We've all seen it and hate it. TV nurses wanting to "move up," so they go to med school. And now I'm considering that, too, but I would really like a nurse's perspective on the situation.
I'm about 20 years old, and I'll be starting my second year in nursing school
(ADN) in the fall. I'm top of my class (and 1 of 2 people in my class of about 80 to still have a 4.0 GPA), which I know nursing school doesn't seem to care about ("'C's get degrees!" is all I hear). I spent a year before nursing school doing some pre-reqs.
I like nursing. I adore nursing school itself--I love gaining knowledge about the human body, medications, diseases, etc. I don't love being a student nurse in the hospital--most of it is bed baths, and 98% of the time, I have a complete care patient who's unable to speak. Granted, I always feel good after a day of clinical. I love helping people. (Also, giving injections is my new favorite thing to do.) But what I had the best time doing, though tedious, was the care plan research. I like solving mysteries ("explain abnormal lab values").
My original plan was to graduate with my ADN, get my RN, start an RN-BSN program, then hopefully go on for my MSN to become an NP. Then suddenly two of my biology professors told me they thought I was in the wrong field, and should go to med school. I should say that both of these professors always emphasized the importance of nursing, how we're the ones with the patient 24/7. I never sensed an ounce of disrespect for nurses from them, so I knew it wasn't that. But they told me that they think I'm more of a problem solver than a caretaker; I kind of agree with them.
So now I'm thinking--should I just go to med school after I finish my BSN? I know I'll have to take chemistry, physics, and etc. But if that's a better route for me, I'll suffer through a couple of prerequisite courses. Or would I be better off just getting my MSN (though I hear it's changing to DNP in 2015, which is the year when I'll graduate with my BSN)? Any advice is very appreciated!
Aug 23, '13
My suggestion is to carefully research the differences in education and training of a physician versus a nurse practitioner. Also research physician scope of practice versus nurse practitioner scope of practice (this varies from state to state), and research job opportunities and employment trends for both. If you are interested in becoming a physician, the American Medical Association web site has information on physician education and training. If you want to practice medicine at the level of a physician the training required is that of a physician, i.e. medical school.
There are big differences in the education and training requirements of nurse practitioners and physicians. Physicians, after first obtaining a bachelor's degree, usually in a science, spend four years in medical school, and then several years in residency, and may even spend several more years after that obtaining further specialized training. Nurse practitioners must first obtain an RN and a BSN, then attend a master's degree nursing program with a nurse practitioner specialty, usually for three years. Nurse practitioners with a master's preparation may also spend a further couple of years obtaining a DNP.
Physician training uses the medical model. Nurse practitioner training uses the nursing model.
Good luck with whatever decision you make.
Last edit by Susie2310 on Aug 23, '13