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Advice Needed: Which Path Would You Recommend?

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l069979458

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I'm a 27 year old single mother currently working as an insurance underwriter 40 hours a week.
I was accepted to St. Andrews University in Scotland back in 2003, but became pregnant and was unable to sustain a home, a job, and a child by myself.
My son is now in grade school, I despise my job, and I find myself itching to finish my degree.

I ultimately want to chase an MD/DO path, but due to time and financial constraints, I am leaning towards initially pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Physician Assistant just so that I can get started in the medical field. Down the road a few years, when my son is older, and my finances permit, I would apply to medical school in an effort to reach my final goal.

Keeping in mind I do not currently have a degree, and I am limited in availability for on-campus classes due to childcare, my question to you is this: As a temporary position (probably 5 years or so), with the need for the shortest route (or the one which would permit me to complete the majority of my credit hours online), and with a final objective of becoming a doctor, would you recommend starting out as a Nurse or a PA and why?

Thank you in advance for any guidance or wisdom you can offer.
 

GenusTide

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I'm a 27 year old single mother currently working as an insurance underwriter 40 hours a week.
I was accepted to St. Andrews University in Scotland back in 2003, but became pregnant and was unable to sustain a home, a job, and a child by myself.
My son is now in grade school, I despise my job, and I find myself itching to finish my degree.

I ultimately want to chase an MD/DO path, but due to time and financial constraints, I am leaning towards initially pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Physician Assistant just so that I can get started in the medical field. Down the road a few years, when my son is older, and my finances permit, I would apply to medical school in an effort to reach my final goal.

Keeping in mind I do not currently have a degree, and I am limited in availability for on-campus classes due to childcare, my question to you is this: As a temporary position (probably 5 years or so), with the need for the shortest route (or the one which would permit me to complete the majority of my credit hours online), and with a final objective of becoming a doctor, would you recommend starting out as a Nurse or a PA and why?

Thank you in advance for any guidance or wisdom you can offer.

This is a tough question for us to answer for you. It will not really matter what we say or recommend because it sounds as you are locked in your flexibility. I am a father of two who was burdened by all of the same child care/school/personal attention that is required with having children but I ( as most people on here ) found a way of getting around it. I personally do not feel that it is worth spending the money, time, and effort going all the way through PA school just to apply to medical school and have to go through all the motions again. If you are interested in nursing, you could pursue this avenue to obtain your bachelors and work a while before taking your MCAT but think of this, you take your med school pre-req's while you are in your undergrad. You work five years then decide you want to apply to med school. it will now have been 6,7 or possibly even be 8 years since you took your pre-reqs which you will be tested on during the MCAT. Am I saying it can't be done? absolutely not. You can be the only one to determine which path is best for you and your family. I feel a direct path " biting the bullet" so to say makes the most sense ( financially, and time wise) but that is just my opinion. Think long and hard and consider what it is worth to you to become what you want to be ( physician) and try and determine how you can get there.
A more direct and less subtle answer to your question would be, neither if you really want to be a physician. I believe both will be an incredible waste of time away from your family and financially makes no sense. like it or not ADCOMS will question why your career change and you need to have a good explanation. Oh and by the way, many pre-req's for med school cannot be taken online. Just an FYI. Keep in mind this is just an opinion, do your research!
Good luck and I hope you achieve what you are looking for :luck:
 

theseeker4

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I'm a 27 year old single mother currently working as an insurance underwriter 40 hours a week.
I was accepted to St. Andrews University in Scotland back in 2003, but became pregnant and was unable to sustain a home, a job, and a child by myself.
My son is now in grade school, I despise my job, and I find myself itching to finish my degree.

I ultimately want to chase an MD/DO path, but due to time and financial constraints, I am leaning towards initially pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Physician Assistant just so that I can get started in the medical field. Down the road a few years, when my son is older, and my finances permit, I would apply to medical school in an effort to reach my final goal.

Keeping in mind I do not currently have a degree, and I am limited in availability for on-campus classes due to childcare, my question to you is this: As a temporary position (probably 5 years or so), with the need for the shortest route (or the one which would permit me to complete the majority of my credit hours online), and with a final objective of becoming a doctor, would you recommend starting out as a Nurse or a PA and why?

Thank you in advance for any guidance or wisdom you can offer.
First, becoming a PA is a masters program, and will require you to complete a bachelors in something before even starting the program. It really isn't entry-level like you are implying.

Second, you will have to be careful with where you take classes if you want to pursue an MD/DO. If you are taking classes through an actual university with classroom classes on a campus, with the classes you are taking online not differentiated from classes taken in person on the transcript (same course number, not flagged as "online" etc.) you shouldn't have any issues. If you are looking at online schools, those classes are not accepted by most (all?) medical schools. Be careful how the classes will appear to medical schools, and what ones are accepted by them.

Third, are you certain you have to wait half a decade before pursuing medical school? I obviously have no knowledge of your financial situation, and it isn't anything you need to disclose online, but if you are simply worried about excessive debt, getting into medical school sooner is a better option than reducing your total student loan debt. If you think about it, becoming an attending 5 years sooner means 5 more years of six-figure income, which is almost guaranteed to put you ahead in comparison with reducing your debt by 100k or so in exchange for 5 extra years of income limited to the mid-five figures. Much better to get in sooner than later, if the debt is your biggest concern. If this is the case, work part-time and take out loans, apply for scholarships/grants, etc. to get a bachelor's in anything that you can do well in (high gpa) while completing your pre-reqs. Apply to medical school to matriculate as soon as you graduate with a bachelor's degree, complete your 4 years medical school and then residency, and earn a lot more money than you would be by going into nursing for several years before even applying to MD/DO schools. Obviously if there are other issues than simple student loan debt, that may not be an option.

Regarding your specific question, nursing is the obvious choice since you would need a bachelor's before you can even apply to PA programs. You could get a BS in nursing, work as a nurse for a few years and decide to pursue medical school. You could also decide the 4 more years schooling, plus 3-7+ years residency and fellowship training are not worth the MD/DO and pursue a NP or PA program at that point. You will, however, need to complete clinical rotations for the nursing degree, which may complicate your time and work-related issues. Good luck!
 

LegendaryPunk

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First off - welcome! It's always a pleasure to meet a new non-trad. High-five for being the same age as well :)

As a temporary position (probably 5 years or so), with the need for the shortest route (or the one which would permit me to complete the majority of my credit hours online), and with a final objective of becoming a doctor, would you recommend starting out as a Nurse or a PA and why?[/B]

To cut right to it, the shortest road to becoming a doctor...is to go to medical school and become a doctor. Don't become a nurse if you want to be a doctor. Don't become a PA if you want to be a doctor. Head straight to Go and collect your $200.

I know that wasn't an answer to your question based on the options you gave us. However, becoming a nurse / PA takes money, a couple years of schooling, and pre-reqs which don't always overlap with med school. PA school in particular requires a bachelors and TONS of clinical hours. In regards to this being a five year temp position, that's probably three years alone before you're done and ready to find a job. Then it's two years of working before starting med-school pre-reqs / applications? It just has me scratching my head as to how you could find a way to make all that work, but not find a way to just start straight on the path to med school.

Like somebody else already said, nobody here will be foolish enough to say THIS CAN'T BE DONE. Spend some time reading through the various stories which have occured over the past years and you'll see that no matter the complication / timeline, somebody has managed to defeat it.

Obviously, it's tough to really know anything about you or your backstory off of one introductory post, and it's impossible to know how much research you've already done. If I could make one suggestion for you right now though, it would be that you spend the next week or so reading through the years worth of articles and threads on this site. Gain a little more insight into the pre-requisites required, the application process, and the job itself for each of the three professions currently on your list. Especially if you've just now started seriously considering this career - there's a LOT to learn; more than you probably realize.

Finally, I'd like to reiterate my original point - if you want to be a doctor, then just become a doctor :)
 

thewilliams1

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*AFAIK: There's a B.S. for PA's, but it's basically a PA's equivalent to pre-reqs for med school. You're still not a PA.
 

whatbout2morrow

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*AFAIK: There's a B.S. for PA's, but it's basically a PA's equivalent to pre-reqs for med school. You're still not a PA.

http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/undergraduate/pharmacy/programs/pa/ob.stj
When they graduate, students in the program are awarded a professional certificate along with their Bachelor of Science degree. Students who already possess a bachelor's degree may enroll in the two-year Physician Assistant Certificate Program. (See our Admission section.)

Graduates are eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant (NCCPA)-administered Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) exam.

I know of a graduate who is a licensed PA in Texas.
 

beckhunter116

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There are PA programs that are bachelor degrees, this is mostly being phased out.

Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk
 

HipChick

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yeah, most bacchelors for PAs are being phased out into masters, if they havent already been, then there is the masters completion most go back for.

Similar to how PT (physical therapy) was a BS, then a MS, now a DPT
 

l069979458

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Wow. Thank you ever so much for all of your responses!
I realize my situation may seem complicated, or perhaps to some it seems simple...But I assure you, I've put a lot of thought and research into this, and medical school is not feasable at this time. Let me see if I can add some more of my personal perspective so that you might understand where I'm coming from.

Essentially, I love medicine. Always have. And I'm desperate to get into the field right away. How much money I make in my career isn't important (I realize how contrary that sounds based on my financial reasoning for not going all out right now...but I'm not materialistic, I am just not in a position to take on debt). Student loans aren't really an option, so I'm relying on Pell grants, scholarships, and my meager insurance salary. I've run my own company, I've been the boss, and as a mother I'm already in a position of power and influence, so stature and distinction aren't a high priority either. And of course, there's my son. His father is not in the picture at all, I don't have any family who can assist me, and I don't want pursuing my own personal aspirations to affect his childhood. I don't want to be one of those parents whose child is raised by someone else.

There's a college near me that has a nursing entrance programme upon completion of their two year Associate Degree in Nursing. The programme is accredited by the National League for Accrediting Commission. With the ability to sit CLEPS in exchange for credit hours on top of my existing core credits, I could ideally complete the programme within a year.
There is also a Bachelor Physician Assistant programme at another local school, but since I didn't hear any compelling arguments (based on my values, of course...not to say your opinions weren't valid) for taking on the extra two years, it seems as though I've made my decision. Nursing it is!
Thank you all again for taking the time to reply!
 
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