Switching your major in undergraduate school is not uncommon, but it can be daunting if you’ve already taken several courses in another field. If it means having to start over, the decision to change majors to nursing may not be appealing.
That’s a concern many students have when they realize they want to be a nurse. Fortunately, in Utica College’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing (ABSN) program, your previous coursework or degree can be used toward your nursing degree so you reach your goal faster.
Majors That Prepare You for Nursing
There are some majors that prepare you for nursing more than others because the courses and experience you have are applicable to the field. Here are a few of those majors and how they inadvertently prepare you for a nursing career – you may be surprised to see that your major is in the mix.
If you are a biology major, nursing is closer to your field of study than you may think. The study of biology is broad, and can lead to a wide range of careers – including nursing.
Having hands-on laboratory experience such as preparing simple solutions or samples, dissecting plants or animals, using a light microscope or understanding laboratory safety gives you a valuable foundation for clinical nursing practice.
As a biology major, you may also have a stronger understanding of the sciences needed for skilled nursing, and the problem-solving abilities necessary to treat patients.
That’s how Chandni P., a student in Utica College’s ABSN program in Florida, discovered that her biology degree prepared her for nursing.
“I like that I got a biology degree,” Chandni said. “It helped me figure out what line of nursing I wanted to go into.”
After taking courses like anatomy, genetics, and cell biology, she decided that nursing was what she wanted to pursue more.
Chemistry is embedded significantly in the theory and practice of nursing. The ability to properly diagnose and administer medication to patients, as well as comprehending various drug pathways and processes is derived from understanding chemistry. Nurses use the scientific foundation of chemistry to help evaluate a patient’s situation in its entirety, and to understand the reasons for choosing one treatment plan over another.
In order to develop sound clinical judgement, nursing students are required to take general, organic, and biochemistry. If you are a chemistry major and want to change your major to nursing, you have likely taken these courses.
A sociology major, especially someone with a background in public or community health, might adjust well to the field of nursing because he/she may consider health to be a collaborative process. With a perspective on healthcare that incorporates the community as a whole, sociology majors have the potential to be influential nurses.
For example, Kristin K., a graduate of Utica College’s ABSN program in Florida, was working in a clinical setting doing social work when she realized she wanted to make a greater impact.
“I decided that I was more attracted to the disease process and clinical process than only the social aspect of patients,” she said. “I felt like getting my degree in nursing and having a background in social work would set me up to help the patient in every way possible.”
Because Kristin has a previous sociology degree, she only had to take four prerequisites before starting her nursing courses. If you, too, hold a sociology degree, you may have already taken the prerequisites in sociology, psychology, or statistics, and could possibly start your nursing school courses sooner.
As the medical field evolves, the interrelationship between mental and physical health is becoming more apparent. There’s a growing emphasis on understanding human psychology and behavior and its effects on the physical body. If you are a psychology major, you already know the massive effects of how one thinks on how one feels, so you’re already at an advantage.
Having this foundation can come in handy as you interact with patients and their loved ones, or discuss care plans with your health teams. Courses in ethics and life span development are beneficial as well because they provide you with skills and knowledge that are transferable to nursing. With a background in psychology, you could also pursue specialized nursing in fields such as in mental health or psychiatric nursing.
Kinesiology/Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine
Those who studied the dynamics of human movement, or kinesiology, might teach physical education, pursue sports medicine, become a recreational therapist, or work in occupational or physical therapy. The teachings and preparation of a kinesiology major are essential for a host of careers in health – and a great stepping stone for making the switch to nursing.
In fact, since many careers in kinesiology fall under the umbrella of health care, the nutrition, physiology, anatomy, and statistic courses you may have taken could all contribute to the prerequisite courses you’ll need if you change your major to nursing.
Sarah M., a graduate of Utica College’s ABSN program in New York, majored in kinesiology because she had an interest in the way the human body moves. Over time, she discovered that nursing was a better fit for her
“Nursing had always been a career path that I considered,” Sarah said. “I always knew that I wanted to do something to help others and I want to feel that I am making a difference in people’s lives.”
Having a previous degree in the study of kinetics, and the understanding of physiology, anatomy, and psychology also allowed Sarah to take an accelerated path to nursing.
“I chose this program knowing that I would receive this degree in just 16 months,” she said. “I was looking for a program that would give me the most hands-on experience possible while finishing my degree quickly.”
Business Administration or Public Administration
If you have a degree in business or public administration, you might think you need to start over to become a nurse. That may not be the case, especially if health care administration or public health interests you. In fact, the most competitive candidates for careers in health care administration are those with backgrounds in both nursing and business.
Majoring in business because you wanted to be a leader or in management, only to find that nursing is where your passion is, can actually be a recipe for a complimentary career switch. What you learned while earning your business degree could make you an effective leader in nursing. Specialties in Nursing Leadership and Management, or Nursing Administration are also optional careers for the business-minded nurse.
Switch Gears: Change Your Major to Nursing
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of majors that lend themselves to nursing. Many majors, in some way or another, provide transferable skills (and sometimes course credits) to a nursing degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree, chances are you’ve taken core education courses like psychology and biology that could be leveraged for a career in nursing. How? In Utica College’s Accelerated BSN program.
That’s why many students choose Utica College; they can get started right away and finish nursing school in as little as 16 months.
Getting started in our program doesn’t require you to have all of the necessary prerequisites either. Once admitted, you can begin taking any prerequisites you need prior to beginning your nursing degree courses. If you have a previous degree in a non-nursing major and want to switch your career path to nursing, contact an admissions representative at 866.892.6747.