Pondering nursing as an option

  1. Hey guys, new to the forum so I'll drop an introduction in that part of the forum when I get home from work since I'm half an hour away from that.

    Basically, my situation is probably about the same as 95% of every other pre-medical student out there. Right now I'm just taking general ed courses before I transfer to a university, so obviously this is the perfect time to consider this. Anyways, I wasn't born rich and in fact I'm lucky to have a nice cushy job at Blue Shield of California, because if it wasn't for this I'd be totally screwed. Regardless though, I'm going to have to use financial aid to pay for school though when I start going to school full time, I want to take a full school load instead of just take 6 units and work a job because I don't feel like taking five million years to get through college.

    I've heard a lot of the horror stories about people getting great grades in college, getting a bachelor degree in biology, letters of recommendations from doctors, good MCAT scores and all that and they still get rejected year after year for med school. You can't do that much with a bachelor in biology from what I see, and even if you can, I'm very aware that you can do nothing with it in health care which is where I want to be.

    My question is, especially since most of the pre-reqs for an associate degree in nursing also are lower division courses for biology and/or are extremely relevant to pre-med anyways since nursing is also medicine, should I get an associate degree in nursing so I atleast have some way of surviving should I get a bachelor in biology and then the med schools say no?

    Looking at the options, it seems to be an extremely wise way to do it in my opinion, because it looks like most RNs (especially entry level ones) work at night and since most college courses at the university level are offered during the day, that would allow me to work as a RN while going to school so I wouldn't even need financial aid. I also looked at it, and since you just need to meet certain science requirements to get into med school and have a bachelor degree in something, I also pondered getting a bachelor in nursing and then just doing the extra courses to meet the med school admissions requirements. I would assume that would look better to a med school anyways since someone who has a nursing degree knows a whole lot more about medicine and patient care then someone with a biology degree.

    I'd like to get everyone's opinion on what they think of this, and since I'm sure it would be asked if I didn't say it, here's the relevant info about myself.

    I'm 21, male (obviously, considering the thread it's in, lol), as far as study habits go I'd say I'm alright at studying but that's because I've never had to study. I just got done doing 13 units while working a full time job as a claims processor with a 4.0 GPA and I didn't study that much to get the 4.0 GPA, but that's only because it wasn't necessary, obviously since pre-med is what I'm looking at there's no lack of motivation here. Academics seems to come quite easy to me and while other people struggle and study long hours to get an A on the test I just spend an hour or two of light studying to get the A, so I'm not scholastically impaired. I write papers extremely easy, very attentive, I learn extremely fast and if the subject interests me (health care is one of the ones that does interest me) I have a good memory.

    After taking general biology since I need it for general ed, I've developed a liking for biology, but I wouldn't want to do it as a career; it's just an interesting subject to me. My main reason for wanting to be a doctor is not so much the pay as the desire to be a professional, to save lives (or help do that), and to help people heal. From what I've read so far (plus what I already knew anyways from the general idea), nursing would offer all of that anyways, so maybe even after just getting an associate degree I may decide I like this better anyways, I dunno.

    Sorry for the long essay but I figured questions would be asked about everything like motive, study habit, etc. anyways so I don't want to waste everyone's time! My main questions are in your opinion do you think it'd be wise for me to get an associate degree in nursing first so I'm not financially SOL if the med schools says no (if I just got a biology degree with no nursing, I'd have to use the full amount of loans probably so I'd be $30,000+ in debt), would it be wise to get a bachelor in nursing instead of biology if I do still want to be a doctor and just get the extra courses done, and finally, how much stereotyping and discrimination will I have to deal with in the classroom if I do enter the nursing program? I don't mind working with gay people (I'm straight myself) because generally, their more accepting and open minded anyways so I actually would probably like working with them, I'm very open minded myself, very respectful and integrity is a big thing to me...but I absolutely /hate/ being discriminated against or stereotyped, and I'm not very tolerant of that sort of thing, If I'm challenged I'd rather confront the issue or person then just idly take it or let the insult go unanswered.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Thunderwolf
    I hope you find some answers. Do what you feel will work best for you and for your situation. You are planning out well your thoughts and the possibilities ahead. Good. Shame we would have to lose a guy like you out to med school....but, great that you are at least considering nursing as an option initially as a stepping stone. I will tell you quite honestly...the best docs I've ever come to work with have been nurses previously. These type of docs know what we do and respect us in turn. They also get the respect in return. Yes, there are folks who are gay in the field...just like any field. Again to be honest, most of the RN staff I've worked with have been straight, married with children/divorced with children. But, do what you need to do...for yourself.
  4. by   patwil73
    I don't know how med school looks at nursing versus straight biology, but being a nurse will never hurt you in your quest to be a doctor. One thing you might consider if you're going for your nursing first is to do so at a community college -- cheaper, and if you like nursing enough, you won't have such high debts for the same coursework.

    Choosing between the two is a personal choice, you might make a list of what attracts you to medicine and decide if you can do that as a nurse -- if you want to perform surgery, well doctor it is.

    I have not met discrimination in the field as a nurse except in OB from patients and since I only did that for school, no problems to me. As for working with homosexual nurses, in five yrs I have known only 3 male nurses that were homosexual and if they hadn't mentioned it, I never would have known -- friends might tease you about the stereotype, but professionals rarely.

    Hope this helps,

    Pat
  5. by   SteveNNP
    Hi,

    I was in kind of the same boat as you.....thought I wanted to do pre-Physical Therapy, and figured I could still get my MPT while working as a RN with my BSN. Well, I decided I liked nursing better, having rotated through trauma, er, ICU etc....and enjoy making a difference as a nurse. You really have to want to do nursing, though. It's not just a job you go to every day. You will burn out if that's all it is to you. See if you can shadow a nurse in the area that interests you, eg. OR, ICU, Trauma, etc to get a feel for the field. It's hard to work, especially nights while going to school in the day, primarily because you will [or should be] sleeping during the day. You don't feel very smart or motivated after working 3 12 hour shifts in a row. All this aside, good luck! I was one of 2 guys in my class, suffered only a little discrimination from a few man-hating teachers, but the attention I got from being a guy outweighed it :>P I've only ever met 2 gay nurses. I don't know where the stereotype of male nurses being gay comes from. most guys are married and work in ER/ICU. Don't carry that stereotype with you. Best of luck!


    SteveRN21
  6. by   UMichSCN07
    I was in the generally the same boat coming out of my bachelor's, however, my GPA was the pits. I went out and did a master's in biomedical science, which was a program specifically intended for students who wanted to try to get an "edge" in med school apps. I think close to 90% of my class ended up in med school (including osteopathic), although some still took a couple years to get in after they got their master's.

    Me, I decided halfway through that I no longer wanted to be a doc, so I explored physician assistant school for a while and knocked off prereq's here and there at community colleges for a couple years, then I had another change of heart and decided to explore nursing. Second career programs are great, although very tough, as most are 12-20 month programs, geared towards those who already have a BS, and you typically graduate with a BSN.

    If you're interested in some more specific info, I'd be glad to help, since I've pretty much been down a similar road.

    Mike in Michigan

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