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Nursing or Medical School

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Yosemite Yosemite (New) New

Hi everyone,

I am new to this list serve so this is my first post. I am a male in my mid-thirties and am undergoing a career change. I am considering medical school but scringe when I consider all of the years of training that are ahead. I have completed two years of pre-reqs towards medical school and have done very well so far.

Anyways, the college that I attend has just completed an arrangement with two regional hospitals (in the Upper Midwest) whereas the hospitals will pay a certain part of students' nursing tuition in years 3 and 4 in return for 2 years of service. I think that's an excellent idea for someone like myself who relies soley on student loans and working to finance education.

I want to get into healthcare to make a difference. What does anyone think about entering the nursing field vs. going to medical school? Any comments or advice would be very helpful. Thanks for your help.

Yosemite

Have you thought about physician assistant school. I know many people who start out going for pre-med and change to PA school. You have a broad scope and they usually like you to have a pre med background.

J

Don't castrate your earning potential...

Do anything BUT nursing.

Kennedyj & wildtime88: Thanks for your suggestions. I did look into PA school also but I quickly found out that the schools really like to see a significant amount of healthcare experience in their applicants. I found out that there are many RN's, CNA's, EMT's and Paramedics, etc.. that apply each year. I do have hospital volunteer experience but I certainly fall short when compared to the above mentioned careers.

nursedude: I can see where you are coming from with the earnings potential argument. Seems like the NYC and Minneapolis, MN areas pay nurses the most. I suspect that the strong union presence in these cities has something to do with that. Otherwise, pay really varies across the country. From reading your other posts on this site you seem unhappy with nursing. Have you thought about going the NP or PA route? How about becoming a CRNA? I'm just curious, that's all. Thanks again.

Yosemite,

No...

That's my answer. I have thought about becoming a PA, CRNP and even an MD. Quite frankly, I wouldn't recomend any career to anyone in healthcare at present. I think that healthcare is under such severe financial strain right now that it's about to implode. Doctors, nurses, xray techs, all the folks in healthcare are dependant on an archaic and expensive system. How much longer and how much higher can the cost of healthcare get before it becomes un-affordable? I'd say that within the next 10 or 20 years we'll see the end of healthcare in the USA as we know it. I'm suggesting that soon government sponsored healthcare will arrive on a nationwide basis. Once that happens the system (healthcare) will collapse.

Well, that's just my opinion, especially here in Pittsburgh. As far as your pointing out the salaries being higher in bigger cities I agree but also worth noting is that the salaries are most likely higher in those big cities because the cost of living is higher as well.

Stay in medicine but definitely make your goal a physician assistant, nurse practitioner or MD. Stay away from bedside nursing. You'll feel better about yourself. :cool:

Originally posted by tonchitoRN

Stay in medicine but definitely make your goal a physician assistant, nurse practitioner or MD. Stay away from bedside nursing. You'll feel better about yourself. :cool:

Not to sound sexist, but it's too bad you are male. I am an OB nurse who works in the low risk LDRP setting. I have done high risk, level II, and low risk, and I love every aspect of maternal-child care. We need more good nurses, but managers are reluctant to place men on the OB units.

The difference between nurses and doctors? Nurses TAKE CARE of the patient. You go, do your 8 or 12 hour shift, then you leave the hospital and go home to your life. Doctors focus on CURING the patient, and wear beepers, take insane call hours and seem to have a harder time getting away from their careers, not to mention the liability they carry. One family practice doctor and I sat down and figured out that I took home more income than she did after she paid her overhead for her practice and insurance. For some doctors, it's not about the money, but how they want to spend their life.

debbyed

Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

I work with several guys in the ER and they love the work as much as I do. We find we can live quite confortable on our income and when we go home our job is done. No patients calling all hours of the night. In this day and age you couldn't pay me enough to be a doctor.

I graduated from an ADN program in 1984. I have never regretted the decision to become a nurse. I have worked construction, in the oil fields and had my own business building houses. I had an opportunity to go to med school. But I don't like most of the Dr's I know. I figure I don't want to become something I dislike. I think if you feel that you might want to be a doc, that is what you ought to do. Otherwise you may become a bitter nurse. Good luck, Gary

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

If you want to get rich nursing is your worst choice. If you want to care for people it is the best. Your personality is part of your treatment, and you get to know people at their worst and best. We see some real characters in the hospital, and you will be ringside for all of the drama and emotion. You must pick your hospital carefully though as with a patient load of 10-15 you won't have time to enjoy your career. I love my job and would never change it, but I have good staffing and a supportive hospital community. Make sure you plan on giving yourself the same advantages.

If I could snap my fingers and be a multimillion/year plastic surgeon, I would take that money and go to nursing school to feed my soul as well as my wallet.

To everyone who has replied,

Just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to my post. I am still debating but nursing school sure seems like a more attainable and equally rewarding career. The college that I attend will start to offer a one year BS, RN degree next September for those students who already have a bachelors degree and have completed the pre-nursing requirements. Basically, it's an accelerated program cramming the 2 1/2 year professional nursing program into 1 year...... yikes! So, within 2 years from now, I could be employed, compared to the 9 or so years (and $150k debt) that it would take me to become a physician.

Gee, I didn't know that gender played such as role in OB units. Not sure what to think of that. I appreciate everyone's comments on money and lifestyle choices. Sounds like you all have chosen the right career for you.

Yosemite

I have the same views when it comes to the status of healthcare in America. I am just finishing up my first year in nursing school and I have been aware of this fact before I started. Eventually, I would like to go into policy making in the future. You seem to have a knack for that field as well, seeing as you have many opinions as to the dire straights the nursing field is in. Why haven't you sought a career in administration or policy making in nursing?

Yosemite,

No...

That's my answer. I have thought about becoming a PA, CRNP and even an MD. Quite frankly, I wouldn't recomend any career to anyone in healthcare at present. I think that healthcare is under such severe financial strain right now that it's about to implode. Doctors, nurses, xray techs, all the folks in healthcare are dependant on an archaic and expensive system. How much longer and how much higher can the cost of healthcare get before it becomes un-affordable? I'd say that within the next 10 or 20 years we'll see the end of healthcare in the USA as we know it. I'm suggesting that soon government sponsored healthcare will arrive on a nationwide basis. Once that happens the system (healthcare) will collapse.

Well, that's just my opinion, especially here in Pittsburgh. As far as your pointing out the salaries being higher in bigger cities I agree but also worth noting is that the salaries are most likely higher in those big cities because the cost of living is higher as well.

Not to sound sexist, but it's too bad you are male. I am an OB nurse who works in the low risk LDRP setting. I have done high risk, level II, and low risk, and I love every aspect of maternal-child care. We need more good nurses, but managers are reluctant to place men on the OB units.

The difference between nurses and doctors? Nurses TAKE CARE of the patient. You go, do your 8 or 12 hour shift, then you leave the hospital and go home to your life. Doctors focus on CURING the patient, and wear beepers, take insane call hours and seem to have a harder time getting away from their careers, not to mention the liability they carry. One family practice doctor and I sat down and figured out that I took home more income than she did after she paid her overhead for her practice and insurance. For some doctors, it's not about the money, but how they want to spend their life.

I have worked with quite a few male L&D nurses over the years, including one that was nurse manager of a very busy unit in Detroit. If the Ob/Gyn can be a male, why can't a male be a nurse there?

I hear so many people say to steer clear of nursing either because of pay, or because of perception... actually, a million different reasons. But you know what I've found in my long quest to find the career that fits me? Most everyone says that exact thing about most every profession. I have friends that are: teachers, doctors, nurses, school psychologist, counselors, IT professionals, "working in corporate America", everything... and you know what? So many of them say the same thing... "Don't become a teacher, school psychologist, nurse, doctor, counselor, etc..." It seems to me that no one is happy in what they do, except maybe for the lone individual that chooses to work for Greenpeace or trek through the Far East looking for fossils (both friends of mine). So what I have concluded is this: You are only as happy as you allow yourself to be. All careers will have their unique challenges and strains, and it's up to you to find the right fit within that profession and diligently pursue happiness.

Best wishes!

J

Yosemite,

Not to sound rude, but I think you need to take things one step at a time. You can't go to medical school before you have a bachelor's degree. Nursing and medicine require two very different educational paths. If you decide on nursing, you will have to take some basic science classes, psychology, nutrition, statistics, and several nursing classes. If you decide on medical school you will have to obtain a bachelor's degree (most people major in one of the sciences) and take several pre-req classes. These include anatomy and physiology, o-chem, physics, and some schools require calculus. Then you must take the MCAT (medical college admissions test). You also need a really high GPA. You can always get a bachelor's degree in nursing, take o-chem and physics while in nursing school, and apply to med school later if you still want to go and still have that wonderful GPA. But med school is a really long, really difficult road. I was one of those people who started out in college as pre-med and didn't make it (like most of my class). But now I am happier for having chosen nursing and plan to become a CRNA. I agree with the other posters that PA school might be a viable option for you-- it requires a bachelor's degree and the same pre-med courses, but you would only be required to go to school an additional 2 years for your master's.

There are PA programs that aren't Master's Programs. Out here in California, there are Bachelor's and certificate programs. As far as the Medical vs. Nursing path. Where schooling is concerned, you can get a BSN and take the additional premed requirements as the previous poster stated before. If you decide that Nursing is the career path you want to take, then go for it. If you decide that you want to attempt the physician route, then you still have that option. As far as the G.P.A. is concerned. You would want to have a competitive G.P.A. It makes it a lot easier when getting into the school. I would say to even have a fighting chance you'd want to keep it above a 3.0. But I have known people in medical school that had below that. Also, if you are dead set on becoming a physician and your G.P.A. isn't spectacular, you could apply to schools overseas (European, Caribbean, etc.). I actually met a resident at UCLA that got her M.D. at a Caribbean school. So it's possible. There are also other factors such as your MCAT score, extra-curricular involvement, volunteering, etc. that come into play when it comes to your application. I was once pre-med myself (although I never applied to medical school) and it took me a long time to decide that this was not the career for me (even with nursing, I have discovered that my services will eventually be best served working on a much broader spectrum rather than direct patient care). But everyone needs to find out what best works for them as far as their career. At least, if you decide to get your BSN, you have the option of steering in either direction. If you need help in locating schools, I'll be more than happy to help.

Yosemite,

Not to sound rude, but I think you need to take things one step at a time. You can't go to medical school before you have a bachelor's degree. Nursing and medicine require two very different educational paths. If you decide on nursing, you will have to take some basic science classes, psychology, nutrition, statistics, and several nursing classes. If you decide on medical school you will have to obtain a bachelor's degree (most people major in one of the sciences) and take several pre-req classes. These include anatomy and physiology, o-chem, physics, and some schools require calculus. Then you must take the MCAT (medical college admissions test). You also need a really high GPA. You can always get a bachelor's degree in nursing, take o-chem and physics while in nursing school, and apply to med school later if you still want to go and still have that wonderful GPA. But med school is a really long, really difficult road. I was one of those people who started out in college as pre-med and didn't make it (like most of my class). But now I am happier for having chosen nursing and plan to become a CRNA. I agree with the other posters that PA school might be a viable option for you-- it requires a bachelor's degree and the same pre-med courses, but you would only be required to go to school an additional 2 years for your master's.

I agree with what RNkitty had to say about lifestyle choice rather than monetary choice. Like others here, I too started out as pre-med when I made a return to school. I completed the first 2 years of a BS in microbiology, thinking I was well on my way to becoming a doctor....then I started working at a teaching hospital. :eek: I'm now spending the next year completing my nursing pre-reqs, hehe.

As an intern or resident: a nationwide law went into effect not long ago that limits the hours that they can work to 80 per week. However, finding hospitals that adhere to that policy may be another issue...some still push residents to over 100 hours/week. As staff, it just depends on what type of facility you work in, what specialty, etc. I've seen anywhere from 60-well over 100 hrs/week put in (almost all of them had families at home).

As an RN, again I would think that it depends on your specialty, and what type of facility you work in, what type of company (staff vs. travel, etc). The nurses on my unit (L&D) put in anywhere from 36-50 hrs/wk, more toward the higher end if they have to stay after a busy shift to finish up charting, etc. I'm sure the nurses here can add more to that. :)

I made the decision that having a life away from work and a lot of family time was more important to me personally. I also enjoyed the closer patient contact you have as an RN vs. a MD. And as mentioned above, the required course of study is very, very different (Med schools are pretty uniform in their pre-reqs: Any 4-yr degree with completion of 1 yr each of organic and inorganic chem, general biology, physics, english, and Calc 1.). However...if you find that having your MD is something you feel you truly want to do, by all means, don't let the difficult course sway you. Med schools will tell you up front they have students that enter well into their 30's and 40's after a career change, it just depends on what course of action you feel you would get the most satisfaction from. Because at the end of the day I think the most important thing is to be happy with who and where you are. :)

hey. i just wanted to let you know that you should really do more research for yourself and find out which would be best for you. both areas are very wonderful and rewarding. remember that nursing isn't just sitting at a sick person's bed. you can work in the community, in a psych ward, you can be a forensic nurse, be a flight nurse, work in a trauma center or be a nurse practitioner and open your own clinic. there are no limits to nursing. it is true that doctors get paid a whole lot more, but there jobs may be more time demanding a stessful. look into both areas, research, talk to people in the field... and then make your decision. good luck :balloons:

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