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med school to nursing school?

wandering1

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Hi I'm currently a first year medical student and I'm wondering how many people out there have considered going from med school to nursing?
Med school is fine. Some days I'm wowed about cool stuff we are learning, and other days I wonder about the number of hours I spend studying/in school and how contrasts with how I think I want to spend my life (more balanced). I am doing well in my courses, but the feeling of being in school/training for the next 7 years or so fills me with dread. I definitely want to be in healthcare and I also have some research interests (particularly public health and health education/communication).
Right now I am considering taking a year off from med school to decide what the next step is. I am thinking nursing because its a finite amount of time and a marketable skill set, I can be working in 2 years, continue on to get a masters (NP) and possibly do research in projects that may interest me. The key for me really is the fact that I will be able to work sooner, in a field that is in demand pretty much everywhere and have better hours for the long term which would be more conducive to having kids and taking care of a family. ( I know that I will want to be a more hands-on mom).
The more insight into medicine I get, the more I am valuing the notion of ~40 hours a week and "no call" and even the flexibility of shift work.
I know I can do "the med school thing", it is not a matter of ability (maybe I am lazy?) and I enjoy the intellectual challenge it presents, but i wonder about the immense sacrifice in terms of time and money. I know that no one can tell me what to do, but for those in both professions - nursing and medicine, and perhaps those who have experience in both, is there anything that I am missing? what other factors should I take into consideration as I ponder my future?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions/advice.
 

tulane06

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Hi I'm currently a first year medical student and I'm wondering how many people out there have considered going from med school to nursing?
Med school is fine. Some days I'm wowed about cool stuff we are learning, and other days I wonder about the number of hours I spend studying/in school and how contrasts with how I think I want to spend my life (more balanced). I am doing well in my courses, but the feeling of being in school/training for the next 7 years or so fills me with dread. I definitely want to be in healthcare and I also have some research interests (particularly public health and health education/communication).
Right now I am considering taking a year off from med school to decide what the next step is. I am thinking nursing because its a finite amount of time and a marketable skill set, I can be working in 2 years, continue on to get a masters (NP) and possibly do research in projects that may interest me. The key for me really is the fact that I will be able to work sooner, in a field that is in demand pretty much everywhere and have better hours for the long term which would be more conducive to having kids and taking care of a family. ( I know that I will want to be a more hands-on mom).
The more insight into medicine I get, the more I am valuing the notion of ~40 hours a week and "no call" and even the flexibility of shift work.
I know I can do "the med school thing", it is not a matter of ability (maybe I am lazy?) and I enjoy the intellectual challenge it presents, but i wonder about the immense sacrifice in terms of time and money. I know that no one can tell me what to do, but for those in both professions - nursing and medicine, and perhaps those who have experience in both, is there anything that I am missing? what other factors should I take into consideration as I ponder my future?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions/advice.

You could get an MPH in addition to your MD, that way you could focus more on research and public health and have an easier work week, but still be a "doctor"
 
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LuckyBambooGirl

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I'm a second year med student, and yes, I have thought about the nursing route, but I would never do it. I can't wait to have kids, and sometimes I am frustrated with the amount of time I have to wait before I can have them and be the kind of mom I want to be. However, at this point I have too much invested in becoming a doctor and it is what I have always wanted to do. If I gave up on it now, I know that I would regret it. I have decided that I just have to be patient and persue this path. I will only be 27 when I graduate med school and that seems like a good age to start a family. I suggest that you find a young female physician who has completed her residency and talk to her about how she balances everything. An OB/GYN who talked to us at an interest group says that she is able to be the kind of mom she wants to be, and she loves what she does and does not regret it at all. (she has 2 kids, drops them off at school every morning, and is there to make them dinner and tuck them into bed at night, has most weekends off because of sharing call). She also said that yes, residency does suck, but you just have to get through it. So keep on with med school. Once the training is over you can have a good quality family life and you will be a doctor!
 

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Not to be mean, but shouldn't you have thought about the MD RN debate BEFORE you went to Medical School?

I think you'll have a hard time explaining your decision to nursing schools, but I could be wrong. Also, residency sucks, but then life gets better, and you have more command over your life.
 

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This post caught my eye b/c I am a pharmacy student currently on an acute care rotation with a med student on our team as well. From the moment we started he has been drilling me about pharmacy as a career and how he wished he would have thought about it more in undergrad. I think the thought of his upcoming residency years are getting to him.:rolleyes: I personally thought about med school in undergrad, and I even had the application in hand before pharmacy caught my eye. I realized that I just wasn't eager enough to put in at least 8 more years of school/residency/fellowship, but I really did have an interest in health care and medicine. Pharmacists can have the 40 hour work week, and also many clinical opportunities should you complete a 1 to 2 year (paid) residency. And, you can still be a "doctor of pharmacy." So you won't lose your "doctor" title if that's important to you:D . But whatever path you choose, I do believe it is important to visualize what type of lifestyle you want to live outside of work, and I can definitely understand your apprehension.
 

chocolate-e

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I delayed med school a year to ponder this same question. The clinchers for me were:

1) "The medical model" fit my interests much better than the nursing model (as I understand it). While of course I want to care for patients, I also want to understand the pathophysiology, pharmacology mechanisms, etc.--all the "how's"--and I don't think that's as much of a focus in nursing. (And yeah, I know, I won't come out of med school understanding ALL the how's--it's a matter of degree.) If you could find it satisfying to take care of patients and know a great deal about clinical aspects of disease and treatment, with potentially less knowledge of background material, then maybe nursing would indeed be a good option for you.

2) That husband/kids I'd be changing my career for weren't forthcoming, and I didn't want to stake my life on something that wasn't going to happen (or wasn't going to happen soon).

If you can suck up the 7+ years of training, there are potentially some paths in medicine that could leave you with a more predictable schedule and shorter hours ... EP shift work, FP/IM in urgent care, hospitalist, or non-clinical work in industry come to mind.

Anyway ... as Clinton would say, "I feel your pain!" Good luck with your decision!
 

snoozer

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Hi I'm currently a first year medical student and I'm wondering how many people out there have considered going from med school to nursing?
Med school is fine. Some days I'm wowed about cool stuff we are learning, and other days I wonder about the number of hours I spend studying/in school and how contrasts with how I think I want to spend my life (more balanced). I am doing well in my courses, but the feeling of being in school/training for the next 7 years or so fills me with dread. I definitely want to be in healthcare and I also have some research interests (particularly public health and health education/communication).
Right now I am considering taking a year off from med school to decide what the next step is. I am thinking nursing because its a finite amount of time and a marketable skill set, I can be working in 2 years, continue on to get a masters (NP) and possibly do research in projects that may interest me. The key for me really is the fact that I will be able to work sooner, in a field that is in demand pretty much everywhere and have better hours for the long term which would be more conducive to having kids and taking care of a family. ( I know that I will want to be a more hands-on mom).
The more insight into medicine I get, the more I am valuing the notion of ~40 hours a week and "no call" and even the flexibility of shift work.
I know I can do "the med school thing", it is not a matter of ability (maybe I am lazy?) and I enjoy the intellectual challenge it presents, but i wonder about the immense sacrifice in terms of time and money. I know that no one can tell me what to do, but for those in both professions - nursing and medicine, and perhaps those who have experience in both, is there anything that I am missing? what other factors should I take into consideration as I ponder my future?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions/advice.

A lot of nurses end up going back to school to get their MD. Maybe you should shadow a nurse for a while to see if you like it.
 

kylek044

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Hi I'm currently a first year medical student and I'm wondering how many people out there have considered going from med school to nursing?
Med school is fine. Some days I'm wowed about cool stuff we are learning, and other days I wonder about the number of hours I spend studying/in school and how contrasts with how I think I want to spend my life (more balanced). I am doing well in my courses, but the feeling of being in school/training for the next 7 years or so fills me with dread. I definitely want to be in healthcare and I also have some research interests (particularly public health and health education/communication).
Right now I am considering taking a year off from med school to decide what the next step is. I am thinking nursing because its a finite amount of time and a marketable skill set, I can be working in 2 years, continue on to get a masters (NP) and possibly do research in projects that may interest me. The key for me really is the fact that I will be able to work sooner, in a field that is in demand pretty much everywhere and have better hours for the long term which would be more conducive to having kids and taking care of a family. ( I know that I will want to be a more hands-on mom).
The more insight into medicine I get, the more I am valuing the notion of ~40 hours a week and "no call" and even the flexibility of shift work.
I know I can do "the med school thing", it is not a matter of ability (maybe I am lazy?) and I enjoy the intellectual challenge it presents, but i wonder about the immense sacrifice in terms of time and money. I know that no one can tell me what to do, but for those in both professions - nursing and medicine, and perhaps those who have experience in both, is there anything that I am missing? what other factors should I take into consideration as I ponder my future?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions/advice.

Don't do anything you're going to regret in the long-run. If your heart is telling you "MD," dont try to change it.
 
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I would wait until your clinical years before making a decision. The first two years are mainly coursework.
of course, by then your debt is twice as large. I wouldn't recommend going into nursing. If money is a minor consideration for you, there are definitely ways you can keep medicine from eating up your entire life. Even a casually employed MD can easily make twice what a nurse makes, have a lot more autonomy, a lot more opportunities (teaching, research, consulting, etc), and so on.

Besides, it would be at least 2.5 to 3.5 years before you could be an employed nurse, at which point, you really weren't that much farther from being a doctor.
 

TexPre-Med

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Have you thought about the PA option? Also 2 years, you get a hell of alot more autonomy than being a nurse and the pay is a bit better.

NP's have just as much autonomy as PA's, get paid as much, and in some places they have more rights.

NP over PA is what I say.

Still M.D. trumps all.
 

med_heidelberg

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Definitely shadow nurses for at least a month before deciding. You should try to get a feel for the daily routine of a nurse. I respect the nursing profession a great deal, but it wouldnt be for me. If you like science and solving problems, medicine is the more interesting route. As part of my training, I had to spend 3 months in various wards with nurses learning how to take care of patients. All med students have to do it here. I got a solid look at the profession as a result and there is no way I could do it. You implement orders from the doctors and dont have much autonomy. I thought I was going to go insane during this time and looked forward to the times where there wasnt too much happening on the ward so i could run off with the doctors and learn something interesting.

As for starting a family, as a doctor you can control your hours and can even work part time. My mother did this so she could have a family, and has been pleased with her professional life (private practice with a partner and research) and home life without having to sacrifice one for the other.
 

Krog

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A lot of nurses end up going back to school to get their MD. Maybe you should shadow a nurse for a while to see if you like it.

I'm one of those who left nursing to pursue the MD. Nursing is a gratifying field and they spend the most time with the patient. However, most clinical nurses still work every other weekend. Many work evening / night shifts. You would have the 40 hour work-week. Also, you'll wake up some day 6 years down the road & realize how fast time went & how you could have been an attending physician somewhere!

This time of year is when medical school is tough. Its winter, you've been in school FOREVER, graduation is SO FAR AWAY. Remember, you've made it this far & you're almost done with your 1st YEAR!! For me, getting to the 3rd year was a HUGE IMPROVEMENT over studying & memorizing biochemistry.

You can make your MD into whatever hours you want. Academics allows teaching(day shift, weekdays), Derm, PM&R, Radiology, Rad Onc, EM, Group practice in almost anything, etc. Many medical students/residents have children while still training, too.

Good luck!
 

tiredmom

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I was also a nurse before med school. It's a whole different way of thinking. There isn't near the pathophysiology of disease, mainly how does everything affect the patients. Our nursing school's philosophy was that all stressors take away layers of defense from the patient and when you lose enough layers, you get sick. I've loved being in med school because of being able to think through things so much more. I lovedthe patient contact but got so tired of being able to go through an entire day without learning anything or even thinking hard about something. I've had a blast with all the new stuff. Nursing is also not limited to a 40 hour week. I worked L&D, where you have to cover your own unit, so you take call in addition to working your scheduled shifts. I averaged over 60 hours a week for most of my career (not because I wanted to, but I just happened to get called in on nearly every call shift I had). When I decided to go back for med school, I looked at NP/PA/CNM paths also, but ultimately decided that I wanted to deliver babies AND do surgery AND be able to fully take care of my patients instead of having to have a physician backup to take over if they became high risk or needed a c/s. The other options just didn't offer the autonomy I wanted.
If you choose to go to nursing school, go early, 'cause your debt's only growing. Good luck! :luck:
 

wandering1

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Hi guys,
Thanks for all the constructive responses. I do appreciate it. I guess I do have a lot to think about.
I agree this is really horrible time of year too...and the end of the tunnel is soooo far away that I just can't see the light. Thing is I do see some the benefits of continuing on and yes I did think of all these things before entering medical school...a LOT.
The way I feel sometimes tho, I wonder: "am I going through all this to work part-time or not practice?" Its a heck of a long road to go down to not practice. Not to mention I don't see the point stopping at the end of the MD, b/c an MD with no residency is practically worthless, unless you are independently wealthy.

Part of me just wants to be done with school, (not to mention thinking of all the hoops one has to jump through in this medicine world). I did take time off between college and med school and while I was craving intellectual stimulation while I was out of school, now I'm having a heard time adjusting to being back in school, wanting the 9-5 and time to hang out and having a life.
I also agree that the grass is not always greener. And to be honest I'm not sure I really want to go into nursing per se (haven't really done any shadowing of nurses and I really only started thinking about it recently as an alternative to medicine)

I just can't seem to get myself fired up for the long road ahead. Not to mention being around other very motivated and bubbly first year med students makes you start to wonder if you are in the right place at all! Not to paint a totally dark picture, there are many positve things about med school and the stuff we are learning and the patient interactions...hmmm which leads me to wonder if I just dont want to work hard any more. I did work hard to get here. where did my passion go? or maybe medicine is not my passion and I was fooling myself? or is the thought of all the time and energy squelching my passion?

Also in terms of public health, much of the advice I've gotten seems to revolve around the fact that you will have more options/autonomy in this sphere as well if you have an MD. Seems like all roads leading to the MD...but why am I not bouncing off the walls?

So I know my story is not unique. Maybe some people would like to share how they motivated themselves or if they left, what their thought processes were (hmmm if they left though, they may not be in this board:)

thanks for letting me vent on this board...

still wandering...
 

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There was a point about this time last year when I felt like I just could not motivate myself to keep going. I really thought about quitting. I thought about grad school, nursing, anything but continuing on in med school. But my dad told me to just take it one day at a time and finish out the semester and then see what I wanted to do. I took his advice and by the end of the semester I was feeling more positive about the whole process. Then I shadowed in a family practice clinic for four weeks. It was awesome becasue I finally did see that light at the end of the tunnel. I had a lot of fun and I realized that I really didn't have much further to go until third year when I would finally start being with patients more instead of memorizing biochemistry. Second year has been much better than first year because the material is more relevant and interesting and we get more contact with patients.

Basically, my advice is that when you can't see the light at the tunnel, just keep plugging along, one day at a time. You have to have faith that it will get better!

"Truly the Lord encourages us to walk in faith to the edge of the light and beyond—into the unknown. After the trial of our faith, He once again shines the light ahead of us, and our journey of faith in every footstep continues."--M. Russell Ballard
 

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I'm a pre-med who has just recently been accepted into medical school for the fall, and I too have considered possibly pursuing another area within the health field. I actually dismissed the idea of becoming a doctor early in my under-grad because having a family and a life outside of my profession was very important to me. These things are still important to me, but I now believe I can have both--and I know that there is no other profession I would rather pursue than medicine. More and more women are becoming doctors, and many of these women do want to have families--so there are options out there. Yes, it may be difficult, but where there's a will there's a way right?

I also know that I would always regret not pursuing this once in a lifetime opportunity, and I don't want to be somewhere 10 years from now in a job where I am not satisfied, asking myself "What if?" Life is too short not to take chances, right? One of the best pieces of advice I have received is to not view your medical training as 7 years lost out of your life, but to live in every moment you can, make the best out of every situation, and make sure to make time for the things/people you love--because with this mentality it will (hopefully) be worth it in the end. Anyway, Best of luck to you, in whatever you choose.
 

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I just finished a 28 hour ICU shift. At 3 am this morning there was a 'Code Brown' whereby the nurse had to clean out a two inch thick puddle of liquidy stool lying underneath a sedated, vented patient- after he collected some for c diff assays. I would gladly do another 28 hour right after the last one ended to never have to see that again in my life.
 
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mjl1717

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Not to be mean, but shouldn't you have thought about the MD RN debate BEFORE you went to Medical School?

I think you'll have a hard time explaining your decision to nursing schools, but I could be wrong. Also, residency sucks, but then life gets better, and you have more command over your life.

thats one of the things about the field.. you learn things while in the field that you didnt know previously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For example male nurses are more accepted and comprise 13% of nursing at this point.
 

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I am going through a VERY similar situation right now (reading your post was like a glimps into my own thought process), only I am thinking about making the switch to DPT. I don't have much in the way of advice, but just wanted to let you know you aren't the only one out there who feels that way. Let me know how your situation turns out and good luck! :thumbup:

.... I can especially sympathize with you on being surrounded by bubbly (and some what neurotic) med students and you feel like you are the only (sane) one in the class that isn't motivated to be there....
 

SeaBreeze12

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You can make your MD into whatever hours you want. Academics allows teaching(day shift, weekdays), Derm, PM&R, Radiology, Rad Onc, EM, Group practice in almost anything, etc. Many medical students/residents have children while still training, too.

Good luck!

It seems like the so called lifestyle friendly practicies are the most competitive (derm, radiology, rad/onc, etc...). Any ideas for lifestyle friendly areas that don't require you to be in the top 5% of your class and already have a PhD (for us "average" med students out there!)
 

Dr. Will

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It seems like the so called lifestyle friendly practicies are the most competitive (derm, radiology, rad/onc, etc...). Any ideas for lifestyle friendly areas that don't require you to be in the top 5% of your class and already have a PhD (for us "average" med students out there!)

EM and PM&R
 
C

Critical Mass

Ha my mom is a pathologist and she says, DON'T DO IT!!! :laugh: :laugh:

I work for pathologists, and they have a much more manageable lifestyle than other docs I know. Salary is also decent. There might be plenty of reasons NOT to do path, but I don't think that lifestyle is an oft-cited one.

Is your mom clinical or anatomical? Private or academic?
 

SeaBreeze12

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I work for pathologists, and they have a much more manageable lifestyle than other docs I know. Salary is also decent. There might be plenty of reasons NOT to do path, but I don't think that lifestyle is an oft-cited one.

Is your mom clinical or anatomical? Private or academic?

Clinical, private. She loves pathology, but she has assumed the the role of a lab supervisior, which isn't why she got into medicine.

Her hours are decent, usually a 9-5 job, but sometimes she has to stay later (7ish) when frozen sections come in. She takes beeper call 1-2 weekends a month.
 

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Would you throw neurology in there too? Psych? Pathology?

So let's keep going with this point. :) The thing I hate about the funny flow chart about medical specialties is that the only options given for the lazy people are derm and rads. Well, if you're lazy, I don't think derm and rads are going to be an option. Any other specialties we can add to the lifestyle friendly/not impossible match list?

Here's what we have so far --
1. EM
2. PM&R
3. neuro?
4. psych
5. path
6. FM? (practice dependent, I guess)
 
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