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Hi! I am currently a high school senior applying to majors and colleges. I am really torn between Nursing or becoming a physician. As of now, I now I know that I will eventually be able to handle the rigor of medical school, but I am afraid of "burnout", the overall costs of medical school, and some of the personal goals I would have to sacrifice. If I were to pursue nursing and decide (after a few years of work experience) that I still want to become a physician, what would I need to do so?
 
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Just a heads up, burnout exists within all healthcare professions and is something you have to be cognizant of if you are going to combat it. But to answer you question, nursing is extremely versatile but it is kind of all in. By that, I mean a good amount (if I had to give a number I was say about 50% if not more) of the classes for BSN don't transfer to being an MD/DO. To contrast, a bio major can fairly easily transfer a good deal of their coursework to other occupations within healthcare if MD doesn't work out (dental/PA/physical therapy/vet). So if you switched later you would have to complete a DIY post-bac (that would be around 2-3 semesters) to gain the pre-reqs required for med school as well as the MCAT.
 
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Just a heads up, burnout exists within all healthcare professions and is something you have to be cognizant of if you are going to combat it. But to answer you question, nursing is extremely versatile but it is kind of all in. By that, I mean a good amount (if I had to give a number I was say about 50% if not more) of the classes for BSN don't transfer to being an MD/DO. To contrast, a bio major can fairly easily transfer a good deal of their coursework to other occupations within healthcare if MD doesn't work out (dental/PA/physical therapy/vet). So if you switched later you would have to complete a DIY post-bac (that would be around 2-3 semesters) to gain the pre-reqs required for med school as well as the MCAT.
Thank you so much for your help! Yes, I've heard about taking the additional courses and really having an intellectual perspective for interviews. Is it possible to orient your schedule/courses so that they will transfer over to medical school. For example, some UCs consider nursing science as pre-med, but I wasn't able to confirm if this means that credits can transfer to med school.
 
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You could consider a PA program if you're torn between the two. Could be a great fit if you want something kind of in the middle in a way.
 

Med Ed

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Hi! I am currently a high school senior applying to majors and colleges. I am really torn between Nursing or becoming a physician. As of now, I now I know that I will eventually be able to handle the rigor of medical school, but I am afraid of "burnout", the overall costs of medical school, and some of the personal goals I would have to sacrifice. If I were to pursue nursing and decide (after a few years of work experience) that I still want to become a physician, what would I need to do so?

Nursing and medicine are very different career paths. What exposure have you had to each one?
 
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dienekes88

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Hi! I am currently a high school senior applying to majors and colleges. I am really torn between Nursing or becoming a physician. As of now, I now I know that I will eventually be able to handle the rigor of medical school, but I am afraid of "burnout", the overall costs of medical school, and some of the personal goals I would have to sacrifice. If I were to pursue nursing and decide (after a few years of work experience) that I still want to become a physician, what would I need to do so?

If you go down the nursing path and start working, it's much easier/faster/advantageous to go down the NP/CRNA path than to turn around and go down the MD path.

It's 2-2.5 years of school and you're out practicing 40 hours per week with the opportunity to have moderate independence and limited liability in most states and independence in a few states. This compared to 4 years of med school, 3-10 years of residency and fellowship. For what. A ton of debt, a ton of liability, and "independent" practice?

You could consider a PA program if you're torn between the two. Could be a great fit if you want something kind of in the middle in a way.

Another good choice.
 

Med Ed

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If you go down the nursing path and start working, it's much easier/faster/advantageous to go down the NP/CRNA path than to turn around and go down the MD path.

It's 2-2.5 years of school and you're out practicing 40 hours per week with the opportunity to have moderate independence and limited liability in most states and independence in a few states. This compared to 4 years of med school, 3-10 years of residency and fellowship. For what. A ton of debt, a ton of liability, and "independent" practice?

You do realize you're talking to a high school senior.
 
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You could consider a PA program if you're torn between the two. Could be a great fit if you want something kind of in the middle in a way.
Thank you so much! I've considered applying to both nursing schools and to pre-med majors to really ensure that I have options by the time that my decisions must be finalized.
 
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Nursing and medicine are very different career paths. What exposure have you had to each one?
Actually, my dad was an ophthalmologist prior to moving to the US. Since we were not in the financial situation fit enough for him to retake courses in medical school, he decided to go towards the nursing route. I've learned about some of the pros and cons for both lines of work from him. I was 100% sure about going to medical school until I realized how some of the personal goals you set for yourself such as traveling or just settling down won't really happen until you start your practice. On the other hand, I still seek for the larger scope of practice that comes with being a physician.
 
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If you go down the nursing path and start working, it's much easier/faster/advantageous to go down the NP/CRNA path than to turn around and go down the MD path.

It's 2-2.5 years of school and you're out practicing 40 hours per week with the opportunity to have moderate independence and limited liability in most states and independence in a few states. This compared to 4 years of med school, 3-10 years of residency and fellowship. For what. A ton of debt, a ton of liability, and "independent" practice?



Another good choice.
I completely agree that the nursing or PA route gives you more options for advanced education within a shorter amount of time. Although loans are overwhelming, I think the salary will eventually make up for it. I am just more worried about sacrificing too much time and opportunities outside of medical school, which can make students more prone to burnout, too. Thank you for the advice!
 
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You do realize you're talking to a high school senior.
I still consider becoming a physician as an option. As a high school senior applying for undergraduate majors, I was also planning on taking up a pre-medical course that meets the pre-requisites for both medical school and PA programs.
 
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Med Ed

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Actually, my dad was an ophthalmologist prior to moving to the US. Since we were not in the financial situation fit enough for him to retake courses in medical school, he decided to go towards the nursing route. I've learned about some of the pros and cons for both lines of work from him. I was 100% sure about going to medical school until I realized how some of the personal goals you set for yourself such as traveling or just settling down won't really happen until you start your practice. On the other hand, I still seek for the larger scope of practice that comes with being a physician.

Medical students, residents, and fellows do strange and unusual things like travel, get married, and start families. There is a notion that the process of becoming a physician is like going into a black hole, and indeed some specialties are more time consuming than others, but people don't have to put their entire lives on hold. They just have to balance their priorities, which is an inescapable reality for all of us.

I have seen instances where someone in undergrad decided to "game" the system and do nursing with an ultimate plan of going to medical school. The success rate wasn't very high, and the anticipated benefits of that route were either small or nonexistent. Even for the ones who made it, the final accounting showed it to be a very long and painful way to go. Imagine someone who is working as a nurse, has a spouse, has small kids, a dog, and is trying to develop a competitive application for medical school. Then imagine that whole unit having to go wherever medical school is and living on one income + loans. It is, in a word, arduous.

Ultimately this is all very simple. If you want to be a physician then go to medical school. The rest will work itself out.

Good luck.
 
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penpenclown

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imo the path of least resistance for you would be to do a bio/science major and plan for med school and if you truly decide you want to be a nurse instead, you could either do an entry-level BSN (~12-20 months -- just make sure you take anat, physio, microbio, nutrition, and human dev/dev psych, which are the usual pre-reqs) or do an ASN and then BSN completion (generally way cheaper, but a bit longer path). That way you don't have to scramble to get med school reqs (including volunteering, MCAT etc.) done while working as a nurse. Plus most former premeds I know quit the path due to ochem/physics so that might give you your answer earlier on in the path than during a post-bacc.
 
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Medical students, residents, and fellows do strange and unusual things like travel, get married, and start families. There is a notion that the process of becoming a physician is like going into a black hole, and indeed some specialties are more time consuming than others, but people don't have to put their entire lives on hold. They just have to balance their priorities, which is an inescapable reality for all of us.

I have seen instances where someone in undergrad decided to "game" the system and do nursing with an ultimate plan of going to medical school. The success rate wasn't very high, and the anticipated benefits of that route were either small or nonexistent. Even for the ones who made it, the final accounting showed it to be a very long and painful way to go. Imagine someone who is working as a nurse, has a spouse, has small kids, a dog, and is trying to develop a competitive application for medical school. Then imagine that whole unit having to go wherever medical school is and living on one income + loans. It is, in a word, arduous.

Ultimately this is all very simple. If you want to be a physician then go to medical school. The rest will work itself out.

Good luck.
Thank you so much for the advice! I've been told that if you have a lot of things to balance, medical school must still remain a priority. I will definitely keep this in mind.
 
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imo the path of least resistance for you would be to do a bio/science major and plan for med school and if you truly decide you want to be a nurse instead, you could either do an entry-level BSN (~12-20 months -- just make sure you take anat, physio, microbio, nutrition, and human dev/dev psych, which are the usual pre-reqs) or do an ASN and then BSN completion (generally way cheaper, but a bit longer path). That way you don't have to scramble to get med school reqs (including volunteering, MCAT etc.) done while working as a nurse. Plus most former premeds I know quit the path due to ochem/physics so that might give you your answer earlier on in the path than during a post-bacc.
Thank you so much for the help! I was considering internal medicine as well, especially since most bio pre-med majors also meet the requirements for PA school.
 

DarkHorizon

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Thank you so much for the advice! I've been told that if you have a lot of things to balance, medical school must still remain a priority. I will definitely keep this in mind.

I travaled to over 20 countries between medical school and residency and fellowship. Since I have become an attending, I have hardly been able to travel because of young family. Medical school is a full time job with a lot of time off, you can easily travel and have hobbies.
 
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