Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Beginner needs advice: RN to MD???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JBarrJ, Jan 26, 2002.

  1. JBarrJ

    JBarrJ New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank GOD for these forums! :) (A forewarning: My post is looooooong). I will appreciate any and all responses to my questions: I am a 22-year old female currently enrolled for the first time in college. (And more than excited about it, too)! :) I am now taking an 8-month program called "PCAT" (Patient Care Asst. Tech.), and from there will automatically be enrolled in a 2-year Associate of Nursing program at the same school. Thus far, it is an extremely emotional experience for me, in that I am doing something that I sometimes doubted I could do at all. Whereas for some, it seems that college was a natural course of action following high school, it wasn't exactly so for me. At one time, I just assumed that I would go right after high school, but (sigh), as some know, life can temporarily get in the way. (The trick is getting back on track). I received a GED in 1997, what should have been my graduating year in high school. Due to too many lengthy reasons to list, I did poorly in high school, and unfortunately ceased to care after my freshman year, after a school-lifetime of straight A's. By the end of my senior year, I had to realize the immensity of the problem I had created for myself, so I withdrew and immediately obtained my GED. That has now been nearly 5 years ago. Although saddened by my performance in high school, my parents, family, friends, and teachers all continued to encourage me throughout the next five years; encouraged me to try again. Since that time, I have regained much of my confidence and faith in my ability to to learn, and to do well at it. I have always wanted to become a physician - a surgeon, to be exact. I carried this dream all throughout childhood, and I am doggedly determined to see it through now. With that, I set about several months ago trying to figure out how I could possibly attain my dream in light of my high school performance. I found a school in my city that offers what I call "building blocks" to achieve my goal. Hence, the program I am now enrolled in (the PCAT), that I mentioned at the beginning of my long-winded posting. (Sorry all). :) In order to be admitted to this particular school's RN program, you have to possess some sort of prior medical experience - well, this PCAT program will be mine. Upon enrollment at this school, I took a placement and evaluation test, and did well, to my surprise and happiness, and it granted me a guaranteed spot in the RN program. I will begin it in 8 months. Finally, I am getting to my point in this post! lol My questions are these: -Am I taking the best path for someone in my situation to get to medical school? -What other steps would anyone recommend for me? -Will being an RN help or hinder my chance of admittance to medical school? I have heard a few different points of view on this alone. -I understand that most medical schools have a basic core curriculum requirement that you should have obtained from your undergraduate (pre-med) school....will I be required to complete all 4 years of Pre-Med? Or will a nursing degree allow me to shorten the typical Pre-Med experience? -Although 22 is by no means "old", I have been informed that in starting medical school, it indeed is. Well, I will be 25 when I am done with my nursing degree. Hence, my hopefulness that I can "shave off" some Pre-Med time. (I would like to be practicing before it's time to retire). Any thoughts on this, also? I apologize for the length of my post, but I am dying for some credible information here. Please feel free to offer any other info that you think may be pertinent to or helpful to my questions. Thanks in advance for your advice, and most especially the best of luck to anyone else out there in a position like or similar to my own! :)
    [email protected] :)
     
  2. latebloomer2

    latebloomer2 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    As far as I know you need some sort of four year degree to get into medical scool. Have you looked at taking the ACT? No doubt becoming a nurse would give you a leg up, but I believe that the RN program will have to be from a four year program. Good luck!
     
  3. tman

    tman Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2000
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, first of all congrats on your acceptance to nursing school! Given your situation with your GED and poor high school grades, it sounds like this is an excellent opportunity for you to get back into school. Going to nursing school is by no means the shortest route to med school, but in your case it may be the best. On top of completing the requirements for nursing school you will have to complete the requirements for med school which generally include 2 years of chem (general/organic 2 semesters each) 1 year of physics, 1 yr biology plus some schools require calculus I. It would be very beneficial if you could slip some of these classes in while you are taking your nursing classes, but it may be impossible depending on how regimented their nursing program is. Generally, nursing progams require biology and chemistry, so maybe you can at least get those knocked out. One thing you might consider is that your nursing requirement for chemistry might not be acceptable as chemistry for med school. Many school have a chemistry class (usually called intro to or prinicples of chemistry) that is for non science majors. This course isn't what med schools are looking for, they require what is often called General or inorganic chemistry which is usually quite a bit more involved than the intro to chem. If you can manage to take 2 semesters of general chem it will save you some time, because if you don't you are looking at 2 years after you graduate before you have finished your 4 semesters of chemistry.

    A degree in nursing will neither help or hinder you in getting into medical school but it will definitely give you a chance to find out for sure if med school is what you want to do. It will also give you a decent paying job to fall back on, should life take one of its crazy turns. Make the best of nursing school, it will give you chance to get back into the books and work on your studying skills. Make sure you strive for high grades since GPA is one of the big factors in getting into med school. Enjoy the ride you never know what will happen. Don't sweat the age thing, hell I'm 31 and just now in my first year of med school. Best of luck!
     
  4. styphon

    styphon Senior Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    275
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    As I understand most colleges require a 4 year degree?I may be wrong..but there is one thing I notice about nursing students..
    The chemistry classes required for LPN/RN are NOT the same ones required for medical school. Nursing students, at least in upstate NY, take a much less math oriented and condensed version of chemistry. Nursing students have argued about this with me, and I point out that their "General Organic Chemistry" is two semesters, where as General Chem is 2 and Organic 2 for medical school.
     
  5. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    0
    JBarrJ, I agree with most of what's been said by those who have repsonded to your post. Specifically,

    - If your RN program will not result in a 4-year degree, it's a complete waste of time as far as medical school admissions goes.

    - Even if the RN program will provide you with a 4-year degree, the basic science courses for your nursing program are unlikely to satisfy the premed requirements. Again, a waste of time as far a medical school admissions is concerned.

    - While the hands-on experience from your nursing program would give you a head-start during your clinical years of medical school, it won't do much to help you get in to medical school. You can get the hands-on experience you need for admission through volunteer work.

    If you want to become a nurse, get a nursing degree. Lord knows we need more nurses right now! But if you want to become a doctor, pick ANY major you think you would enjoy, and take the 4 required premed courses.

    As for your age, don't sweat it! I will begin medical school this fall at the age of 29, and it's quite likely that several of my classmates will be even older than me.

    By getting your GED and going through college later than most, you're taking a non-traditional path toward medical school. This will distinguish you from the crowd when you apply to medical school, so it may be an advantage, not a disadvantage.

    I wish you the best of luck as you pursue your dream of becoming a doctor. And welcome to SDN!
     
  6. nochaser

    nochaser Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2001
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree, most nursing programs have survey courses for chem, like "Intro to Organic and Biochemistry" that are not equal to one year in gen chem and one year in orgo, or a semester of biochem, for that matter. I have never heard of RN's needing a year of gen physics (mechanics and elec. and magnetism) for their degrees. Perhaps if you get some summers off from the RN track, you could take these required premed courses during summer? And make sure that you take at least one semester of calculus. Good luck!
     
  7. Sarena

    Sarena Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    First of all, let me state that I am a registered nurse and I have just been accepted to medical school for the 2002 entering class. Although this is the route I took, I would not necessarily suggest it for anyone else for the following reasons:

    1. There is a much shorter route for you to take. As one of the other poster's pointed out, the chemistry needed for your nursing degree is not the same. You will find yourself, retaking courses because the requirements for med school are different. This is a waste of time and money.

    2. Surprisingly, nurses actually about the acceptance rates of all the undergraduate majors. The statistics cited in the 2001-2002 MSAR: 267 applicants with nursing majors and only 72 acceptances. There is a 27% acceptance rate for nurses. This compares to acceptance rates in the 40 and 50 percent ranges for other sciences.

    If you do decide to get a nursing degree first, be prepared to explain your reasoning to the admissions committee (because it will difinitely come up over and over again). It may also prove to be problematic during your nursing school experience because of the difference between the medical model and the nursing model.

    On the other hand, you will gain invaluable experience as a nurse that will be helpful if you do get accepted into medical school. You will also have the opportunity to see what the practice of medicine is really all about. Then you can decide if becoming a doctor is truly what you want.

    Bottom line, my advise to you would be to go straight for the goal since you are still young(even for medical school --I'm 39). Concentrate on your GPA and MCAT scores. And don't forget about the EC experiences to round out the package.

    Good luck.
     
  8. tman

    tman Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2000
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh damn, I guess I skipped over a vital part of your story...the program you're entering is a 2 year progam. As others have pointed out a 2 year Associates of Nursing gets you nowhere towards med school. There are some programs that will allow you to get a BSN after your AN and this might be something to look into, but this could be a long road to fulfill your pre-med pre-reqs.

    I will just re-iterate what has already been said. If you know that med school is what you want to do, and you can gain admission to a college, I would seriously consider just going the more traditional pre-med route. You could have your bachelor's and pre-reqs completed in 3 1/2 -4 years. The nursing route is going to take you quite a bit longer.

    If you are committed to the AN program it's not a total loss by any means. First, since you have been out of the books for a while (i.e. since before high school) it will give you chance to develop some study habits which you will definitely need down the road. Also it will give you a chance to test the waters of college without jumping into the dog eat dog world of premeds, which you are probably ill prepared for given your past. Second, it will give you exposure to the medical field and when you are finished you should know for sure if you really want med school. Third, there are very few bachelors degrees that will give you the same starting pay that an Associates in Nursing will, so you will have something to fall back on, or a way to make some cash to finance the rest of your undergrad while you are finishing off your pre-med requirements.

    The bottom line is, if you are looking for the FASTEST route to med school you would be better served just going for a bachelor's degreee in whatever and applying in 4 years. The fastest route may or may not be the best route for you given your circumstances. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck!
     
  9. JBarrJ

    JBarrJ New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow! Thanks to everyone so far for your excellent advice and encouragement! You guys "know of what you speak", and that is what I was looking for. I know that admission's reps. sometimes have a tendency, especially at a school like mine, to somewhat "gloss" over the real facts, or perhaps they just don't even really know for sure, and that was precisely what I wanted to clarify, in order to avoid an unnecessary decision that would hurt me in the long run. I know that I most definitely want to pursue medicine, and now I am going to check into seeing if I can get admitted to a four-year insitution. Nursing is really not the field I wish to go into, although I don't abhor the thought, by any means; I guess I just KNOW what it is that I am supposed to do, and that's to get my butt to med. school if it half-kills me. :)
    As for gaining at least a fraction of insight into the medical field itself, I'll definitely take the advice to volunteer, as that would be a good option for me at this time.
    And before I go, congratulations to you, Sarena, on your acceptance to med. school! And thanks again everyone; much appreciated, and good luck to you all, whatever you are pursuing. Thanks for making up such a great forum - it's invaluable!
     
  10. marleybfour

    marleybfour Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    I too am a registered nurse and agree with many points of tman. For myself, becoming a nurse prior to doing the premeds has had many advantages. First, I am an older adult and although I already had several degrees, adding my RN increased my salary tremendously ( $35-40/hr). It allows me to go to school for premed and work full-time to pay my bills(mortgage, car...etc.) I will have a little less on loans as I will have some money saved for tuition. Second, it has also allowed me a closer and more realistic view of being a physician. I believe many young people have an unrealistic idea of what being a doctor is about and become sorely disappointed and angry when they are actually practicing. Thirdly, I don't have to concern myself with EC's as I have the "real thing." Fourth, I know more doctors then I can count for recommendations and connections. Fifth, med school will be a TAD bit easier for me then someone with no experience at all. Sixth, there is a tremendous nursing shortage. I will be able to work during med school, or vacations, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. The flexability is tremendous.

    If money is not an issue, then the RN route may not be as beneficial for you. Good luck on whatever you decide.
     
  11. You may want to consider getting a bachelor's degree in medical technology. In med tech, many of the pre-med requirements must be taken. I know biology, biochemistry, organic chem, gchem, etc are all required for med tech as well as pre-med. These courses (metnitoned above) for med tech MUST be the same courses taken for pre-meds and science majors.

    Going this route you will also have a nice background in biochem before med school.

    You will also get clinical exposure to medicine as a med tech.
     

Share This Page