Hi. I’m new here. I’m a single mom of a 2 yr old and going back to school part time now while working about 32-34 hrs/week. I am intending to get into nursing, pursuing my BSN, but to be totally honest, I’d rather go to med school. I just didn’t think as a newly divorced mom of 34 that med school would be feasible in any way shape or form. But, now that I’ve entered my science courses for nursing, I realize that nursing really isn’t my first choice. I’ve always wanted to be doctor (I’m sure most of us here can say that)but life got in the way. My current anatomy course has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, I’m so excited about it. I took a tour of the med school when I was in high school medical terminology class what feels like ages ago and I had the same feeling then. “This is where I want to be”, is what I said then. But, now I’m afraid it’s out of reach. I will continue with my BSN goal for now, but getting through nursing school might just give me the itch to take my MCAT and see what happens. It’s too early to say, of course, but it is my dream. I’m afraid that getting my BSN and then deciding to pursue med school instead with hurt me esp. if other nurses get wind of it. Plus, I’ve heard med schools don’t always look kindly on nurses (esp. ones w/o clinical experience) deciding to try med school right after getting a BSN. Any single moms out there w/ advice? Any former/current nurses that would like to weigh in, too? Or, for that matter, anyone that can give me their 2 cents would be appreciated! Thanks!!!
Hi! I am a single parent and a nurse. I have actually been working as a nurse practitioner for the last year. I worked as a nurse for several years prior to that. From my own personal experience, if you want to be a doctor then you will not be happy with nursing. The role of the nurse is very different from the role of a physician. If you are looking to work in some capacity with people who need health care then you might be happy with becoming a nurse. As for me, I enjoyed working as a nurse, but wanted to be able to work in a different capacity. Nurse practitioner is a completely different role than that of the standard floor nursing in a hospital, but I want to be a physician so I am currently working to pursue that dream. My best advice would be to decide which role you are most interested in pursuing.
In my case, my nurse friends have been very supportive. I’m not sure what med schools think of nurses who purse med school (haven’t finished my pre-reqs yet). Good luck in whatever you decide.
Thanks for the reply, Becky. I must admit there seems to be some gray area with the role of an advanced practice nurse vs that of a physician. I hear often and on these boards, too, that if you want to be a dr. you won’t be happy being a nurse even in an advanced practice role. Can you or anyone else elaborate on some major differences? It seems there are so many vague definitions out there, but nothing really concrete. For example, an NP works directly w/ patients, diagnoses, can prescribe meds, order tests, etc. so exactly where does the difference lie from the role of physician? Is it a matter of liability, etc? Anyone that can clearly define some of these roles would be so much appreciated. I keep feeling I may be happy w/ being an APN but I keep being told that if you want to be a dr. you won’t like being a nurse. But, is it just a psychological thing for some people (not having the MD/DO title and not being able to wear the badge of honor to say you survived med school) I wonder or is there something really distinct to set apart APN’s from physicians that may make someone like myself who has always wanted to be a doctor really dislike something inherently about the role of a nurse? With all the advanced degree, but non-physician healthcare/medical careers out there it seems the roles of each are becoming more and more convoluted…
Looks like you’ve researched the boards and are asking very good questions. To answer bluntly, the path in becoming a nurse or a nurse practitioner is not an easier or watered-down version of the path in become a physician. This is a common misconception. Nursing as a philosophy is focused on the meeting the psychosocial needs of the patient while medicine is a philosophy is focused on diagnosing and treating the biomedical needs of the patient. This difference in philosophy can be seen in the pre-nursing, nursing, and advanced nursing practice curriculum versus the pre-medical and medical school curriculum: To study medicine, you have to study a great deal amount of biomedical science. In contrast to study nursing, you will study a comparatively light amount of biomedical science and study a substantially greater amount in â€œnursing theory.â€ This is why pre-nursing and nursing curriculum have very little overlap with the premedical curriculum. Usually, the overlap is only covers English, maybe a semester of chemistry (depending on the nursing program), and maybe a semester of biology (depending on the nursing program). This philosophy difference is also why medical schools consider the nursing curriculum classes to be non-science classes and will considered these courses equivalent to courses in English, history, social sciences, economics, et cetera in calculating your GPAs. Again, in contrast, chemistry, physics, engineering, and biology will considered sciences by medical schools and will calculated as such.
Thanks for the great response. I’m currently in a very basic nursing course that is focused on the healtcare system and we have covered the goal of medicine as diagnosis and medical intervention. Interestingly enough there isn’t such a basic, clear cut definition for nursing. But, I like how you have defined it as psychosocial. As for the curriculum, my BSN requirements for sciences seems not too far off from pre-med sciences hence my confusion over the true nuts and bolts differences. For example, for a BSN at my school I am required to take one semester Human Anatomy w/ lab (we actually are the only undergrad program in our state to have a human cadaver for dissection), one semester physiology w/ lab, one semester of microbiology, one semester of basic chemistry w/ lab, one semester of biochemistry w/ lab, and one semester of physics to cover the sciences. Of course, a math/algebra requirement must be met (I fulfilled this years ago in high school and “tested out” at the college level so for the BSN I am considered to have fulfilled what is needed). Then, there are the psych and sociology and English, History courses,etc (all of which I have thus far fulfilled). So, as for premed, if I pursue the BSN but then decide to do the MCAT and apply to med school I should have fulfilled some of what I need. I will need more Chem and Physics but I won’t be too extremely far off. I certainly don’t want to go into the BSN track assuming I will matriculate to med school at some point, but I may just pick up some extra courses just in case. I’m sure the further into nursing and science classes I get the better I will know where I want to be. Practically speaking, the BSN is a reasonable goal as a single mom to a toddler, but the more I research it the more I want to go to med school. These boards are great and I will be here often in my journey to finding out where I really want (and need) to be. Thanks for all the info and please anyone with any more info on nursing vs medicine and nursing to med school are very welcome!
NPs (and CRNAs somewhat) are RNs who have undergone advanced training in nursing theory. For most patients, there probably won’t be any noticeable difference in receiving treatment from a NP, a PA, or a primary care physician. But when you compare the curriculums, it becomes apparent that PAs and primary care physicians have had far more biomedical science study and mentored clinical practice than their NP counterparts. These are also the reasons why NPs who want to become physicians usually cite as their reasons in doing so: They want a better biomedical understanding of the how’s and why’s in treating patients and they want more clinical mentorship treating patients than they received in their NP training.
It is a very common misconception that by studying nursing you will also be completing premedical courses and will have a fallback occupation if you don’t get into medical school. As mentioned before, there is very little course overlap between medicine and nursing. So realistically, if you wanted to go that route, you would need to add one or two academic years to your schedule. Additionally (and as you have read on this and other boards), there is a pervasive union mentality in nursing. Physicians are often viewed being the source the problems nurses face in the workplace. Tacitly, nurses are encouraged to usurp physician authority and to promote a megalomanic view of nursing. That tough guy mentality, though, tends to cloud the real problems nurses face today: The nursing â€œshortageâ€ we all have hearing about has been around for nearly 100 years in the United States. Surprisingly, there are enough RNs with active licenses in the United States right now to fill every RN vacancy out there. Why then is there a â€œshortageâ€? Burn-out and heavy attrition. One in every three newly minted RN’s will outright quit nursing within two years of starting. One in five veteran nurses (2+ years of practice) plan on leaving nursing within a year. Common reasons for these staggering figures is the low pay (yes, this is true in comparison to other similar professions), the high stress, the overwhelming patient load, the inadequate nurse staffing and the disrespect nurses have to endure daily at their jobs. This isn’t to say medicine is much better: Consistently, one-half of physicians surveyed regret becoming a physician. Given another chance, this group would have chosen another field to work in. While I’m not intentionally trying to scare you away from either profession, I think the high dissatisfaction in both professions should give you pause and encourage you to, like you are doing right now, investigate. Shadowing and talking with nurses and physicians are good ways to develop a realistic picture of what each profession entails.
- shanport7300 Said:
One thing I want to point out in critiquing whether or not the classes you will be taking will be fulfilling premedical requirements is to ask if the courses you are taking are the same courses that the biology and chemistry majors are required to take? The nursing programs that I am familiar with do require the same as you have described. But the chemistry, biochemistry, and physics courses nurses are required to take are watered-down versions of the courses biology and chemistry majors take. So for these nursing students taking the watered-down courses, they won't be fulfilling premedical course requirements.
Thanks again. Yes, I did check into that, which is why I mentioned I will probably have to take some extra courses so that point is not lost on me, but I appreciate the reply! I do not like the term “watered down” however, but i know what you are saying nonetheless. It is often assumed that nurses and non-physicians don’t know science and I find that a terrible stereotype. Med school is science heavy, that goes without saying, but there are so many more physicians these days who were non-science majors so I think these days it is becoming less of a requirement to be a biochem major, for example, to get into med school. Again, though, I know what you are saying. It’s important to think of the competitive nature of the med school application process and how classes taken in undergrad can affect (or in some case as you point out not even meet) the requirements of some med schools. So much to take into consideration while navigating options! I love all the response thus far. Thanks so much; what a big help!
When I went to nursing school I had to take Biology 1 & 2, Gen Chem 1 & 2, and Microbiology as science pre-reqs. My Biology and Gen Chem courses were the same exact ones that premed, prepharm, pre engineering students took. I think that if you go to a nursing school at a university then you will take courses that are appropriate for premed reqs. I do have some friends who are associate degree nurses who did not have to take the same number of science courses. Some of their science courses would not qualify for the premed reqs. I would also suggest talking to the pre-med advisor at the school just to ensure you are in the correct science courses for med school.
As a nurse, I didn’t really see an us (nurses) vs. them (doctor) mentality in general (there is always one or two jerks but not everyone). It may be different in other states but I live in NC and it’s not a problem here. I think many years ago (back in the days when nurses wore white caps and all white uniforms with skirts), there were some issues but it had more to do with respecting each other and communicating effectively. When my grandmother was a nurse, the nurses had to jump to attention when the doctor came into the nurse’s station. The doctors also cursed at nurses, etc… It is much different now days. Doctors and nurses work together. We have completely different responsibilities. In the same regards, nurses do not sit and hug patients all day. It’s a tough job. Of course, being a physician is a tough job. I honestly felt bad for the interns at the hospital. I tried to be as helpful as possible.
I can only speak to my nursing experience which has been in the emergency department, orthopedics, and neurosurgery - the role of the bedside nurse is very physically demanding. There is a lot of burn-out in the nursing role, it has a lot to do with the staffing (patient to nurse ratios), the never-ending additional responsibilities (too much documentation), poor pay (of course, I have never had a job that paid me too much money), long hours, physical demands, - I personally have been physically attacked in the ED multiple times by patients, families, gang members, etc… There is also the constant lifting of 300+ pound patients, bathing them, cleaning up episodes of incontinence, etc… I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for my nursing experience, even with the challenges there were many rewards.
I now work in family practice as a nurse practitioner. I learned a plethora of information in my NP curriculum, but there is no comparison between my education and that of the family doc that I work with. The rigors of med school are far above that of nurse practitioner school. PAs/NPs are designed to fill a physician shortage gap (especially in primary care). We are taught a lot of information, but clearly we are not taught everything that is taught in med school. Most patients are generally happy with the seeing a NP/PA/MD/DO. For me, the decision to go to med school is bigger than being called doctor. I need more education to function in a different role. It’s what I have always wanted to do, but could not do it due to family, financial concerns, being shipped off to war, etc…
Good luck!! I hope I could clear some things up for you.
Even in a four year university, the science courses for nursing are usually different than what is prequired for premed. Your undergrad nursing program might be an exception, it is far from the norm. As you suggest, it is best for the individual to go to a premed advisor in their institution for guidance.
I have just looked into the NP program at a college nearby and for the accelerated BSN program, I would be required to have Chem 1 and lab, Bio 1 and lab, Microbiology (the same one as for a Bio degree) and Human Anatomy & Lab (again same as regular) and Human Physiology & Lab (same again). At the university I currently attend you are allowed to take a combined A&P course, but the university I am looking into wants them separate. They are not “watered down” versions, same everything that would be for med school…I considered the NP route because the doctor I work for suggested it, but I really feel like I would be dissatisfied in the long run.