rnnpmaybe

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I am an RN, out of school less than a year. 22 years old, married, with no kids, but would like to have them in a few years. Trying to decide between MD or NP. I don't have pre-reqs done yet. Can you compare being in medical school with husband/kids to that of a regular full time job? BESIDES MSIII, (I realize that year is tough) is it that much more of a challenge? I mean, you're studying instead of working...(I'm NEVER going to be the SAHM type). Also, this is the call schedule for a psych residency I'm looking at. Seems pretty benign to me- and some of the residents have said they get out about 6 or 7 most days. To me, that doesn't seem that much different than my life would be as an NP.

Quote:
During the first two years at WPIC, there are two basic types of call that occur. One is known as DEC (diagnostic emergency center) call, and the other is known as floor call. The DEC call occurs in our free-standing psychiatric emergency facility. Overnight and during weekends, first and second year residents see and evaluate patients in the DEC during call. Second year residents take call in the DEC about every two weeks. First year residents take call on a rotating night-float system during their 3 month emergency psychiatry rotation (5 nights in a row, every few weeks).

Inpatient psychiatric and medical issues in the psychiatric hospital are covered overnight by the floor call resident. Second year residents have floor call, on average, about every two weeks. First year residents have floor call, on average, about every one week during their psychiatry rotations outside the emergency psychiatry service.

During their Consult and Liaison (C/L) Psychiatry rotation, second year residents rotate duties for C&L phone call over the weekends. During the C&L rotation, they are excused from floor and DEC call. During a rotation at the Magee Hospital (for OB/Gyn outpatient psychiatry), third year residents rotate phone call for the Magee C&L service on a weekly basis (available by phone about every 5-6 weeks). Other than this, third year and fourth year residents are free from call.
 

WellWornLad

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There's no way to say how hard you will find med school. Some people really struggle and spend all their waking moments studying, others have it down to a full-time job type of commitment. The latter is probably the exception. You should think about:

1) how much help you expect to get from your husband
2) how smart you are (less smarts, more work/time)
3) how you're going to support yourself (you can't take out student loans for your kids, and residency is ~$40k/year)
4) what you want to do with your MD - if the field you're interested in is not super-competitive you have a little more room for error
5) when you plan on having kids, and how that meshes with when you plan on entering med school. I don't know anything about family/kids, however, so make your own conclusions...
 

GZA

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There's no way to say how hard you will find med school. Some people really struggle and spend all their waking moments studying, others have it down to a full-time job type of commitment. The latter is probably the exception. You should think about:

1) how much help you expect to get from your husband
2) how smart you are (less smarts, more work/time)
3) how you're going to support yourself (you can't take out student loans for your kids, and residency is ~$40k/year)
4) what you want to do with your MD - if the field you're interested in is not super-competitive you have a little more room for error
5) when you plan on having kids, and how that meshes with when you plan on entering med school. I don't know anything about family/kids, however, so make your own conclusions...
This is often underrepresented yet is a critical factor in determining how you shall experience medical school. If you do not possess an "innate" (yes, I know, how horrible a thing to say) ability (whatever that may be) you will take much longer in learning the material (even if the bulk is memorization, memorization comes quickly to those who can conjure connections etc.).
 
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rnnpmaybe

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I don't know, I guess I am pretty smart, and anatomy/patho stuff does click easily - I studied alot in undergrad (nursing) because I liked to and I found it interesting, I didn't really have to. I was 3rd in my class, worked weekends, and basically kept weekend nights for fun stuff.
 

TexasPhysician

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Certainly doable. I have 2 people in my class that have 3 kids. Both are doing very well. I would be more bummed about turning down good money for 4 years to go back to school. Why not become an NP or nurse anesthetist? They both would result in much less schooling and a big pay increase.

What is your reasoning for giving up nursing? Its a great profession.
 

rnnpmaybe

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What is your reasoning for giving up nursing? Its a great profession.

I hate the feeling and insinuation that I am "just a nurse". I hate when patients/families say things like, "Oh, you're just a nurse. I NEED to talk to the DOCTOR." (Sure, lemme page the doctor at 6 o' clock on a Saturday night so he can tell you that yes, you do need to take your hypertension medication).
 

TexasPhysician

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I hate the feeling and insinuation that I am "just a nurse". I hate when patients/families say things like, "Oh, you're just a nurse. I NEED to talk to the DOCTOR." (Sure, lemme page the doctor at 6 o' clock on a Saturday night so he can tell you that yes, you do need to take your hypertension medication).


I don't want to burst your bubble, but just because that doctor shows up on a Saturday night and repeats your words, doesn't mean that patient will listen then either. Patients can be stubborn and ignorant.....with everyone.

Advanced nursing degrees are very respected by peers in the medical profession. I know some great NP's that I would love to work for me in the future. If you feel that you aren't getting the respect you deserve, change your practice setting. Work in a small practice with a doctor you love working with that will back you up. When your patients have continuity of care with you and trust your judgement, they may just take your word over other doctors......
 

NonTradMed

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From personal experience, the first two years of med school is pretty rough. Our school has us in classes for about 30+ hours including the TBLs/PBLs/clinical experiences.

Then we go home and study all that stuff, memorize it in minutae detail. We repeat this process until finals approach after which most of us cram like crazy. The volume of information we are responsible for is alot more than in college, even for science majors.

There are some that have a lot of freetime, but judging from my classmates' comments, those people are far and few between.

The ones who have kids tell me that they don't spend as much time with them as they'd like, so kids during med school is definitely a balancing act, moreso than when they had jobs (one who told me is a former nurse too!).

However, exceptions abound. Another med student said he spent about 40 hrs/week on classes/studying. He has weekends/evenings free. But he is the only person who has said that, so I think he may be the exception.

Med school is at a minimal a full time commitment. For a big chunk of the class, it's more work than a general 40 hr/week job. I see it as a job with evening and weekend commitment...every weekend and every evening for me. But everyone is different. I compare it to having four or five intense science classes in college with an 'A' the equivalent of a pass in med school (in terms of how much work I've had to put in studying wise).
 

Scottish Chap

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I am an RN, out of school less than a year. 22 years old, married, with no kids, but would like to have them in a few years. Trying to decide between MD or NP. I don't have pre-reqs done yet. Can you compare being in medical school with husband/kids to that of a regular full time job? BESIDES MSIII, (I realize that year is tough) is it that much more of a challenge? I mean, you're studying instead of working...(I'm NEVER going to be the SAHM type). Also, this is the call schedule for a psych residency I'm looking at. Seems pretty benign to me- and some of the residents have said they get out about 6 or 7 most days. To me, that doesn't seem that much different than my life would be as an NP.

Quote:
During the first two years at WPIC, there are two basic types of call that occur. One is known as DEC (diagnostic emergency center) call, and the other is known as floor call. The DEC call occurs in our free-standing psychiatric emergency facility. Overnight and during weekends, first and second year residents see and evaluate patients in the DEC during call. Second year residents take call in the DEC about every two weeks. First year residents take call on a rotating night-float system during their 3 month emergency psychiatry rotation (5 nights in a row, every few weeks).

Inpatient psychiatric and medical issues in the psychiatric hospital are covered overnight by the floor call resident. Second year residents have floor call, on average, about every two weeks. First year residents have floor call, on average, about every one week during their psychiatry rotations outside the emergency psychiatry service.

During their Consult and Liaison (C/L) Psychiatry rotation, second year residents rotate duties for C&L phone call over the weekends. During the C&L rotation, they are excused from floor and DEC call. During a rotation at the Magee Hospital (for OB/Gyn outpatient psychiatry), third year residents rotate phone call for the Magee C&L service on a weekly basis (available by phone about every 5-6 weeks). Other than this, third year and fourth year residents are free from call.
I think that saying medical school will be like a full-time job is misleading. There are those in the camp of "it's the most expensive vacation I ever had" (probably lying), and those that say "it was the worst, most intense four years of my life" (maybe). Most average medical students (like me) usually find medical school to be between those two extremes.

In MSI and MSII, I actually did treat it like a full-time job. I was used to working hard for 60-70 hours per week, so I just stayed in the library and studied right after class while many of my classmates drank coffee and goofed off. I went home, had dinner with my family, then studied a little more. I would study all day on Saturday (8-5), and then take Saturday night and Sunday off....for the most part. Obviously, there was an initial adjustment period when I was studying all the time until I knew how medical school requires you to learn.

In MSIII and MSIV (where I am now), it's true that the hours where you are physically present in the hospital are a lot more, but it's not that bad. Yes, there is a hierarchy, and you're lower than the dirt on the floor as a medical student, but the work is pretty interesting. The biggest issue for most people is loss of control of their time. If you have to be in at 5:30am for neurosurgery rounds, you have to be there, and you're not going home until the next morning if it's a call day. For a RN, I imagine that the loss of control of your time is nothing new. In addition, MSIII has difficult shelf exams at the end of every rotation and (at least, for me), there was almost no time to study for them because you're constantly playing the game on the floors, and doing assignments. If you know yourself to be a crap test taker, this could be a problem.

Overall, for married medical students, I always say that marriage (and kids if you have them) brings a different perspective in terms of what's important. It's critical that your spouse is well-warned of the reality of being the spouse of a medical student, and that they are supportive. This is a must.

As for residency.....I'm interviewing right now, so maybe I'll post next year when I have experienced the horror fist-hand. :) Taking call is a problem for some residents with a family, but there are obviously plenty of specialties in medicine that have little or no call (pathology, radiology, emergency medicine, psychiatry etc.).

I hope my rambling helps; at least, a little. Good luck!
 
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MeowMix

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I would not plan your life based on a description of the call schedule from a single residency program. #1, you might not have that much choice where you end up. #2, some psych residency programs stick you on plain old inpt medicine rotations as an intern, with the same sucky call schedule as every other medicine intern. #3, that is years from now.

First you need to figure out if you really want to be a doctor. Yes, you might get more automatic respect, but with the respect comes a whole lot more responsibility and a lot more middle-of-the-night phone calls. Talk about disrupting your life.

Then figure out if you want the hours. The nurses I work with are amazed to hear that I've just worked 18 days of the last 20, 30-hr shifts every fourth night, and 4 of the last 5 weeks have been 80 hours. Attendings can end up working some pretty hideous hours too; they don't have an 80-hr rule like residents do. Those specialties without call will often have partners who will want you to share the crappiness of covering night shifts. All the EM docs I know end up working rotating night shifts. These are the people with special dark and quiet sleep rooms in the basement.

Finally, realize that if you are a woman, many pts and families will automatically assume that you are a nurse anyway and will tell you what a great nurse you are. They won't believe you are a doctor unless you are a man. Sorry, but that is the ugly truth.
 

dragonfly99

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I don't know...if I were in your position I might just go for being a NP. The reason is you're going to end up doing a lot of the same stuff, and for a similar salary. And you would get to the endpoint (treating patients) MANY years sooner. Yeah, you probably will have a little less autonomy, but you'll still have a lot. I think nobody can tell you what to do with your career and life...it really is your own personal decision you have to make after weighing all the options. Not sure how long it would take you to get in to med school...could you do all the prerequisites and the MCAT exam in one year, or would it be longer? Then you have to weigh in to that the 4 years of med school and 3 or more of residency. In my experience 2nd and 3rd years of medical school were equivalent to life in hell a lot of the time, and it was way more time than any full time job I've ever had...perhaps even worse than my intern year. It really does vary by what med school you go to I think...
Also, you have to realize that maybe you'll get in to medical school and/or residency and then find out you hate psych it might be hard to change your path. Most residencies other that psych and radiology and pathology and dermatology require a lot of hours and call. If you're a nurse you can switch areas a little easier, but once in residency, it's tough to switch your specialty area...so if you didn't like psych you'd still be stuck there.

Also, as mentioned above, I think that you are overestimating the amount of respect you are going to get as a doctor vs. as a nurse. The fact is some people are jerk-offs and they don't respect anybody. You think that they won't listen to you because you're a nurse, but the fact is that many of those same folks have no respect for the doctor either. I am female, age 33 now and did medicine residency. I used to think that "Well when I'm a med student people will respect me...wrongo!" and then I thought "Well, when I have the MD behind my name and I'm an intern they'll respect me...wrongo!" and then I thought that once I was finished with residency they would respect me...still wrong in many cases. Yes it does get a little better, but the fact is that people in general are less respectful of any type of "authority figure" than they were years ago, and besides half of them looked stuff up online before they came to see me and they already are convinced that they know what they have and what should be done about it. And people still call me "honey...sweetheart...sugar...dear!" and that includes patients, their families and some other doctors. So it is just the reality of what you are going to have to deal with as a 20 or 30-something female, IMHO, and you should just try to ignore it and do your job.

In short, if your only (or main) reason for wanting to ditch nursing and get an MD is because you think it will get you more respect, I'm against it. But if you also want to do it for various other reasons, and you don't mind taking the many years extra time to get yourself there, I'd say go for it.
As far as when to have kids, 4th year is a pretty good time, and then it could also be done 1st or 2nd year, but the problem is the classes are so hard, and depending on what school you go to, they may or may not be OK with giving you maternity leave and/or special accommodations for the exams you missed. If you go, you should probably avoid certain schools (the ones that don't seem to have many folks with kids) because they generally won't be as accommodating. There was only 1 female in my class who had a baby in the preclinical years, and she didn't do well at all. Another person had one during 4th year and she was a great student...4th year = mostly elective so it's easier to do it that way I think.
 
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