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PA vs. MD vs. NP

by aweaver94 aweaver94 (New) New

I am currently a senior in high school and I"m looking for some advice. I've been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh for the Fall 2012 term. I'm a biology major on the premed track. However, I'm reconsidering what I really want to do. I'm afraid if I become a physician I won't have a life or the opportunity to get married or have kids. So, I've been considering studying to become a PA or NP instead because their hours are more flexible and I wouldn't have to deal with 2-3 years of grueling residency. Also, I'm a CNA now and hope to eventually specialize in geriatrics. Any advice on which path would be the best?

Pneumothorax, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Flight.

Depends on what your ultimate goal is. Nursing practice (NP) is different from , PA practice, and its diff from MD practice.

I agree, the path to MD /DO is pretty grueling but if its what you've always wanted go for it.

since you have come to a nursing forum, and i am a nurse, i will ignore the two non-nursing options (for various reasons). i strongly recommend that you take your bsn (great school, btw) and then work for a few years in geriatrics. then, if you still want to, get a nurse practitioner program that has a gerontology concentration. there will never be a shortage of patients and there will be more opportunities for employment in many settings, not just skilled nursing facilities. you could even have a free-standing practice, and maybe you would find that to be great. good luck!


Specializes in ER.

I posted an identical question a few years back! I don't know if I posted it here (probably) but I posted on MomMD and other sites, there was a PA site I posted on a lot, too. Ultimately I decided to do NP by process of elimination (and I am happy with my choice).

I couldn't apply to PA school without taking the same pre-reqs required to apply to medical school. I figured if I was going to take a year of organic chemistry, a year of inorganic, a year of physics, and a year of calculus, I wouldn't bother applying to PA school, I'd go to medical school! BUT... I couldn't apply to medical school without a bachelor's degree. AND medical school is extremely competitive, I think at the time I read only 10% of people who apply get in.

So one thing lead to another and I decided if I got a Bachelor of Science in Nursing I could at least work in the medical field no matter what happened. I could always take the sciences after nursing school and then apply to medical school. I'm almost done with my BSN now I can say without a doubt nursing school is the hardest thing I've ever done. I have NO desire now to go to medical school if it is as hard as what I am doing now or harder (I can't see how that's possible).

I don't know if any of this is relevant to you. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But it's a choice you'll have to make on your own. I will say though if you decide to go to nursing school it will be a good indicator for you if you would survive medical school and may even help you decide. In the end you'll have a BSN and you can work. If you decide you want to go on, you have a bachelor's degree and only need to take the pre-reqs to apply. It's win win. I know a lot of nurses frown upon going through nursing school if you really want to be an MD but in my opinion there aren't many people that will want to go through medical school after surviving nursing school. Those who have been through it will know what I am talking about. GL!