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Can not make the decision between Medical School or Nursing school

Pre-Nursing   (5,303 Views | 15 Replies)
by dlhonorio dlhonorio (New) New

360 Profile Views; 4 Posts

Hello Everyone,

I am currently about to graduate undergrad with a dual degree in biology and sociology and I have been pre-med all my 4 years of undergrad solely focused on becoming a surgeon (the only specialty that interested me). This summer I have been studying for my MCAT and I have been feeling like I may not want this 10 weeks of MCAT studying to become my whole life (not that physicians study 8-10 hours a day but medical students do and physicians work a crazy amount of hours). My boyfriend who is currently finishing nursing school and my friend who is applying to nursing school (also previously pre-med) both drunkenly one night mentioned that I would make a great nurse and that I should look into nursing. This brought me into a spiral, into depression and anxiety because I am currently in a state of being indecisive about med school vs going to nursing school. I have started thinking that I may not want the lifestyle that is attached with the MD and I really like to have hands-on experience instead of just sitting and going over charts and diagnosing hence why Surgery is the only specialty that really interests me. I like to view my patients in a holistic aspect instead of a disease. I work as a CNA and I like what nurses do but I never thought of myself as a nurse until they mentioned that I should look into nursing. I am a very outgoing person and I like to spend a lot of time with my significant other and my friends and family. Also, the amount of debt for medical school seems not as appealing to me as the very little debt I would be in for getting my accelerated BSN. What I am trying to ask here is if anyone has ever considered the two and what did they decide on and why and if they went through a period of letting go of that idea of being a physician. One thing that scares me is that I don't want to live to work but work to live. I do not want to not go to med school and be that grumpy nurse that wishes to have gone to med school, nursing is an extremely noble profession and hard in itself and does not need pre-meds that "settled for nursing", but I also don't want to have gone to med school and looking at the nurses having a decent work-life balance while I'm stuck working disgusting hours.

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482 Posts; 3,893 Profile Views

In my opinion I think you should go to medical school. You've gotten REALLY far already in that you already have a biology degree. I say take the MCAT and see how you do. If you get accepted into med school, then you should definitely do that! If you dont, then settle for nursing school. Good luck!

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21 Posts; 417 Profile Views

Why not both? It has been done before. Talk to different counselors and see their intake on it. I am in the same dilemma, but I might as well be both. Why not?

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4 Posts; 360 Profile Views

Sorry, would you be able to elaborate on that a little. Do you mean be a nurse and a doctor? Or do you mean a DNP?

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462 Posts; 5,518 Profile Views

Nursing has plenty of downsides. There is no reason why you can't treat a patient holistically as a doctor...in fact, we NEED more MDs/DOs to think that way. Honestly, if you are almost ready to graduate and apply to med schools, I would keep going. The DNP/NP route will take you about the same time as med school as residency, factoring in requisite bedside experience. This is a very personal decision, so talk to your friends and maybe look into shadowing both professions before you make a decision.

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1 Follower; 996 Posts; 6,968 Profile Views

I am a nurse who is going back to school to become a MD. Stick it out with medical school. It will be worth it in the end.

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97 Posts; 2,606 Profile Views

If surgery is the speciality that you are really interested in, then I can't see how you can fulfill that as a nurse even as a NP. I could see wanted to be a General Practitioner and decide to go the nursing route because you could go far and a lot of nurses with advance degrees can do a lot that a doctor can do...but I don't think surgery.

I think you might regret it if you go the nursing route. Our local surgeon, has like awesome bedside manner and talks to the nursing students...has huge respect for nurses and admits they helped him so much when he was starting out. Having a nursing quality as a doctor would be a really good thing.

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107 Posts; 3,014 Profile Views

You're a good candidate for PA school if you want to do a surgical specialty. Have you explored that?

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4 Posts; 360 Profile Views

I have looked into PA, I was considering getting my BSN and working for a while and then applying to PA, NP, or CRNA school. I'm not fully focused on only becoming a surgeon (its the only speciality that interested me becuase of the hands on experience). I don't think I would want to have the life of a surgeon, plus I'm not quite sure if I would want all the responsibilities and liability that comes with being a surgeon. I'm not quite sure if going to 4 years of med school plus all the loans for the slim chance of getting into a surgical residency to only not be happy with my life and then I am stuck would be worth it. I like the idea of becoming an RN or a PA becuase of the lateral mobility since I am a very indecisive person it kind of fits my personality allowing me to test things out until one fits.

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emmjayy has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU, CCRN.

510 Posts; 7,993 Profile Views

My friend just graduated med school, and I was a big part of her emotional support system through it. I'd encourage you to consider the culture of med school and residency because you'll be signing yourself up for years and years of dealing with that culture. My friend is incredibly gifted, smart, and self-assured and med school literally ground her into the dirt every single day for years. On top of the grueling amount of studying, the insane stress caused by tests (much worse than what you read about on this board), and the massive amount of debt associated with med school, there were insane and ridiculous expectations from various instructors and pretty much no recourse if an instructor treated students unfairly. Now she's in her residency and is currently on her third 12+ hour day with no lunch breaks and no end in sight. After seeing her go through that I would never recommend med school to someone. Nursing school is much more tame and your quality of life throughout is so much higher.

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NurseJamillah has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg.

77 Posts; 2,097 Profile Views

Ok, long post, only because I was in your position, years ago. I have a BS in Biology and my concentration was pre-med for 3 years. Then, as a senior I switched to a Biostatistics and Epidemiology concentration. I'd taken time off during my undergrad degree to work, and I attended school part-time when I eventually went back. By the time I graduated, my bio friends were either in med school or working for the CDC, etc., and honestly, I felt like I wouldn't be happy in any of their positions (some of them were happy, a lot were not, but their experiences sounded like ones I didn't want). I also had friends who had nursing degrees and said that although they worked a lot, they loved their jobs.

My personal problem is that I teeter between needing to work/be alone and loving being around people and working with people. That's why I'd considered statistics in the first place; I felt I'd get the best of both worlds, being able to work in the community AND do research. Years passed, and as I was continuously contemplating (aka wasting years of my life deciding) what I wanted to do, I found myself in an outside sales job that gave me alone time, people time, and lots of money. The other problem was though, I am a compassionate person, one who analyzes everything and yearns to be at the service of my community, and sales wasn't doing it for me. I started doing community service in my spare time, but things still weren't right.

One day I had to have a couple surgeries and I had awesome health care teams of doctors, nurses and CRNAs. The CRNAs were laughing THE ENTIRE TIME. Some people might feel uncomfortable with HCPs that seem so jubilant, but I took it as people who loved their jobs. I spent time talking to them, and they told me about their journeys, their struggles, and offered their contact info if I was seriously interested and had questions along the way. So, I decided to go to nursing school!

I am in nursing school now and I have 2 semesters left. After a handful of surgical clinical rotations, however, I decided that although I think I will love being a nurse, I don't want to be a CRNA. After shadowing many nurses, I decided that I may like to become a cardiology NP. Because I have a BS in Bio, there are schools that will admit me as a direct-entry into the NP program once I graduate and pass NCLEX. At this point, I can always still go to med school, but even though I waited 8 years after my bio degree before going to nursing school, if I'd gone to med school, I'd only be finishing my residency now (and maybe hating it). Whereas, had I gone to nursing school straight away, I would have graduated in 2010 and would have been in the nursing field for 7 years now (and would have ample opportunity to switch to med school if I didn't feel like nursing was a fit). I am paying out of pocket, so I know there is a financial aspect also, but I say get an ADN, work as an RN for a little bit and then decide!

Here's another idea: Write down all of the qualities about you that would make you a good doctor. Then write down all of the qualities about you that would make you a good nurse. Realize that what you think nursing/medicine is, and what they really are, are not the same thing. Burn both lists, have a glass of wine, and flip a coin. Just kidding! Good luck, regardless of which path you choose!

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shibaowner has 1 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP.

3 Articles; 583 Posts; 8,753 Profile Views

I wouldn't take drunken comments from your friends too seriously. You should go ahead and take the MCAT since you are almost there anyway. Since you like surgery, it might be good to consider being a PA, NP, or CRNA. Also, an RN first assistant. None of these jobs are "easy" and none of them are "settling." Also, I don't understand your concern about being "hands on." All practicing MDs are hands on. And every one of these jobs do require paperwork. Once you are in med school, you will do rotations in all the different specialities and will have a much better idea of what you really want to do.

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