"Regular" college vs. Nursing School

Gimme some perspective here. My wife just finished her first semester in a 2 year nursing program. Last night I was yapping away comparing my time getting my bachelor's degree to her time in nursing school thus far. I was promptly stopped and told that there is no way I can possibly compare my time in college getting a "regular" degree to nursing school. She said that nursing school is far harder than any 4 year bs degree I could get. I expressed my doubt over this and she stated it had to do with the fact that nursing school requires more critical thought because she is presented with a case and she has to make a diagnosis whereas, as she put it, I just had to read something in a book and then write a paper about it. I'm sure there's something to her argument but I think I got a little miffed having my entire undergraduate experience thrown out the window as not being nearly as tough as a 2 year nursing degree. Anyone able to compare them for me?

I would call Nursing a technical school since you're going to learn a specific skill. In general, technical schools teach more information at a faster pace, and in more detail (because you need to be able to do a skill). Most "traditonal" college programs focus on theory and high level concepts over skills and actual application. I would have to agree with your wife.

Plus, anything medical tends to be very harsh to learn - they go fast and teach volumes of information. Just ask Coldstream.

Yeah. I can compare them from second-hand experience, and no, nursing school isn't harder than a standard four year degree (except maybe copouts who get a four-year degree in phys ed). It's not substantially easier either; the nursing program for an RN is a pretty intense and difficult program.

Both can be equally hard.
End of argument!

Farscry wrote:
Yeah. I can compare them from second-hand experience, and no, nursing school isn't harder than a standard four year degree (except maybe copouts who get a four-year degree in phys ed). It's not substantially easier either; the nursing program for an RN is a pretty intense and difficult program.

Maybe I just have a different perspective, but...

I value my undergrad degree, I learned things there that I use today (that's the point, right?). However, it was fairly easy most of the time. I don't really know if anyone could call most college programs "hard" - the exception being the "real" BS programs like Engineering (and even its difficulty is school dependant). It's not at all comparable to Grad school - which makes Undergrad look like advanced High School.

This reminds me of my, er, intense conversations with my wife about a 'professional career' vs. 'full-time mother-homemaker.' and believe me, it's not an argument you'd wanna get into.

That said, my wife is now in med school pursuing a medical career and her school is a whole lot harder than my 5-year architecture degree.

You do have a different perspective. We all do. Everyone learns differently. The hands-on and memorization of a nursing program will be easier for some people and harder for others, same can be said for any undergrad.

I do agree with the others - either way, this is not an argument you're going to "win". Best bet - duck, cover, avoid, and deflect.

Can you resort to the "Yes dear." defense?

Kehama wrote:
she stated it had to do with the fact that nursing school requires more critical thought because she is presented with a case and she has to make a diagnosis whereas, as she put it, I just had to read something in a book and then write a paper about it

I don't know much about Nursing, but belittling another person's hard work like that is pretty damn insensitive.

Kehama wrote:
She said that nursing school is far harder than any 4 year bs degree I could get.

Any?

Toss her a calculus book and tell her to go "write a paper".

I work in a nursing college, so I have a pretty good idea of what the curriculum looks like. It is a very difficult and time-consuming education that requires a lot of intensive learning and a huge time commitment. I would argue that a nursing program can be more intense than many four-year degree programs because nursing students get into clinical situations fairly quickly and so are dealing with actual patients with actual medical problems.

Whether this is more or less difficult than a four-year degree program depends on the degree program and your aptitude for the material. It would be a lot easier for me to get, say, a degree in computer science than in nursing because I do not have skillsets that would help me with nursing, while some of the nursing students I work with would have a harder time with a computer science degree for much the same reason. However, if she's in a two-year program for a BS in Nursing then it's probably an accelerated program and probably really, really hard.

That said, nurses are like teachers, cops, firefighters, and soldiers: they're a proud bunch. They do difficult, demanding work that a lot of other people wouldn't or couldn't do often for lousy pay. There's a widespread feeling with people in those professions that they aren't valued enough, or that their work isn't viewed as being as difficult as it actually is, and that's probably what she was reacting to.

In terms of school content, you can argue it however you want. However, in my opinion, nursing school is harder because there's the added aspect of mental maturity that isn't required to the same level as a four-year Bachelor's.

Regarding her argument of solving cases, I don't think of that as any different from any science degrees. All it is is training on how to recognize situations and think, which is core to any education. Adam is spot on with his assessment of teachers, nurses, cops, etc. A lot of times, they are an under-appreciated group.

Tough argument to win, but it can be done. Using the power of your liberal arts education, cite an Amazon tribe you learned about in anthropology in which the women give birth while working in the fields, and tell her, "Now THOSE women have it tough. By comparison, our days are easy." Then drink six beers while watching TV before falling asleep on the couch.

In this way, you have demonstrated that you essentially cannot be touched, rhetoric-wise. She will intellectually cower before the power of your ennui.

My wife is on to her last semester as a nursing student. It's hard. I teach at an art school, so I see the differences. I would NOT want to go through the stuff she's had to do.

It depends upon the individual.

I found 4 year college horrible, Simply because I had to take another year of english, and math, etc etc etc. I was tired of those subjects and had no interest in them. So for me 4 year college was more difficult then when I switched to a 2 year degree in programming. That was easy in comparison although I did a lot more work. But I was actually doing something instead of having some teachers tell me that what he finds interesting I must also find interesting or I am not worthy. For instance We go to school for 12 years and take 'english' the whole time. We really shouldn't need to be forced to take more english in college if we are not interested in it as a career or just interested.

I don't personally feel that a 4 year college gives a great education (based upon what I see in the field after 17 years). A lot of people who went o standard 4 year schools never learned how to actually do anything other then recite answer with little understanding of the subject.

But again that's because of them as individuals. If it's a subject someone is interested in then they will learn the subject and apply it.

Ah, you guys have definitely given me a different persepective. Even you Funkenpants. I definitely wasn't going to try to "win" this argument as I'd already ceded to her that she was right I didn't know first-hand what she had to do in nursing school. I was mainly looking for other explanations as to its difficulty above "I have to solve problems" so that I had a better understanding of it. The ton of info in a short span definitely makes sense. She had only been in school for a couple months and they had her doing clinicals where she was having to counsel new mothers on breast-feeding and general child care. Guess it helps she already has a kid but several of the students that were sent with her didn't and they were completely lost as to what to tell these patients.

*edit* Sorry, I meant to say tell these "clients". Apparently the term patient is out and client is in.

Shoal07 wrote:
Farscry wrote:
Yeah. I can compare them from second-hand experience, and no, nursing school isn't harder than a standard four year degree (except maybe copouts who get a four-year degree in phys ed). It's not substantially easier either; the nursing program for an RN is a pretty intense and difficult program.

Maybe I just have a different perspective, but...

I value my undergrad degree, I learned things there that I use today (that's the point, right?). However, it was fairly easy most of the time. I don't really know if anyone could call most college programs "hard" - the exception being the "real" BS programs like Engineering (and even its difficulty is school dependant). It's not at all comparable to Grad school - which makes Undergrad look like advanced High School.

I don't think he was talking about Grad School nursing, just a two year tech school course for a certification, probably an LPN cert, RN at best.

Overall, what makes something difficult is entirely subjective. I know people who can't wrap their heads around the most basic SQL that I can do without thought. Likewise, there are basics that they 'get' which I couldn't understand with it laid out in plain English. It's just the nature of education and learning.

AnimeJ wrote:
Overall, what makes something difficult is entirely subjective. I know people who can't wrap their heads around the most basic SQL that I can do without thought. Likewise, there are basics that they 'get' which I couldn't understand with it laid out in plain English. It's just the nature of education and learning.

Yup, what's easy for some people is hard for others. Also, I would avoid trying to make the comparison, because they teach very different skill sets, and I'm not just talking about the academic component.

Let me begin by saying that I skimmed the other responses.
I am also a health care professional and have to agree with your wife. Before folks put my head on the chopping block, please allow me to point out that I have both a 4 year degree in Kinesiology and a 2 year degree in Physical Therapy Assisting. A 4 year degree is a difficult thing no matter what your major/minor. A 2 year degree for a health care profession is a b*tch. They cram a 4 year program into a 2 year program with a good part of it being rote memorization. Add to that the clinical practice that is required by the licensing boards and one is left feeling that they did a second bachelor's degree in half the time.
If I may offer this thought. You both are working your tails off for a better life/career to contribute to a long and happy life together.
Hope you rocked finals!

Kiri wrote:
Hope you rocked finals!

I'm sure he did. He's at "easy" school.

It depends on what the person in question is good at. It's foolish to claim that one or the other is harder. A large portion of my wife's family is in the medical field and two of her sisters are in nursing (one has her degree and the other is getting hers). They both seem to be good with nursing stuff; but they would fail miserably trying to get a four year BS degree.

How miserably? Sister A bought a PC for her son from Best Buy and couldn't figure out how to connect everything even though it came with explicit instructions. Sister B needed 4 years to pass 9th and 10th grade math.

Pah.

You wimps BOTH have it easy.

Try the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program. Six months of theory including undergrad level physics, math to back up the physics, chemistry, history, military theory, electrical engineering and fluid dynamics. Followed by six months of practical training in a working nuclear reactor modeled after the power plant of a nuclear submarine. Including doing actual maintenance on the power plant components, and training in every imaginable disaster scenario.

We used to call it a twenty thousand dollar education shoved up your butt a nickel at a time over the course of a year.

Try the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program. Six months of theory including undergrad level physics, math to back up the physics, chemistry, history, military theory, electrical engineering and fluid dynamics. Followed by six months of practical training in a working nuclear reactor modeled after the power plant of a nuclear submarine. Including doing actual maintenance on the power plant components, and training in every imaginable disaster scenario.

Been there done that.

BadKen wrote:
Pah.

You wimps BOTH have it easy.

Try the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program. Six months of theory including undergrad level physics, math to back up the physics, chemistry, history, military theory, electrical engineering and fluid dynamics. Followed by six months of practical training in a working nuclear reactor modeled after the power plant of a nuclear submarine. Including doing actual maintenance on the power plant components, and training in every imaginable disaster scenario.

We used to call it a twenty thousand dollar education shoved up your butt a nickel at a time over the course of a year.

That's so true. Pretty much any education you get on the Military's dime is going to be like that, with nuclear physics(caling apples apples here) being the hardest, hands down.

BadKen wrote:
We used to call it a twenty thousand dollar education shoved up your butt a nickel at a time over the course of a year.

AnimeJ wrote:
Pretty much any education you get on the Military's dime is going to be like that...

This doesn't bode well for me, as I'm getting probably close to a $500,000 education once you factor in residency, all on the military's dime. I may need a larger butt.

With respect to nursing, I think some consideration should be given to different facets of education in terms of difficulty. Prior to med school, I used to tutor science at a university in Colorado Springs (Hi Adam!) and I can tell you from first-hand experience that we had to ratchet the scientific rigour way the hell down for the nursing students. They were usually only required to take 101/102 level science courses in stuff like Chemistry and Biology, and often struggled with that. So, at least in terms of hardcore intellectual courses, the nursing students had it a lot easier than the science/engineering folks. On the other hand, they were worked pretty hard in terms of clinical skills and so forth, from what I understand.

Ultimately, I think saying that a nursing degree is harder than any undergrad degree is pretty laughable, but it's certainly more difficult than many undergrad degrees. Still, I really don't see the point in arguing about difficulty. My degree program (M.D.) is usually regarded as one of the most difficult out there, but who the hell cares? Good on those who choose nursing as a career, as we need as many as we can get. In fact, good on anyone who chooses to be a health professional, as it's an under-valued and demanding career that's becoming more and more essential with an aging population.

cheers.

BadKen wrote:
Pah.

You wimps BOTH have it easy.

Try the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program. Six months of theory including undergrad level physics, math to back up the physics, chemistry, history, military theory, electrical engineering and fluid dynamics. Followed by six months of practical training in a working nuclear reactor modeled after the power plant of a nuclear submarine. Including doing actual maintenance on the power plant components, and training in every imaginable disaster scenario.

We used to call it a twenty thousand dollar education shoved up your butt a nickel at a time over the course of a year.

That actually sounds kinda cool.

boogle wrote:
BadKen wrote:
Pah.

You wimps BOTH have it easy.

Try the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program. Six months of theory including undergrad level physics, math to back up the physics, chemistry, history, military theory, electrical engineering and fluid dynamics. Followed by six months of practical training in a working nuclear reactor modeled after the power plant of a nuclear submarine. Including doing actual maintenance on the power plant components, and training in every imaginable disaster scenario.

We used to call it a twenty thousand dollar education shoved up your butt a nickel at a time over the course of a year.

That actually sounds kinda cool.

Well, I suppose we could start a GWJ nickel fund, if you're that interested...

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
boogle wrote:
BadKen wrote:
Pah.

You wimps BOTH have it easy.

Try the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program. Six months of theory including undergrad level physics, math to back up the physics, chemistry, history, military theory, electrical engineering and fluid dynamics. Followed by six months of practical training in a working nuclear reactor modeled after the power plant of a nuclear submarine. Including doing actual maintenance on the power plant components, and training in every imaginable disaster scenario.

We used to call it a twenty thousand dollar education shoved up your butt a nickel at a time over the course of a year.

That actually sounds kinda cool.

Well, I suppose we could start a GWJ nickel fund, if you're that interested...

Those nickels were in his ass! You think you're better than him? Oh, you're not better than him. You handle his ass nickels every day. You pick up his ass nickels for good luck. You throw his ass nickels in fountains and make wishes on them. You give his ass nickels to your little daughter to buy gumballs with.

You both need to accept that you're both smart and the school you've chosen has no bearing on that.

Different people learn and thrive in different arena's. Get over it.

Eezy_Bordone wrote:
You both need to accept that you're both smart and the school you've chosen has no bearing on that.

Different people learn and thrive in different arena's. Get over it.

Well if I'd done that I couldn't have made a post about it now could I?