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Advice/input for non-trad nursing student looking to be non trad med student

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by pcu, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. pcu

    pcu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    So I originally got a BA in film studies from U of Pitt, graduated 2002 with 2.65 GPA. I was a poor student then and was essentially lost, didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was pretty depressed actually. I worked about 20+ hours a week and spent the majority of the rest of my time in extracurricular activities, nudge nudge wink wink.

    Anyway one day all of a sudden at work (26 then) I thought why didn’t I ever consider a career in health care? At the time the most practical entry to the field seemed to be a 22 month hospital based diploma nursing school. I had a number of hesitancies about health care as a career. I didn’t particularly like blood and guts and all that. I also had avoided science classes like the plague during my undergrad. Now I wasn’t sure if I would even like the subject matter and for that matter if I could even do it.

    The nusring program starts off with sciences and I happily aced bio 1, microbio, A&P 1 and 2 all of which were taught at an accredited university. In the process I began to reclaim my once lost academic prowress. I began to believe I could once again compete. Remember I had said I was depressed at one point.

    So then we started nursing classes. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with nursing school. On the one hand its my only access to the field of healthcare so for that reason I love it as it lets me “in”. On the other hand a lot of my instructors are nimrods and same for some of the students. As far as grades I am getting a B average essentially. Theres a number of reasons why this is the case but that’s neither here not there. Anyway by the time I am done nursing school (this December) my GPA will be around 2.9-3.0 overall.

    At this point I am considering 4 options. On the one hand I get my BSN and become a CRNA or a CRNP. On the other hand I pursue premed pre req’s, apply to med schools and fall back on PA in case. At this point I will need Bio 2, 1 year Gen/inorganic Chem, 1 year organic chem and 1 year physics. As I have 2 years (Jan 08-jan 2010) to work for my hospital (tutition forgiveness) I figure I would be looking to apply around August 2009 at the earliest for admission in sep 2010. That would give me a year and a half to finish the pre req’s. I am wondering if it might make more sense to push things back a year and take extra classes to keep raising my gpa.

    Well I might as well stop here and ask what people think. I truly feel I was meant to serve patients as a doctor. I really worry about choosing a mid level career and wanting more. Should mention I’m 28 now. Am I kidding myself here? Should I just take classes? Post bac? I figure in that year and a half I will work 36 hours a week (3-12 hour shifts) and take preferably 2 classes per semester figuring each will be 4 credits and the goal is an A. Also will need to take MCAT's. Perhaps I should think of pushing back the application process a year? Ok I'm rambling so fire away.
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  3. chopstick1

    chopstick1 Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    i am an RN and now a med student, if you want the med school route, go for it and don't look back. don't worry about having a back up plan. you'll already be doing it....working while going towards med school! being a NP/PA or CRNA (great career) is very diff from MD/DO and all have diff pre reqs so you may spend all your time in school...but not going towards med school!! the mcat will highly determine if you should apply and to how many schools. if being a physician is really what you want....dream it, plan it, do takes a lot of work and time just to get in....and much more trying to get out!! good luck!
  4. sketcham

    sketcham 2+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    I'm an RN and an NP and I feel like its not i've spent 7.5 years in school and i'm still not doing what I want. I would hate to see another person go that route and waste a lot of time.
    If MD is what you want don't settle for second will only frustrate you. Also if you think your undergrad nursing instructors are nimrods wait until you sit though 3 agonizing hours of advanced nursing theory if you go the NP route. You'll wish you were dead. Who even knew there were such things as mid-level nursing theories....gag:eek:
  5. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    I too am a nursing defector. However, I switched out at the pre-nursing level. Age helped and informed rather than hampered my decision to do that.

    I think if your close to finishing you should just use the nursing licesnce as a financial/clinical lever to acquire physician LOR's and to gain superb clinical experience. Honestly it would be hard to imagine another career where you could relocate and have a good paying job with full benefits and a schedule of your choice. These will be extremely advantageous job aspects as your work your way through the science coursework.

    But you're absolutely right to worry about wanting to do more than your scope of duty permits. Health care is insane in its propensity to make mountains out of molehills. The politics are thick. You better enter in with the education that will enable you to do what you want or your frustration will be complete.

    The nursing anesthesiology field is certainly attractive as is the clinical mid-level role, but like the previous poster said the investment to those careers is intense and it would be a shame to have done all that and then to realize that you want to do something else.

    I really think your feelings in the nursing curriculum are more insightful than you might realize. In other words if the shoe doesn't fit don't wear it.
  6. pcu

    pcu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    I'm just so worried about my gpa. I just ran some more numbers and I am looking at about 2.95 if I do really well the rest of the way in nursing. Then if I kick ass i.e. A's in all of the following (not sure how realistic that is) org chem 1&2, Inorg chem 1&2, Physics 1&2, bio2, calc and stat even then I am only looking at 3.088.

    Nursing will show about a 3.1 or so (stupid high school like grading scale and teachers who can't write decent test questions). My recent science and math grades will hopefully be 3.8 or better. Thats more then 120 credits right there in my most recent 4-5 years of schooling.

    Say even if I then kept going and took genetics, etc etc I am really not gonna get all that much higher cause I will have accumulated over 250 credits at that point.

    Its just kind of overwhelming. Seems like 3.0-3.2 is near (if not past) the point of no return here. I certainly understand there's risk involved in going after ones dream, and I'm willing to take that risk within reason. Just wondering if I'm crazy to think I might get in when some traditional students are getting denied with much higher gpa's.

    Can this really be done?

    I certainly do appreciate the replies but I'm just so concerned about the gpa thing and no one really addressed that.

  7. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    I understand where you're coming from completely. I am still a premed facing the same essential questions you are posing.

    Can it be done? Yes. There are people here who could prove it to you by experience. Will it be difficult? Incredibly. Should you do it? Well think about it. You're 28. (I'm 33). What will we be doing when were 40 or 50 or 60? What do you want to put your time and energy into doing on this earth? If you want to be a physician, I suggest focusing yourself calmly and steadily on working everyday to make that happen. It will take you some time so don't count the days or even months or years

    After building a solid performance in your pre reqs and some other course work you'll have another series of choices to make. At that point you'll have excellent clinical experience, a good job, and a string of classes that demonstrates you can at least handle the coursework. At that point you may have to think about going the extra mile. If you did a formal postbac you might have some clearer opportunities if not you could look at an SMP. You could look at DO schools or overseas.

    The challenges may be to extensive to consider all at once. So for now nail all your coursework and soul-search to see if you must do this. When you answer that then things will fall into place despite the nature of the external odds. Good luck.

    I'm at the 2nd phase of my description. I have completed my pre-reqs with a 3.98 and am finishing up a bio degree with about 200 credits total. My gpa will hover around a 3.35--I don't know if i'll be able to puncture the 3.4 barrier. So here I am. It's important to know that I don't regret my efforts and sacrifices--i think these things actually have enriched my life when i don't stress out too much. I'm way below the typical numbers for accepted applicants and am trying to figure out what to do make my application more competitive. I am considering all the options I mentioned. Hopefully some successful members will give your or I for that matter confirmation of your relative level of sanity.
  8. pcu

    pcu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    So I am thinking things might look like this

    Sprin 08 Bio2
    Summer 08 Chem 1
    Fall 08 Chem 2 & Phys 1
    Spring 09 Phys 2 & Stat
    Summer 09 Phys lab & Genetics/other math?
    Fall 09 Org 1
    Spring 2010 Org 2
    May-June 2010 study MCAT, then take next available date (I understand its offered 22 times a year now?)
    June-August 2010 Apply (probably MD and DO while waiting on caribbean for reapp process if needed?)
    Hopefully know by about March 2011 at latest. 33 going into school. 34 at the latest (I will def go caribbean if all else fails on 2nd app round)

    Does that seem like a reasonable way of attacking those courses? I understand Org chem is the hardest and most time consuming? Put them last for that reason. Also tried to start off a little lighter cause I will be new on the job as a nurse and that is going to entail a pretty large learning curve in and of itself. As I said I am going to work weekends, Fri-Sat-Sun 12 hours each day.

    I'm going back to meet with the pre med career advisor at Pitt on monday I believe. We'll see what he has to say. I imagine he's going to try and talk me out of this.
  9. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    Dear pcu,

    Sounds like a solid plan. What about that last year with just o-chem. It be a shame to be waiting the whole year just to complete o-chem. If its part of your gpa damage control by all means stretch out the the prereq's but maybe you could squeeze in some high MCAT yield upper division bio classes like cell bio, biochem, or perhaps physiology. Just a thought.

    Also for some reason for me ochem was much easier than gen chem. But those types of things are institution, teacher, and individual-specific. Be wary of advisors whether they blow sunshine up your butt or demoralize you some just plain don't know to much about the process. I'd bet at Pitt their must be some good ones though--private school with a med school attached.

    Good luck!!!
  10. pcu

    pcu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Some great thoughts thanks. I am still in touch with some people who went to Pitt with me who are actually either in residency now or getting ready to start. So I plan on asking them about their experiences with Pitt science classes and professors.

    Also, I certainly may take more classes that final year. I really like the idea of killing 2 birds so to speak by taking some high MCAT yielders like you suggested. Killing that test is going to be soooooooo important. I really have no idea if its reasonable to expect a score like this expecially not even having taken these classes yet but I'm thinking I'm really going to need 35 or so with a good verbal section to boot.

    I was also thinking, I wonder if it would behoove me to do any humanitarian work if it comes up (I would be interested anyway so its not just for personal gain)? For instance as an extreme example I know UPMC (thats who I will be working for) sent nurses and Docs and whatnot to N.O. for Katrina. I imagine that kind of thing would be looked at favorably.
  11. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006

    Yeah all those etra things help. Do whatever you can but realize that for us grades is what will keep us out. There's also a demand for nurses in some clinical research settings.

    I hear you with the MCAT. For the low gpa candidate it is even more important.
  12. whatintheworld?

    whatintheworld? New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Looking at your proposed schedule, the only thing I would want to caution you about is that med schools will be looking to see if you can handle med school curriculum-- meaning more than 1-2 classes at a time, especially since you don't have the stellar grades to show that already. And yes, even though you will be working full-time, they will still be looking for proof of success under academic rigor.
  13. pcu

    pcu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Heres the revised plan. 39 credits in 2 academic years essentially while working 36 hours a week as a nurse. Not enough???? Let me know what you think...

    19 credits over the first 3 semesters (spring/summer/fall) while working 36 hours/week (Bio2, Chem 1&2, Phys 1, Orgo 1)
    20 credits over next 3 semesters (again spring/summer/fall) while working (orgo 2, Phys 2, Phys lab, Stat, Biochem, Genetics)
    Take Calc and Mcat prep at same time starting Jan 2010
    Take MCAT in April (and bank on do well of course)
    Apply summer 2010

    pitt-2.64-120 credits
    nursing w/all A's (another ~40 credits)-3.333 ~90 credits
    overall-2.93 210 credits

    If all A's in 39 post bacc credits above
    3.09 249 cred's
    Now I'll agree those might be lofty goals (A's in all classes here on out) and I will certainly try but I feel one always should plan for the worst so lets say I get a B here or there. My hope is that at worst I get to 3.0 overall.
  14. whatintheworld?

    whatintheworld? New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Yeah, just take as many classes as you can fit in while working. It will probably be hard.... I did it and it sucked, but just remind yourself that it is for a finite period of time and it will get you where you want to end up!!

    And just for clarity's sake.... you are planning to take all the labs with those science classes, right?
  15. chopstick1

    chopstick1 Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    it'll be tough...don't worry about your nursing stuff. it won't show up on your gpa. when you apply they only want to see what's REQUIRED. and none of my nursing crap was required!!! in some sense, having a degree is not required. I took only 2 pre med classes/semester and worked around 40-60/wk. 16 hr shifts on weekends helps balance the schedule during the week. just play around with your work schedule and time...the best part about nursing is the flexable hours!
  16. melrose84


    Apr 29, 2007
    I'm in a similar place. I'm currently a nursing student but...

    I want to go into international health/tropical medicine but am not sure about the best route.

    Last May I got my BA. Immediately after that I started prereqs for nursing. I have just finished my first semester of an accelerated nursing program, and have realized that I am more interested in medicine.

    I am trying to decide if I should continue w/ nursing school and finish in May 2008 or begin premed coursework this summer so I can take the MCAT in May 2008. Or, I could finish nursing school and then go to school to become a nurse practitioner or PA, or I could stop nursing school and get a job as a tech and take prereqs for PA school.

    My questions:
    -Will I feel limited if I become an NP or PA? Will I always wish I had gone to med school?
    -How much free time does a medical student have?
    -Is the time and effort required for medical school really worth it?
    -How do NP's and PA's feel about their jobs?
    -What is the best career path for my goals?
    -If I go to med school, will I feel like I have no time in my life for other things that are very important to me, such as family, friends, or travel?
    -Should I continue w/ nursing school?

    My goals for 10 years from now:
    -Have time to relax, hike, see friends, have kids
    -have a medical job that is challenging but not too time consuming in the US
    -have my MPH
    -learn various foreign languages
    -have a job that sends me overseas to do international health/tropical medicine.

    What advice do people have??? How do you feel about the education/career choices you have made? Thanks!!!! I would really appreciate any insight.
  17. SurgMD

    SurgMD I mean SurgDO 7+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    you can do it! ;)
  18. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2005

    I would just say that you need to be really really careful in working full time hours while taking pre-req courses. As you have already pointed out, you need pretty much straight A's to have a shot at DO schools, and I would highly suggest that before you go into this you make a conscious commitment to put your grades way before work. Also, keep in mind that these classes are not nursing classes, they may be more difficult and more science oriented than what you are used to, so be prepared for a battle.

    The other way of boosting your gpa is to take/retake other advanced courses such as micro, immuno, genetics, physio, etc. If your school is like mine, the biology major courses were different from the nursing major courses, and these classes will help prepare you for med school. Good luck and make sure you nail that MCAT! (I hear Examkrackers is really really good)
  19. Phoen7ix

    Phoen7ix 2+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    I was a surgical tech/nursing assistant/clinical researcher over the last few years. NO matter what I tried, it wasn't enough!

    GO FOR IT!!!

    If you're not sure, try the LECOM post bac program. You'll get a VERY good idea of about 2/3 what's in store for you academically, PLUS they have over a 90% acceptance rate, either into their medical school or others. IFF you make a good impression (MIN MCAT 23 to apply, have something interesting to offer on your CV, with some good recs from at least one DO).

  20. lrobin15

    lrobin15 OMSI 2+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    Knoxville, TN
    I went down your same route except I am 33 and have 4 children. I applied this appl cycle and was accepted to LMU-DCOM. Yep, osteopathic medicine here I come.

    First of all, I agree that you are going to have to keep more than one class at a time. That was a huge thing when I interviewed. Even though I have 4 children, I kept a full course load ranging from 14-18 hrs a semester...but I didn't work outside of the home.

    Next, get rid of taking those classes that do not matter such as stat, biochem, genetics, and calc (some schools do require clac). These are hard classes that could bring your gpa down and you don't need them.

    Then focus on getting an excellent MCAT score. Don't freak out though if you make in the mid-20s. The average score for DO schools is 24. BTW, I am focusing on DO schools because they are going to take your lower gpa...but they do have a min of 3.0 at most schools.

    Apply early and broadly. Be sure you hit your instate schools and new schools too. There is a lot of movement in new schools so they tend to accept more people to complete their class.

    Here is my suggestion for coursework:
    Spring 2008 -Gen Chem I, Gen Bio 2
    Summer 2008 -Gen Chem II
    Fall 2008 -Physics I, Org I
    Spring 2009 -Physics II, Org II
    Summer 2009 -Study for MCAT and take in Aug.

    Okay, have your AACOMAS application already submitted so that it can be checked (it takes 4-8 wks) while you are waiting for your MCAT score. Don't be afraid to go ahead and pay the money for the appl. Just don't check any schools yet. You will know from your practice test scores how you will do. Many people including myself actually scored better on the real thing than my practice scores showed. Then when your scores come in you can go to accomas and check the schools you want your stuff sent too.

    I know this is a ton of info, but if you would like more info...PM me.
  21. Round2

    Round2 2+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    In many ways our situations are similar, except I'm a respiratory therapist, not a nurse.
    Being in PA, you may, emphasisis on MAY, have an interesting third option.
    The nimrods of nursing, especially these in nursing schools, are in many ways the professions worst enemies, but someone had a bright idea.
    There is an emerging concept of a Doctor of Nursing Practice, which unlike Dr nurses of the past isn't academic, its clinical. The pathway is essentially a NP who post NP licensure goes back for an additional academic year and then does a year of clinical residency. The academic year can be part-time, i.e., 3 years, paid for by your employer, and the clinical residency can be a paid position.
    There is a movement, in its early stages, to give these new Dr. nurses legal standing, and reimbursement for services, at the same levels as primary care physicians. This is a movement at its infancy, but I'd bet strongly on its ultimate success. In PA, 6 of the most influential universities (Drexel, Jeff, Penn, etc.) are behind it, and many of the rural counties legislators see it as their best long-term option financially and practically.
    The issue then becomes how to get to NP despite the nimrods.
    If you haven't already, look at the Excelsior College RN-MSN program. This is a management track program. With your B.A. your pre-med sciences will fill out you're gen studies requirements, and certifications you will likely persue anyway, like CEN, CCRN and etc. will fill out nursing electives. I've done 16 credits in the program so far, and found it to have much more substance, and be much more demanding, than I expected. If you fall off the track, you fall off academically prepared for a DON role.
    Most nursing employors, at least those around here, will pay the whole cost of the Excelsior programs for you.
    With the Excelsior degree in hand, you are then looking for a post-MSN NP certificate program, most of which are also available p/t and accelerated.
    If you take a graduate level biochemistry and etc.; you may find that these can be applied three ways; as BSN level gen ed, as pre-med prep and as meeting NP core requirements.
    From the way you describe your circumstances, you should have your med school admissions results and your MSN in hand at about the same time, and that would be your real decision point.
    You still have the problem of how to break out of the mindset of thinking like a nurse, and unfortunately, on that score I believe you will be entirely on your own. Much of the success of this will depend on the personal characteristics and personalities of the early practitioners. Unfortunately, for that everyone seems to be on their own, and the nursing schools seem to still be set in their nimrod ways. However, my own personal bias, I think military trained nurses and male second degree/second career nurses will be several steps up in this one critical area, and will generate most of the success stories.
    Its worth considering in your mix of options.


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