Hello - Newb here that needs encouragement/advice

Hello All,

First, I have enjoyed reading all the information on this website. You have all been so helpful and I am hoping to take advantage of it.

I am 27, married, childless, and in my last semester of nursing school. I will graduate in December. I always knew I wanted to become a surgeon, but due to yadda yaddda yadda I didn’t stick to the path. I thought I could do nursing, but I always felt I was settling. While I do like nursing, I am settling. After my clinical experience I know I am destined to become a surgeon. So my issues…

  1. My nursing program is an ADN program. I have completed on my pre-reqs for my BSN and it will only take me 2 semesters online to complete, and I am only short on Organic Chem and Physics for med school. If I would have come to this forum three years ago, I think I would have been applying to med school then, but I lacked the confidence that I have now. So, do I get both my BSN and biology degree or just finish the BSN and then finish the rest of my pre-reqs for med school at a university and go from there?

  2. I only want to go to medical school to become a surgeon. If I wanted to do anything else I would go the NP route. If I get into med school is surgery still an option for me?

  3. My husband is super supportive but he is also applying to grad school to become a psychologist. We don’t plan on having children right now or probably ever. It just isn’t a big priority for us. Have any of you married couples had both of you in school and survived due to study demands?

    That’s about all the questions I have at this moment. I hope I can pick some of your brains. I know I want to become a surgeon, I am just having a little trouble on how to get there the most efficient way possible.

    Thanks in advance!!!

Naomi -

Welcome! Let me answer number 2 while I’m thinking about the other questions. I don’t see why surgeon should not still be an option for you if you go on to medical school. Say by about 32 or 32, you would just be 35 or 36 when applying to residency which I don’t think is unreasonable for a surgical residency…that is in the range or ages.

regarding question 3- my class had a few married couples in it who seemed to do fine, but I have also heard of others whose marriage did not survive. Obviously, it’s got to be a priority. I think actually residency will be the biggest time and energy drain from what I hear.

Ok, to get back to the degree question. You certainly want to get your BSN and your prerequisites in. There is likely not a big advantage in getting the 2nd bachelors in biology from an admissions standpoint. Being enrolled for it might make getting the courses that you need easier. I think there would likely be some advantage to having a broader basis in biology: additional cell biology, microbiology, genetics, immunology if you can get it. More with a view towards having a leg up in medical school. But weigh that against additional cost of time and money. You want to minimize your undergrad debt. Also, it would be more useful to your application, I think, to have 2 or 3 years of nursing experience versus just academics. That’s IMHO.

In the meantime, feed your dream!


(after my last rotation, my preceptor (whom I had 2nd assisted in Ob-Gyn surgery) said I did well, but that probably I would not be going into a surgical specialty… I totally agree!!Tried to tell him before hand. Just call me Fumble-fingered McLefty


Thank you so much for responding. I plan on working and finishing my pre-reqs at the same time. Since you said the 2nd bachelor’s degree doesn’t matter that much, then I probably will not get it. While I am interested in a degree in biology with an emphasis on immunology, it’s a little out of my price range if I want to pay out of pocket. If I do just the pre-reqs required to get into med school it makes it a lot more affordable. I have been lucky to pay out of pocket for most of my undergrad endeavors. My goal is start med school by time I’m 30. I feel 3 years is ample amount of time to complete my pre-reqs with A’s while being able to work full time, and build a nest egg for when I am in med school. If I do that, my husband will have his master’s and be entering his doctorate program but will at least be able to take the boards for him to become a licensed psychologist and hopefully he can bring in some bacon. Thank you again so much for your advice and encouragement. It’s impossible for me to put into words how much I appreciate it.

My only regret is that I didn’t find this site sooner to help me gain perspective that I wasn’t “too old” to be a med student. I lacked so much confidence in myself for no reason and that ticks me off. On the plus side, I got it back. So off to kick some pre-reqs butt.


Another consideration for when you start working as a nurse - many hospitals will pay tuition reimbursement (up to a set amnt/year)…so you’re getting paid PLUS getting your schooling subsidized. Look for this when applying for jobs.

Also, while working as a nurse, take advantage of this opportunity to figure out how the system works. There are a LOT of physicians & surgeons who have the technical knowledge (“good docs”) but who don’t know how to facilitate an efficient flow and get frustrated by things nurses do/don’t do that outside the nurses’ area of influence/knowledge. Learn how to communicate well with all members on the team. Watch how the most effective docs ask questions to get the rest of the story so they can give the best care. Many docs have unspoken expectations, relying on THEIR knowledge of a subject, without recognition that a nurse has much less indepth knowledge on many areas than they do. Clear orders with parameters on what to call about (and education to primary RN on WHY you’re watching for something specific) etc will really help get patients the best care from the whole team.

There’s more, but I have to get my kids to school.


You have some AMAZING advice to gleen info from!!!

I AM an RN/BSN. Went to a VERY tough school in Texas (UT Arlington). Due to the lack of GN positions in DFW, I ended up in west Texas. Well, it sucks here. Not only does my BSN NOT matter, there is a favoritism towards the diploma program graduates here. My house is for sale and we’re out of here as soon as it sells.

Please, please, PLEASE work for at least two years before applying to med school. I was 100% gung ho on being a physician. All I could see myself doing is taking care of patients day in and out, listening to them, writing scripts, etc. Now that I’ve been an ED RN for a bit, all I can think of is “Malpractice Defense” and protecting those that has worked their bottoms off to get to this point yet meet some raging insane individual who has an axe to grind and threatened to sue the hospital, the physician, the tooth fairy. Saul Goodman ring a bell?!! That’ll be me. Watch some You tube videos about how patients in the ED are; no HIPPA violations here, they’re cartoon characters that act out what a typical ED patient is “2mg of Dilaudid for chest pain” is pretty spot on.

Nursing has cliques, gossip, nastiness that as a student, you’ll never see. I am shocked at it; actually, am saddened by it. You need to live and breathe it and then make a solid decision about medical school and talk to docs while you’re working. I know you’ll make a good decision ~ and you will probably want to be the boss, like I did. However, spend two solid years as an RN in an ER, not floor nursing because you hand out pills and do potty breaks and gripe about the ER nurses (and boy do I have stories to tell you). ER will give you insight into humanity and what you may encounter as an RN although probably not so much as a surgeon; perhaps OR maybe up your alley.

At any rate, you’ll make a good decision, I know it!! Listen to those that have gone before you. And I wish you all the best!!!

Re: “cliques, gossip, nastiness” in nursing…

You will find some of this anywhere, but there are some healthy work environments out there even for nurses. I know some of finding a job is simply finding a job, any job, that will pay the bills - but, if you have the opportunity, take a tour of the unit and see how the nurses act w/each other and w/management.

Yes, they’ll normally be busy, but you can be crazy busy and still feel well supported by coworkers and management…or you can be crazy busy and near tears because you can’t even give your patients what they need to be safe and you’re getting no help at all. Even within a single hospital, different units have different “personalities” and cultures. Find a healthy one that has a team mentality and that wants to mentor you as a new nurse.

My wife and I gave birth to twins in the middle of a graduate school. We survived. It was crazy, but we survived. If you have no children, I would say it is possible.

As a social worker in medical settings, I have been hated by the nursing cliques my entire career. My first job as a social worker was in a small rural hospital. I did scatter bed detox evaluations, PRI’s and placement of patients no longer acute into long term care. Crisis intervention in the ER, and facilitated psych transfers to appropriate hospitals. I remember having a particularly psychotic patient at one point that was driving all the nurses batty. I sat down at the nursing station to write the diagnostic evaluation that I need to fax to facilitate the transfer to a psych hospital. A real nasty nurse said to me, " If I were you, I would be doing something about this, and not just sitting around writing notes. " This is pretty much how I have been treated by nurses for my entire career. Even though I am licensed to diagnose and treat mental illness, there is something terribly wrong about me because I cannot give an injection or run an IV, and certainly they could do my job better than me. I got perspective when my boss at the hospital, a crusty old social worker from Columbia University with 30 years in medical social work said to me one day, " Come on, this is the George S. Patton School of Social Work, we’re gonna run through those personality disordered nurses like shit runs through a goose". What could I do but laugh? Years later, i basically just do my thing, and ignore them. I know I have the respect of the doctors as my colleagues, and I know how to let things roll off my back and be kinder to others than they are to me. And as Kurt Vonnegut says, “so it goes…”

@Vicki: Dang…that makes me sad, as a nurse. A nurse, especially, should recognize that sitting and writing a note is an important task. It’s how you prove the patient needs something, not just busy work.

I cannot express how much I appreciate our ICU’s social worker. We have a new one, and she is impressive. She does a better job preparing families for (nonpreventable) bad outcomes than most of our docs do. Please don’t enter medicine with that impression of all nurses - there are many out there who really appreciate the other disciplines. You do things that I am clueless about, and am very, very happy I don’t need to deal with even though I know they’re important to my patients and their families. Some nurses are obnoxious, (willfully) ignorant jerks…but most of the ones I know are wonderful colleagues who really want to do what’s best for the patient. The best outcomes really do come when we all work together, recognizing the strengths and roles of each of the different disciplines. I suck at certain things, but I know who’s good at those things. They suck at certain things, and those are often areas I shine in. Together, we work. Alone, we all less effective.

I think something happens in the heads of some women when they become nurses…perhaps a lightswitch turns on and they become the most awful, nasty people that if they had been accountants or something else, their behavior would otherwise be an embarrassment.

VickiV, I think sevenwheels and myself may be some here would NEVER dream of being nasty to our ancillary personnel. That’s why staff turnover is so high. We can’t keep ANYONE. Wonder when management will wake up.

To the OP, please make sure you really want to be a physician by working as an RN. You’ll have to deal with these nasty women albeit, they tend to avoid the docs and attack one another. Perhaps you can finish up your BSN and if that’s the only two classes you have, then finish those up as well. BUT please, work as an RN. Your eyes may open!! Let me tell you, the only time the cliques were nice to me was when we were to leave over the summer. It’s a sad place to be…