My name is Ron and I am SOO happy to have found this forum!! I am 25 years old and I am currently working as a Registered Nurse and finishing up my senior year to get my BSN. Although I went into Nursing, my goal was to originally become an Emergency Physician. I have been reading many posts here for the past couple weeks, but this is my first posting. I see the sense of support on this forum.
I have a couple questions about any RN’s out there that pursuit their dream of becoming a doctor. I know I am not the only one who has taken this path. I haven’t taken any of my premed courses and I plan to apply to a formal post-bac program. Do admissions committees see my experience as an RN enough to substitute volunteer work in hospitals, or do they want to see more community service work? also, I just recently bought a condo with my fiance and we’re getting married next year so I may have to work part-time through the post-bac. My fiance is also an RN and she is supportive of my dreams, which as been a blessing for me.
This forum is awesome and I love reading each and everyone’s paths and triumphs to reach their life’s calling.
Your experience as an RN will certainly count as clinical/pt. care experience, but as long as you are getting paid for it I (and I don't think adcoms) would consider it to be VOLUNTEER work. I would recommend that you find a volunteer activity or two over the course of your post-bacc to round out your application. Since you already have significant patient care experience, don't feel that you have to volunteer in something medically related. (A lot of pre-meds do this to knock out both the clinical exposure and volunteer work at the same time). Feel free to volunteer for something that truly interests you (Habitat for Humanity, tutoring/mentoring at a local school, Big Brothers/Big Sisters . . . that kind of thing).
Also - start thinking now about how you will articulate your decision to go from nursing to MD in personal statements/interviews. To some extent, coming from a nursing background can actually be a detriment to your application - more so at some med schools and less so at others. This will be a questions that you will be asked frequently, so preparation is key.
If you search this site you will find a plethora of information on the RN to MD issue. I suggest reading these as well to be better prepared.
Thank you for your advise. I will definitely look into some community service to round out my volunteer work into non-clinical experience. Also, I am still new to this forum so I am beginning to find my way around the site to gain information regarding RN to MD issue.
Hi Ron and welcome, I too am an RN.
Im in a Caribbean Medschool in 2nd year.
I was told that my volunteering for the Boyscouts Of America for 9 years counted a lot, I also volunteered for other things such as a Camp for grief. I think that is the best way to volunteer, something you like and shows how you will go out and “Give of youself”.
One thing I was told a lot that I have found is missunderstood:
RN s are not almost Doctors, many of my former Patients would say that, its not true.
I have found the infromation is different as far as depth and focus. I have now realized how much you are exposed to in Medical school.
Hey thanks for the advice!!! So when you were interviewing, did he adcomms bring up the fact that you were an RN? What kind of questions did they ask you and how did you handle it? I read in previous posts that adcomms may look down on the fact that I am an RN. Is this true? What are you experiences?
I have been a nursing assistant since 1998, and took many pre-nursing classes until I realized that I really wanted to be a doctor and changed my major.
In some MD interviews I was asked:
What is the difference between a nurse and a doctor?
How do their patient relationships differ?
What would I do as a doctor differently than if I was a nurse?
In the end, from what I heard back from these schools as reasons for rejections is (a couple reasons) is that I have ‘nursing’ experience not ‘doctor’ experience. and that they weren’t sure WHY I wanted to be a doctor.
At my DO interview (I had one and got accepted so I cancelled all others) I mentioned my trouble with the nursing vs doctor viewpoints, and the interviewer stated that they did not feel that nursing viewpoints differ that much from a doctor’s. Being that most DO schools recruit for primary care, this is probably true. The nursing approach to patients tends to be holistic, so combining that with the added knowledge and views of a doctor can potentially make for a fantastic physician, which the 2 DO schools that I dealt with agree.
keep your options open, many of us are in DO or FMG’s to achieve our dream, although some do make it into MD. Regardless of the path, if you stay focused you will reach your end goal.
I have been an ICU nurse for only 3 months and already thinking of how to get into med school. In college, i tried to double major in biology (pre-med) and nursing but it was too much work so I had to concentrate on nursing. Now , one may wonder why I went into nursing if I wanted to be an MD. Well, I came to the US as an international student. As an alien, one has very limited options in the US, in fact, there are only two options. I) Either you complete your bachelors and return to your home country or 2) Continue with graduate education if you can afford it. In my case I could hardly afford undergraduate education, let alone graduate educaton. Yet, I had a dream of continuing to medical school . International students have no federal financial aid assisstance and we could not apply for loans without an american co-signer with good credit. I had to work 20hrs/week, whiles taking about 20 credit hours of course work in order to pay part of my fees. Then during school breaks, I was permitted to work as many hours as I could, so I worked about 70hrs/wk of odds jobs in order to pay for the rest of my school fees and save some for the next semester. Considering my situation, the dream of ever going to medical school grew blurrier each day. I had no choice but to implement a strategy to keep my dream in focus. I decided to do nursing in my junior year of college so that after school I could work and save for my first year of medical school, while doing what I love, that is, caring for the sick. So that was the main reason why I went into nursing. I’m liking it so far , however, I can’t seem to supress the thought of getting into med school within the next year.
I want to go back to school next spring to complete my prerequisites. I have organic chems and physics left. I already did the micro, cell bio, genetics etc. My problem is that I cannot afford going back to school right now. Upon inquiry, a 4 hour credit class will cost me approximately $1604.50 as an international student. That means, Organic Chem I and Physics I will be over $3000. Right now, I have decided to study for these classes on my own, and take the MCAT in April 2007. Is this advisable? Has anyone taken MCAT without his organics and advanced physics? Please help
Welcome, It is not the studying part that is the problem, it is taking the MCAT and then having no courses done for the Prereqs, you have almost no chance of being accepted at a med school without the Preqs.
What are your plans for your residency/citizenship issues? Non-US citizens have very little chance of being accepted at US allopathic schools. A few are accepted, but it is a ridiculously small percentage of those who apply. I have read that being a “permanent legal resident” of the US is considered a little differently, though. I think one of your first steps should be to investigate how your residency status will affect your ability to be accepted to medical school.
I can understand your wanting to study organic chem and physics on your own for the MCAT and I have heard of people doing well after studying on their own. However, the vast majority of people who take the MCAT without the pre-reqs do not do well. Also, as Whuds said, you will need to have the pre-reqs to apply anyways. Doing well on those sections of the MCAT is unlikely to exempt you from the pre-req requirement for those courses at most medical schools.
If medical in the US is truly your dream, then I think you need to investigate what it will take to give that dream it’s best possible shot. If that means waiting a couple/few years to obtain permanent residency/citizenship, then so be it. Why rush in and take the MCAT without the pre-reqs if your residency status is going to make it difficult for you to get admitted, anyways? But, I am far from an expert on issues facing international applicants to medical school. I strongly recommend that you contact the admissions offices at a few medical schools and find out how your alien status will impact your application BEFORE taking the MCAT without the pre-reqs.
Thanks so much for the replies. I understand that I cannot get into medical school without the pre-reqs, I had plan to take 'em after one year, by then, I will qualify for residency status in the state I’m living right now, so I will be allowed to pay in-state fees, which is 80% less than what they’re asking for right now. However, you’ve made me reconsidered by intention of taking the MCAT in April. Why take it anyway if I cannot apply to medical school without the pre-reqs. I just dont want to go rusty. Studying science is my hobby and I simply can’t tolerate a 1 year lay-off. Thanks agin for your thoughts.
- owura143 Said:
I would recommend that you purchase the MCAT practice tests for $80 (price may have changed since I got them) and take all of them under timed conditions. This will enable you to decide when you are ready to take the real exam--early 2007, or late 2007, or early 2008, for example. You can also get several books by Kaplan and Exam Krackers that have MCAT passages. It's a good idea to go into your MCAT test fully prepared.
As you say, you don't necessarily have to have taken your prerequisite courses; for example, my brother took the MCAT prior to taking organic chemistry, and he did well enough to get into several medical schools. He did however memorize the organic chem book inside and out before the exam, which was also helpful when he actually took the course.
A preparatory course such as Kaplan or Princeton is a really good idea if you haven't taken the science courses recently. They move pretty quickly because they assume you have already studied this stuff, but if you work hard you can keep up, and it will pay off later in higher grades when you take the courses.
Thanks so much for your advice.
owura, you’ve gotten lots of good advice and it sounds like you’re taking it to heart as you contemplate your next steps. Good luck!
I do disagree with one thing Terry suggests: I think you probably are NOT ready, actually, for the “real MCAT” tests from the AAMC - and I always like to advise people to save those tests for the months leading up to the actual MCAT because they are by far the best simulations of the real thing. I think a good place for you to start now would be the big Princeton Review book that reviews gen-chem, bio, physics and o-chem and then follows the review pages with MCAT-like passages. At this point in your preparation, a review section followed by a passage-and-question section is probably going to work best.
Good luck to you