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 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.
 

geekgolightly

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I know a woman who was in medical school, took a semester off to care for her mother who was dying, and after that experience changed her path to nursing. She said she felt closer to her mother's nurses than the doctors by far and realized that this is the sort of interaction she had been seeking as a medical student and knew she would never get being a physician.

With medicine you get to solve problems, you get to map out how to treat disease processes, and you can squeeze in time to chit chat at times as well. With nursing, you really get to know your patient, even if only for twelve hours, and feel that you might even be doing some good in terms the direction of treatment by heading off small problems that could quickly become big if left alone.

The huge drawback to nursing is feeling unappreciated and like a servant or waitress for much of the day some days, or worse yet, working in a facility that overloads you with unsafe staffing ratios. In Las Vegas the ratio is as high as 1:12, which makes me want to leap off a building just thinking about it.

You will never ever ever ever make as much money; and in fact, the money you do make a nurse quickly becomes a joke. 40k a year for working two days a week seems like a lot until the toll of this type of work shows up as hair loss, ulcers, and anger issues :mad: :(

Think about what you really want. I know docs that can make family life work while they do surgical residency even. The answer is all in what you really desire as a profession.
 

ImmunoNut

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I am struggling in very much the same way as you are, although I am not yet in medical school. I almost hoped I would do badly when I took the MCAT because then the decision would be made for me, but I did very well and have a pretty good shot at my state school's medical program. I am considering PA school or nursing because of the time and money issue. Yes doctors make a lot of money but they also lose a lot in the years that they are training and owe a lot in loans. I'm not so sure if it's as great as it seems on the surface. And those years you give away are hard, especially as a woman, because many of us are trying to start our families at the same time and you cannot get those years with your babies back when they are gone...

However, that said, after talking to a lot of women physicians I have found that most seem to find a balance eventually. Whether it be working part time or even in unconventional jobs, we are a very smart and creative group when it comes to finding ways to make time for our families. I do believe it can be done, it just takes creativity and hard work.

Unfortunately there isn't a magic answer to your problem, but I just wanted you to know that you are far from the only one out there struggling. If you can afford to take a year off it might be a good idea. Either way, best of luck to you :) And if you haven't already, check out the website MomMd.com
 
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I know it seems really hard right now, but I would stick through it ... there are plenty of opportunities to do research in med school, and afterwards you can do family practice or something similar and have 40 hours a week with no call and with the ability to have a loving, thriving family. i don't think that being a physician and having a life are mutually exclusive at all.

you're going to have to work hard whether you continue with med school or go to nursing school ...
 

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You will never ever ever ever make as much money; and in fact, the money you do make a nurse quickly becomes a joke. 40k a year for working two days a week seems like a lot until the toll of this type of work shows up as hair loss, ulcers, and anger issues :mad: :(

But on the other side of that coin, you also won't go so deeply into debt for your nursing education...right??

FWIW, I'm a nontrad thinking of changing careers...had been set on med school, but am beginning to wonder whether I might find nursing a better match for my interests/desires and am now really up a creek! Good thread...please keep the insightful posts coming!
 

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I am in the same boat as some of you. I have been planning on going to medical school for the past 5 years and I have recently changed my mind about becoming a doctor. The long education with residency and the huge finacial burden of all the loans just scares me. Also, I like my free time and I value being able to sleep.

I just think that I will be a much happier person without the stress of med school, residency (80 hrs/week +) being on call blah blah blah....

I personally don't want to spend most of my life studying to find out that medicine is not what I expected or imagined but I would still have to do it because of the loans etc.

So I too have thought about nursing school and I think it is a wonderful alternative for me, lifestyle-wise. Possible being an NP as well.

Just thought I would share my story for anyone that cared to read it.:cool:
 

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I have a ton of women physician friends who were in my medical school class, and they had kids while in medical school. It is very doable. You simply chose a career path that is good for being a Mom. FM, Peds, Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine (probably the best...work 4 shifts a month and make enough to feed 2 families!). Med school gets so much easier after the first 2 years. Finish those and start clinicals and see what I say. You seem way too intelligent to settle for something that may not make you happy intellectually.
 

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My advice is:

If you want to be a doctor, go to medical school.

If you want to be a nurse, go to nursing school.

I don't mean to be crass. As someone who spent many years trying to quench the desire to be a doctor, I can tell you first hand that if you really want to be a doctor, you will very likely not be happy if you don't go medical school. I did not want to take the time, borrow all the $$$, leave my comfortable life, move my spouse from family and about 100 other excuses. I became a nurse, that was not enough, I decided to try the NP thing because that was close enough. In the end, I realized there can only be one way for me.

Besides me, I have many friends and know lots other people that were in the same situation as you and became nurses, then NPs and ALL of them will tell you if you want to be a doctor becoming an NP will not satisfy you.
 

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I would encourage those of you who are in med school to really hang in there. Nursing is seriously not an easy route. Many times you are not treated well, get harassed by docs and are not appreciated for the work you do. I just graduated from Nursing school and have been working. I am burnt out already, its tough, and most of the time we have little to no help. The pay is not so great either, its a physical and mental demand that is so straining. I usually come home very depressed and feel unsatisfied with what I do. I'm so tired of it already that I have started pre-med, and plan to get into med school, mainly because I want to be intellectually stimulated and at least be respected for what I do, and besides I love medicine and caring for people in a special way! The grass may look greener on the other side, believe me nursing has its issues too, this should explain the nursing shortage.
 

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I would encourage those of you who are in med school to really hang in there. Nursing is seriously not an easy route. Many times you are not treated well, get harassed by docs and are not appreciated for the work you do. I just graduated from Nursing school and have been working. I am burnt out already, its tough, and most of the time we have little to no help. The pay is not so great either, its a physical and mental demand that is so straining. I usually come home very depressed and feel unsatisfied with what I do. I'm so tired of it already that I have started pre-med, and plan to get into med school, mainly because I want to be intellectually stimulated and at least be respected for what I do, and besides I love medicine and caring for people in a special way! The grass may look greener on the other side, believe me nursing has its issues too, this should explain the nursing shortage.


I can't imagine going through med school and then deciding to be a nurse instead. This isn't meant to be an insult in either direction, but that just seems insane. Nursing is not the easy way out by any stretch. You're just trading one set of troubles for another. There's a lot of disrespect out there, mostly from pts and families, sometimes from docs. While the money may look good, once you've been in it for a while your wages flatten out. It's pretty depressing to know that I'm not going to make much more than I do now...and I've got another 20y until I can retire.

At the very least, shadow some nurses for a while before you make the decision to change. Seems like a bad choice, though.
 

JClass413

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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 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.

Wow we were on opposit spectrums. I on the other hand am in my Junior year of nursing and I am kinda sick of it! I want to finish my junior year as a back up plan if the whole thing with med school doesn't work out which I doubt becuase it's what I want, but if it doesn't I can always go back and finish my last year. I really wish we could trade places. How old are you? I am 21 and I figure I would be done with everything and be an atteding by age 29-30 the latest.
 

jaydoc07

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Attending by 29-30? Wow that is fast. Do you already have your prereqs for med-school? Taken the MCAT? There is a lot of time in preparation before the MINIMUM 7 years for med school plus residency. I thought I was relatively young at this point (graduating at 26), but then again I chose a 6 year residency.
 

DaRNell

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I would encourage those of you who are in med school to really hang in there. Nursing is seriously not an easy route. Many times you are not treated well, get harassed by docs and are not appreciated for the work you do. I just graduated from Nursing school and have been working. I am burnt out already, its tough, and most of the time we have little to no help. The pay is not so great either, its a physical and mental demand that is so straining. I usually come home very depressed and feel unsatisfied with what I do. I'm so tired of it already that I have started pre-med, and plan to get into med school, mainly because I want to be intellectually stimulated and at least be respected for what I do, and besides I love medicine and caring for people in a special way! The grass may look greener on the other side, believe me nursing has its issues too, this should explain the nursing shortage.

I recommend those already in medical school to stay in medical school. Maybe you are feeling doubts that you can't complete medical school that is making you consider nursing. Or maybe you do want to be a nurse. If it's the first, a strong driving force within you got you this far so suck it up and finish medical school. If it's the latter, like someone said earlier, you should shadow a nurse for the whole 12 hour shift and more than just one shift to see what you are getting yourself into.

Nursing is a good profession, but yes there are a lot of low points to nursing. A big low point for me is that it is not very intellectually stimulating. I have my BS in biochemistry, was originally premed, and then changed my mind and did nursing. This is my last qtr in nursing school. Nursing school is not as easy as you may think. For me nursing school has been incredibly difficult. Not difficult intellectually but difficult to find the energy and motivation to complete all of the busy work. And there is a crap load of busy work. I am doing school work all of the time.

I currently have two student nurse extern jobs where I function as an RN under supervision. I love the nurses I work with. Sometimes I really love my patients too. But I want more. I want to learn more A+P, more pharmacology, etc. The actual science you learn in nursing school is very minimal. Nothing compared to what I learned in undergrad biochemistry. I also want more say-so and more independence. It's annoying knowing what medications your patient needs, but you have to wait an hour or so just to contact the MD for a doctors order. More respect from the doctors would be nice too. Damn you doctors. That's why I'm thinking about giving this medical school thing a second chance.
 
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Hi does anyone know the rankings of nursing schools?
 

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I am not sure if this would be possible. I mean to rank nursing schools. There is like a ba-zillion (scientific word;)) of them in different settings with different lengths (acclerated, dual, part-time, etc.) This is a good thing though. We need more Nurses. :thumbup:

Let's not even open the "USN&WR Rankings of PA Programs" can of worms...:beat:
 

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I agree, stopping med school to work as an RN on a hospital floor could be just trading one set of troubles for another - long, difficult, and sometimes unforgiving hours.

But becoming an NP seems to be like something worth considering, especially if your goal out of medical school is to be a family doctor or a general practitioner. NPs treat patients with a lot of autonomy, can prescribe (in many states), and develop relationships with patients in private practice that is similar to (if not the same as) physician-patient relationships in general private practice. Coming out of a three year APRN program, you could enjoy many of the aspects of patient treatment and care that primary care physicians do, with a good deal less stress and debt to get there.
 

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Whew...I thought I was the only one considering this option! My application for med school has been processed and verified, and I've sent an application to a bunch of nursing schools. I'm going to have a tough decision to make if I get accepted to both. Yes, just as another poster alluded to, I would love to learn as much A&P, Path, etc. that I can, and be "intellectually stimulated," whatever that means...but the sacrifices that one must make in terms of money and lifestyle really outweighs the benefits. I mean, I wouldn't want to owe 200k just to be intellectually stimulated. But then again, I just can't walk away from it! Some days I want to be a doc, and brave medical school and all the crap that comes along with it...and some days I want to be a nurse, get done with school early, and get on with and enjoy another phase of my life. And it's all because of lifestyle. Damn, I wish my parents were rich. :laugh:
As I get older, I'm losing most of that premed idealistic spunk, and being more realistic.
 

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Hi does anyone know the rankings of nursing schools?

There really isn't a good reason to do so.

In nursing, your skills and overall competence are what counts. Not so much where you went to school, unless you went some place major. And that only may count for the the first job or so. After that, it tends to be competence.

I have my lowly local nursing school degree - I still have been done assignments at some of the best hospitals in the country, and been offered good positions at each one.

Do not become a nurse unless you want to be a nurse. While I believe in what I do, there are days when it is a love-hate relationship.
 

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My advice is:

If you want to be a doctor, go to medical school.

If you want to be a nurse, go to nursing school.

I don't mean to be crass. As someone who spent many years trying to quench the desire to be a doctor, I can tell you first hand that if you really want to be a doctor, you will very likely not be happy if you don't go medical school. I did not want to take the time, borrow all the $$$, leave my comfortable life, move my spouse from family and about 100 other excuses. I became a nurse, that was not enough, I decided to try the NP thing because that was close enough. In the end, I realized there can only be one way for me.

Besides me, I have many friends and know lots other people that were in the same situation as you and became nurses, then NPs and ALL of them will tell you if you want to be a doctor becoming an NP will not satisfy you.

Amen to that. From my first day in nursing school, I dreamed of medical school. I went to be an LPN, then an RN, now I'm an NP. I still dream of being a doctor, but it's too late for me, since I'm 43 and just adopted a 2 year old. To the OP, I vote for sticking it out in med school and then find shift work in Emergency Medicine, or maybe be a radiologist. Good luck!
 

fab4fan

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There really isn't a good reason to do so.

In nursing, your skills and overall competence are what counts. Not so much where you went to school, unless you went some place major. And that only may count for the the first job or so. After that, it tends to be competence.

I have my lowly local nursing school degree - I still have been done assignments at some of the best hospitals in the country, and been offered good positions at each one.

Do not become a nurse unless you want to be a nurse. While I believe in what I do, there are days when it is a love-hate relationship.

And some days it's mostly hate.

(Sorry, last week was just rotten.)
 

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Amen to that. From my first day in nursing school, I dreamed of medical school. I went to be an LPN, then an RN, now I'm an NP. I still dream of being a doctor, but it's too late for me, since I'm 43 and just adopted a 2 year old. To the OP, I vote for sticking it out in med school and then find shift work in Emergency Medicine, or maybe be a radiologist. Good luck!

It isn't that easy though. It'd be nice to work in Rads, Derm, etc...but one doesn't realize the sacrifices one must make in order to get into those types of residencies. I wouldn't even entertain the notion of becoming a nurse if it didn't give me much more control of my life. Shift work allows me to choose where my future family and I live, and that is very important to me.
 

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I agree, stopping med school to work as an RN on a hospital floor could be just trading one set of troubles for another - long, difficult, and sometimes unforgiving hours.

But becoming an NP seems to be like something worth considering, especially if your goal out of medical school is to be a family doctor or a general practitioner. NPs treat patients with a lot of autonomy, can prescribe (in many states), and develop relationships with patients in private practice that is similar to (if not the same as) physician-patient relationships in general private practice. Coming out of a three year APRN program, you could enjoy many of the aspects of patient treatment and care that primary care physicians do, with a good deal less stress and debt to get there.

This post has good insight. In addition with a Masters as N.P. you can do dinical medicine, get tired of that and do academic medicine, get tired of that and retire doing administration. you get all 3 with less stress and much less loans..
 

core0

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Wandering1,

Did you ever consider PA school?

If you look at the post he is a first year med student. While he has all the qualifications for PA school, I doubt that a program director would look very favorably at this. They want students that will fill the seats. It would be hard to assess someone who dropped out of med school as willing to complete two years of PA school.

David Carpenter, PA-C
 

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I agree with you entirely core0, since I am a PA student. What I meant was did the poster consider PA school instead of ever going to medical school.... especially with the complaint of the 7 plus years of schooling...exactly one of the reasons why I chose PA :D
 

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Nursing and medicine are very different professions that just overlap. Nurses' concerns and physicians' concerns for the pt are very different and both are needed to take care of the pt. I'm graduating with my BSN next month and have planned on going to med school since my first semester of nursing school. If you like the patho, pharm, etc.. you won't get it in depth in nursing school. That is what I like and although I have learned a lot, it's not to the extent to which I want. Also, you don't apply much of it in practice. For the most part your concerns are strictly nursing related (doing tasks, carrying out orders) and less with the medical part (interpreting labs and deciding which drugs would be best).

I would say stick out med school. Once you finish residency you can settle down and have family time. Pick an attractive specialty like derm or rad (you can even work from home). Even if you went on to NP or PA school, you'll still be working similar hours.

If you did chose to do a midlevel program, go the PA route. It's based on the medical model where NP is based on the nursing model. You'll be happier since you enjoy the sciences like you said you do. RE: a previous post about dropping out and going through a PA program, I know a med student that did just that.... wasn't a problem.

just my 2 cents... coming from a soon-to-be nurse.
 

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Just wanted to give a reality check on life as a radiologist. First off, getting into a radiology residency program is *extremely* difficult. Board scores well into the 90 percentile... great recos... and a heck of a lot of luck. Secondly, hours in a busy radiology practice are insane. At the hospital by seven, lucky if you're home by seven at night. Plus call. Sure, these days you can take call a lot of the time from home, but... not always.

My Dad is in his mid-70s and still practicing full-time. He owns the practice... keeps expanding it (seven hospitals so far)... still pulls insane call, etc. He says that there's been the myth of the radiologist lifestyle since he finished his residency nearly 50 years ago... and the myth still exists. Even if your plan is to eventually maybe work part-time/locum tenens or do telradiology... you still need to make it through a 5 year demanding residency plus a fellowship (to be competitive these days). It is by no means a cake walk. Yes, salary is excellent... but getting there is a very tough road.
 

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I know a woman who was in medical school, took a semester off to care for her mother who was dying, and after that experience changed her path to nursing. She said she felt closer to her mother's nurses than the doctors by far and realized that this is the sort of interaction she had been seeking as a medical student and knew she would never get being a physician.

With medicine you get to solve problems, you get to map out how to treat disease processes, and you can squeeze in time to chit chat at times as well. With nursing, you really get to know your patient, even if only for twelve hours, and feel that you might even be doing some good in terms the direction of treatment by heading off small problems that could quickly become big if left alone.

The huge drawback to nursing is feeling unappreciated and like a servant or waitress for much of the day some days, or worse yet, working in a facility that overloads you with unsafe staffing ratios. In Las Vegas the ratio is as high as 1:12, which makes me want to leap off a building just thinking about it.

You will never ever ever ever make as much money; and in fact, the money you do make a nurse quickly becomes a joke. 40k a year for working two days a week seems like a lot until the toll of this type of work shows up as hair loss, ulcers, and anger issues :mad: :(

Think about what you really want. I know docs that can make family life work while they do surgical residency even. The answer is all in what you really desire as a profession.


I am a nurse undergrad but this isn't really what I want. I badly want to be a doctor but i think being a nurse will be a temporary path for me. I have plans that after I finished my nursing school I would go straight to med school coz I know this is what I want.

Don't give up... right?:)
 

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If you look at the post he is a first year med student. While he has all the qualifications for PA school, I doubt that a program director would look very favorably at this. They want students that will fill the seats. It would be hard to assess someone who dropped out of med school as willing to complete two years of PA school.

David Carpenter, PA-C

Can you explain this to me a little more? What if someone went to med school for a year & realized that they'd be happier as a PA? Maybe they realized that they can be content in that role. Why would that be frowned upon at PA programs?? :confused: I am a week away from starting med school and quite a bit older than my classmates.
Every day I keep thinking "This is insane! I shoulda gone for a PA program!"
 

core0

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Can you explain this to me a little more? What if someone went to med school for a year & realized that they'd be happier as a PA? Maybe they realized that they can be content in that role. Why would that be frowned upon at PA programs?? :confused: I am a week away from starting med school and quite a bit older than my classmates.
Every day I keep thinking "This is insane! I shoulda gone for a PA program!"

Because if they are at a top flight program they have a bunch of people that know what they want to do (or are good at faking it). The OP has already dropped out of one medical program indicating they don't really know what they want to do (and taking up a seat while incurring a lot of debt). You would really have to wow an admissions committee to help them believe they might not do the same thing. The schools generally look for the same thing. The best indicator of completing any educational program is continued completion of educational programs. Similarly not completing a program is a big red flag. If you have a good excuse then that may change things but overall not completing what you start is not helpful.

David Carpenter, PA-C
 
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  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.