Young -- should pursue NP or MD?

  1. I am sure this question has been answered in previous posts, however, I never came across one that really answered my specific situation.

    I am still young (22 yrs old) and am finishing up my BSN degree; I anticipate to graduate May 2008. I have come to realize that even though I enjoy the nursing profession, I would probably prefer to be a practitioner where I am able to diagnose, discuss treatment plans with my patients, and ultimately have a much larger patient oversight. I would also prefer the challenge of being a practitioner.

    I have spoken with NP's, PA's, and MD's and I get a lot of mixed reactions. Considering I am still young, what would be my best bet? Pursue the NP or MD? What do current NP's see as the pro's and con's concerning the MD route opposed to the NP route.

    Thanks for any and all input!
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   crazylilkelly
    Quote from sistermike
    I am sure this question has been answered in previous posts, however, I never came across one that really answered my specific situation.

    I am still young (22 yrs old) and am finishing up my BSN degree; I anticipate to graduate May 2008. I have come to realize that even though I enjoy the nursing profession, I would probably prefer to be a practitioner where I am able to diagnose, discuss treatment plans with my patients, and ultimately have a much larger patient oversight. I would also prefer the challenge of being a practitioner.

    I have spoken with NP's, PA's, and MD's and I get a lot of mixed reactions. Considering I am still young, what would be my best bet? Pursue the NP or MD? What do current NP's see as the pro's and con's concerning the MD route opposed to the NP route.

    Thanks for any and all input!
    i'm just a nursing student right now but one reason i eventually want to be an NP is b/c it's cheaper for my pts than having them go to a dr. but that's just one reason i find it appealing. just a thought.
  4. by   SuesquatchRN
    If I had the time and money I'd go to medical school. You can take your nursing training to be a better physician than you would be otherwise and will have a wider scope of practice than an NP.
  5. by   christvs
    Well the decision is totally up to you. I bet you would make a great MD and/or a great NP! I am currently in school to become an NP, but I am almost 30 years old already, and honestly, I also really, really love the idea of diagnosing and being more involved with treatment plans and being involved in all decision making with patients. If I were younger and knew I was interested in healthcare at a younger age (I became an RN at age 28) I would probably have pursued medical school. I personally decided not to do that because I would still need to take pre-reqs like physics, calc, organic chem, and then take the MCATs and THEN go to 4 years of med school, and then residency....I guess I am impatient and went the NP school way so I can practice as an NP sooner...and with a lot less bills to pay back too. But again, the decision is up to you. I think there are pros and cons to both professions.
  6. by   caldje
    Quote from crazylilkelly
    i'm just a nursing student right now but one reason i eventually want to be an NP is b/c it's cheaper for my pts than having them go to a dr. but that's just one reason i find it appealing. just a thought.
    seeing an NP is not cheaper for patients. Sometimes it is the exact opposite if a private insurer will not pay for the NP survices. Usually, though, the cost is the smae for the patient no matter who they see (10 dollar copay for generalist whether its and NP or PA or MD or DO). Who told you it is cheaper for patients to see an NP?

    the the original poster.. first, have you completely ruled out becoming a PA? There are things about the PA profession that make it unique and some think better than both the NP profession and MD/DO professions. The most common one being that PAs can change specialties as they please. Doctors have to do entire residencies to change specialties and NPs have to get whole new certifications/degrees. So, that is something to consider if you think you might want to change specialties once you start working. As far as medical school, I just dont know that its worth all of the sacrifices, especially if you know you want to go into primary care. good luck to you.
  7. by   marty6001
    Quote from caldje
    seeing an NP is not cheaper for patients. Sometimes it is the exact opposite if a private insurer will not pay for the NP survices. Usually, though, the cost is the smae for the patient no matter who they see (10 dollar copay for generalist whether its and NP or PA or MD or DO). Who told you it is cheaper for patients to see an NP?

    the the original poster.. first, have you completely ruled out becoming a PA? There are things about the PA profession that make it unique and some think better than both the NP profession and MD/DO professions. The most common one being that PAs can change specialties as they please. Doctors have to do entire residencies to change specialties and NPs have to get whole new certifications/degrees. So, that is something to consider if you think you might want to change specialties once you start working. As far as medical school, I just dont know that its worth all of the sacrifices, especially if you know you want to go into primary care. good luck to you.
    While I admire your enthuisam regarding PA's, APRN's also can change specialities almost as easy. As an acute care APRN, I have a variety of in and outpatient specialities I can choose from, as well as returning to academia. A PA is locked in as a PA, with little else to fall back on.

    While being a MD is great for people that want to be MD's, there must have been something that first drove you to nursing. Be it the close patient contact, the holistic picture, or just being a nurse, something drove you to the profession. You should interalize your thoughts and see what you really want to be. Good luck!!!
  8. by   caldje
    Quote from marty6001
    While I admire your enthuisam regarding PA's, APRN's also can change specialities almost as easy. As an acute care APRN, I have a variety of in and outpatient specialities I can choose from, as well as returning to academia. A PA is locked in as a PA, with little else to fall back on.

    While being a MD is great for people that want to be MD's, there must have been something that first drove you to nursing. Be it the close patient contact, the holistic picture, or just being a nurse, something drove you to the profession. You should interalize your thoughts and see what you really want to be. Good luck!!!
    what kind of APRN are you? After all, you even admit "almost" as easy. It is a fact that it is outside a PNP's scope to treat adults and outside a ANP's scope to see children. More and more states are cracking down on FNPs (texas, oregon) and making sure that they remain in outpatient subacute care areas. There are no "types" of PAs. A cardiothoracic PA is a PA. an emergency medicine PA is a PA. The lateral mobility of the PA profession simply exceeds that of advanced practice nursing and paralels that of registered nurses.

    Nothing to fall back on? I'm dissapointed by that statement. PAs work in sales, teach in all different types of programs (uncluding nursing programs), own their own clinics, are administrators in MD schools and hospitals, have consulting businesses, are employed by insurance agencies, and are expert witnesses in malpractice cases. Not only is there plenty to "fall back on" there is actually no need to fall back on anything. A simple google search for "physician assistant jobs" will show that PA jobs far exceed licensed PAs.

    Although I appreciate your input, my post was directed towards the OP for THEIR benefit. I am sorry if it bothered you but what I told the OP was the truth.
  9. by   MikeyJ
    I've actually been advised by NP's and MD's (although not all... but a good portion) to not pursue PA.

    If I don't pursue the MD, I am afraid that 10 years down the road, I am going to keep on asking myself, "What if I had pursued MD?"

    If I did pursue MD, I would probably finish all of my pre-req's and begin applying around the age of 26 or 27, which I don't consider too late.

    Thanks for everyones input so far!
  10. by   caldje
    Quote from sistermike
    I've actually been advised by NP's and MD's (although not all... but a good portion) to not pursue PA.
    I am afraid that, as above, that opinion is often given based on inacurate information. I urge you to pursue information on PAs on your own and see if its a good fit. The job that PAs do is identical to the job NPs do. So, if you trust those folks that you shouldnt pursue PA your decision should be pretty easy. MD is the only option.
  11. by   caldje
    Quote from sistermike
    I've actually been advised by NP's and MD's (although not all... but a good portion) to not pursue PA.
    I am afraid that, as above, that opinion is often given based on inacurate information. I urge you to pursue information on PAs on your own and see if its a good fit. The job that PAs do is identical to the job NPs do. So, if you trust those folks that you shouldnt pursue PA your decision should be pretty easy. MD is the only option. For some people that is the case. If you want to be a midlevel provider, the decision is based on what i stated above, and a few other issues like... you can work during NP school and there are online NP schools. There are no online programs to make you eligible for licensure as a PA. There are other things also... what state are you in too? You should research the state laws and see what NPs/PAs are allowed to do.
  12. by   marty6001
    I apoligize if I offended you with my post. As I am beginning to find in all aspects of life, all people want to do is argue and disagree. I will back out of this post. Thank you.
  13. by   caldje
    Quote from marty6001
    I apoligize if I offended you with my post. As I am beginning to find in all aspects of life, all people want to do is argue and disagree. I will back out of this post. Thank you.

    you didnt offend me. :spin:
  14. by   MikeyJ
    Quote from caldje
    I am afraid that, as above, that opinion is often given based on inacurate information. I urge you to pursue information on PAs on your own and see if its a good fit. The job that PAs do is identical to the job NPs do. So, if you trust those folks that you shouldnt pursue PA your decision should be pretty easy. MD is the only option. For some people that is the case. If you want to be a midlevel provider, the decision is based on what i stated above, and a few other issues like... you can work during NP school and there are online NP schools. There are no online programs to make you eligible for licensure as a PA. There are other things also... what state are you in too? You should research the state laws and see what NPs/PAs are allowed to do.

    I live in Nevada and we have pretty lenient laws regarding the practicing rights of NP/PA. We have a collaborative state and they are able to prescribe narcotics here. I've researched all of my options, and have been researching them all before I started college.

    I've worked in the hospital setting, and the MD's whom I have questioned on what route to choose, they have pushed me away from the idea of pursuing PA because they feel if they are inadequately trained. Not all of them have said that, however, there were a few. There were some MD's who told me to pursue the NP route. I've only spoken to two PA's and they both advised me to pursue the MD route. I've spoken to many NP's and nursing professors, and most have told me to basically test out the waters as a nurse and see if I fall in love with nursing. If not, then to pursue the MD/DO route.

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