Can Nurse Practitioners Become Doctors?


Do they need to go to medical school from the very start?

I've read that a NP is able to go straight from practicing as an NP to medical school i[COLOR=#000000]f the courses completed in the master's program meet the prerequisite requirements for medical school. Also, because the student has[/COLOR] already taken many of the courses required in college or medical school.

Is this true?

Thank you in advance.


1,763 Posts

Technically, a person with a degree in English can get accepted into med school. People traditionally go the premed or biology route for their undergrad, but it isn't required.

Specializes in Medsurg/ICU, Mental Health, Home Health. Has 17 years experience.

I would think it would be quicker and more financially appropriate to go from undergrad to med school vs. this roundabout way.

roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

That would b a very, very expensive and unnecessary way to gain acceptance to med school.


14,633 Posts

Yes, that is true, the same as anyone else who has completed an undergraduate degree and the required prerequisite courses for medical school can potentially get admitted to medical school and "become doctors." NPs don't have any special advantage. As already noted, that's a v. long and roundabout way of getting into medical school, though.

allnurses Guide

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

I'm presuming you mean a medical doctor (MD/DO) and not merely getting a PhD/DNP.

Can a NP become a doctor? Certainly! Anyone can become a doctor provided they get into medical school, graduate from medical school and pass their boards.

But NP and MD are two entirely different professional pathways--NP is not a required stepping stone towards becoming a MD.


107 Posts

There isn't a direct entry NP -> MD/DO school route. There is a 3 year PA -> MD/DO somewhere, but I forgot which university.


1,142 Posts

Specializes in ED, Cardiac-step down, tele, med surg.

That would be a very long roundabout way of becoming a physician. If I were you, or who every is considering medical school, just get your undergrad and try to get into med school. Becoming a physician is a very long and ardorous process. 4 years of college then 4 years med schhool then 1 year internship, then at least 4 years residency. I don' t know any programs that do an NP to MD track. That would be a great program, but I don't know of any. Even if one did exist, you would still need the internship and residency which is at lest 5 years. The residency might be longer for some specialties. That's a long time. Also, residents work crazy hours with little pay, in some places 50K annually to start. Can you imagine making that tiny amount of money (you'll have a huge debt after medical school) for 4 years working at least 60hour weeks. No thanks for me. I'll just get my NP and have a little less status in the medical field.


304 Posts

There are two actual NP to MD bridge programs (last time I checked into it out of curiosity). However -- Both are international programs, will require you to get certified by the education commission for foreign medical graduates, and I have NO idea if you could actually get a residency offer with a degree from either of these programs given how competitive residencies are and how many US medical school graduates compete for them.


1,381 Posts

Not in the US... the NP would still have to take the traditional premed science classes.

Specializes in ICU.

Anybody, NP or anyone else, can go to med school if they take the classes required beforehand.

Most NP programs won't have you doing the classes you need to do well on the MCAT, and they won't have been recently. I didn't have to learn physics or organic chem for nursing school, and my local NP programs don't require them either. Some med schools themselves don't technically require you to take all the hard science classes any more either, but if you don't have a competitive MCAT score, you have pretty much no chance of getting in anywhere.

Even the people who took organic, physics, etc. in nursing school probably won't remember it well enough to do well on the chem/phys section if it's been long enough since they've taken those classes. The chem/phys section was a nightmare and I took those things very recently.

Most med schools actually have a two step application process... you apply initially, they screen you for a decent MCAT score, and then you're allowed to complete the secondary application if your MCAT score is good enough. Unfortunately for people with good, competitive healthcare experience, like RNs, NPs, PAs, etc., they don't even see your healthcare experience if you don't pass the primary application stage because your MCAT score sucked. So, experience means absolutely nothing if you don't do well on the MCAT in the first place, which is a broken system if you ask me because they'll lose GOOD, competent people with relevant healthcare experience, but that's not what they're interested in up front. :yawn: