Question for Practicing NPs



I was wondering if there was anyone out there who wanted to be a doctor (MD or DO) but became an NP instead. If so, how do you feel about your decision?

Thank you!

marty6001, EdD, EMT-P, APRN

4 Articles; 157 Posts

Specializes in ER, Critical Care, Paramedicine. Has 18 years experience.

I didn't "want' to be a doctor, but while I was in school finishing my APRN, I heard from a lot of residents how awful my decision was to get my ACNP... Yes.. Awful how I had 24 hours of clinical vs their 80plus, awful how I was getting paid throughout school an RN salary, awful how I didn't need to work... You get my point.. I think if you go into being an APRN with the mindset that your still a nurse, just focusing on different things, it'll be fine.. Those that truly want to be doctors go to medical school and have wonderful careers.. For me, I'm very happy with my decision to be a nurse!!

Christen, ANP

290 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Orthopedics, Hospitalists. Has 6 years experience.

I thought about being a doctor wayy back when before nursing school, but decided I wanted to have a life before age 30. ;) I haven't really regreted my decision, though I think I could have done very well in either profession.


31 Posts

I'm told all the time by the residents I work with that they wish they had known about NP's before they applied to Medical School. I think they are implying that they would have made a different choice if given the chance. Certainly both careers are rewarding (though depending on the field in Medicine, there are certainly opportunities for much greater financial reward... But it's not all about the money is it!?)

No regrets.


40 Posts


I am not practicing yet as an NP - still in school. Yes, my goal was to go to Med school right after nursing school. My grades were very good. I'd dreamed about medicine. Although, despite all the crap at work, I liked nursing too (interacting with patients part). I started taking pre-med classes while working full time nights. However, feeling my bio clock ticking (I was close to 30 and still taking pre-med courses), I had to decide whether to have a family or to become a doc. I chose the former. I still miss my former aspirations but less and less. However, I had an opportunity to whitness (my husband is a doc) what the MDs go thorugh in school and beyond to achieve their goals and I am not sorry I chose nursing. My husb. still has nightmares about him med. school after decades of not being there any more. I guess, we can call it PTSD!

You have to decide what is important to you and take it from there!

Good luck!


16 Posts

Whew, this question stirs up all sorts of feelings! Some of us are raised in a family where being a DOCTOR is considered the highest achievement. Not to mention a society that tends to place docs on pedestals. If I had a dime for the number of times my father said, "You're too smart to be a nurse--become a doctor!" Blech. Don't do that to your children.

Yes, I considered it. Before I made my decision, I shadowed NPs and MDs/DOs. I chose the NP path because of the dynamic, brilliant, compassionate people I met who were NPs, who loved their jobs, and who made sure that their FAMILIES were still the first priority in their lives. I'm not saying that MDs/DOs don't have these qualities--but many told me that it was very hard to balance work and family. Namely the ones who are women.

Choosing your life's path is not about the slaps on the back you hope to get, the name in lights, or the big, fat check (although money is helpful)--you have to think about what makes you tick and what you value to decide which way to go. Both paths are honorable and very challenging. I chose the NP path because I knew it would give me the opportunity to balance life and work; I can also change the specialty I work in (within reason) and have very flexible hours.

Yes, I've had to explain what an NP is/does so many times. But this profession is great--I wouldn't change the (rocky) road it took to get here.

Good luck!


11 Posts

Wow - thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. You've given me some great perspectives as I start on my applications and my future career.