NP to MD

I have been a nurse for 11 years and a Nurse Practitioner for 7 years. I love what I do but feel so limited. I do not feel like I can do the ultimate best for my patients without further education and training. I am thrilled to have the support of my husband to go ahead with my dream! Anyone else with a similar story? I may be taking the long route but this has always been a dream of mine but obstacles throughout life lead me to believe I needed to pursue other options until my time arrived. Well now it’s my time and I am ready!!!


I also am a nurse practitioner now going premed. I totally get your point about wanting to know more and not being satisfied with your knowledge base. I have been an NP for 3 years now. My job is great but I need more too. I am currently taking physics and immunology. I plan to take 1-2 courses a semester and apply after taking the MCAT in 2012. I am so excited to be on this path. I have been lucky in that I have a classmate in my physics course who is also a nontraditional premed student. It helps to find others in the same boat as you. Welcome aboard!

I also plan to take a few classes a semester and hope to take the MCAT in 2012. I would love to keep in touch to with you! Keep me posted! Thank you for the welcome!!!


I’m also an NP going pre-med. There are a few of us on this website. It’s nice to know there are others out there like us. I’m presently taking Gen Chem II. I will probably take the MCAT in 2012 or 2013. I’m taking my time to ensure that I get good grades and also because of work and family obligations.

It would be great if we could keep in touch, keep each other posted on our progress, and maybe even meet at the annual conference sometime in the future!

Good luck in your classes!

Absolutely lets keep each other posted! Sounds like we are on the same track. Glad I am not the only with this crazy idea! lol Not that I thought I was! I will for sure keep u posted!

Hello all, this is a question to all NPs on the website or docs working closely with NPs. I am a pharmacist based in NYC. I work in one of the lower socio-economic areas. In my practice, I see NPs practicing very independently. In fact most patients don’t really know that they are not seeing a doc, granted the lower socioeconomic area. I spoke to one of the FNPs and he told me that his collaborating MD has no idea about the specifics of each patient that he is treating. His MD may do very occasional chart reviews but it stops there. While there are some philosophic differences, a few NPs that I spoke to believe that in practice in today’s health care system there is little difference between a good experienced FNP and FP MD. I believe, some states (i.e. WA) don’t even have a collaborating agreement requirement. One particular FNP believes NYS will drop this requirement shortly as well. Considering the fact that most practitioners (MD/DO/NP) get their experience once they graduate why would one want to be become a family doc if being a FNP probably gives you 95% of privileges? This seems to be a way longer and more expensive road. Of course, I understand that the knowledge base and training for the MD is significantly better than NP…but in reality don’t most harder cases get referred to a specialist? I don’t mean to start MD vs NP war, I am just trying to understand it better…so that I make a better decision for myself. My question only pertains to PCP vs NP. I totally understand the limitations of NPs vs. specialist. Thank you all in advance for your comments.

I was an RN who decided to go to medical school rather than pursue an advanced practice nursing degree, because I really wanted to understand the whole picture and I felt that nursing would not give me that opportunity. My observations:

  • the NP programs I looked at had way fewer hours of clinically-relevant education, and way more hours of “systems theory” and other nursing jargon. Remember, I’m coming from a BSN background and I loved that stuff when I went to nursing school. But I promise you it is no help whatsoever when you’re seeing 20+ patients a day in the office. So I felt that the NP programs didn’t give you even a quarter of the “technical” education that an MD/DO program would.

  • medical students, through two YEARS of clinical rotations as MS-3s and -4s, get far more clinical experience than student NPs do.

  • newly-graduated doctors then get three more YEARS of clinical experience prior to setting out into practice on their own.

  • I don’t know if NP students spend time on inpatient rotations. Even if you are going to spend the rest of your life in an office, seeing what happens in the hospital - understanding surgery, post-op, ICU, pneumonia that requires hospitalization, appendicitis in the ER, etc. etc. etc. is definitely very helpful. Not seeing a broad range of stuff limits the things you’ll think about in an office setting.

    Bottom line: new-graduate NPs are only about as far along in terms of clinical experience, and not as far along in terms of education, as I was after two years of medical school. After two years of med school I still had five more years of training and education ahead of me, to help me be a good practitioner.

    Now, I absolutely agree that NPs can handle much of what I handle in the office. The problem for ANY health care provider is that you don’t necessarily know what you don’t know. I feel like my significantly greater educational clinical experience (as a 3rd and 4th year med student, and a resident) helped me better appreciate what I don’t know. That experience is something that NPs can absolutely accumulate over time… but you can’t accelerate it, it will take years of practice.

    I don’t agree with completely independent practice for mid-level providers. By the same token, I don’t feel that a doc needs to be looking over the shoulder of her mid-levels every minute. When it works well, PCPs (whether physicians or midlevels) are great collaborators whose shared interest is in good care for their patients.


I love being an NP and I agree with Dr. Renard that “midlevels” should not practice completely on their own. That is not what our role was created for. I feel my role is to compliment my physician so that our patients can get the care they need.

Why do I want to be a physician when I already do what he does essentially? Well, I want to know what he knows. I want to be a real honest to God physician. I don’t wanna play doctor anymore I want to be the doctor. I want to feel I have all the knowledge and expertise that the patients are asking of me. The current practice I work in the dr is not present unless he needs to round with me. Which means I could go days without seeing him. I have no one to ask advice or pick their brain.(unless i call and bug him, which I do if I REALLY need to) Where as before I truly worked collaboratively with a physician and she was always there for me to ask questions. I learned all I know from the dr’s I have worked with and Dr. R is right not from the NP program.

Very recently,I worked with a neurosurgeon and thought man this is what I want to do. Surgery! I lived the life with him and was there everytime he cut and it was wonderful.

I want to work independently and feel confident doing it. I don’t want to be a physician because i think I already know it all and think hey i can do that easy no problem. I want to be a physician because I want to go through all the training and add so much more to my knowledge base. And when my patients call me doctor I want it to be true and not have to correct them! Well I feel like I rambled on forever. Sorry, the sad thing is I could keep going! lol

What she said…

Hello Sheila,

Nice to meet you. I am one more just like you I’ve been an FNP since 1996, and an RN since 1985. Yeah, that puts me at 46. I have not practiced as an FNP for the past couple of years because I was working on my PhD, which I finished last year. I currently work as a Nursing Professor, which I’ve been doing full-time since 1998. I started my career as a nurse in the mid 80’s because four years of school was pretty much all my father would pay for. I got married at age 19 (still married to the same wonderful guy), and was naive enough to listen to my father tell me that medical school was not an option. In hindsite, he did me a favor. As a nurse, I’ve been able to stay married for 27 years, and raise 2 wonderful children into adulthood. My oldest, Ryan-23, is a pre-med major and has convinced me that NOW is my time to go to medical school. I have a few CHEM’s and a couple of PHYSICS courses to take, then I plan to matriculate at the same time he does in 2012. I’m taking Gen Chem I now, and loving it (along with working full time as a professor). I’ve never had an easy life, and don’t think I’d be happy if it were slow. I’ve often held 3 and 4 jobs at a time (on top of raising 2 kids), just to make ends meet. So… medical school full time and nothing else, shouldn’t be that hard… right? I’m grinning sideways here!

i think we should keep this topic going to stay in touch with each other. I am also a NP and have my certification in nurse midwifery (CNM) I love what I do but hate the limitations. I hate not having the advanced knowledge based to make my plan of care. I love surgery. I want to cut. I want to be able to care for the patients throughout their pregnancy regardless if they develope complications.

It amazes me how many people think there should be “bridge” programs to go from NP to MD/DO. I would not want that. I want to start from square one. Like Dr. R posted. you don’t always know what you don’t know.

I am taking physics this year and will do organic next year. I am hoping to matriculate 2012. I work with a wonderful physician who is supporting and encouraging. My husband of 21 years has agreed not to hate me.

So to all of us. Good luck and I agree to stay in touch.