NP applying to med school

Hello there. I am a 30-year-old family nurse practitioner who plans to apply to medical school and (hopefully) matriculate in 2010.

I have a BA in English (2000), a BS in Nursing(2004) and several years of volunteer experience: in high school at a Canadian hospital and the Red Cross, and later for a student-run organization that provided free medical care at a homeless shelter. I took Physics I-II, Chemistry I-II, and Calculus I in 1996 but my B-/C+ average in these classes prompted me to change majors. I took Anatomy & Physiology I-II and Microbiology about 4 years ago as a requirement for nursing school and ended up with a 3.75 when I graduated. My understanding and interest in diseases has increased significantly now that I have a practical application for the information. (I finished my MSN in 2006).

I read medical journals weekly and bring books on pharmacology and pathology with me when I visit the in-laws. I am aware every day of my knowledge deficit and lack of adequate training to properly handle more complex cases. I feel a bit cheated in that we did not have the advantage of a residency program and my courses seemed too much like broad summaries. It is for this reason that I have decided to go to medical school after deferring it for so long.

I’m a California resident and according to the admissions officers at UC Davis and UCSF, so long as you have completed the requirements, it does not matter when they were taken.

I’m planning to take Organic Chemistry I-II in the Fall 08/Spring 09 semesters in addition to Genetics and Biochemistry.

After reading that UCSF receives 6500 applications and admits 140, I am feeling a bit queasy.

Do you think that it is necessary to repeat Physics and General Chemistry? My most recent science grades and all of my nursing courses were all in the A/B range.

Do you have any other suggestions or advice for me?


welcome to OPM. Sounds like you are making the right moves to contact the admissions officer. I know some schools in the east say specifically older courses won’t be accepted but your admissions people will know what’s what in CA.

While there is something to be said for taking courses to raise GPA, more importantly is prep for MCAT. Organic has become less and less important on the MCAT and your Biochem class will provide some review of that. However, you may want to explore physics. An MCAT review class maybe enough for you but you might want to sit down with a physics review guide and see how much looks completely foreign. MCAT scores may be weighed more heavily when older courses are involved (my speculation), Adcoms may look at MCAT as a more current indication of academic achievement

Depending on where else you want to apply, you may have to consider taking some classes over. Or make sure you contact other schools and find out their policies.

By the way, one of our speakers at this year’s conference, Dr. Randy Hunt, I believe was an NP prior going to DO school

keep us informed

Hi, it sounds like you have a strong background in a related field and I would expect that to be an asset as you move into medicine. Unfortunately, coming from a nursing background, even a nurse practitioner level, does not constitute a shoo-in in the eyes of medical school admissions committees. They may have some hard questions for you–e.g., why didn’t you go into medicine in the first place? do you really have what it takes? Etc. You may have to prove yourself even beyond what the average applicant goes through. But you’ve come to the right place; most of us non-traditional pre-meds do have to go a step farther to prove we have what it takes.

You mentioned that you got less than stellar grades in physics and gen chem, and calculus. While calculus is not required by all schools, physics and chemistry are, and they are strongly tested on the MCAT as is biology and organic chem. If you think it will make you a stronger applicant, you should consider retaking to bring up your scores and refresh your knowledge prior to the MCAT.

My other thought is that you should also consider applying out of state, like to 20 or 30 medical schools, and not just to the overly competitive California schools.

Just my 2 cents. Best of luck,