About myself and my longing to be a physician

I have been reading stories here for the past months now and I am really inspired to continue and get my degree as an MD/DO. First off, I am 29 years old, married with no kids, have my own house. I am a registered nurse with my Bachelors in Science in Nursing. My dilemma is that my family and friends are telling me to do Doctor of Nursing Practice with a concentration in Nurse Practitioner. This route would take me 4 years to complete, but my heart is telling me to go to med school. I don’t have any premed classes yet other than 1 year of biology. I am planning on taking the premed classes at some local community college, and the rest on a 4 year university.

Any tips for me guys? maybe encouragement. I do make a good pay check but I feel like I am hitting mid life crisis at 29 because I am not happy with my job and would rather be a physician.

I don’t know how far along you are in the process of thought and self-reflection, but here are a few things that come to mind.

Talk to current NPs and get their take on it: do they feel fulfilled, are they practicing in their scope of choice, respected by their colleagues, and so forth. Also get their input on the “political” aspect of things, as there’s a lot of lobbying going on for more privileges and so forth.

Partially related to political aspects… Some people think that NPs, PAs, and so forth will shoulder more of the primary care burden in the coming years. I would start shadowing physicians in different specialties and try to get an idea of where you see yourself going. If you’re feeling like you’re most likely going to want to do primary care, then perhaps you’ll feel NP is a more reasonable path. I’m not on the up-and-up on their scope of practice, what they can/can’t do, etc, but I get the feeling that it would be more difficult to practice in a specialty as an NP and still have the same autonomy of practice as an NP in primary care.

Also, timeline. If you don’t have any of the med school prereqs, you’re looking at likely at least 2 years for all the prereqs, studying for the MCAT, and so forth; then 4 years of medical school; then a minimum of 3 years of residency. Only you can decide whether the extra time is worth it in the end.

Also also, before you jump ship into another path, I would think about your current situation: is it just your work environment? Can you switch to a different unit/specialty? From talking with friends who are nurses, who you work seems to make a huge different.

The more questions you can answer, and the more “evidence” you can gather, the better you’ll be able to make decisions that feel strong and resolve the internal (and external from friends/family) doubts that will inevitably pop up.

CAN it be done? Absolutely. Just read the stories of other folks here on the boards and you’ll see ample evidence of it. :slight_smile:

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Thank you from the input agnor550. Here in California, I know that the bill to have nurse practitioners more autonomy by not requiring physician’s supervision is waiting to be approved. I do believe too that this is where the future of NPs are heading and you are right about them taking over primary care in the near future. I have thought about switching specialties too, but I don’t know yet what specialty would make me happy :slight_smile:

I would love to be a cardiologist or be an oncologist. I feel like if I don’t give med school a try, I would be resenting it especially when I am old and in my deathbed, for not taking the opportunity and/or by compromising and doing something similarly close to being a physician.

Can you maybe take care of both issues at the same time by switching to a different unit as a nurse? You’ll test out the “is it just my work environment making me unhappy?” question and also get more elbow time with providers in that specialty, helping you decide where you might want to go. Especially since you’d be working on prereqs in the meanwhile.

Any additional training you’d need for the new unit might also help you discover if you were just feeling stagnated and be excited about learning again. Excitement is a nice attitude to have when you’re at the bottom of a mountain of prereqs. :slight_smile:

When it comes to a decision this significant, don’t leave it up to your heart. An internal, emotional longing can lead you to the water, but your logic should tell you whether or not you should actually drink from it. You should take the option that is the most feasible for you, not necessarily what you think you would like to do. As far as the “mid-levels,” NPs are really setting their profession up for success in the future as far as independence and scope of practice. How hard you are willing to work to be the best NP you can for your patients is up to you, like anything else. Preparing for, and applying to, med school is expensive and time consuming…I know it all seems very enticing right now but this is not a journey you should take just because you feel you may resent it later in your life. Should you decide it is not something you want to do, there is absolutely no benefit you will gain from having applied. A bio degree with pre-med conc is nearly worthless out in the workforce except as a stepping stone to grad school. Give it some time, this a huge decision with lifelong implications.

I’ll put my 2 cents in. Being an FNP would not have done it for me personally. I was already a CNM, with a fairly autonomous scope of practice. Wanted to take care of the whole family so going back to get an FNP would have been much easier. However, learning to take care of common problems was not enough. I actually wanted to learn the wealth of information one gets in medical school, in that kind of depth. If you don’t want to learn “all that”, and it is the job (visualizing an office practice), than NP might be satisfying. But it is very hard to get thru med school if you are fighting a battle against yourself to stay motivated to learn.

Incidentally, almost half the CNM’s in my midwifery school had been Women’s Health NP’s. They thought they would be content without the L and D piece, and then realized that was not the case. Shadowing NP’s and doctors to see their day-to-day and their decision-making would help you get a feel for what you truly want.


Ihedian, how did you complete your premed? did you do a formal post bac or DIY (CC vs 4 yr)?

It is great to see a fellow RN cross the bridge to MD.