Pre-Med Junior Considering Shift to Nursing


I went into college planning on a pre-med track paired with a language major (Russian and Chinese), but I have recently been considering changing my career track to nursing. The more I look into health careers, the more I feel that nursing might hold a greater appeal for me. What are my options for doing this? I know that there are direct entry programs and accelerated Bachelor's degree programs.

I'm also sort of stuck on how long I should spend thinking this over. I've only started thinking about nursing this past month, so I'm not sure if it might just end up being a passing interest. However, I also don't want to put off my decision too long and end up waste time.

Pre-med would most likely lead to being an OB/GYN, while nursing would either lead to being a labor and delivery nurse or a midwife.

Any input or advice would be really appreciated.


784 Posts

I guess I'd wonder why the change from pre-med to nursing... what is the appeal? They are vastly different careers in the end

Also, be aware that all L&D jobs near me are requiring 2-3 years acute care experience, so you likely won't start there and will have to work your way up to that position. A midwife, obviously, will require much more schooling than the basic nurse

Nursing is a hard career to get your foot into. I just graduated and just started applying to jobs. It's not easy because 98% of the job posts want previous experience and the other 2% of the jobs in my area require that you apply under the "new grad" job posting which means they'll get to you when they get to you

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Hmm - In my experience, there are 2 types of "pre-med" students. Some have a laser focus on becoming a physician and have been moving toward this goal since middle school... they know exactly which courses to take, what extra-curricular activities to choose, how to maximize their chances of admission to the school of their (or their family's) choice. The other types are (for lack of a better term) moving along in an "undecided life sciences" course of study without any hard and fast plan & "pre-med" sounds a lot snazzier than 'undecided' or 'English major' .. they like the idea of being a physician, but it's not a burning desire. The latter type are far less likely to make it to that MD/DO finish line.

My advice? Engage in a bit more due-diligence before making a commitment to either medicine or nursing. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into - a realistic understanding of what the educational journey will be like, the job outlook & what the 'job' is like in real life. Either way, it will be a hard slog. You'll be on of 'those students' in the library attempting to maintain that high GPS rather than socializing with friends on weekends. Only you can decide if it's right for you.


456 Posts

Maybe volunteer at a hospital for a while. It's great experience and will give you a better idea of the two jobs.

It's very competetive to get into either nursing or med school (seems like most nursing schools these days have average GPAs, especially for the science prereqs of 3.8 or higher). But med school requires so much more time in the classroom. Do you have what it takes to be a student for 10 years? As a physician you not only treat patients, but also diagnose.

As a nurse you primarily treat and carry out the physician's orders. It requires less schooling and is more hands on with patients. A big portion of the job for many RNs in hospitals and at long term care facilities is dispensing medications.

Then there are the in-between jobs like Physician's Assistants and Nurse Practioners. You may research those jobs and see if they'd be a good fit for you.

Specializes in Hospitalist Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

If you have a desire to be a doctor, do it. That is what I wanted to do, but never had the opportunity due to getting married & having kids. I've regretted not going to med school for a long time.

Now that I'm in my 40s, I finally have the chance to go back to school. Unfortunately, at my age, I would never recoup the investment of med school. So, I am pursuing a BSN and will move on to either DNP or PA school. Is it my ideal path? No, but it's what my life circumstances permit and I'm thrilled that I finally get to pursue a medical career.

My point is: don't choose to pursue a professional career without a LOT of thought & self-reflection. You don't want to say later "I wish I would have...." Don't make a snap decision.

Think very carefully about what you really want. Be honest with yourself. Make a list of pros & cons of each profession and really think about what it means to you.

Best of luck to you in what ever you decide to do! :D

Aspects of both the nursing side and doctoring side of medicine have always held a strong appeal for me, both the diagnosing and determining treatment side, and the patient care side. In the past, the former has had a stronger pull for me, but I am starting to feel more drawn towards the latter. I really think that the "more hands-on with the patients" bit and the caregiver angle that the profession to have seems more attractive the more I think about it.

I realize that, regardless of what I choose, most of my potential end goals are pretty far off. And thanks for the info about how it can be difficult to get into the career. I'll be sure to take that into consideration.

Of those two types, I have been the first type since high school, wrapping up all my course plans around getting to be an OB/GYN, while also fitting in room for language study and study abroad. At this point, I'm starting to wonder if my mentality gave me a bit too much of a one-track mind. I honestly never really questioned my career plans until talking with my school's new health advisor, who has a stronger background in advising nursing students than advising pre-meds.

And I'm currently working on getting volunteer work, though between not being home long enough to find somewhere that will take me on for only a few weeks, and not having access to transportation at my college, I'm not sure if that will be an option until summer. I've also asked around for job shadowing opportunities, but from what I understand, most hospitals in my area are not accepting any shadows. In the meantime, I'm trying to get in contact with people in different health professions and ask for their input.

And SopranoKris, for what reasons would you have preferred to go to med school?


456 Posts

Don't forget you will make a good living as a nurse but you will make a LOT more money as a physician. But I also don't know a lot of nurses who are on call 24 hours...

Have you ever done Myers Briggs personality testing or other career testing? That might help you see where your strengths are and match them with the right career. Maybe your college career guidance office could help you.


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Most OBs have a very different approach to women's health than do CNMs. Which approach is appealing to you?

I'm going the CNM/WHNP route, because I have no desire to be a surgeon, which is what an OB is.

Nursing is more than just carrying out MD orders. It's a lot of decision-making, and actually telling the MD what the patient needs, so that they can order it and THEN the nurse carries it out (or sometimes, has already carried it out). Nurses are the ones who spend time with patients, much more so than doctors do. Doctors treat physical conditions, nurses treat the human condition.

Give it more time before you change things up, but keep looking for those shadowing opportunities, and keep talking to people, because the more info with which you can arm yourself, the better.