Nursing Vs. Medicine

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    Right now I'm a pre-nursing student at a community college. But I'm pretty confused about what I really want to go into. I'm taking Anatomy and Chem 101 right now and finding that I'm pretty good at science and I enjoy it. If I stick with nursing I won't go much beyond entry level science classes... and I feel like I just... wouldn't be very challenged. At least not with the pre-reqs. I have no idea how difficult nursing classes are...
    So, I guess my question is, what are the big pros and cons of both? If I went into medicine I'd get to see the science side of things, which I find fascinating, but I worry that I just wouldn't get the patient contact- which I really want. I first wanted to go into nursing because of that... I don't want to just diagnose, prescribe and then never see the patient... nursing seems like there's just a lot more CARING involved.
    Are there any of you who considering going to med school? If so, why did you decide to go into nursing instead of that?
    I've talked with other pre-nursing students about it (seems like that's all there is at my JC! ) and they were actually the ones that FIRST said I should go for med school... I wasn't really thinking about it until they brought it up. It got me thinking and now I'm just... not sure what to do.
    I know it's probably a better "career choice" to go into nursing, but I don't want to base any decisions on money, or how far I can go, etc. etc. I want to base it on which is, well, best for me.
    How is it working with doctors? I think I'd be frustrated having to work with student doctors, especially once I had a lot of experience as a nurse... I'm guessing most experience nurses probably know much more than student doctors... and I can see that being pretty frustrating.
    Anyway, sorry for such a long post!
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    Welcome to allnurses!
    It seems as though your biggest concern with nursing is that the pre-requisites might not be challenging enough - everything else seems to point toward nursing. Well, except that you say some of the other pre-nursing students recommended medicine - was that because of how well you were doing in the science-based classes, or for another reason?
    I have thought from time to time about becoming an MD (I've been a nurse for 15 years), primarily because I find it frustrating that some patients are treated in a way that I think is appropriate (usually elderly folk being overtreated even though they'll clearly not survive the admission). However I realise every time that this is because, however sympathetic the resident and registrar are, the consultant makes the big picture decisions, and I wouldn't be able to effect change on that level for decades, if at all.
    You're right that there's more science in medical training, but peoples who are great in the sciences don't necessarily make good doctors. In fact there's a growing emphasis, at least in Australia, on medical school applicants to do well in humanitites, and there's more emphasis on interpersonal skills than ever before. One university that I know of (Monash) has dropped a year of science subjects as part of a recent curriculum reform.
    Doctors do still get to interact with patients, particularly out of the hospital setting. They don't get the closer one-on-one, intimacy that nurses get, but it's not all Grand Rounds and scheduling tests. However, when I ask residents in medicine is what they thought it would be, they mostly say that they're disappointed.
    Nurses not only get to implement therapy, we get to evaluate its' effectiveness; in ideal situations we also have input into treatment, but the flip side of this is that conditions are often not ideal, with some doctors seeing nurses as fuzzy-headed maids. This is fortunately an attitude that is dying off, but not fast enough
    I quite like working with junior doctors - they're easier to mold! For the most part they start out overawed, as they realise they don't know nearly as much as they thought they did, and they listen to the nurses. Then, with a bit of experience, they start to get cocky, and ignore nursing suggestions. Ideally, this hubris is followed by a fall, which is when you can start having a more equal, professional relationship.
    If you're still feeling conflicted, have you thought about shadowing a nurse and a doctor at a nearby hospital? While it won't give you a full picture, you'll probably get a clearer picture of what's involved. We often have potential nursing students spend a couple of days on the ward to get a feel for things.
    Hope this helps - good luck!


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