Fork in the road!

Hello Everyone,

I am at a point in my life in which I must choose between NP or MD school. I am 35 yrs old, an RN with 7 years ER experience and looking forward to moving on up! I also am married with 2 boys, 2yr old and 1 month old. I can see the advantages to both routes, by far the bigggest being time and money. However, this alone does not convince me of one over the other. I am curious if there are others here who have struggled with the decision of going NP vs MD. What information assisted you with making the choice? Any regrets? Also any med students wish they had taken the NP route instead of Medschool? By far my greatest concern is how will I live on loans and support family in Medschool? Any advice is greatly appreciated. I know ultimately it comes down to personal decision, just looking for any advice and perspectives you can offer. Thanks.

since no one has answered yet I’ll put some of my thoughts down. as you know, I am in a similar situation (12 years EMS, new nurse) and I did nursing for the sole reason of becoming an NP. since then, I have explored other options such as crna (nice but so hard to get one year of full time experience in while keeping my fire dept job, and I would only be eligible for one school around me and then not until 2016), pa (nice because it’s medical model and all age groups, but full time is a negative), and medical school (pre-req’s are killing me, basically impossible for me to get them in class). NP is the most obvious choice, but there are so many options it’s hard to choose. fnp is most accepted, but extremely difficult to get into at usf, and most everywhere else requires a bsn, which I don’t have yet. then there’s acute care np which I like, but can I find a job with that? and if so, is the money there? I make 75 plus almost 25 in benefits including an unbeatable pension, so to go to school to get paid that or less would be financially unwise. I am most interested in cardiology or hospitalist type work.

where do you work and what np programs are you looking at? do you have a bsn?

FSMFN (Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing) in Hyden, KY used to have an option for RN’s to get their BSN and MSN during the Family Nursing NP --you might check them out. They have a community-based nursing education program (CNEP) so you don’t have to move from where you are - just do short 1 or 2 week intensives in Hyden or at Case Western University in Cleveland, OH.

Kate e-pra…

I’m an immigrant. I’ve been interested in medicine since I was a kid but didn’t make a serious effort to go to med school in my country because I thought it was too hard/I wasn’t smart enough/etc. I became a nurse there, it was enough for me then at my earlier age when partying was a priority. When I came here my goal was to get a decent paying job. I went through nursing route because it is one of the disciplines close to medicine enough and interests me. Then a few years later being so frusrated on the job about overworked doctors indifference to pts I thought why not. Then of course I thought the idea is way too crazy and I should go NP route. I completed all my prereqs for BSN and was going to start BSN program in May. By then I changed my job and started working in free standing ER, I like ER medicine, the ER doc said something about it was the best decision he ever made, my friend got accepted to DO school. I was swinged from NP route to MD/DO route. I’m going to finish BSN just because they recommend to have bachelors in anything. But the thought about writing papers about nursing theories bores me to death. I’m going to give my self a chance to do what I’ve always loved but this time I have to work the hardest. Sorry for the long boring post but this is how I came to the decision.


I wonder if you feel the same (sorry for my rant below, just saying)

I find that being a nurse can be rewarding, however more times than not I am frustrated with the lack of caring others show (both nursing and MD’s). While in nursing school, I went to a lecture hosted by the real Patch Adams, MD. It was a simple lecture about caring. His lecture really changed the way I practice medicine and my general approach to life. In ER Medicine so many patients come to the ER because they are shut out of a system that is supposed to help them. Frustrated they turn to ER only to be turned away or met with resistance from staff who are bitter toward them for their visit. A little education goes a long way to empowering patients. I grow frustrated by MD’s, PA’s and RN who just don’t take the time to really listen or examine their patients. I know that the system is flawed and you have 10 minutes to spend at bedside or so they say. I can’t tell you how many times I have examined the patient and the MD, PA failed to note or acknowledge the symptoms, examination findings. I always approach medicine with the attitude of 80-90% of diagnosis is obtained from a proper history and physical, the other part is diagnostics to support your hypothesis. Today many providers don’t think, they are trained to order set work ups, some PA and MDs order a ton of testing, only to diagnose a common cold or benign symptom. It all comes down to compassionate, caring health care and it starts with the ability to listen. My frustrations have led me to the point in which I don’t want to be just a nurse. I have thought about NP school, because it would be shorter and cheeper education. However, I don’t like the fact that NP’s here always have to seek approval from the attending. Also the programs for NP are too short, yet so many parade around as if they are as good if not better than MD. I think the education requirements are totally different and in approach as well. Don’t get me wrong, NP’s have a definitive and important roll in medicine, but should not be considered same as MD (as some would like to believe). I am not claiming to be better than a MD, PA, NP…I am just saying that there are many people working in the system who don’t care. I for one do, therefore I care enough to want to persue the highest level of training I can, so that my patients know they are dealing with a competent, caring health care provider. Has anyone else felt this way?

Hi! I am currently facing the same conundrum at age 37-NP or MD/DO. I am also an RN (started as CNA in 1995, LPN 1998, ASN 2004, BSN Fall 2013-5 credits left). As a single mom and in 1999 and 2002 I sought pre-med advising at no-name University and was encouraged to focus on raising my children and was informed nursing was a great career for someone in my situation. Anyway, nursing was the “second career choice” and it did/does help to support my family. My science credits are over a decade old and my GPA (from the 1990’s) is not stellar. Anyway, as I wrap up my BSN, I too, am at a crossroads. 10 years ago, I joined OPM for a while and after speaking with the University advisor, I let that dream go. Ultimately, my goal is to be a provider working with underserved populations in family practice, perhaps with an emphasis in public health. I have looked at the pro’s and con’s of each and still feel lost. Sorry I can’t be more help, know you are not alone!

Patch, as far as the autonomy you desire, while nothing compares to doctor, np’s can practice (diagnose and treat) with no physician involvement in 22 states and DC. they can prescribe in 13 without a physician. ope.pdf

PatchMD - I agree that nursing is rewarding. I don’t regret my path thru nursing and CNM to get to medical school now. I haven’t met that many NP’s who “parade around” as if they are “as good as” doctors, and have gotten some awesome care from NP’s, including my own midwife (CNM). As a CNM, I learned FAR more about normal childbirth than I have seen covered in med school, although to be fair, Ob-gyn’s learn most of their specialty during their residency, not in the first few years of med school. NP’s cannot practice totally in a void though, as there will be patients outside their area of expertise, just as family practice docs will need to refer some of their patients to pulmonologists or cardiologists or oncologists. I wanted broader and deeper prep than I had, or than I anticipated getting if I simply returned to school for an FNP (FAR shorter for me since I already had my masters in nursing), so I bit the bullet despite the fact that I will be pretty old when I’m done here. Just having to maximize my health so hopefully I can have a decent number of years to practice.