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Nursing Student to NP, PA,or MD? global health goals

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by melrose84, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. melrose84


    Apr 29, 2007
    Hello! I already posted this under some other posts today as a reply, so if you've already seen it, sorry!!

    I feel very confused. I want to go into international health/tropical medicine but am not sure about the best route.

    Last May I got my BA. Immediately after that I started prereqs for nursing. I have just finished my first semester of an accelerated nursing program, and have realized that I am more interested in medicine.

    I am trying to decide if I should continue w/ nursing school and finish in May 2008 or begin premed coursework this summer so I can take the MCAT in May 2008. Or, I could finish nursing school and then go to school to become a nurse practitioner or PA, or I could stop nursing school and get a job as a tech and take prereqs for PA school.

    My questions:
    -Will I feel limited if I become an NP or PA? Will I always wish I had gone to med school?
    -How much free time does a medical student have?
    -Is the time and effort required for medical school really worth it?
    -How do NP's and PA's feel about their jobs?
    -What is the best career path for my goals?
    -If I go to med school, will I feel like I have no time in my life for other things that are very important to me, such as family, friends, or travel?
    -Should I continue w/ nursing school?

    My goals for 10 years from now:
    -Have time to relax, hike, see friends, have kids
    -have a medical job that is challenging but not too time consuming in the US
    -have my MPH
    -learn various foreign languages
    -have a job that sends me overseas to do international health/tropical medicine.

    What advice do people have??? How do you feel about the education/career choices you have made? Thanks!!!! I would really appreciate any insight.
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  3. burntcrispy

    burntcrispy Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Sounds like you have no idea of what you want. I would suggest shadowing all of the above that you mentioned to see what each job entails. I was a nurse before going to medical school so I was very aware of all of the different roles and knew that physician was the only one that would make me truely happy.

    From your post it seems like you want a job that will give you lots of time off. There are a few physician jobs which will allow this but they are VERY competitive. Medical school and residency are very stressful and time consuming. I don't see how you would learn other languages unless you spend your free time trying to learn one. Free time is a luxary in medicine so mostly you will want to sleep or just relax. I would suggest that you talk to some medical students (preferably some that are trying to do a competative residency) to see what medical school is like. Then try to shadow a resident to see what that part of the training is like. I think this will make your decision a bit easier.

    Burntcrispy, MD
  4. pcu

    pcu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Shadow shadow shadow. I was/am in the same boat. For our last two 1 week breaks I set up shadowing with CRNA's, NP's, and PA's. I am now set on being a physician.

    Next time you see a PA stop them in the hall (thats what I did). Talk to your career services or nursing faculty for networking for NP's and CRNA's if interested.
  5. melrose84


    Apr 29, 2007
    Thanks. I will call people today about shadowing.

    Also, I have only heard of physicians actually going into tropical medicine. Any health care provider can go into global health, it seems, but not tropical medicine. Am I right?
  6. CarolinaGirl

    CarolinaGirl 2+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    South Carolina
    Hi, I am a current FNP living overseas doing medical missions work. At this time I am hoping to apply to med school (mcat dependent 17 more days till scores released)

    Anyway below are some of my thoughts:

    -Anyone can get a diploma in tropical medicine (RN, PA, NP, MD, MPH, etc) the courses I have seen range from 3-6months. I know WVU has a really good one as does England and I think Belgium. I would not worry about this just yet, it should be easy enough to get later.

    -You need to figure out what kind of work you hope to do overseas. This may make your decision for you. Do you want to live there or just visit for 10 days for several months at a time? Do you want to go to a hospital or village? Do you want to go alone or with a medical team? What countries do you want to go to?

    -Once you know the above then talk to people living or going to those places to find out what degree will help you the most. In South Asia and China many pa's, np's, and rn's are having trouble with the government in being allowed to do clinical medicine. I have found I can teach all I want just can't diagnose or prescribe (The reason I became a NP). In light of that I am probably going back to school to be a doc. Do you want to assist as a rn would: bp's, h&p's, non-diagnosing stuff on a medical trip?

    I love being a FNP. I really like the broad base of knowledge that mixed in medical with the nursing. The problem is I have discovered that I am still limited and 3 years later I find I want to know more. Everyone is different in this regard, only you know what you will want....

    Feel free to pm me if you have more questions
  7. viostorm

    viostorm Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    A word of caution, the autonomy and authority usually is placed 100% in the physician and there is really very little concept of mid level providers. Even nursing practice is severely restricted in many countries.

    So if you are capable of getting into medical school, I suspect that route will give you the most ability to practice.

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