Nurse practitioner VS. MD

  1. I am really interested in family medicine. I just graduated from a good liberal arts school with a great GPA, and I know that I could get into medical school if I went for it, plus I have a great family member who offered to pay for it. HOWEVER, I am really craving the nurse practitioning thing because I love how the career stresses a more patient-geared approach to medicine. I also don't want all of the stress that med school brings. (I am not good at handling stress and usually take it out on family/friends.) I am worried about starting a family during the med school years. At the same time, I know that I could make it through medical school and would be happy with the outcome. It just wouldn't be a fun time getting through.

    Any advice on which route to take? If any of you nurse practitioners had a free ride to medical school, would you have taken it?

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    About Keyzee

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 1


  3. by   EricJRN
    I'm not an NP or an MD, but I used to want to be an MD and now have my sights set on becoming an NP. The thing that would concern me about your post: You won't avoid stress by going the NP route.

    Unless you get admitted to a direct-entry program, you're still looking at nursing school, which is no stress-free stroll in the park, plus one or more (usually more) years gaining nursing experience prior to even applying to the NP program. The time you spend as a new nurse can be stressful beyond words.

    If you think the stress thing would really cause you to damage family/friend relationships, then I would rule out both careers. If it's really something you don't like but can deal with, then I'd go medicine - sounds like a straighter shot from where you stand right now.
  4. by   FLAgal14
    Hi Keyzee

    I actually got into med school this year but decided not to go and am pursuing the NP route instead. But there were a lot of factors involved with it for me - money, my age, and I have a fiance that I didn't want to put through the stress of med school and residency. My great uncle offered to help pay for at the first two years of school so I was somewhat in the same boat as you. It is a huge relief to not have to worry about the loans (as I have quite a bit I have out as it is). But you are still young so med school wouldn't interrupt your life as much as if you decided to go when you are older. Have you spent time with both NP's and MD/DO's to see which you would prefer to be? Like the poster above said, nursing school isn't going to be a walk in the park either. But - if you want to go the NP route there are direct entry programs (usually 2 to 3 years in length) for those that have a bachelors in another field than nursing. That would be the quickest route. Or you could do like the other poster said - which is do an accelerated BSN program, work for a few years and then go for your masters. But the overall point is that you have to go where your heart is - if it's being a doctor that you really want to do than you have to do it - it will be a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but if it's really what you want than it's worth it.
  5. by   jahra
    Hi Keyzee,

    Best wishes on whatever field you decide! For your research,
    here is a link on the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice).
    My understanding is that it will be the terminal degree for Nurse
    Practitioners-at some point talk of it being required for NP's.
    I am not an NP, but hope someone here can give you more
    info on this.

    Here's the link----------
  6. by   BAtoCNM
    I am also not an NP but am headed that way after seriously considering medical school (after graduating from a great liberal arts college myself). What helped me was the following:
    1-Shadowing NPs and MDs. Which roles seem like better jobs to you?
    2-Researching the training philosophy and model of care of both. Which better fits with your personality and your ideals about health care?
    3-Yes, there is less prestige in being an NP. However, prestige isn't much comfort if you find yourself in the wrong career.

    Neither med school nor NP school are going to be stress-free or cheap. However, the sacrificies of either are well worth it if you really want the job at the end.
  7. by   oldiegoldie
    I am not a NP, but I cannot imagine becoming one without having worked as a nurse at least for a little while. I am fortunate enough to have worked in numerous specialty areas, and almost all of what I know I learned by working. A person cannot possibly learn everything he or she needs to know to function in this capacity in school.

    I currently work on a rehab unit; we have a nurse practitioner who had only done nurse management before she went to NP school and she runs and hides when any of our patients becomes acutely ill. Recently she instructed me to feed a patient who had a surgical abdomen. I staved off her request hour by hour with one excuse and another; by the time I went home Mr. L was in surgery. She had no idea.

    Nursing school is hard and stressful, but that's ok because this difficulty mirrors the profession. No aspect of nursing, be it being a CNA or a NP, is easy physically or emotionally. That's okay, though. I couldn't deal with a boring job.
  8. by   BlaineCM
    Hi! I am 3 months away from becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. I too, graduated with a liberal arts degree, decided to go in to an accelerated nursing program and went straight to NP school (with no RN work experience). The NP program will be considerable shorter and less money than MD. However, you must decide what you want from a future career. AS others have mentioned, do you want prestige, high pay, flexible hours, etc. It's true, there isn't much prestige for NPs and MDs make considerably more $. But, NPs have advanced education, and perform similar duties to MDs. Nursing school is very stressful and it is NOT easy! By 2015 all schools are going to change from entry level MSN to DNP. Those with an MSN before the transition will be grandfathered in. The DNP will be 3-4 years in addition to the BSN.

    Personally, If I were really young and had a good shot at med school (2 years paid for), I would go that route. The career of ARNP is a great one, but there is still a stigma against us from some patients. Some patients consider us "junior doctors, wannabe doctors, etc. Although, that is not the case. We have a similar role to MDs, but we have a focus on the whole person and on prevention.

    Good luck with your decision.
  9. by   Onique2
    If nurses desire to have the same rights and privilages as physicians they should be require to take USMLE Steps 1,2, and 3