nursing vs med

I am a 26 year old (I know not that “old” of a pre med!) who has always thought about med school in the back of my mind (almost finished pre med reqs 6-7 years ago) . I finished a MPH recently and believe my heart is in public health but I really want “hands-on” skills to accompany the public health. I have been debating about NP/CNM vs med school for a long time- going back and forth. Nursing seems more “me”- the academic atmosphere and philosophy (patient education, counseling) seems more comfortable to me. But I am worried about being frustrated in nursing and regretting not pursuing med school. I keep on going back to med school in my mind but concerned about the med school atmosphere (mostly what I perceive is competitive attitude among pre meds, med students and the whole grueling application process). Has anyone gone through a similar situation and has any quick decision making sad.gif advice? Thanks,

Rani, I think you’re making this harder for yourself by indulging in some stereotypes that don’t actually hold up that well IMHO. There are folks in both nursing AND medicine who are interested in patient education and counseling (though it is definitely harder to devote time to those activities as a physician). There are also competitive jerks in both nursing and medicine.
So let’s reframe the question. You really want to know what’s involved in being an advanced-practice nurse (NP or CNM) vs. a physician. You should have contacts with folks in both areas as a result of your MPH program - find out how to get in touch with a representative or two of each “camp” and arrange to spend time shadowing them and talking to them about what they do.
I would also say that your description of medical education is somewhat more negative than I’ve experienced it. That cutthroat competitiveness is mostly an ethereal internet phenomenon among people who are only that competitive when they’re anonymous! As a pre-med, I linked with other OPMs and we supported each other. As a med student, I’ve had it beaten into my head that we MUST work together and support one another. Medicine is not for cowboys. And it’s the rare physician who’s going to pack a competitive attitude - it’s bad for business.
In the application process, you don’t need to think of yourself as competing AGAINST anyone else. You’re simply trying to sell yourself and your application to an AdCom. And no, I don’t think that’s just semantics - AdComs generally are asking, “Do we want this person to be part of our class?” more than they are asking, “Do we like her better than that other one?”
hope that helps.

Thanks so much for your thoughts. It's great to hear your experience in med school is more supportive than I've thought or heard- I suppose it depends from school to school too. The thing about making this decision is that it's hard to know what my priorities (family, lifestyle) will be in the hypothetical future. I guess I can only make the best decision for right now and what I think will be important later.
Shadowing is also a good idea and although I used to work alongside both NPs and MDs as a medical assistant (always loved the NPs but the MDs were not always easy to work with), I think I could benefit from a refresher and more information. Best of luck,