Nurse or Doctor *Please Help*

  1. I am wondering how many nurses would like to be a doctor, and why? I am trying to help one of my best friends decide either nursing or pre-med, (or maybe both) And I would like to get some actual nurses opinions

    -If you had the chance would you become a MD?
    -If so, why?
    -If Not, why?

    Please help, Its a huge decision on her part, there aren't much on the list of Pro's and Con's (except nursing field isn't hiring too much, and MD holds hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt)
  2. Visit chrisciwi profile page

    About chrisciwi

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 55; Likes: 17
    anything lol; from US

    17 Comments

  3. by   NightNurseRN
    I would not want to be an MD. Mostly because it takes up too much time and family time is soooo important to me. I page MDs at all hours of the night if there are urgent matters. Of course this depends on what kind of MD one is.
  4. by   GilaRRT
    Quote from chrisciwi

    Please help, Its a huge decision on her part, there aren't much on the list of Pro's and Con's (except nursing field isn't hiring too much, and MD holds hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt)
    You may need to do a little more research. There are many open nursing positions; however, many require relocation and working in less than ideal environments.

    In reality the Doctor/RN debate is about making a life decision. If you want to be a doctor, you will have to give up a significant portion of your life to make this goal a reality. Over a decade of your life will go into your initial education. Therefore, you need a very specific goal oriented mind set to peruse this as a career. If she is not willing to put her life on hold for 12 or more years, then the decision will be quite easy.
  5. by   kellyCaitlin
    I'm having the same dilemma.
    My dAds a Dr. But all of that schooling wasn't appealing to me, so I started nursing school. But now that I have found a passion for medicine im torn. So im doing ns and getting all of my med school pre reqs to keep both options open.
  6. by   chrisciwi
    Quote from GilaRN
    You may need to do a little more research. There are many open nursing positions; however, many require relocation and working in less than ideal environments.

    In reality the Doctor/RN debate is about making a life decision. If you want to be a doctor, you will have to give up a significant portion of your life to make this goal a reality. Over a decade of your life will go into your initial education. Therefore, you need a very specific goal oriented mind set to peruse this as a career. If she is not willing to put her life on hold for 12 or more years, then the decision will be quite easy.
    Both of those are really good points. But about the time in education, she plans on becoming a CRNA so there isn't much of a gap in between CRNA and nursing.
  7. by   IHeartPeds87
    Okay I recently struggled with this same issue and I decided on nursing for a variety of reasons. The main reason for me, was patient care. The focus of nurses is patient care. Yes, ofcourse nurses use their medical knowledge to help patients, as do physicians. They differ in their jobs on the FOCUS. The main job of nurses is the PATIENT part of that sentence; the main job of physicians is the MEDICAL part of that sentence.

    Again, ultimately both jobs use medical knowledge to help patients...but the focus is vastly different.

    I think your friend needs to decide what aspect of care she wants to focus on. Is she doing this job mainly for a love of science? For an interest in the human body? Then I think your friend should become a doctor. Is your friend doing this mainly because of patient care? Then I think your friend should become a nurse.

    Other then this, there are many other things to consider as well. First of, how much time does your friend have? Becoming a doctor is 4 years of undergrad+4 years of medical school + a minimum of 3 years of residency. Becoming a nurse is a minimum of 1 year of prereq's + 2 years of nursing school (as the shortest route, if your friend goes straight to BSN then it is 4-5 years).

    Also, what kind of money does your friend need to make to support a lifestyle? Doctors make more money then nurses. A lot more. Nursing makes enough for me to support my lifestyle, but it may not for some people.

    How much debt is your friend willing to go in? If your friend plans on becoming a doctor, your friend will have a lot of debt. They will probably make enough money to pay it off, but it will take awhile.

    How important is authority to your friend? I'm not saying that nurses don't have authority, but in general they tend ot have less then doctors. This may or may not be important ot your friend.

    How important is it to your friend to be able to "switch"? What i mean is, as a doctor if you become a pediatrician it is difficult to switch to oncology (fellowship, and still you will probably have to work with kids). If you are a pediatric nurse and want to work with adults, it is just a matter of getting hired in a place working with adults (which isn't necessarily easy once you have started working somewhere to switch, but its easier then it would be for physicians).

    How important is a flexible schedule to your friend? In general it seems that nurses have more flexible hours, in terms of 12 hour shifts 3 days a week instead of having to go in everyday. Also, when a nurse leaves work, generally speaking the nurse is off duty. This isn't necessarily the case for physicians, many carry beepers, etc (not true of all physicians again, I am speaking generally).

    All in all, those are the main points I would urge your friend to consider. If ur friend is still having difficulty deciding, he/she can always get a BSN and use the elective credits to complete the premed requirements. At that point, if your friend decides to become a doctor he/she can take the mcat and apply. If he/she wants to do nursing then they can forget that and study for the NCLEX.

    Just a thought.
  8. by   llg
    A lot of people wanted me to go to med student because I could ... and my dad was a physician. But all of his friends advised me against it. They all pointed out that a nursing career offers much more flexibilty than medicine.

    Nurses can switch specialties MUCH more easily, move from town to town, switch from educational roles to administratve roles to clincal roles etc. etc. etc. much more easily than physicians. In other words, a nursing career offers the flexibility to change jobs and roles every few years to meet the needs of your life. It's much more difficult for a physician to do that.

    And ... with a graduate degree in nursng, you can be a leader. With all that medical training, you are "just another physician."

    So ... I got my PhD in nursing.
  9. by   GilaRRT
    Quote from chrisciwi
    Both of those are really good points. But about the time in education, she plans on becoming a CRNA so there isn't much of a gap in between CRNA and nursing.
    CRNA is nursing, therefore there is no gap. You will need at least two additional years of additional education beyond a BSN to obtain CRNA credentials. Not including any required clinical experience and science courses. It will still take much more time to become an anesthesiologist.

    If your friend plans to become a CRNA, then I cannot see where the RN versus doctor debate is even a factor?
  10. by   RNperdiem
    How determined is your friend to become a doctor?
    Anything less than full determination, bordering on obesssion is required to jump through all the hoops required to even get accepted.
    I was once a pre med major with a vague idea of "helping people" and a hunger for some status. I didn't have the high grades or the intense determination and didn't get accepted.
    I had plenty of time in my 20's to enjoy life when I went to nursing school. I paid for the community college myself without loans (on a $4/hr CNA job) or debts. These days, I work per diem in ICU, and love nursing.
  11. by   chicookie
    I wanted to be MD but when I finished high school, I was only 16 and not ready to make that type of commitment. So I went to nursing school, which now sometimes I hate myself for it but overall was a good choice because deep down I want to heal people not diseases. BUT I do beat myself up because I set a really high goal for myself and I didn't go through with it. Though that only happens when I had a bad day on the floor.
    For the most part I love it. Plus I had a career at the age of 21, whereas I would most probably still be studying to become a Dr,
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Never had any desire to be an MD. It was always nursing for me.
  13. by   nerdtonurse?
    And keep in mind, "doctor" is not a single thing. There's a big difference between being, say, a podiatrist and a trauma surgeon. One's got office hours, one's on call. There's also a wide swing in the amount of money different specialties make -- back when I was a nerd and actually made money, I was making the same amount of money as a pediatrician my sister went to medical school with. A good gastroenterologist can easily make 3 times that.

    The colleges I've gone to always had access to testing that helped you figure out your strengths and weaknesses. I'd suggest she make use of them, it might help her narrow down her choices; it might not be that she likes medicine/nursing, but maybe she'd actually be more suited for research, or maybe she'd be best in trauma, or maybe she'd need to stay out of trauma. Make use of what's available to help her decide.
  14. by   chrisciwi
    These are some great opinions and I am showing her tonight!

    I am just starting nursing school and I am actually taking my med school pre req along with nursing major courses. If i decide not to go into med school, I will leave college with a BSN, and a minor in chemistry and a minor in biology.

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