The 7 Most Hated Nursing Courses as Rated by Students

Discover the 7 most dreaded nursing courses, as rated by former nursing students. Subjects include microbiology, chemistry, and statistics.
The 7 Most Hated Nursing Courses as Rated by Students

To become a registered nurse, completing nursing school is one of the first steps. Whether you choose an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), you must complete numerous courses to graduate. While everyone has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to education, some courses are universally loathed by nursing students. Learn more about the most hated nursing courses, as selected by students, so you can be as prepared as possible.

While this may disappoint some students, it is important to note that the following seven courses are consistently identified as the most dreaded nursing school courses—and they are all typically required, so there is no getting around them.

1. Physiology

Sometimes referred to as anatomy and physiology, this course introduces nursing students to the human body. Students typically complete several sections of physiology courses over two to four years. This subject studies the structure and function of the body, including how tissues, cells, and various organs work together. It covers all major systems, including the respiratory, skeletal, digestive, and lymphatic systems.

2. Microbiology

For many students, the term "biology" strikes fear into their hearts. Microbiology studies human biology on the microscopic level, and it is required for nurses because it examines and explains the causes of many common diseases. This overarching course covers subjects such as antibiotic identification, host-parasites, medications and reactions, biochemistry, and culturing. Students must familiarize themselves with many technical, scientific, and medical terms, so memorization is essential. Lab work is often required so that students can see how various reactions happen in real life.

3. Pharmacology

RNs cannot prescribe medications, but they must administer them, so they need a clear understanding of the most common medications. Nursing students understand this, but they still hate pharmacology by a wide margin. This course is an advanced form of chemistry, so you must usually take and pass several chemistry courses first. Even with the right background, this course is challenging because it covers so much ground. You will learn about adverse effects of common medications; side effects and contraindications; how to safely administer certain medications; and restoration, intervention, and maintenance.

4. Clinical Theory

Many nursing students find clinical theory courses to be a waste of time, as they often seem to cover obvious topics. However, clinical theory covers a variety of important issues for working RNs, such as patient care, ethical reasoning, and complex healthcare issues. It also emphasizes teamwork with fellow healthcare professionals and provides guidance on working effectively with patients and their families.

5. Chemistry

There's no doubt: chemistry is hard. Most people have taken at least basic chemistry in high school, so you may already know how you feel about it. In nursing school, chemistry is a major subject because it highlights how different chemicals and forms of matter react to each other. You'll typically start with a basic chemistry course, and then proceed to biochemistry and organic chemistry, which deal with how organic matter reacts to various chemicals. Chemistry involves a lot of math, which can be challenging for many nursing students who haven't studied math in a while. You'll also need to memorize many formulas, which can feel repetitive.

6. Probability and Statistics

Like chemistry, probability and statistics are required math courses for nursing students. These courses revolve heavily around math, so it is easy to see why so many aspiring nurses hate them. However, probability and statistics are essential for nursing students to learn, as they teach you how to determine the importance and meaning of data, optimize, test, and infer patterns and other information, and better predict, understand, and improve various issues.

7. Clinical Training

Many nursing school students have little or no actual hands-on experience in a healthcare setting before starting their clinical training. Clinical training is an essential part of any nursing program and typically takes place at local hospitals and other healthcare facilities. While students are often eager to apply what they have learned in a real-life setting, they may also be nervous about it. Additionally, depending on the program, it may be difficult to find a convenient place to complete clinical training. If you are concerned about this, be sure to ask how clinical training is handled before enrolling in a nursing program.

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