Do you ever feel like you 'settled' for being an APNP instead of an MD?

  1. Hello,

    This is my first post, so please be patient with me.

    When I first started college, I was determined on becoming a physician. However, I didn't do so well my first year of college, so I knew I wouldn't make a competitive medical school applicant. Fast forward 4 years later. I am currently in Nursing school, set to graduate next year. I have near perfect grades, and have a CNA job at a hospital. My dream nursing job is to become an ACNP, specifically Trauma Surgery.

    My question for any nurse practitioners out there: Do you ever feel like you 'settled' for becoming an APNP instead of becoming an MD? Do you feel like the physicians respect you? Do you have and maintain your autonomy?
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  2. 46 Comments

  3. by   babyNP.
    Absolutely have no regrets. I have better hours, better lifestyle, and the pay isn't shabby either. I have a lot of autonomy at my job- this will vary on your own institution and specialty though.

    Docs on the other hand work 60-80 hour weeks in school and residency for years only to get out at the other end having six figures in debt and a society that is increasingly putting pressure on healthcare costs to come down...no thanks. I have the utmost respect for physicians and their obviously superior knowledge base, but I like where I'm at just fine.
  4. by   jprn2018
    How does an APNP graduate with debt less than six figures? Is it due to working while in graduate school?
  5. by   babyNP.
    Quote from FutureTraumaRN2018
    How does an APNP graduate with debt less than six figures? Is it due to working while in graduate school?
    Go to a state school- the tuition will be much less. But even if you go to a private school, it's not automatically 6 figures. I went to an Ivy league school and came out with $60k in debt with no scholarships. I worked part time for about 80% of it, but you could probably save some $$ for living expenses for a year or two if you want to go to school full-time without working.

    I found that even though it was definitely stressful at times, working part-time was the best decision for me. I made a lot of clinical connections in my mind in going to school and then seeing the clinical application at work. I paid a lot more attention to rounds and learned a ton. I also asked a lot of questions of the attendings, fellows, and NPs about things relevant to my patient at the time. It felt a little bit like a double clinical experience some of the time.
  6. by   SopranoKris
    Quote from FutureTraumaRN2018
    Hello,

    This is my first post, so please be patient with me.

    When I first started college, I was determined on becoming a physician. However, I didn't do so well my first year of college, so I knew I wouldn't make a competitive medical school applicant. Fast forward 4 years later. I am currently in Nursing school, set to graduate next year. I have near perfect grades, and have a CNA job at a hospital. My dream nursing job is to become an ACNP, specifically Trauma Surgery.

    My question for any nurse practitioners out there: Do you ever feel like you 'settled' for becoming an APNP instead of becoming an MD? Do you feel like the physicians respect you? Do you have and maintain your autonomy?
    My "dream" when I was younger was to be a doctor. Fast forward after HS graduation, life gets in the way and circumstances don't allow me finish college right away. Get just an associates in Microbiology & Physics saying "someday, I'm going back to school and getting into med school". Well, "someday" ended up being in my 40s.

    At my age, I would never recoup the investment of med school (typically around $250 when all is factored in). I had decided to become a PA. However, PA schools want hands-on patient care experience prior to being accepted. So, I decided I would become a nurse. When I originally set out on my nursing career, I viewed it as a means to an end. I had no aspirations to do anything other than get the ADN for the RN so I'd have enough in-depth experience to be accepted into PA school.

    Once I was in nursing school, I really enjoyed it. I like the connection nurses have with their patients, which I feel is sorely lacking on the medical side of the curtain (I'm looking at you, doctors). I started looking in to NP programs and comparing it with PA. After weighing my options, I decided to stick with nursing and become an NP. I don't feel I've settled. I just feel like I made a practical decision.

    I'm still a student, so I can't answer on feeling "short changed" personally. However, working in the ICU, our doctors work hand-in-hand with the NPs. They are respected and valued on the team. On night shift, the NPs have a lot of autonomy and round for the doctors at night or are simply hospitalists. We also have NPs in the ER. I'll see what it's like when I start clinicals out in the clinic world
  7. by   traumaRUs
    I've been an APRN for 11 years now.

    Yes, I'm respected and yes I have autonomy.

    Nope, never wanted to be a doctor - nursing is my second career and like someone else said - too old to recoup the $$.
  8. by   Jules A
    What I regret is not having the support or insight as a young person to have even considered med school. I loved being a RN and now NP however I do wish I had the superior education afforded MDs. I worked through nursing school and graduated with no debt which was a plus.

    I feel respected as a NP although it is mostly because I have a lot of time in this specialty and significant professional contacts. The atmosphere of NP acceptance among colleagues is changing in recent years as more graduate, many with no RN experience, who are unprepared to practice upon graduation so I'm not sure what the future will bring with regard to respect.
  9. by   adventure_rn
    I'm not an NP, but I was all set to apply to med school before I decided that nursing was a better fit.

    Nowadays, sometimes I see new residents and think "Those poor suckers. By the time they're an attending, they'll have spent 10+ years and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just to do the exact same job as an NP." I suppose satisfaction is in the eye of the beholder.
  10. by   Jules A
    Quote from adventure_rn
    Nowadays, sometimes I see new residents and think "Those poor suckers. By the time they're an attending, they'll have spent 10+ years and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just to do the exact same job as an NP." .
    I don't know when I look at the "poor suckers" I work with I'm left thinking that with only a few additional years of superior education they are making $120,000-$200,000 more every single year than I make and I'm at the very high end of the NP food chain. So yeah although satisfaction is in the eye of the beholder my rose colored glasses can't cover up that discrepancy.
  11. by   popopopo
    You're probably still competitive for med school.
  12. by   psychnp25
    go into the military, preferably navy or airforce and have them pay for it. That is what I did
  13. by   psychnp25
    I have been an NP for 26 years. There are times I regret not going to med school. I often have to keep reminders for the MD I work with. I have seen some really good MDs and others I wonder how they made it. Go into the military and apply to their med school program. I wish I had. Despite progress for NPs there are still many barriers to practice and to be honest, I am tired of fighting these barriers since I have been at it over 26 years
  14. by   Ben_Dover
    Respect will be earned, regardless of your title, whether you're a CNA, LVN, RN, NP or MD. But it must be, again, earned!

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