Torn between Nursing and Medicine - page 3

by Loux

14,695 Views | 121 Comments

Hello! I've posted here multiple times about dilemma I pose: my love for both nursing and medicine. I am currently a pre-nursing student, but I'm a bit hazy about my potential future as a nurse. I love the nursing model; I want... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from nohika
    I'm debating between nursing/medicine myself, and honestly considering the medicine route. I love the idea of differentials, figuring out what's wrong, and trying my best to "make it better" if at all possible. I'm particularly interested in NICU, PICU, or Peds Cardio, since I had open heart surgery at under three months old.
    I enjoy reading about why you are considering the medicine route. You have exposure to healthcare so I'm sure you know what you are looking for. The reason is that some people think that just because they had "a childhood dream of being a doctor" means thy deserve admission into med school and to become doctors. Most children dream. It's fantasy. When you wake up from a the dream, you are in real life
    Others work in healthcare for the experience just to boost their chances of being admitted into med school. And guess what, they start to complain cos they have to work night, answer their phone at 2am, gave their family time interrupted, etc. They simply do not understand the demands of the career choice. Good luck with your decision. All the best
    My MD friends say that primary care, endocrinologists, and anesthesiologists have better job options in many states across the board. The rest have a tough time. But, every career has it's tough periods too
  2. 4
    Let me ask you a question and be honest with yourself. Can you get A in the pre-med classes. If you can, go for medicine. Medicine is a much more established profession with a much stronger hold on the power and structure of healthcare. Nurses are important but the doctor is the boss.

    Second, do not fret about what speciality in medicine you go into. The purpose of the 3rd and 4th year of medical school is to give you a brief but objective feel for each of the main areas of medicine and allow you to sample selected sub-specialities. Second, you have to interview and be accepted into your residency training.

    You are young, if you want to be something, go for medicine. If you let this opportunity pass you by, it will be gone. Do your best in the pre med classes (general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, genetics, Cal, Physics, etc) and prepare for the MCAT's.

    Nursing is a profession that can be rewarding but many nurses are burnt out, living from check to check. I have seen to many nurses work until there bodies gave out to have nothing ( I mean nothing for their time and effort).

    As for the drama about how hard life is as a doctor and being on call, the reality is very different. In Medicine you earn your stripes. As a medical student, as a clerk (3rd and 4th year) as an intern and resident things are tough. Once you are past your residency (either passed your boards or doing a fellowship/sub speciality) life is good. As the doctors will tell you, your life is now your own. That is why you have residents, to do your scut work.

    Please do not let other's peoples ideas change your mind. As for PA/NP etc, they are better off then a floor or bedside nurse but you are still not in the drivers sit. For those that tell you they chose NP for the hours/lifestyle over an MD, please take this with a grain of salt. Every PA I have worked with tells me and those that will listen that they got into medical school but chose PA for the hours, to be close to the patient, etc.

    This brings me to my initial question: Do you have "A" grades in the Pre-med classes. If you do, go for medicine. I should warn you, since nursing is not a rigorous major, medical school admission committes do not view this major favorable. I used to work in a very large hospital and occassionally a nurse who went back to do the pre med classes made it to medical school-so it can be done but these are nurses who have hard core nursing experience (ER, ICU, etc) under their belts. I have known several nurses who went back to do the classes and either could not muster the grades or did not make it through the pre med classes let alone the MCAT. Getting A's in pre-med classes is very hard. Their are no dummies in the class so the competition is fierce. Nursing classes and nursing sciences are not academically demanding. They are perceived as hard due to the poor academic ability of the nursing students but these classes are not serious study of the science but rather a light survey of the bio, chem or microbiology, etc.

    Additionally, go see the colleges premed counselor. He or she can guide you. If you get into medicine, do not let this opportunity pass you by. Best of luck.

    PS...I am not negative about nursing, just realistic. I like my job and it does pay the bills but I know I could have done more with my life. I hope this young lady never has to feel the regret I have.
    Guinea, coast2coast, TJobs, and 1 other like this.
  3. 5
    I'm 24, and I am in the same boat. I have wanted to be an MD for as long as I remember. I took all of the AP courses and health related courses I could in high school in order to prepare. I waited a while before going back to school for financial reasons, but I decided I would get my RN and maybe NP and go from there. I'm planning to volunteer at a hospital across the street from my school to get a feel for how things work. My gripe about nursing is that they seem to be responsible for everybody's mistakes. Pharmacy made a mistake? Well, the nurse should have noticed that med. was supposed to be this med. Patient upset? They yell at the nurse because the MD. is god. From what I have heard (and read) on these posts, that seems to be the norm. My gripe with MD, however, is that you don't get the one on one with the GOOD patients that nurses do. I may get my NP and be perfectly happy with that, because it seems to be a good balance between the two. I'm in pre-nursing now, and plan to apply in the fall for nursing. I have made straight A's so far, but medical school is a whole different territory. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen, and you seem very intelligent. I have learned long ago to not listen to what other people have to say, because usually, they talk you down so that you won't be more successful than them. It's a sad truth about human nature. Go for it, and Good luck!!!

    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: Amateurs built the Ark, Professionals built the Titanic
    Last edit by Newby'sWife07 on Jan 29, '11 : Reason: misspell!
    lilaclover, AmericanRN, PatMac10,RN, and 2 others like this.
  4. 3
    If I was your age and could do my life all over again, I'd go to med school. I'm smart enough, but went through a lot of crap as a teen, and ruined my grades. I didn't go to college until I was in my 20's. I love my life, my husband, my daughter, and want more children, so nursing definitely fits the lifestyle. But if I could be your age, with your drive (be careful not to burn yourself out) and then come out at 27 with an MD...that leaves plenty of time to marry if you choose, and have children if you choose....well, I say go for medicine.
  5. 3
    Quote from DNS on the go
    I have known several nurses who went back to do the classes and either could not muster the grades or did not make it through the pre med classes let alone the MCAT. Getting A's in pre-med classes is very hard. Their are no dummies in the class so the competition is fierce. Nursing classes and nursing sciences are not academically demanding. They are perceived as hard due to the poor academic ability of the nursing students but these classes are not serious study of the science but rather a light survey of the bio, chem or microbiology, etc. .
    I completely agree that nursing and med school classes are a whole different animal; and understand that you're not talking about me particularly when you talk about "poor academic ability". You're generalizing based on your own personal experience.

    However, just to show that some nurses are intellectually capable of pre-med classes, but choose not to take them, my prerequisites for nursing were shared by dozens of pre-med students all ferociously vying for their "A"'s.....yet who was first in class in A&P? For two of the terms, it was a nursing student. (On the third term this person fell to third by using more time to tutor classmates) Hahah! Go nursing brainiacs!
    Baubo516, Sehille4774, and Faith213 like this.
  6. 2
    Quote from DNS on the go
    Let me ask you a question and be honest with yourself. Can you get A in the pre-med classes.
    O-chem and Biochem are premed. Many nurses have to take them for BSN.
    Okay you are kidding, right? Are you implying that people go into nursing cos they were not capable of scoring A's in premed classes??? Somebody who has on-stage theater experience is likely to memorise stuff in Anatomy class faster that the other person who is having learn the skill of massive memorization
    If you don't have a good grasp of Algebra, Logarithms, Calculus, you will struggle with Physics and Chemistry. Trust me. Unless you wonna put in the extra time to do emergency brush-up on the Math topics that you are lacking, concurrently!
    Some nurses majored in Physics, or chemistry and they were honor students, before they decided to switch careers into nursing for job security. Some people have bachelor's in music, or theater and decided to study premed courses to get into nursing school.
    If you don't enjoy what you are studying, chances are, you will tune the instructor out during lessons, you will not do your homework well, you will not study much and you will fail your classes. If you are a visual learner, you should get your hands on similar textbooks that have CDROM. I learn better with those and by attend lectures, watching the instructor, hearing his/her voice echoing in my head.
    For some students, they need a little more time to absorb the material as a slower pace. Some have family issue, financial worries, adjustment of personal qualities in order fulfill their academic demands. Many nurses are scoring high marks on MCAT these days. Pharmacology is not gonna be new to them if they chose to enter medical school. There is the advantage of working knowledge.
    An nurse who works with EKG rythmns will grasp that much faster at med school. What about the nurse who works in OR.
    Some take massive student loans so that can have time to keep up with the study and not be distracted by financial worries.

    In nursing school, many students struggle as well. Program starts with 70 students and only 18 are able to graduate and take the NCLEX. What do you think is going on?
    jelly221,RN and PatMac10,RN like this.
  7. 2
    Quote from Ayeloflo
    O-chem and Biochem are premed. Many nurses have to take them for BSN.
    Okay you are kidding, right? Are you implying that people go into nursing cos they were not capable of scoring A's in premed classes??? Somebody who has on-stage theater experience is likely to memorise stuff in Anatomy class faster that the other person who is having learn the skill of massive memorization
    If you don't have a good grasp of Algebra, Logarithms, Calculus, you will struggle with Physics and Chemistry. Trust me. Unless you wonna put in the extra time to do emergency brush-up on the Math topics that you are lacking, concurrently!
    Some nurses majored in Physics, or chemistry and they were honor students, before they decided to switch careers into nursing for job security. Some people have bachelor's in music, or theater and decided to study premed courses to get into nursing school.
    If you don't enjoy what you are studying, chances are, you will tune the instructor out during lessons, you will not do your homework well, you will not study much and you will fail your classes. If you are a visual learner, you should get your hands on similar textbooks that have CDROM. I learn better with those and by attend lectures, watching the instructor, hearing his/her voice echoing in my head.
    For some students, they need a little more time to absorb the material as a slower pace. Some have family issue, financial worries, adjustment of personal qualities in order fulfill their academic demands. Many nurses are scoring high marks on MCAT these days. Pharmacology is not gonna be new to them if they chose to enter medical school. There is the advantage of working knowledge.
    An nurse who works with EKG rythmns will grasp that much faster at med school. What about the nurse who works in OR.
    Some take massive student loans so that can have time to keep up with the study and not be distracted by financial worries.

    In nursing school, many students struggle as well. Program starts with 70 students and only 18 are able to graduate and take the NCLEX. What do you think is going on?

    I think most medical school graduates will tell you that the hardest part was getting in. The curriclum isn't that challenging - they say. It's the volume.
    PatMac10,RN and Sehille4774 like this.
  8. 0
    I have heard that Med School is ok with BSN as your undergrad degree because you already have experience in patient care.

    I think that is an interesting way to go. You would have the unique experience of truly understanding the caregiver role to bring into your MD practice.

    Not to mention you have a way to get easy income while in Med school.

    When you are the Doctor...you can choose how to run your practice....their is no reason that you cant incorporate more direct patient care into your practice..you could even be creating a new type of specialty or service..I would imagine would be useful especially in rural and undeserved areas.

    Personally i think someone could create a niche market for themselves many ways. For instance if they would do home visits as a MD or NP, their are many people, even within urban or suburban areas that for whatever reason, need a doctor but it would be very difficult to travel. Might be that they dont have transportation. Or, for example, The kinds of kids im currently taking care of as a RN, are stable but on ventilators..require 2 trained caregivers for travel, have a ton of equipment to transport, frequently require special transportation services, which take time to schedule, and then they need to wait even longer to get an appointment because they have to go to specialists which usually are not local....So by the time they are seen by a DR, what might have been only a little problem gets alot worse or they end up in the hospital..many times the parents have to miss work because these types of cases have all kinds of specialists they have to see..and for that reason, the parents (being in control of the medical decisions) FREQUENTLY will stall and stall to see if the condition gets better rather then taking a proactive approach (these are complicated cases afterall) IE It would be so much easier for minor issues like a leaky Gtube site or earache to have access DR that could just go to them in their home for a 30 minutes visit!! Im sure this story is true of many other patient demographics such as the elderly/oncology, ect.

    Anyway to answer you question, I think if you are a young person, and intellect is not an issue, money is not an issue, then why no go for it? I would think many NP's could have been a MD but didnt want to spend the time/money, like myself. Personally, Im looking at Physician Assistant, similar to NP at the masters level, but you can go into any specialty with just the one degree, where as NP you are limited to one specific specialty, and you would have to go back to school again if you wanted to switch.

    Have fun with it..many people only dream to do what you are doing!!!
    God Bless!
  9. 4
    Nursing is very different from medicine. Physicians are educated to have a broad and comprehensive knowledge of the sciences.

    Nursing is a human service with the focus on caring and providing custodial care. Physicians are trained in research and advancing the profession of medicine. All physicians have the same background (3-4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, clerkship, internship, residency) and passing 4 national boards. Most physicians have much more training, master's and Ph.D's, fellowship and sub speciality residency, etc, etc.

    The vast majority of nurses are educated at the associate or bachelors level. Graduate work in nursing is non rigorous as is undergraduate nursing education.

    The goal of the training of a nurse and a doctor are totally different.

    My advice to this young lady is go for the prize, medicine. If you do not make it, nursing is there. That is why I ask, do you have the ability to get A's in the pre med classes and do well on the MCAT.

    As I stated above, I have worked with many nurses who thought they could do it ( get into medical school) and they were shocked to find out that the real Bio and the real chem required for medical school are not like the A&P for nurses or introduction to chem we took to get our BSN.

    Please do not think I am putting down nursing and nurses, but I have been around (maybe too long) and know what is going on.

    Additionally, I was a nursing lecturer at a major university. I can tell you that the caliber of the nursing students related to the other students at the university was shocking. The nursing students were so poorly prepared for college level work, that the nursing students were steered away from the general education classes that the rest of the student body took, with classes in english and psy etc set up for the school of nursin sort of like the way colleges have seperate sciences for nurses.

    Within the university's, their was a serious debate on how to address the poor academic preparation and ability of nursing students , education majors and other related majors. As I said, this is a major univeristy that prided itself as an elite university. It has many elite schools with the best of the best but the nursing school was not part of that best of the best.

    I have also taught at a major regional (level 2) university and at a local cc. Students who are studying nursing have serious academic issues. While their were a few who was not deficient, the vast majority had serious academic issues (english, writing and unfortunately some had basic communication issues).
    In my tenure in nursing, the profession has changed and not for the better. As the workforce has opened up for woman, high caliber woman do not see nursing as a career of choice. You might not remember or you may not have alive, but woman were systematically excluded from the prestigious careers irregardless of the females ability. Their was a time if you were a woman you were segregated to nursing, teaching or the typing pool. Sad but true. In those days, high caliber woman were carrying bed pans and turning and positioning old ladies. The world is different now and nursing as a career when so much is open to you just does not make it today.

    As a nursing teacher and as a chief nurse, I must tell you to really look at who is entering nursing. The last batch of nurses who graduated in the late 60's and early 70's is entering the end of there careers, the nurses that have entered the profession since the mid 70's is significantly poorer in quality and ability.
    I remember in the 80's the physicians openly discussing the poor quality of the new nurses. Nursing has responded by importing experienced nurses but the reality of nursing has not gotten better.

    Nursing is a noble profession and my lifes work but it has declined due to the poor quality of people going into nursing. The reasons are numerous and too many to discuss here.

    As I said before, I encourage thsi bright young lady to go for the prize, medicine.
    on eagles wings, CCL RN, ImThatGuy, and 1 other like this.
  10. 2
    Have you really looked into the quality of life for each career?

    My father is a neurosurgeon and he loves his job. He is very successful and can't imagine doing anything else. At the same time, I didn't really see much of him until I graduated from nursing school and started helping him out in clinic PRN.

    I knew I could be a great doctor, but I wouldn't be satisfied with just being a good doctor. That would mean sacrificing having a family (or being part of any future family). That is why I chose nursing over medicine.

    Good luck, it's a tough choice.
    jelly221,RN and PatMac10,RN like this.


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