Raging internal debate . . .

I am only 31 and am trying to decide whether to get my RN or go for pre-med…

I already have a BS in computer science, I had a good GPA(3.6 cumulative, 3.8 major). I got my EMT license in 2004 and work on a volunteer service in the where town I live with my family. Last year I started working in an emergency room in a nearby city. The more involved in medicine I get, the more I get excited.

I have a six-year-old and an almost-five-year-old. While I feel led to become a doctor and I get a big smile on my face when I think about it, my concern is that I will lose out on time with my family, especially with my kids while they are so young. At the same time, I could be done with med school about the time they are starting to be teenagers. I know some of you have/had kids while you were on “the ride”.

I have talked to some of the doctors at the hospital where I work and am worried about the study time required in med school. Several said that they did not have time for anything other than dinner in the evenings before returning to studying. Of course, running my own business, running with the ambulance and working in the ER, I may end up with more family time.

I have been accepted at a state university nearby which has both a pre-med program and a nursing school.

My wife is supportive of me going back to school, I’m just faltering whether to get my BSN->work->Nurse Practitioner or go for the gusto.

I hope this post makes sense, I’ve written bits of it over the last few days.

My mother went back to school when I was 7 to get her B.S. and then went on to med school when I was 10 and graduated when I was 14. My dad stepped up while she was away - she went to med school 2.5 hours from home for 3 years.

My brother and I turned out fine and my parents are happily married still

You can PM me if you want to know more about their situation.

Hi, Jake. These are exciting goals you are contemplating. the decision is so personal that there is really no easy answer. (Although I should say that there are several really successful parents on the forum.) My only advice to you is to concentrate on whether you want to be a doctor or a nurse practitioner not whether you want to be a medical or nursing student. School, even training as intensive as ours, is always a passing state.

oh, and bear in mind that your graduate medical education will start when your kids are teenagers, which maybe is a good thing, maybe an intrusion on keeping them out of trouble. Residency (esp. PGY-1) requires a lot more “contact hours”) than any stage of med school itself.

Compared to working full time, med school actually requires very little in the way of You Must Be Here time (usu. 8-1, mon-fri), and you may find that you can be home 3ish to make a snack and launch homeworks. The MONUMENTAL time commitment of med school is the time when you have to be left alone in solitude or (more productively in my view) in group study and peer-teaching. Hint: As long as you live reasonably close, have heat and AC and maybe a Game Cube and something in the fridge for breaks, your classmates will be happy to come to your place to collaborate on class prep and will get a kick out of your kids as well. Presto, no babysitter.

It’s all feasible if the career is what you really want.

Thank you for your response. My wife and I have been talking about the options for a little over a year. Thanks to your words and the encouragement of my wife, I will be going back to school starting in January.

I used to wonder the same thing. (I have an 18 month old and #2 on the way) Contemplating med school was really worrying me because I want my kids to get quality time. Then it hit me…my dad was a Carpenter, we didn’t really do family vacations and he often worked long hours to make ends meet. Between that and his personal time and time with my mother, I can’t say that I really spent a ton of time with him other than a sit down dinner and an occasional fishing trip. I decided right then that no matter how busy I get, I can always make time for at least 30-45 minutes to sit down with my family, eat some food and just be together. A lot of kids (and wives for that matter) don’t even get that. I’m pretty busy even now with school, work, volunteering in the ER and general responsibilities, but I find that by giving a little bit of quality time every day my family respects the “alone time” that I need to either unwind or hit the books. As for MD or NP? That’s probably got a lot more to do with personality than anything else. Just from reading your post it seems like you’d almost be letting yourself down by going the NP route. I guess that’s probably a common mentality though. I know a lot of really satisfied NP’s, but none of them wanted to go MD and “settled” for the NP instead. In my experience “settling” has what’s gotten me into trouble. I have “settled” for the job that feeds my family and keeps them under a roof and with clothes on their back. That’s not been a recipe for job satisfaction, which is why…later in the game I’m headed down the MD route. In the end, it’s your choice and it depends on what you and your family can commit to. Just make sure you make your choices for the right reasons.

The debate for me has always been whether or not going pre-med was “the responsible” thing to do. Through discussions with my wife, she pointed out that I am already working 36+ hours a week in an emergency room, plus running a computer consulting business, so it’s not like I can spend any less time with the kids.

We also want to teach our kids by example that you should never settle for less than your dreams if it’s within your ability to do what you dream. So I am will be starting science classes in January.