Torn between Nursing and Medicine

  1. 0
    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 to care for a patient, not just treat their disease. Sadly, I love the medical model as well and I'm torn between the two. I've considered mid-level care, but I'm unsure of what I would be content with. For a time, I was highly considering DNP or CRNA, but cynics have stated I could finish med school in the same amount of time.

    If you haven't read my previous posts, I will give a summary of myself and the path I plan on taking. I just turned 17, but I've been in college since I was 16. I'm in my second semester of getting my pre-reqs for a BSN program and I have two more semesters left before I plan on applying for direct entry to aforementioned program. The program will take two years to complete, leaving me with summers sans schooling. I was contemplating taking the courses needed for medical school during the summer semesters "just in case". If all goes as planned, I will graduate with my BSN in 2014. As stated in my other posts, I have two specialties of choice: emergency medicine and global health. If I were to go the MD route, I would definitely be interested in trauma surgery (mainly why I was considering MD over NP).

    I know that medical schools generally frown upon nursing degrees, but if I have a great GPA, high MCAT scores and the required courses, is there any reason I wouldn't be considered? I've been told that I shouldn't take up a spot in nursing school if I'm even considering medicine, but for the time being, nursing is what I want to do.

    I guess my main questions are: Has anyone here considered medicine instead of nursing (or vice versa)? If so, what was the outcome? Do medical schools really oppose nursing degrees as much as it seems? For the DNPs or CRNAs...how do you feel about your job? Would you change anything about your choice of career?

    Thanks so much!
  2. 121 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    well you certainly use the language of an MD.
  4. 0
    Quote from brandon2011
    well you certainly use the language of an MD.
    What does that mean?



    OP: I briefly considered medicine when I first started thinking about the healthcare field, but ultimately couldn't stomach the thought of that much more schooling (I was already changing majors halfway through my undergrad career and adding a fifth year of college). I'm a little confused by your first paragraph, where you say that you love the nursing model, apparently, for the very thing that differentiates it from the medical model. What exactly interests you in the medical model, then?

    I don't know anything about the attitude med schools take towards nurses, but I thought I remembered hearing something about how schools were starting to try to think outside the box in terms of accepting degrees in other than just the hard sciences -- history, for instance, or English. I'd imagine there'd be room for BSNs in there, too.

    Also, ignore the cynics. There's this widely-held belief that for any given quantity of brainpower or time investment, medicine > nursing, and it just isn't true. DNP and CRNA may require similar amounts of time to complete as an MD, but they're still very different beasts.
  5. 0
    Quote from Coffee Nurse
    I'm a little confused by your first paragraph, where you say that you love the nursing model, apparently, for the very thing that differentiates it from the medical model. What exactly interests you in the medical model, then?
    I emphasized on that because the prospect of direct patient care is what's making me feel so ambivalent. I want to directly care for patients, but I also want to "cure" per se. I want to control the route of care, but I also want to execute that same care.
  6. 11
    Whichever route you take, make sure you are developing your talents to the highest level you can attain. You sound extremely intelligent and very mature for your years, so I have no doubt that you will be a success in either course.
  7. 0
    Quote from GHGoonette
    Whichever route you take, make sure you are developing your talents to the highest level you can attain. You sound extremely intelligent and very mature for your years, so I have no doubt that you will be a success in either course.
    Thank you so much.
  8. 4
    I also thought about attending med school and instead chose NP... Here is why?

    I want to work to live not live to work... it sounds cliche but it is true. If you chose to be a MD especially in surgery I would gather that you will be on call 24/7. Working insane hours and ultimately being an MD is your life. I am a few years older than you married and getting ready to start a family and I want to spend as much time with them as possible. I have some friends who are studying to be MD's and it is crazy the amount of schooling they go through. Also you are really young and although mature for your age I can tell you that over the next 10 years a lot of things are going to change in your life. This may include or not include how you feel about nursing and or med school. The other reason that I chose the path I have (I am starting school btw in the fall an entry level MSN NP program) is because I feel nursing offers a lot of versatility and will always stimulate me intellectually. I had a career in sales for awhile and could see myself doing that with a nursing degree I could always go into pharm sales or medical device sales, and there are tons of other jobs that nursing are able to perform.

    On the flip side you are young and even it takes you 10 years to become a MD you will only be 27!! Which is pretty crazy. I am a little confused because you said that to become a NP or a CRNA would take the same amount of time as becoming a MD. I am not sure how that math works out because I have a degree in something other than nursing and I am able to become a NP in 3 years. To become a MD I would have to attend med school 4 years, 2 years of residency, and for you 2 years of speciality to specialize in what ever type of surgery you would like... so you are looking at 8 years minimum.

    I have read some threads on here on nurses who went on to get their MD's and visa a versa look them up I am sure you will find some invaluable information in them. Good luck with whatever you chose. To be honest with you I don't think you can make a wrong decision. Sorry this post is all over the place...
  9. 0
    How do you feel about procedures MDs do that you want to do, but are not able to do because nursing limits you?
    How do you feeling about having to follow MD orders (being told what to do and having less authority)?
    Many old-fashioned doctors will tell you to go for nursing. They don't want you to prove that you are capable of achieving that goal. Ego. They likely won't have an answer if you ask them "why didn't youn quit medicine to become a nurse?" hahaha
    Truth is: MDs make more money than nurses. Period. LVN and RN in most states that I know, cannot bill insurance for their services. MDs, NPs, CRNAs, CNS and others can bill insurance for their services. So you see? More power.
    I also want to add that I don't know any MD who LOVES his/her job. Many hate to be telephoned, many hate to be paged. It's a rude awakening for those who know nothing about MD responsibilities before they commit themselves to that career. You can tell by how they treat nurses.
    Do you like working contracts for a set fee, salary, hourly rate or per diem. Think carefully about your lifestyle. You might be called upon to act anywhere. For example on an airplane, you might hear flight attendant paging on overhead speaker: "If you are a physician, please indentify yourself. We have a medical emergency?" and on , and on and on. You will find the answer. Also sometimes, you just have to jump in and do it- whatever you decide.
  10. 3
    I have not read all these comments yet.
    I would say, since you are young, if you can get into medical school, do it. I personally really, really would not encourage someone with intelligence and excellent grades to go into nursing. If you have the grades, and can make all the pre-requisites required for entrance into your choice of college/university, go for it. You can get through the clinicals and being on call when you are young, and the physicality of being an intern.
    I used to work a lot with interns, RMOs, registrars and senior registrars. I have seen them grow up and pass exams, then move into other specialties or areas. I have got them coffee and lunch, when they have been stuck in the OR all day and haven't even eaten yet. I've seen them wading through lists of seemingly endless patients, seen them cry, get angry, want to quit medicine and generally have listened to all their complaints with an empathetic ear. I have seen other nurses guide them in their choices or medications for patients, and when they have had to write up medication charts (not knowing dosages of drugs yet, etc). I have actually guided an intern around for about 3/4s of a day, as she was so lost, I felt sorry for her.
    Medicine is completely different from nursing. I know people who have left nursing to do medicine, and they found it to be a different world, but I think only one person regretted it (she still worked as a RN while training to be a doctor), but not one of them dropped out.
    It will be hard. It will be tough. You will probably absolutely HATE some of your rotations that you have to do, and pass (a common one interns hated was urology and gastroenterology). But you will be on the road to a fantastic career and I do not think you will regret it.
    Don't stay in nursing. Go into medicine. I would urge you to try and find out how to make it happen, even if you have to work nights after school stacking grocery stores shelves (what I've done to get through study), or do any crappy job you can get to make ends meet.
    I repeat: don't waste your time and money on nursing. Have something else you can fall back on, even if you start medicine and don't finish it, you can always go back to nursing later.
    Good luck.
    Katie5, pedicurn, and GHGoonette like this.
  11. 2
    I can already tell that you like to be the thinker and to make the decision. You might not enjoy following MD orders. You like to analyze. You will do better if you have the authority to make decision about a patient's health and wellbeing. I also know that human beings can change anytime. You might not feel the same about your decision tomorrow. You are capable of achieving anything you want. You are worried about whether or not your are going to be happy with your choice. Hope you find the answer. Good luck.
    kaliRN and GHGoonette like this.


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