FNP-MD? What am I thinking...

I am an Family Nurse Practitioner that just graduated in May. I’m thinking of going to medical school also.

This is what I have always wanted, but circumstances such as my mom’s illness and needs to support my family had pushed me to pursue the Nursing track instead, because I was able to work while going to school full time.

Now that I am done with the FNP program I’m asking myself " why am I not pursuing to be a physician"?

I want more knowledge and I want the residency training. Residents learn so much and know so much more than nurses or NPs. That is why doctors know so much more because they learn so much more in medical school that what I learned in NP school. I feel I have so much to learn and will attain this knowledge if I go to med school.

I guess its fear that is preventing me from just going for what I really want. I’m afraid of the "what ifs"of the challenges ahead such as premed courses and making all A’s and then taking the MCATs and making a great score like above a 30. I am willing to try my best though. I always have.

I dont have any kids and I have a supportive husband. I do want to have kids in a few years. I’m 28y/o now.

Has any of you who is an RN or FNP have came this far in your career and are contemplating to go to Medical school? I don’t want to one day be 50 years old and regret that I never tried to get into medical school… because becoming a physician is what I have always wanted.

I have tried to settle my mind to be happy with the FNP certification I have attained but at the end of the day I really want to be a physician. I know I have to pay my dues to get there. I’m going through a battle in my mind with what I should do. Anyone in the same boat?

1 Like

I am currently an RN and have decided that I will be going to med school. As many of us have heard, the road to becoming an MD is challenging, but the feeling of fulfillment is what matters most.

If it is something you really want to do, you have to remove doubt from your mind and say you can do it. If people have gone that route and succeeded, so can you.

I have mentally prepared my self for the MD path, and everyday i say that i will make it through. You have the FNP experience, if you can go through that, you can also go through med school. Just put a little love and attitude in your thinking, and you are all set.


We have many long time nurses who have decided to become physicians. In fact, at the 11th Annual OldPreMeds National Conference, held this past June in Las Vegas, we had a speaker who was a highly successful nurse who started medical school at 35. She eventually would become the chair of the board of trustees of the American Medical Association.

Without sounding like a real jerk, I want to applaud you…I mean that seriously…

  • I want to applaud you for realizing that FNP’s have a certain, valuable skillset and knowledge base that works well with a physician lead team. Not all NPs I have worked with realize that and get quite snotty in telling me that the education they received is equal to a medical school/residency education.

  • I want to applaud you for pursuing your dream. Don’t worry about the grades/MCAT scores/whatever…stick to it and make up your mind that you’re not quitting in the pursuit. People will see that and you will succeed.

  • I want to applaud you for a post that really makes me feel good. I love to watch people go for it and pursue their dream…

    Good luck.

I dropped out of a BA-to-NP program after the first (BSN) year (I was 30 when I left, now 34) and am now applying for 2012 med school. It is a terrifying process but I have ZERO regrets re: leaving nursing. You can find some of my remarks (edited heavily for vitriol) elsewhere on the site.



@ OMTDAVE, I agree with you. I have gone through my whole FNP training expecting that at school I would have learned enough. This is not what happened. I was a great student but the quality of education was just not there in the program. Nothing was taught in depth. After graduation I learned the basics of treating an illness and was thrown out there in the real world to start diagnosing and treating patients. I was educated in school but I received most of my training from my supervising MD. I do what he does.

So I’m back feeling like I need to learn more… its a hunger for more knowledge I guess…

Its very inspiring to hear that there are others on this journey pursuing their dreams. I really commend all of you for that courage.

As I have made up my mind to pursue being a physician I have more peace that this really is what I want to do.


When I became a NP, I had the same concerns. I think I am a good NP and take good care of my patients, but there are a lot more things that I need to learn. Kudos to you and all of us on this site for chasing our dreams!

  • jjsummer Said:

Has any of you who is an RN or FNP have came this far in your career and are contemplating to go to Medical school? I don't want to one day be 50 years old and regret that I never tried to get into medical school... because becoming a physician is what I have always wanted.

I hear what you are saying! I didn't want to be 50 and regret not trying to get into medical school, so by then, I was already setting in motion starting! Here I am, 54 and a 2nd year med student! I started as a RN, then CNM. I totally get what you are saying. Lots of people ask me why I don't get some years off the training since "you know so much already!". Yes, but it's a mile wide and a foot deep, except for some specifics of pregnancy and normal labor (which is quite deep!). Until we start a new area, I often don't know what I don't know. Getting that depth now, getting the answers to the "why" questions that so bothered me as an NP.

Best of luck!!


Your stories are really inspiration. It helps to know that I’m not the only one out here giving up a career I worked hard in for something even harder, lol. That awesome that you chose to follow your dreams. It looks like you have no regrets. My biggest fear was giving up a career I started (FNP, which took time and money to get me here) and now starting a new career from scratch… I have to take all the prereqs and pray and hope to get in to med school somewhere. I assure my self that at least I do have a back up career…just in case.

Kate, how did you get through the sciences and organic chemistries? Or you must have always been strong in these subjects. In nursing prereqs we never get too deep into the sciences so this will be a new challenge for me.

Good luck on this journey to all of you.

Kudos to you for going for it! I say do it and do it with ever fiber of your being. I can’t stress enough the “strength in numbers” support.

Surround yourself with those that wish you well and support you emotionally and mentally. One key characteristic that will get you though those long endless nights of studying while everyone else seems to be moving right along in life is this thing called “passion” it is by this type of suffering and dedication (an unbending…bordering on obsessive dedication) that you will refine yourself as a person.

Complacency is what stifles dreams as well as what we OPMers endearingly call the F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Remember that obsession is what lazy people call dedication and a tenacity to not give up…no matter what. If this is what is in your heart and soul then do it. Make the necessary sacrifices, changes, rearrangements, etc. that you have to to get it done.

I was once given a quote that has stuck with me and I’d like to share it with you, perhaps you’ve heard it before:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

-Calvin Coolidge 30th president of US (1872 - 1933)

Just remember that those individuals crazy enough to think they can change the world are often the ones who do…

God Speed!

Think of this step as career advancement. Many here are in this transition, from NP to physician. You are not alone. You will continue to provide health care, only at a differnt vintage point. The knowledge you have gain will not hurt. Just take your studies one step at a time as you proceed in becoming a physician.

Hmm…was I strong in the prerequisites? I’d taken 2 semesters of Inorganic chem …30+ years ago…and gotten a B- in second semester. I audited it afterwards because I didn’t feel like I GOT it. Organic, I’d only taken one semester and got a B. Physics I’d had one semester and struggled to get a C…did not get AT ALL. Both those also 30 years old.

So, no, not particularly strong in the sciences. But this was my first 2 years of college after cruising thru high school without a lot of work. Had NOT learned how to study for an A in a class. It was - go to class, MAYBE do the reading, cram before the test.

I took them all in a post-bacc program condensed into one year (not for the faint of heart), spreading it out a little by putting organic chem II lab in the summer after MCAT’s.). Did all the reading, did all the homework problems, did objectives for the lecture if given them, went to class…basically, the basics. The key I think was not letting “fuzzy” areas accumulate. If I was reviewing Monday’s material and didn’t understand it, I’d be sure I’d met with the teacher or TA that week to get it clear before moving on. Much easier to remember the material when you understand it.

Learned I needed lots of repetition in Chem equations so wrote them out repeatedly. Learned I needed MORE practice in physics than the assigned problems, so I did more of them and worked on getting faster (so I could finish the tests).

I think having a work ethic and good analysis for when what you are doing isn’t working so you can change up strategies quickly were the two most important ingredients for me. Got MOSTLY A’s in my post-bacc (with physics lab a major exception).


Thanks for sharing this quote Julio, it was very inspirational that I read it at least 5 times.

Kate, thanks for sharing with me how you overcame the challenges of pre med science courses. These tips will help me as I start to take these courses next semester.


I’ve been an FNP for two years now. I’ve always thought about med school and finally, this summer, decided to take the plunge and go back to school full-time to fulfill my prereqs for medical school.

I can honestly say this semester is shaping up to be the most challenging I’ve ever had. These core science classes are nothing like the “softer” science courses required for nursing. All but one have a lab so instead of four classes, it’s as though I’m taking 7. But as challenging as it is (and it will only continue to get more intense), I’ve never been more confident that this is what I want. I’ve even started to break myself of my terrible procrastination habit! Still have days where I doubt myself… this is why my bedroom is covered in positive affirmation post-its.

It’s not been an easy decision for me to quit my job and live off savings and student loans but I know in the long-term I will be so glad I did it. Easier to do it now at 26 than when I’m further in life and have family obligations, etc.

Good luck in whatever you decide!


Welcome aboard.

I commend you for taking a step to pursue medicine. It is a hard decision to make…giving up a career as FNP which can be stable financially. I’m glad you took that new step and put aside the doubts. I do want to pursue medicine because I’m not feeling satisfied as NP. I just feel like I could do more and learn more. Its almost as though I came so close to practicing medicine… yet I’m not an MD. I know I dont want regrets at 50… Let me know how your journey is going with the sciences. I know this will be a challenge for me. The nursing sciences are nothing compared to pre-med sciences I bet… Good luck.

Definitely, you are not alone. I am just finishing my BSN, initially thought to apply for NP program, but after extensive research and shadowing NP’s I have decided to go all the way from start and apply to Medical School.

In fact, I have asked myself question-How can NP trained by nursing model practice medicine?

I don’t want to offend NP’s they are smart, but they learn everything on the job from MD’s, not from the school. In addition, I love science and I cannot stand the nursing model theory. I have graduated in 1998 from diploma degree as a RN and started RN to BSN last year. I feel like it was total waste of time and didn’t learn anything. I wanted to change my major, but my premed advisor told me to finish and just take pre-reqs., changing will take longer time. Next semester I am starting Pre- Med and 2013 going for MCAT. I AM VERY EXCITED!!!

I am little anxious; though, I have heard that AMCAS doesn’t like to RN’s to become MD’s. Is it true? I know I am switching careers, but I don’t think I am special because I have worked as nurse. Medicine is way different than nursing. In fact, there are no shortcuts in medicine.


RN to MD,

I agree with you about the nursing model being completely different from the medical model. There is a lot of nursing theory “fluff” in nursing school that I feel could be replaced by more beneficial science-based coursework.

As an NP, I don’t take offense to your comment about the NPs learning on the job from the MDs. In truth, I found myself having to ask lots of questions when it came to out-of-the-ordinarily clinical presentations I was not familiar with. But I could say the same about PAs. The role of a “mid-level” is to serve as a provider adjunct and provide cost-effective care. NPs and PAs are taught how to diagnose and treat common conditions and to recognize when a more complicated patient needs the attention of a physician. NPs/PAs and physicians have some overlapping roles, yes. But they are not, and never will be, the physician. I have never worked with any PAs or NPs that wanted to be, otherwise they would have gone to medical school. For me, I realized pretty early on in my NP career that I wanted to be a physician. So here I am a full-time undergrad again.

Not sure how true the rumor is about the AMCAS being opposed to applicants with a nursing background, but in my honest opinion this bias could cause them to lose out on some solid applicants (granted that the applicants are experienced and not just coming straight out of school with no relative work experience). Sure, there are lousy nurses, just as there could be less-than-stellar applicants who aren’t nurses. I know that in my work as a health care provider, I have gained insight into what the field is really like and I believe I have what it takes to become a physician. My experiences have been invaluable and can only work to my benefit on my road to becoming a physician.

Good luck on your journey.


  • In reply to:
Not sure how true the rumor is about the AMCAS being opposed to applicants with a nursing background, but in my honest opinion this bias could cause them to lose out on some solid applicants (granted that the applicants are experienced and not just coming straight out of school with no relative work experience).

I don't think this bias is towards people who come from nursing backgrounds as much as it is towards those who get a jursing degree without any intention on using it. I hear many people who say I am going to get my BSN and then apply to med-school, using nursing as my back up plan.

This is bad in the schools eyes two-fold (from what I have obtained from my interviews)

1. It seems they think it shows a lack of dedication to pursuing a medical education. Thay want to know you are in it for the long haul, even if it takes 3 cycles to get in. I guess they don't want people in their first years saying "Man this sucks, I am going to go to my fall back."

2. It takes a spot away in nursing school from someone who wants to be a nurse. All physicians value good nurses and they don't want that education wasted on someone who is just using it as a stepping stone to Dr.

Now that being said if you got your BSN, worked for 5 to 10 years and realized you wanted something more, I think most "progressive thinking" schools would be excited to take you. Just as they are excitied to hear why a former accountant wants to be a Dr. (ie me)

“NPs and PAs are taught how to diagnose and treat common conditions and to recognize when a more complicated patient needs the attention of a physician”

Maybe it’s particular to the schools I’ve attended that had PA, NP, MD programs, but the education for NPs doesn’t seem close at all to the education PAs get. In fact, the PA students at those schools were enrolled in the many of the same courses as the 1st and 2nd year MD students, something I’ve never seen in an NP program.

Not saying it doesn’t happen, just that I’ve never seen or heard of it before.