Do you ever wish you were a doctor?

  1. I feel like I'm asked this question surprisingly frequently, often by family and occasionally by friends, acquaintances, dates, and even patients. Maybe it's because I come from a family of doctors, or because many of close friends from my first degree were pre-med because nursing/pre-nursing on my campus didn't really exist.

    I can say with honesty that I've never come home from a shift and thought, "I wish I was a doctor." However, there have been a handful of shifts where I've come home explicitly thinking, "Holy crap, I'm so glad I'm not a doctor."

    I briefly worked in x-ray during nursing school, and I found that some x-ray techs expressed regret that they hadn't become physicians. However, I think x-ray differs from nursing because there aren't as many opportunities for advancement (vs. nursing, where you have the option become an NP, CNS, etc., along with many non-clinical paths).

    I'm just curious to see if other ANers are faced with this (well-intentioned but occasionally insulting) question. What's your go-to response?
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    About adventure_rn, BSN

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  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I tell them, no, actually, I don't wish I were a doctor. One: I don't want to rack up a 250-500K dollar debt for school that will amount to more than the mortgage on an Average American home and follow me for years to come. Two: I don't want to work 80-100hours/week or more as a resident, for years, to learn my specialty. Three: I wanted to be a NURSE and being so does not make me less, but a person with different goals and skillset. Four: I don't envy their "status" or education. I am quite happy with my career choice and the ability to leave work at work once I go. I like spending lots of time with my family. Doctors frequently can't do either of those two things.

    So no, I really don't wish I were a doctor. I am proud to be a nurse.
  4. by   purplegal
    I've actually never been asked that; all of my friends and family have always been supportive of my decision to become a nurse. In fact, I hear quite often, "I could never be a nurse."
    I will say that at one time I had thought about going to medical school. But, that was before I understood the roles of the doctor and nurse. Once I realized that the nurse did most of the patient care, that's when I decided to pursue nursing instead.
    I do wish I had the knowledge that doctors do; I find their expansive knowledge to be impressive.
    But, nurses are not short on knowledge either, and this is the role I would prefer.
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    Been asked many time- never regretted my decisions to pursue nursing.

    Fun fact: I earned my DNP earlier this year, and for the last four months of his life, my late dad relished telling people about 'my daughter the doctor'. He had dementia, and so I just let him enjoy it.
  6. by   Libby1987
    I haven't been asked in a long time. The bloom is clearly off the rose, most can see it and understand the frustration with reimbursement and productivity expectations.
  7. by   TheCommuter
    No, I do not wish I had been a physician. The work hours and profound degree of responsibility that physicians have are unappealing to me.

    However, I certainly wish I could be earning a specialty physician's wonderful salary. Thus, since I am unwilling and unable to put in the work to become a physician, I can derive a certain level of comfort with what I currently earn.
  8. by   canoehead
    I echo SmilingBlueEyes. I've had times when I wished the doc would let me do things my way. Definitely would like the respect doctors get from administration, and I'd love the pay. But the pay is not worth the responsibility or the angst I'd go through if I had their job.
  9. by   caliotter3
    I noted that none of those who used to bring up the subject with me, including those who equated nursing with obsession with bedpans, ever had their hands on an open wallet or purse to pay for me to go to medical school. For that matter, they did not pay for nursing school either, so I wasted the time I spent thinking that I had let anyone down because I did not become a doctor.
  10. by   whichone'spink
    In some ways yes I do wish I had not chosen nursing. Unlike many others, I did have access to funds to pay for any degree I wanted, and I feel like I wasted time and money pursuing nursing. I wish my parents had told me to choose another major. If I am in the position to save money towards a college funds for any kids I have, I would tell them to choose something else or I would not pay. As a doctor, I would have more respect, even as a female doctor. I do not get any of that as a nurse. I would have to take out massive loans (just for medical school) but with a higher salary, I wouldn't have any trouble paying it off. I am not sure how I feel about long hours on call and the long hours new physicians have to complete during residency. Just another part of that line of work I guess. I wouldn't like it if I had kids, but I don't have kids at this time.
  11. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    I do sometimes regret not at least trying for medical school, especially now that I am in a mental space that is significantly healthier than my teens/early to mid-20s.

    Ultimately I don't think I want the long hours or the responsibility but the thought is still there.
  12. by   Buyer beware
    POSTED BY jpsartrean
    RATING G
    SCORE 3
    QUOTE I could have gone to med school. It was just the... science part... that would have given me trouble.
    HINT 1 Small Town
    HINT 2 Michael J. Fox
    MOVIE TITLE Doc Hollywood - 1991

    POSTED BY jpsartrean
    RATING G
    SCORE 3
    QUOTE I could have gone to med school. It was just the... science part... that would have given me trouble.
    HINT 1 Small Town
    HINT 2 Michael J. Fox
    MOVIE TITLE Doc Hollywood - 1991
  13. by   Julius Seizure
    I haven't been asked that in a long time. But when I was first going to college and people found out that I had chosen nursing as my major, I did get a lot of, "Nursing? No, you are smart, you should do a doctor instead." Which was pretty awkward....I mean, what am I supposed to say to that backhanded compliment? Thanks?
  14. by   WKShadowRN
    Quote from Julius Seizure
    I haven't been asked that in a long time. But when I was first going to college and people found out that I had chosen nursing as my major, I did get a lot of, "Nursing? No, you are smart, you should do a doctor instead." Which was pretty awkward....I mean, what am I supposed to say to that backhanded compliment? Thanks?


    I agree. I once had a doctor upset with me because I didn't have something ready for him just right. He asked me if I was thinking like an RN because it didn't seem so. I was furious. He has no flicken clue how to think like an RN.

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