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NP vs Pediatrician

C.Flynn C.Flynn (New) New

For the past few weeks I've been racking my brain trying to figure what exactly I wish to become in the health field. Right now I'm a senior in highschool that just cant figure it out! Children our my passion but I like all ages as well, so I wanted to become a pediatrician BUT the only thing that concerns me is the doctor/patient interaction I actually want to KNOW my patient and talk to them blah blah blah its just my personality to talk laugh heal... so I've been looking at NP's and whenever I read the job description its like the doctor that actually has individual time for a patient and thats what I want. I just need someone to help me understand the pros and cons of both Thank you:redbeathe

AbeFrohman, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac, Pulmonary, Anesthesia. Has 2 years experience.

let me offer you this advice. When you start college, start working towards being a pediatrician. Get the premed prereqs and prepare like you are going to med school. If you decide to be a NP, all of these will transfer to nursing and you won't have to take extra classes, but if you start working towards NP and decide to go to med school the nursing prereqs will not be at a high enough level to count for med school. Thus, you have wasted time and money on those nursing science prereqs.

If you become an NP it will take less time and less money. You might be able to have good scope of practice and do all the things a pediatrician does. Here comes the con. You will be constantly at the mercy of a political battle waged on your scope of practice. Also you'll probably make less money, but it balances out with the amount you spent getting there.

Pediatrician will give you excellent scope of practice, but you have lost a lot of good years, money, and who knows how the future will be with healthcare reform. But I've read studies showing that pediatrics has one of the happiest (number 2 I think) most satisfied population of practicing physicians.


Specializes in Cardiac.

Try shadowing someone in each field. You will see what they do day today and be able to ask them many questions and you can decide from there.

Whether or not you get to "know" your patient will depend more on your own personal practice goals and style AND on your practice setting i.e. large group with performance pressure or smaller group, more personal style and less pressure to see agazillion patients per day. I have worked with MDs who totally know their patients, goals, wishes and dreams and then I have worked with NPs who could care less, they treat 'em and street 'em as the saying goes. If you have personalized health care delivery as a goal you can do that as a physician or an NP.

I think a better idea is to look at total school time, $$ student loan debt and eventually lifestyle. I would NEVER in a million years trade the lifestyle I have now for the hassle of being a physician. The call, the practice management headaches...oh my word! Plus, I have time for my family and kids. Read the blog "mothers in medicine" and you will get a taste of what their days are like. Sone people are totally cut out for all that and if you want the physician role and you feel you can manage all of that then by all means go for it!

I second the advice given about researching the different fields, and prepare for pediatrician while you are researching.

Bottom line there is big difference between nursing and medicine. Nursing "cares for the patient" while medicine "seeks a cure for the patient's ills". These lines are blurred at the NP level (for some reason if a Doctor or PA inserts a chest tube it's practicing medicine, but if a NP does it it's practicing nursing), but there are still large differences between the two.

Look into them both. Oh, and don't forget to look into Physician Assistant too!