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Programs What's a good way to integrate nursing into physics?

  1. Nov 2, 2016 #1
    Hi all. I'm having trouble deciding what I want to do first. I know I can become an RN in two years, which would give me solid opportunity to help people and a laundry list of jobs I would be qualified for... This would give me good stability while I continue to do my schooling, and I imagine I'd like nursing, working with people, etc.

    But I really like physics and I know that an associate's or bachelor's just isn't going to cut it for me.. I know I can always go back to school after becoming an RN, but waiting until I'm 26 or 27 to begin a major in physics seems like a really big stretch. Does a nursing degree supplement a physics major in any way or vice cersa? Has anyone heard of people combining these two to get the best out of both? Any tips or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  3. Nov 2, 2016 #2


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    Does a nursing degree supplement a physics degree? Probabaly not. At best you could skip some GES during physics degree after obtaining a nursing degree.

    I don't see the advantage of doing it that way though. If the end goal is physics, get a physics degree. During grad school you'll probabaly make about 1/2 to 2/3 of what an entry level RN would make anyway.
  4. Nov 3, 2016 #3


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    Maybe @berkeman will have some advice.
  5. Nov 3, 2016 #4


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    What is your medical background so far? Are you pretty sure you could get accepted into an RN program? They are very competitive in most places (in the US) that I'm familiar with.

    Do you have much experience working or volunteering in a hospital or clinical environment? How about in the pre-hospital (EMS) environment? How do you feel about patient contacts? Is it something you really enjoy, or just put up with?

    Also, have you looked at the field of Medical Physics? There are certainly a number of jobs that cross over between medicine and physics (and EE). Once you tell us more about your medical background, perhaps @Choppy could add some comments. :smile:
  6. Nov 4, 2016 #5
    Wow, now that you ask those questions @berkeman, I honestly have no experience with anything you mentioned. I'm not sure why I have the sudden urge to look into nursing. Maybe it's because there are so many different specializations to choose from and it just seems like a good option. My medical background is pretty much non-existent. Heck, my physics background is non-existent, I'm just really interested in it...

    I've been taking pre-req's at my local state community college system and I really haven't taken any specialty classes yet, only a refresher math course, public speaking and English. I'm 24 and I don't know if that should have any bearing on what I want to study or not, but for years now I've genuinely wanted to be involved in a science field, and I always come back around to physics.

    I'm glad I'm talking about this now. Seeing my thoughts on the screen allows me to get an idea of what's going on in my own head, lol.
  7. Nov 4, 2016 #6


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    Do you want to find a CAREER dealing with frustrated, confused, sick, slow, or injured people, who may or may be unable to communicate intelligibly? If yes, then nursing could be a career for you. Do you feel the desire to clean a heavy person who has trouble moving and cannot walk, who has feces and urine around the lower torso and legs, who also cannot speak and seems very very slow in the head? Great! Nursing could be for you. Some people WANT to do this work, and the world needs them.

    If you want a physical science (or maybe an engineering) career, then bulk-up with the Mathematics, and try some intro or elementary Physics course or two. Physical sciences might be to your liking, but knowing requires some study and self-evaluation.
  8. Nov 4, 2016 #7


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    You're focusing on the more difficult things medical folks deal with, but don't forget the many positive things. A career in a medical field can be very rewarding emotionally.

    Yeah, I recommend that anybody who is considering a career as a doctor or nurse get some experience with patient contacts for a while, to see how you like the contacts. I started working part-time shifts in EMS nine years ago, and I've found that I really enjoy the patient contacts. Even with the difficult patients and even with the very badly injured patients, I feel good being able to use my skills and experience to help them out. If I'd known that I enjoy patient contacts this much back when I was in undergrad, I probably would have gone into medicine. :smile:

    But for some people who start to work with patients, they find that they do not enjoy the patient contacts for whatever reasons, and it's definitely best to find that out early, and not part-way through medical school as you start your clinicals (or part-way through an RN program). You could look into getting your EMT certification while you are going to the community college (many community colleges have EMT programs), and maybe working or volunteering as an EMT for a few months part-time to see how you like it. It may turn out that you really enjoy it, in which case you could move on to an RN program. It could also turn out that you do not like it much, so that would let you know that going the RN route probably is not a good idea.

    Best of luck! :smile:
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  9. Nov 4, 2016 #8
    Here is what my friend says, we happened to be talking when I saw this, she's an RN:

    Please tell them NOT to become a nurse unless that's what they want. For one, its not fair to their fellow nurses or their patients. Its a tough field and you have to love it and if its not your passion it truly shows. Secondly, its a tough field and if you don't love it will chew you up and spit you out. It does that to everyone, its the love of it that keeps you fighting through. The last thing we need is another nurse who really wants to do something else. And physics and nursing are not really related.

    She was also telling me RN programs are really competitive. I'm in my 30s and just starting my physics journey, if that's what you want then that's what you should do.
  10. Nov 4, 2016 #9


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    Please tell her thanks for the great advice. :smile:
  11. Nov 5, 2016 #10
    Great, everyone thanks so much for your input. I will do a lot of milling it over throughout my next couple of semesters. I also think that if I really want to do physics, I'll find out when I start taking the harder classes.
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