wanted to be a doctor?

  1. Hi everyone-
    Is there anyone out there who had planned to become a doctor and decided on the nursing route instead?

    I've been working towards med school for years...right now I'm in a master's program in which I'm basically doing 1st year med school classes and I'm doing really well. I also just had a med school interview yesterday. I know that I could definitely become a doctor...and now I'm not sure I want to, and I'm thinking of going the nursing route instead.

    I'm 25 years old, single, but I realized that after med school and residency I would be 33, probably with kids, and probably missing out on a lot of their lives...instead I would be working 80 hour weeks and not making much money. Also, one of the main reasons that I wanted to go into medicine was the patients, and I've realized that most docs don't even spend much time with their patients (in and out). My fear is that I would go through med school, residency and then feel ambivalent about my job while making my family sacrifice.

    I have tons of respect for nurses and I know that patients do too (when my dad had surgery last year he wouldn't stop talking about the nurses...whereas he didn't even see the doctor). I'm just worried that if I were to become a nurse that I might have issues with the fact that docs are making the ultimate decisions on pt care (and probably realizing that some idiot doctor is making stupid decisions and being condescending maybe?).

    Anyway, I hope some people can shed some light on how you've found nursing (even if you hadn't considered becoming a doctor).

    Thanks!
    Last edit by moyz on Jan 26, '07
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   mvanz9999
    I have. I did.

    It wasn't that cut and dried, though. Basically I took all my pre-meds several years after I graduated, and then applied to med school. I didn't get in. My second attempt was kind of half-hearted, and I sort of felt that I didn't want to go to med school after all.

    For me, it's the same issue. I would rather spend time with patients and families than with diseases and lab reports. I've spent enough time volunteering in hospitals and other health-related foundations that I feel I have a good understanding of nurses and nursing. I always knew I wanted to be involved in health care, but it's taken a long time to find my place.

    I have not heard a lot of complaints from nurses about not having the ultimate decision. In fact, of all the nurses I know, none of them have mentioned this. They complain about the standard things like pay, hours, patient ratios, horrible managers. But I haven't heard anything about evil or idiotic doctors. Their job is to take care of the patients.

    The final decision is up to you. I can't say whether it will bother you that doctors are giving the orders and you are not. I am interested in patient care. I don't particularly feel the need to give the orders or make those difficult decisions. I'll do whatever they ask.

    I certainly wouldn't consider age as a deciding factor. 33 is not at all old. You say you're single now, and that's probably a good thing for going to med school. You cannot think that you might meet someone at X time. Because who knows? I finally met the right one for me at 37. So....I wouldn't put too much into that.
  4. by   moyz
    Yeah, the age thing shouldn't really go into the equation for me as much as it has, you're right! But I think also think that even if I ended up having kids later, I would have less work flexiblity that it seems nurses can have (if they find the right job).

    It sounds like you made the right decision for you. Nice to hear! I'm realizing that basically most important decisions involve some compromise. I'm just really trying to figure out what I'm willing to compromise and what I'm not willing to give up.

    thanks for your thoughts!
  5. by   tridil2000
    Quote from moyz
    Yeah, the age thing shouldn't really go into the equation for me as much as it has, you're right! But I think also think that even if I ended up having kids later, I would have less work flexiblity that it seems nurses can have (if they find the right job).

    It sounds like you made the right decision for you. Nice to hear! I'm realizing that basically most important decisions involve some compromise. I'm just really trying to figure out what I'm willing to compromise and what I'm not willing to give up.

    thanks for your thoughts!
    just to add, if i ever think the dr could do something better for a pt, i tell them. end of story. i am there for the pt. i am no one's therapist.

    and to be completely honest, i also chose nursing years ago bc i knew i wanted to be with my family more than medicine would allow.

    there are dozens types of nursing. welcome!
  6. by   anggelRN
    I am in nursing school right now and I chose nursing school because medical school takes away more time from family that I am willing to give. My aunt is a doctor She took a traditional path to medical school and graduated when she was 31. By that time she had two children, and her oldest son was already 7 years old. She loves her profession, medicine is her passion. She is constantly at work her children saw more of the babysitter than her. Her baby even called the babysitter "mom" for a little bit. While this was ok for her, I could never miss out that much on my children's lives while studying medicine. Ultimately you have to make a decision that you can live with.
  7. by   jjjoy
    My impression is that nurses (acute care) do tend to have more flexibility and job opportunities across the board. And when they are off their shift, they're off. The educational investment is much lower than for MDs. If you're concerned about how to balance work and family life check out some nursing threads on that here as well finding a similar board for MDs who are moms (I've seen at least one out there on the 'net.)

    In regard to patient contact, while most nurses do get more patient contact, how involved or personal or continuous that care is varies. In most acute care settings (med-surg, ICU), patients come and go pretty quickly (less than a week), you may not have the same patient assignment day-to-day. You are responsible for them for your shift, not before not after, so it's just a small window on their individual illness journey. Nurses have many different responsibilities to cover during their shifts including tons of documentation. They are often being pulled in several directions at once (dr on phone, pt family upset, new orders to check, pt meal not delivered, etc) which means that they often don't have "extra" time to spend with patients either.

    There are certain areas of nursing and certain facilities that allow for more extended patient contact. That is true of medicine as well. So in that regard, I'd suggest getting more information and exposure to different possibilities.

    Whether to go the nursing school route or med school route is a big decision. Hopefully, you'll be able to take some time to really feel out the different areas. Get out there and talk to doctors and nurses, shadow them if you can, see where they work and who they work with, etc. Try to balance your practical concerns with your gut feelings. If you enjoy what you're doing (medicine or nursing), the obstacles and stresses will be exciting challenges.

    Good luck!
  8. by   sirI
    Hello, moyz,

    Check out this thread where several have discussed this topic:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/stuck...ight=medschool

    I, too, considered med school and was accepted, but decided my career as APN was where I wanted to be.

    Good luck with your decision(s).

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