Can't decide if NP or MD is the best route for me???

Aug 2, 2016
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello everyone, I have done lots of research on the differences between NP's and MD's, but there is one factor that has made my choice relatively confusing. I am currently a rising senior in high school and am applying to colleges this coming week, so I need to decide whether or not I should apply to nursing school. I have been confident about doing it for a while, until I went to the website for the American Board of Pediatrics and researched all of the various subspecialties available to doctors. I am interested in pediatrics, and the subspecialties that I currently like the most are adolescent medicine and child abuse pediatrics. However, when I looked into how to study these areas, all of the websites mentioned med school and residency programs...they didn't have any information regarding nursing. Can (pediatric) nurse practitioners also subspecialize in the areas I mentioned such as adolescent medicine or child abuse? I spoke with a couple of nurse practitioners who were not in pediatrics, and they did not believe that NP's could specialize further than general peds, but when I researched my own PNP, I learned that she received "extensive specialty training" in asthma care/management, which made me even more confused on options available to NP's. So, would I still be able to concentrate on my fields of interest as an NP, or is it probably better in these areas for me go the pre-med route?? Any input is greatly appreciated- thank you so much!!!!!!!
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2+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2014
Medical Student
If you would be happy as a nurse, NOT as an NP then do nursing. You can always (despite what some people think.....) apply to med school with a nursing degree. But, you need to work as a nurse before doing an NP program, and so you need to look at if you want to be a nurse, at all. That's the question.

Either way, no door is closed in any way by choosing either.
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10+ Year Member
May 16, 2007
Attending Physician
Nurse practitioners can and do work in pediatric subspecialties. I am a pediatric pulmonology fellow and we have nurse practitioners in our division who see patients with asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung disease of prematurity, etc. They see the same types of patients as our docs but they are supervised by a physician. They still have a lot of autonomy in clinic and make decisions for their patients.

I can't help you make your decision about NP vs. physician. However, the door to working in the pediatric subspecialties will still be open to you even if you pursue the NP route.