Going from a career in nursing to med school

  1. 0
    Im currently a hih school student trying to plan out my life. I have always just wanted to be a mother. When my children are young I want to stay home with them, and i dont want to put them in daycare. However i know this is unrealistic financially. I thought I could do nursing, because I could take off when they were young and work in a school when they were school aged. As they grew older I could go back to working in a hospitol or idealy a pediatrican's office. This sounded great but my aunt and many other nurses I know told me that if hey could do it over again they would go straight for med school. Being a doctor seems cool, and minus the children thats what I want to do. And the money would be awesome. I was just thinking about how I could do it and be home more with the children.

    Would it be possible for me to go to nursing school, but take the pre med track so id have all the right qualifications for med schools and be somewhat prepared for the MCATs, but then stay in nursing and get employed as a nurse, but then to maybe 5 or so years later take the MCATs and try to go back to medical school and become a doctor from there??
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

  4. 11
    Usually science credits expire in 5 years. Be sure to do what you want and invest in an education that will be of use to you. If you want to go for your MD then make sure to plan accordingly. Nursing is a very rewarding career and it can open a lot of doors, but it is not a "layover" career or a back up plan. The roles between the MD and the Nurse are very different and though they may work around and with another, they are not the same and shouldn't be treated as such.

    All I'm saying is invest your money and time wisely.
  5. 0
    Hey! You can definitely do that! You can pick any undergraduate major as long as you complete all the Pre-med courses along with it. I would say that it would be quite the challenge to be a full-time student working on a BSN doing 12 hour clinicals and taking Organic Chemistry 1& 2, Biochemistry, Physics, etc and taking the MCAT. But if you have the money, time, discipline, the brains, and desire it can most definitely be done! In order to be a competitive applicant for Nursing School and Medical School you will need to have a high GPA mainly A's with a few B's and get an exceptional score on the MCAT. This may be a challenge to take the nursing curriculum and pre-med pre-req's and get all A's. I encourage you with all my heart, but also want to be honest with what the challenge and competition will be.

    Sincerely,
    Katejane
  6. 9
    P.S. There is such thing as a Nurse Practitioner which can do many things that a Doctor can do... check it out. That may be the route to go.
  7. 0
    Explore your options. Educate yourself in what the two fields are like, in preparation and in practice. They are not the same. Ask the nurses in your family why they recommend being a doctor.
    Think about which is more appealing to you. Which will allow you to do the work that will be most rewarding to you.
  8. 1
    Remember that if you are in medical school, it's very hard to have a personal life, not to mention the 80 hour work weeks during residency, which goes on for at least 3 years, more if you want to do a fellowship. Not trying to discourage you, just the reality. You are young--give yourself a few years before you make a decision either way. You can usually take a year of general classes at college before making a final decision. Good luck!

    p.s. you can check out forums.studentdoctor.net which is a great resource for aspiring pre-meds
    Hospice Nurse LPN likes this.
  9. 2
    Lot of gender roles being played here wow . Sociology class nailed it 100%

    If you want to take "steps", Nursing is the way to go
    This why more females enter nursing and more males enter Med School

    With Nursing you can become a CNA after High School, then decide to be a LPN get married have kids go back to school become a RN in two years, then later BSN than later if you wish a NA,NP,MSN etc.

    With Med school, there is NO "steps" either your in or your out. There are always exceptions but it is not the norm like it is in nursing.

    With Nursing you can enter at pretty much any stage in life 20,30,40,50 etc.
    With Med school this is something you have to determine to do early in life.
    As you will need during high school to work for scholarships to help pay for Medical School.(all AP classes and High GPA)

    The courses are not the same. You have to have very strong math skills.
    all you need is High School Algebra II to be a RN. Pre-Med you have to take calculus I/II and Psychics I/II

    You do not take a easy "fundamentals of chemistry"
    Strong science skills backed by math skills for Bio I/II, Organic I/II, Chem I,II

    So the answer is NO, FAFSA will not pay for classes that are not on your declared degree. This is based on new rules that was passed recently to discourage students from taking to long to graduate, taking classes that do not pertain to their degree; causing the tax payer money with defaulted loans.

    There is a shortage of Doctors right now. Not Nurses.

    I recommend watching "Boston Medical" on Hulu
    gives you a real perspective of Med Students going thru residency
    and their personal lives as Med Students and also show cases nurses and their jobs
    Last edit by kabooski on Jun 14, '11
  10. 1
    You can have children and be doctor. You'll probably just have to put it off until after you finish school. What kind of doctor or nurse do you want to be? Do you want to be the person calling all the shots? What do you find attractive about being a doctor or nurse and what don't you like? Being an advanced practice nurse can be very similar to being a physician or physician's assistant but can be done in steps as a previous poster mentioned. If you want to become a physician have you considered becoming a PA and then continuing to med school (or just remaining a PA if you don't want all the responsibilities of an MD or DO)? The role of a doctor is very different than the role of a nurse so these are the kinds of questions you need to answer.
    ktliz likes this.
  11. 2
    Medicine is for the people who want nothing else and want it so badly that they are willing to let medicine come first in their life.
    My brother is a doctor in residency. He works 80 hours a week and is in his 30's. I'm not trying to dissuade you in your career options, just be aware of the time reality.
    DizzyLizzyNurse and ktliz like this.
  12. 2
    Quote from kabooski
    Lot of gender roles being played here wow . Sociology class nailed it 100%

    If you want to take "steps", Nursing is the way to go
    This why more females enter nursing and more males enter Med School

    With Nursing you can become a CNA after High School, then decide to be a LPN get married have kids go back to school become a RN in two years, then later BSN than later if you wish a NA,NP,MSN etc.

    With Med school, there is NO "steps" either your in or your out. There are always exceptions but it is not the norm like it is in nursing.

    With Nursing you can enter at pretty much any stage in life 20,30,40,50 etc.
    With Med school this is something you have to determine to do early in life.
    As you will need during high school to work for scholarships to help pay for Medical School.(all AP classes and High GPA)

    The courses are not the same. You have to have very strong math skills.
    all you need is High School Algebra II to be a RN. Pre-Med you have to take calculus I/II and Psychics I/II

    You do not take a easy "fundamentals of chemistry"
    Strong science skills backed by math skills for Bio I/II, Organic I/II, Chem I,II

    So the answer is NO, FAFSA will not pay for classes that are not on your declared degree. This is based on new rules that was passed recently to discourage students from taking to long to graduate, taking classes that do not pertain to their degree; causing the tax payer money with defaulted loans.

    There is a shortage of Doctors right now. Not Nurses.

    I recommend watching "Boston Medical" on Hulu
    gives you a real perspective of Med Students going thru residency
    and their personal lives as Med Students and also show cases nurses and their jobs
    Yes, it's true that you can take your education in "steps" with nursing- lots of people do that and find nursing to be more flexible in that respect. Whereas the educational ladder in nursing allows people to "step off" at various levels (eg- LPN, RN, NP, CRNA, DNP, PhD, etc), the path to a career in medicine is much more like a two lane road with only one way in and one way out. The road begins with one starting their pre-med courses in a 4-year undergraduate program and ends with the completion of residency and board certification/licensure (and then fellowship if studying a sub-specialty). It's much harder to change specialties in medicine- say from anesthesia to dermatology- because one has to complete an entirely different residency and/or fellowship to practice in a different area of medicine. While some obstacles to change in specialty may still exist in nursing (ie- a psych nurse wanting to practice in critical care- they'd have to get med/surg experience first), it's easier for nurses to transition to different roles in different practice environments.

    It's certainly not true, however, that more men go into medicine than women. Especially not after seeing all- or majority-female medicine teams in my ICU (including the attending physicians). In nursing school I learned that medicine has achieved a significantly higher gender balance than nursing because: 1)medicine is no longer looked at as an exclusively "male" profession; and 2)more and more young women are more open to exploring career choices in fields such as medicine and the bench sciences- fields that were once (but no longer) "male-dominated." In contrast, nursing is still very much a female-dominated profession, with men making up only about 6%-7% of all nurses.

    Although it's much easier to pursue a career in medicine if you start planning in high school or college, it can still be done at later stages in life- although it would probably not be advisable to start on the path to med school if you're >45-50 years old (unless you plan to practice until you're 80). Various people have proven that time and again. I personally met an anesthesiologist (in nursing school clinicals) who was a CRNA and went to med school in his early 40's.
    http://www.une.edu/spotlights/displa...id_37554=37702
    http://www.une.edu/spotlights/displa...id_37554=41957

    Although you don't need Calculus to enter nursing school, I would argue that having a strong skill set in mathematics and (especially) the sciences is a pre-requisite to becoming a good nurse. Many of my classmates in my BSN program had excellent GPAs in undergrad-level science classes- ie- the same ones that students who are pre-med take. I don't see how one can understand all of the pathophysiology, lab parameters, vital signs, pharmacokinetics/dynamics (how the body affects drugs and how drugs affect the body) if one doesn't have a good understanding of at least biology, chemistry, micro, and anatomy/physiology. Nurses are expected to know more and more about disease processes and why certain diagnostic and/or treatment measures are taken. Tell me that's not so when family members ask me trick questions about what a particular drug does and what it's side effects are, or why their loved one is getting a particular diagnostic test. Bottom line- the public expects nurses to know EVERYTHING about what they do and why they do it- and beyond. We may not always have an answer to those questions, but that's the expectation that I've seen many patients and their family members have.

    Lastly, it may SEEM as though there isn't a nursing shortage right now- because more nurses have come out of retirement and part-timers are going full-time. It's also that much harder for new grads these days to find a job- because the available positions are being taken by experienced nurses. There is still a shortage of experienced nurses, however, and the overall nursing shortage will get MUCH worse when the economy improves and all the nurses who came back to full-time will either go per-diem or retire indefinitely.

    My opinion of nursing (after a year in critical care) is mixed. On one hand, nursing has opened up a LOT of educational opportunities for me and I've seen and done things that not very many people would have a chance to do. No day goes by where I don't learn something new- especially because I practice in a teaching hospital where continued learning and education is expected of everyone (and many of the docs are willing to teach concepts, ideas and information to nurses). I'm frustrated, however, with the fact that, as a nurse, I'm expected to do EVERYTHING- from basic nursing tasks to attending rounds on my patients to transporting them to constantly monitoring them to giving their meds to assisting with procedures to informing family members of the treatment plan and updating them on the patients condition (and much more). I feel frustrated sometimes that doctors and NPs can just step back, assess the patient, order treatment and expect it to be done in a certain period of time. In other words, it frustrates me that the "big picture" of what's going on with the patient (and how to treat it) is blurred by the plethora of tasks I have to complete. This experience is why I'm thinking about going back to grad school for a MSN with a NP specialty (or possibly CRNA) someday.

    So "shoot for the stars" -as they say- and go to a 4-year undergraduate institution and plan on getting into a post-baccalaureate and/or graduate program (whether it be in nursing or medicine) after that. Don't settle for less if you don't have to.
    Last edit by edogs334 on Jun 14, '11


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