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nursing student having existential crisis (need advice/brutal honesty)

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coolsongno2

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Hi everyone,
I made this post two months ago
https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/nursing-major-switching-to-pre-med.1235990/#post-18480460
and I'm still having a very hard time thinking about what I should do.

I'm still doing great in science classes, I got that summer research internship which may turn into a paid one next summer, and I talked to my advisers though I can't say they were much help.

I'm currently looking for / applying to shadowing programs because I know I need to see different professions first hand to justify this to myself.

I've been doing a lot of self reflection the past two months.The thing I've been ruminating about is whether or not my personality would really allow me to be a good doctor in the long run and if I would be more fulfilled sticking with nursing. I went into nursing originally because I just honestly love people. I want to be there for people in their most vulnerable times and have the knowledge + skills + confidence to be able to help them. I don't know if I necessarily need to be in charge I just want to be there for people + feel useful. I'm very sensitive, very emotional and definitely put everyone else's needs ahead of my own and I have a major guilt complex. I'm worried I'd get burnt out really quickly and not be able to make objective somewhat distanced decisions because I get so personally attached, almost to an unhealthy level. Am I doubting myself too much and overthinking or do I just not have that passion and drive needed to get through the entire process of becoming a doctor that everyone says is the most important piece ???? Is this because I'm 18 and have literally zero life experience or should I not try to go to med school if I'd be reasonably happy doing something else.
I read so much about the ~medical model vs nursing model differences but most of it doesn't make any sense to me because how are doctors NOT treating the whole patient ????


Staying in the nursing program and having a BSN guarantees me a profession where I know I would be happy, I would be helping people and I could pay off my undergrad debt in no time. I know for sure I'd be a good nurse but I don't know if I'd be good doctor especially if I'm so indecisive right now. My family is supportive of me regardless but I feel like trying for med school is such a risk. I'd definitely take a gap year but I don't know what I would do if I didn't get in. I feel like I'm throwing away something super stable that I worked hard to get into in the first place by leaving nursing. I think I would get a CNA certification if I switch majors.

Also, during my internship interview I was told how nurses really can't do science research long term so now I feel like I'm taking someone's spot in this even though I'm really really interested in it. I don't know I'm so stressed and I have to register for Fall 2017 classes next month and that's when the nursing sequence starts. I don't even really know what I'm asking but any general advice / input would be very much appreciated.
Thank you!
 
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mistafab

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Hey there OP,

I feel like your heart is in the right place - a crossroads that is making it difficult to decide who you want to be or what you want to do. This is a good thing. It is important to ask yourself these questions.

These moments are important. I hope you find the right answer for yourself, whatever it is. Best of luck.
 
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pnwhmt

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Hi everyone,
I made this post two months ago
https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/nursing-major-switching-to-pre-med.1235990/#post-18480460
and I'm still having a very hard time thinking about what I should do.

I'm still doing great in science classes, I got that summer research internship which may turn into a paid one next summer, and I talked to my advisers though I can't say they were much help.

I'm currently looking for / applying to shadowing programs because I know I need to see different professions first hand to justify this to myself.

I've been doing a lot of self reflection the past two months.The thing I've been ruminating about is whether or not my personality would really allow me to be a good doctor in the long run and if I would be more fulfilled sticking with nursing. I went into nursing originally because I just honestly love people. I want to be there for people in their most vulnerable times and have the knowledge + skills + confidence to be able to help them. I don't know if I necessarily need to be in charge I just want to be there for people + feel useful. I'm very sensitive, very emotional and definitely put everyone else's needs ahead of my own and I have a major guilt complex. I'm worried I'd get burnt out really quickly and not be able to make objective somewhat distanced decisions because I get so personally attached, almost to an unhealthy level. Am I doubting myself too much and overthinking or do I just not have that passion and drive needed to get through the entire process of becoming a doctor that everyone says is the most important piece ???? Is this because I'm 18 and have literally zero life experience or should I not try to go to med school if I'd be reasonably happy doing something else.
I read so much about the ~medical model vs nursing model differences but most of it doesn't make any sense to me because how are doctors NOT treating the whole patient ????


Staying in the nursing program and having a BSN guarantees me a profession where I know I would be happy, I would be helping people and I could pay off my undergrad debt in no time. I know for sure I'd be a good nurse but I don't know if I'd be good doctor especially if I'm so indecisive right now. My family is supportive of me regardless but I feel like trying for med school is such a risk. I'd definitely take a gap year but I don't know what I would do if I didn't get in. I feel like I'm throwing away something super stable that I worked hard to get into in the first place by leaving nursing. I think I would get a CNA certification if I switch majors.

Also, during my internship interview I was told how nurses really can't do science research long term so now I feel like I'm taking someone's spot in this even though I'm really really interested in it. I don't know I'm so stressed and I have to register for Fall 2017 classes next month and that's when the nursing sequence starts. I don't even really know what I'm asking but any general advice / input would be very much appreciated.
Thank you!
I don't know what I can offer you in terms of making this decision, but I can tell you what helped with my own.

I agonized over PA vs MD for nearly a year and a half. I would think about it constantly and weigh the pros and cons over and over again. It was exhausting. I stressed myself out so much that I questioned if medicine was right for me at all. So I finally took a step back.

I kept doing all the things I needed to do to be successful on either path (volunteering, scribing, getting good grades at school, research, etc.), but I just stopped trying to decide. When the docs at work would ask me what my plan was I would say I didn't know, finally just refusing to commit to either. I made self care a priority and found time to reflect about what I wanted. I completely removed the pressure. I pursued things that made me happy and took note of the things that didn't.

After about six months of this it just hit me one day. A doc I was scribing with was rolling off an incredibly long and complicated differential for me and as I sat there in awe I realized I wanted to know medicine that thoroughly. I wanted to be able to speak with a patient for 5 - 10 minutes and see what he saw in that brief window of time. I finally had my moment of clarity. I wanted to have the most information I could to be able to make the best decisions for my patients. I knew MD was the only way for me.

All of this is just to say that there is no rush and you don't need to decide now. Research this summer as you have planned. Shadow docs. Keep doing what you're doing and get good grades. Find a meaning volunteer experience with a cause that is important to you. Don't drive yourself nuts about this. Do it in your own time and find the place in medicine that is right for who you are. You don't need to figure everything out today.
 
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I think you seem to be overstating the altruism of nursing. They are both jobs. You can be nice in either of them or a jerk in either.

Pick one with the best mix of scope of practice/time investment/stress/pay that you like and get after it
 
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floatingribs

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Whatever it is, it's in your best interest to choose a side. I'm a BSN student doing pre med, and the biggest factor pushing me towards pre med was that I couldn't find a minor that I'd really enjoy making me a ft student and when I thought of higher education. The one part that really pushed me towards pre med was when one of my nursing professors was explaining how we'd do charting and said in that we'd always describe the symptoms but we'd never use the medical terminology. I loved my nursing sciences (not other nursing classes), and I loved my basic bios even more. Knowing the human body on a molecular and chemical level is something I've realized I'm so interested in, and when it comes to the idea of getting a DNP, I know I would not be satisfied. Also if you can try to get some nursing research too, having the experience of both nursing research and medical research, I found the medical research being more towards my interest.

Also you will hear this argument over and over, that you're "taking someone's spot", whether it's in internships, programs, volunteer opportunities, etc but if you receive the position it means they believe you are competent and a good match. Don't stress about that. The path to med school is far more risky, especially when you're already in a program, but if you can keep the grades and feel you'll always look back thinking you should've gone to medical school, I would say take the plunge. (another thing is that as far as doing what's helping people, nearly people with any degree or career can help people if they really want.) Good luck though.
 
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coolsongno2

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Thank you all so much for these responses I really appreciate it!! I'll just continue doing what I'm doing and introspecting without driving myself nuts. Hopefully it'll come to me by next semester.
 

TXMED_1695

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You should finish the nursing program. A 40 year old man was in all of my pre-med courses, you can go back after working a few years. It will actually help facilitate you going into something that can take over 8 years to complete. The worse thing you can do is be one of those people that bounces around degrees for years. If you worked for 4 years as a nurse you could pay for your medical school bill with cash.

Staying in the nursing program and having a BSN guarantees me a profession where I know I would be happy, I would be helping people and I could pay off my undergrad debt in no time. I know for sure I'd be a good nurse but I don't know if I'd be good doctor especially if I'm so indecisive right now. My family is supportive of me regardless but I feel like trying for med school is such a risk. I'd definitely take a gap year but I don't know what I would do if I didn't get in. I feel like I'm throwing away something super stable that I worked hard to get into in the first place by leaving nursing. I think I would get a CNA certification if I switch majors.
 
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TXMED_1695

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Amen to that, I think it is a stupid argument, if you want the spot be better than me.

Also you will here this argument over and over, that you're "taking someone's spot", whether it's in internships, programs, volunteer opportunities, etc but if you receive the position it means they believe you are competent and a good match. Don't stress about that. The path to med school is far more risky, especially when you're already in a program, but if you can keep the grades and feel you'll always look back thinking you should've gone to medical school, I would say take the plunge. (another thing is that as far as doing what's helping people, nearly people with any degree or career can help people if they really want.) Good luck though.
 
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NotYou20

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I don't know if I necessarily need to be in charge I just want to be there for people + feel useful. I'm very sensitive, very emotional and definitely put everyone else's needs ahead of my own and I have a major guilt complex. I'm worried I'd get burnt out really quickly
I think if these things would be a problem as a doc they would be as a nurse as well. You don't need to carry everyone's burdens. You can't if you're going to work in healthcare. Working for a while as an rn would let you figure out if you can handle it or not. If it's not for you, you can get out way easier than if you find that out 3 years into med school.
 
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Medic741

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I'm going to throw in a somewhat unique opinion that speaks to the position that you're in right now I went to paramedic school at 19, and it was an invaluable experience that I cannot recommend more highly. Not only will you learn a lot about yourself before you start medical school, you will also be able to provide for yourself during college.


Get the BSN, have an income stream available for yourself, that way you will be able to gain experience as you complete your education and you will never have to live like a broke student. That in itself is worth it's weight in gold to know that you never need to worry, and the worst outcome if you don't get into medical school is that you continue job that you love .

Also it sounds like you have a lot of self exploration to do so, that's OK and you're young, no need to rush these decisions
 
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Saifa

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I abandoned the RN program I was attending three semesters in and started from square one as a biology major. The catch-up workload has been a nightmare, but the day I left that school for the last time I finally felt like I could sleep soundly again.
 
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RogueBanana

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at 18 i'm assuming you are a freshman nursing major. Correct me if I am wrong.

At 18, you don't have the experience to make a call in either direction. I know several people (including myself) who did not really commit to the "pre-med" track until sophomore year or later. Keep an open mind to both professions and get more experience with medicine.

Now, once you actually hit clinical work in your nursing program (usually end of 2nd year) you may realize that you absolutely despise nursing. It's not all sunshine and rainbows and walking on air as you hold children's hands and provide compassion to the entire floor. You'll be yelled at, hit, and abused. You'll have to clean up really nasty stuff, You'll be spit on, puked on, crapped on, people will scream and cry at you, your successes will be largely ignored, your failures will be trumpeted to the entire ward by the administration. Nursing isn't pretty.

In addition to that, the whole "knowledge" thing is overblown. I'm not gonna derail this thread, but as a nurse your job is gonna be more taking orders from a doc and doing them. A big part of what makes nurses so valuable is them "double checking" a doctors work, and you should be able to question their orders. But at the end of the day, you may disagree with an order, but as long as it is medically valid you must carry it out or risk losing your job. Sure, a patient may ask you a question about pathology once in a while, but you aren't going to be looked at as a major source of medical information by anyone (except the people you argue with on facebook as you start all your arguments with "I'm a nurse, and I....."

I'm not saying this to be mean, but many nursing majors I know heavily romanticize the field.


That being said, nursing is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. Nurses are critical to our medical system and we would not be able to do our jobs without them. A good nurse or PA is worth their weight in gold. Just know what you are getting into.

I'm not gonna try and convince you to go MD, because you need to come to that decision yourself. But I will tell you this, as a doc you would have ample knowledge and be able to interact with people on a much deeper level. There's no law stopping doctors from being compassionate, in my opinion it's largely a myth that docs are always cold and detached. You can be a super compassionate doctor if you want, there's literally nothing stopping you. In fact, med schools want to attract more compassionate people to their programs!

Whichever you choose, good luck! Don't be afraid to fail or change your mind, you'll end up where you're supposed to be in the end.

*Edit*
Clarified my position on nurses questioning doctors orders.
 
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aspiringmd94

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You're so young and you have so much time left to decide! I'm 100% like you and want to constantly know what the end goal is that I am working towards, but it doesn't always come that easily. I ended up taking a gap year between undergrad and applying to med school to get some more experience and make sure I was making the right decision for myself and it was one of the absolute best decisions I ever made. So my first piece of advice is just to slow down and take the pressure off yourself.

Also, have you thought about being an NP?! Since you're already in nursing school, if your ultimate goal is to treat patients, the NP route might be the most secure option for you (depending on which specialty you are interested in). You can stay in the nursing program, skip the stress and uncertainty of getting into med school, and still have the power to see and treat patients pretty autonomously.

However, the fact that you've already sought out and been accepted to a research position makes me think you're pretty serious about med school. If you have any interest in research then MD really is the way to go. It gives you a lot more flexibility in what you do. You can treat patients AND easily also do research or teach! That was one of the swaying factors for me; I really wanted that flexibility. If you really want to be an MD and the ONLY thing that's holding you back is the fact that you're already in a nursing program, then I think you should drop the nursing major and start taking pre-med classes next semester! The fact that you already got research means you are a smartypants and a go-getter and I bet you would rock the pre-med route and have a really great chance of getting into med school.

I absolutely DON'T agree that you should finish the BSN just to work as a nurse so you're in a better financial position (particularly if you're a woman). Obviously if you want to be a nurse then go for it, but if you decide with 100% certainty that you want to be an MD then don't wait! I'm a woman and already nervous that I'm ultimately postponing having kids and starting a family. I'll take the debt over running out of time on my biological clock any day!

I kinda just contradicted myself so let me clarify. A year or two is totally cool to figure out what career you want!! But don't spend 5-6 years working when you know your ultimate goal is an MD, just to pay for PART of the med degree (since it's probably not realistic that you could save enough to pay for the entire degree). Take some time and figure out what you want, and then start running for it full speed! Good luck with whatever you choose and PM me if you want to talk more about your dilemma! :)
 
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MusicDOc124

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Well no one can take your seat in the BSN where you are now, and it is a bachelors degree (a requirement for med school)... why not just continue to take pre-reqs in addition, then take the MCAT and apply med. If you don't get in right away (or at all), you have a solid job for the rest of your life and plenty of opportunity. If you do get in, while it's not generally advised, you could work per diem as a nurse while in med school as well. I have a few classmates who work part time/per diem as PAs and as paramedics. It also leaves the door open for NP or PA as well if not MD or DO. Plus, switching majors can potentially add time to your program if you missed any core work for that particular major. I know a few nurses in med school, a few nursing students with intent for med school, and a few doctors who were previously nurses. So, this is just my .02, but I say stay where you are and apply nearing grad/after grad because it leaves you with a great set of back-ups and the most options.
 
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coolsongno2

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Thank you to everybody for all this feedback I appreciate it so much!!! ❤ If I swich my major I would want to study neuroscience or public health, everything I'm taking this semester would count for neuroscience I'd just be behind on the gen chem 1&2, orgo 1&2, and bio 2 pre med classes It's so great to know i'm not the only one who's been in this dilema though thank you!!!
 
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MusicDOc124

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Your nursing program doesn't include any chem? Since you're missing at least half the prereqs, you could also look into sticking with nursing, and instead of putting in extra time in undergrad for the missing coursework, you could spend the same amount of time doing a post-bacc or SMP, and depending on where you go, have a guaranteed admission, guaranteed interview, early acceptance, etc, and possibly a master in the process on top of your BSN.
 
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pnwhmt

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Thank you to everybody for all this feedback I appreciate it so much!!! ❤ If I swich my major I would want to study neuroscience or public health, everything I'm taking this semester would count for neuroscience I'd just be behind on the gen chem 1&2, orgo 1&2, and bio 2 pre med classes It's so great to know i'm not the only one who's been in this dilema though thank you!!!
I'm a neuro major and I love it! It differs across universities but at my school I am able to take psych classes (which I enjoy) as my neuro electives alongside the heavier required science courses, so my schedule tends to be very balanced. They also heavily emphasize research and require it for graduation. It's provided lots of opportunities to connect with faculty on a more personal basis.
 
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coolsongno2

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Your nursing program doesn't include any chem? Since you're missing at least half the prereqs, you could also look into sticking with nursing, and instead of putting in extra time in undergrad for the missing coursework, you could spend the same amount of time doing a post-bacc or SMP, and depending on where you go, have a guaranteed admission, guaranteed interview, early acceptance, etc, and possibly a master in the process on top of your BSN.

I took a nursing chem class last semester which was a survey of gen orgo & biochem. It doesn't count as a chem class for any other major or premed though:sorry: I know some schools are def accepting of nontrads so I am looking at that too!!
 

flightnurse2MD

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Hi everyone,
I made this post two months ago
Nursing Major switching to Pre-Med?
and I'm still having a very hard time thinking about what I should do.

I'm still doing great in science classes, I got that summer research internship which may turn into a paid one next summer, and I talked to my advisers though I can't say they were much help.

I'm currently looking for / applying to shadowing programs because I know I need to see different professions first hand to justify this to myself.

I've been doing a lot of self reflection the past two months.The thing I've been ruminating about is whether or not my personality would really allow me to be a good doctor in the long run and if I would be more fulfilled sticking with nursing. I went into nursing originally because I just honestly love people. I want to be there for people in their most vulnerable times and have the knowledge + skills + confidence to be able to help them. I don't know if I necessarily need to be in charge I just want to be there for people + feel useful. I'm very sensitive, very emotional and definitely put everyone else's needs ahead of my own and I have a major guilt complex. I'm worried I'd get burnt out really quickly and not be able to make objective somewhat distanced decisions because I get so personally attached, almost to an unhealthy level. Am I doubting myself too much and overthinking or do I just not have that passion and drive needed to get through the entire process of becoming a doctor that everyone says is the most important piece ???? Is this because I'm 18 and have literally zero life experience or should I not try to go to med school if I'd be reasonably happy doing something else.
I read so much about the ~medical model vs nursing model differences but most of it doesn't make any sense to me because how are doctors NOT treating the whole patient ????


Staying in the nursing program and having a BSN guarantees me a profession where I know I would be happy, I would be helping people and I could pay off my undergrad debt in no time. I know for sure I'd be a good nurse but I don't know if I'd be good doctor especially if I'm so indecisive right now. My family is supportive of me regardless but I feel like trying for med school is such a risk. I'd definitely take a gap year but I don't know what I would do if I didn't get in. I feel like I'm throwing away something super stable that I worked hard to get into in the first place by leaving nursing. I think I would get a CNA certification if I switch majors.

Also, during my internship interview I was told how nurses really can't do science research long term so now I feel like I'm taking someone's spot in this even though I'm really really interested in it. I don't know I'm so stressed and I have to register for Fall 2017 classes next month and that's when the nursing sequence starts. I don't even really know what I'm asking but any general advice / input would be very much appreciated.
Thank you!

 
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