was very glad I had built a base before starting.

As to grades - what is your GPA now? It should be respectable if you are going for med school - but does not need to be 4.0

Nearly all advisors recommend re-taking introductory bio/zoo courses in a post-bacc program. I don’t know about your situation, 3-7 years since you probably took it before, but in my case it was 14 years since the first time. Subsequently I learned a lot of new material - ecology, genetics, etc.

I don’t know if you’ll absolutely need calc or a second semester of bio. It depends on whether you have access to an algebra-based physics course and on what’s covered in your school’s bio I. Defer to your advisor on that one.

Retaking classes won’t affect much on your application except that better grades can demonstrate that you are a better student than you were before. Med school applications require you report every class you ever took and calculate GPA on every grade you ever got. As for improving your GPA, the plan is a simple one - make a A in every class you take. Accept nothing less of yourself. If you want to be a competitive applicant, you should want to excel in every class, every term.

I will also have to take biology. I had micro and A&P because biology wasn’t a required class for nursing but it was a pre-req to those other classes so they accepted my high school bio as a pre required class.

I have my master’s in nursing and will be taking biology 1 nd 2.



I also took Organismal Biology, the version taught at KU did meet the requirement for AMCAS. My problem was that it did not count towards my major (advice given by an adviser who did not understand “the plan” and I canned him for it).

I too was a “nurse person” and switched, in my case an AD RN, so it was relatively simple for me to tuck my ego in the back of my sock drawer and doing the about face, going back (some call it “backtracking”, I prefer “educational excursion”) and taking the other fork in the road.

Nursing was not particularly useful early in medical school (I had been out for a while so I knew better than to try to use what minutia I could remember for medical school preparation) other than I had at least HEARD of most maladies, drugs, clinical skills, physical assessments etc. There was even some scattered resentment from a few nurses.

That said, my nursing was more useful for me in the clerkships (3rd and 4th year of medical school) where you have a leg up in interacting with patients and families (“patient centered advocacy” and “healing touch”; things I consider to be foundations of nursing are NOT taught in medical school).

The REAL thrill, I am pleased to report that my nursing has been the MOST valuable for me RIGHT NOW, in residency. Because of my understanding and regard for nurses, they have taken to me like a “duck to water”.

(PLEASE see the photo of “COOL DOC” I posted on my blog, I walked in one morning and noticed the “patient status board” and managed to get a picture)

I am never nasty or short if I am called at night, I knew from my own experience that nurses do not wake you at 2 am unless they NEED YOU. I always thank them and add “if this does not work or you need something else do not hesitate to call back”, it seems the upside is that I am EASY to contact and thus they do it much earlier in the natural course than if I was an ASS (they are not afraid to call with a “gut feeling” that Mr Jones is “not doing well” versus waiting until Mr Jones meets ALL the stated criteria for sepsis). The result is that we have a great rapport, they have my back in a big way (as I have theirs) and the patient care is excellent.

I often ask, “what would be the least disruptive way to order treatment X?” (a VA nurse suddenly wheeled on me back in August and stated, “I have been a nurse for 35 years and that was the first time a doctor EVER asked me that”) or “Would you accompany me on rounds?”, “I would like your impressions on XXX, is the family doing OK?” or “As far as X is concerned I the orders are written thus to allow you to use you best nursing judgment, just indicate in your nurses note what course you have taken”

I digress

My point is this, DO NOT depend much on the nursing at first, especially for the heavy science and purely academic stuff, but DO depend (and do not forget) on the nursing attitudes and skills for the long term, you DO have an advantage that may not always be evident at first.