Jun 15, 2017
15
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Pre-Medical
I'm not sure if this is the right section or not. If not, I apologize and would like a moderator to move it to the appropriate section.

I graduated in 2016 with an Honors degree in Biology. After graduating, I realized that there aren't really any job prospects for somebody with a bachelors in Biology. And I'm not too fond of working in the lab for what is essentially minimum wage. So I decided to apply for a second entry Nursing program. Obviously, it's not anywhere close to being as competitive as medicine, but it's still fairly competitive. They want someone with a B+/A average. My average upon graduating was closer to a B. In order to get into the program within a year, I had to get all A+'s during that year, which I did. I cut off all my friends and just isolated myself with my studies. I realized that I am intelligent; I was just setting my standards low because I saw that my peers were doing the same. Now that I know what I am capable of, I don't know if I can settle for being a nurse.

I know that getting into any decent med school (i.e., not the Caribbean) is not going to be easy. My overall GPA is still fairly low, around 3.2. I've been told not to worry because some schools reward students who reinvent themselves. My GPA last year was 3.92 so this is a massive rising trend. I am confident that from now on, I can consistently get A+'s in any course I take.

However, I am conflicted. I don't know about the US, but I know that in Canada, being an RN is a respectable career. The pay is very nice and working 4 days a week as opposed to 5 days is enticing. And I did accept the offer for the second entry nursing program.

My question is simply this: should I stay enrolled in this program? It starts on September 7th. It is an accelerated program, which means I am going to be taking MORE than a full course load. I have absolutely no room at all to take anything besides what is on the Nursing curriculum. This means I cannot take any upper year science courses to try and make my transcript look good for medicine. I will only be taking the Nursing courses, many of which are not even science-related, but more health/philosophy-related. And the few science courses that are on the curriculum are dumbed-down versions (e.g., "Pharmacology for Nurses", "Microbiology for Nurses" etc.). And many of them are first, second, and third year courses, as opposed to fourth year courses. I am confident that I can get very good grades in these courses, but I'm not sure if they will be beneficial to me if I decide to apply for medicine.

The one huge benefit that I see in this program is that I am guaranteed clinical experience. I will be doing many weeks of clinical rotations; working with Nurses directly in the hospital. And in the end, I am guaranteed a decent job.

So what should I do?
 

Goro

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All I can tell you is that international candidates for US MD need to have very stellar stats. There are 14 DO schools that accept internationals, but you'll need to raise that GPA, either with a DIY post-bac or an SMP.

Nursing programs are usually not considered good prep for med school candidates.
 
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DokterMom

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"I realized that I am intelligent; I was just setting my standards low because I saw that my peers were doing the same. Now that I know what I am capable of, I don't know if I can settle for being a nurse."

This suggests you won't be happy being a nurse if you think you can cut it as a physician. If you want to go for it, don't take up the nursing program now and devote yourself to continuing to prove yourself academically. You're not in a deep hole, but @Goro's right about International applicants being judged even more strenuously...
 
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Stagg737

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I know that getting into any decent med school (i.e., not the Caribbean) is not going to be easy. My overall GPA is still fairly low, around 3.2. I've been told not to worry because some schools reward students who reinvent themselves. My GPA last year was 3.92 so this is a massive rising trend. I am confident that from now on, I can consistently get A+'s in any course I take.

However, I am conflicted. I don't know about the US, but I know that in Canada, being an RN is a respectable career. The pay is very nice and working 4 days a week as opposed to 5 days is enticing. And I did accept the offer for the second entry nursing program.

My question is simply this: should I stay enrolled in this program? It starts on September 7th. It is an accelerated program, which means I am going to be taking MORE than a full course load. I have absolutely no room at all to take anything besides what is on the Nursing curriculum. This means I cannot take any upper year science courses to try and make my transcript look good for medicine. I will only be taking the Nursing courses, many of which are not even science-related, but more health/philosophy-related. And the few science courses that are on the curriculum are dumbed-down versions (e.g., "Pharmacology for Nurses", "Microbiology for Nurses" etc.). And many of them are first, second, and third year courses, as opposed to fourth year courses. I am confident that I can get very good grades in these courses, but I'm not sure if they will be beneficial to me if I decide to apply for medicine.

The one huge benefit that I see in this program is that I am guaranteed clinical experience. I will be doing many weeks of clinical rotations; working with Nurses directly in the hospital. And in the end, I am guaranteed a decent job.

So what should I do?
A few questions: How long is the nursing program? Why did you want to pursue nursing in the first place? What gratification do you think you would get from being a physician rather than a nurse?

In the US, many nurses are usually very respected. Our healthcare system would fail without them and a really good nurse can make a huge difference to the unit they are on. They also get a fair amount of respect from the public, and I'd argue more respect than doctors do from some people. The big difference between the doc and the nurse is being the team leader/decision-maker vs. a supporting player. Both are equally important but for very different reasons. To give an idea of this I'll share what I've been told by everyone since high school: "The most important people to make friends with during clinical training are the nurses. If they like you, they'll take the time to help you out and teach you little tricks they've picked up over the years. During residency, they'll help stay on the good side of your attendings and catch the little mistakes you make so you don't get in trouble. As an attending they'll help you get the little things done so you can focus on the big problems and will go out of their way to help your life run smoother. If you get on their bad side though, they'll make your life a living hell."

If you "just" want to go into healthcare because you love working with people, helping them get better, and really value lifestyle and free time, then nursing is a great option. It's a secure job that pays decently and gets you plenty of time off for your own life. If you really crave a deeper understanding of what you're doing, want to be the leader, desire job security and a fat paycheck, and are willing to put in the time, money, and work to get there, then being a physician is a better fit. There's more aspects to it than that, but those are some starting points to think about for the process.
 
OP
W
Jun 15, 2017
15
4
Status
Pre-Medical
All I can tell you is that international candidates for US MD need to have very stellar stats. There are 14 DO schools that accept internationals, but you'll need to raise that GPA, either with a DIY post-bac or an SMP.

Nursing programs are usually not considered good prep for med school candidates.
Do you think that the GPA boost I get from getting stellar grades in 3 years worth of nursing courses would be beneficial at all? Keep in mind I've already taken a huge amount of pure science courses during my bio degree.

"I realized that I am intelligent; I was just setting my standards low because I saw that my peers were doing the same. Now that I know what I am capable of, I don't know if I can settle for being a nurse.".


This suggests you won't be happy being a nurse if you think you can cut it as a physician. If you want to go for it, don't take up the nursing program now and devote yourself to continuing to prove yourself academically. You're not in a deep hole, but @Goro's right about International applicants being judged even more strenuously...
That's what I'm worried about. I'm willing to put in whatever effort it takes to repair my transcript, but it's a risky bet and I may just end up wasting all that time only to end up back in the nursing program.

A few questions: How long is the nursing program? Why did you want to pursue nursing in the first place? What gratification do you think you would get from being a physician rather than a nurse?

In the US, many nurses are usually very respected. Our healthcare system would fail without them and a really good nurse can make a huge difference to the unit they are on. They also get a fair amount of respect from the public, and I'd argue more respect than doctors do from some people. The big difference between the doc and the nurse is being the team leader/decision-maker vs. a supporting player. Both are equally important but for very different reasons. To give an idea of this I'll share what I've been told by everyone since high school: "The most important people to make friends with during clinical training are the nurses. If they like you, they'll take the time to help you out and teach you little tricks they've picked up over the years. During residency, they'll help stay on the good side of your attendings and catch the little mistakes you make so you don't get in trouble. As an attending they'll help you get the little things done so you can focus on the big problems and will go out of their way to help your life run smoother. If you get on their bad side though, they'll make your life a living hell."

If you "just" want to go into healthcare because you love working with people, helping them get better, and really value lifestyle and free time, then nursing is a great option. It's a secure job that pays decently and gets you plenty of time off for your own life. If you really crave a deeper understanding of what you're doing, want to be the leader, desire job security and a fat paycheck, and are willing to put in the time, money, and work to get there, then being a physician is a better fit. There's more aspects to it than that, but those are some starting points to think about for the process.
The program is 2 years in time but it's basically 3 years worth of credits crammed into those 2 years.

After I graduated with my Bio degree, I just wanted to get a job. So I took the prerequisites for the nursing program and applied. But after taking those prereqs, which included courses like Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology etc., I started to get a taste of what medicine is like. I enjoyed it and did very well. The difference between being a physician and being a nurse for me is the scope of understanding. Nurses only scratch the surface of medicine. They get a little teaser of what it's like but they don't get to delve into it. I love science. I love feeling like I'm smart. I love the idea of reaching the pinnacle of a field. I would totally pursue a Masters and then a PhD if the pay was better. I don't think I will get that kind of intellectual satisfaction as a nurse. And honestly, I don't care too much about helping people. Maybe if I was treated better throughout my life, I'd feel altruistic, but I don't. I'm incredibly jaded and cynical and I'm doing this for me.

But maybe I'm just dreaming. Maybe I need to be more realistic. I do tend to get carried away with ambition sometimes. Getting into the nursing program was a great opportunity and I don't want to jeopardize it for something that may not work out.
 

Goro

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My own school gets very few nurses as applicants. I'm a big fan of nurses. But other Adcoms here have stated that they do not consider nursing courses rigorous.
 

En3rgy

2+ Year Member
Aug 13, 2017
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29
How many credits did you take during the year after graduation? PM me if you want to strategize your options.
 
OP
W
Jun 15, 2017
15
4
Status
Pre-Medical
How many credits did you take during the year after graduation? PM me if you want to strategize your options.
24... it wasn't a full course load. 30 is a full course load at my school. But I think that if I took a full course load, I could still get similar grades. I wasn't particularly strained to get those A+'s.
 

calivianya

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Jun 26, 2017
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DO programs count nursing courses as science, so you will get a significant boost for DO if you do well in the nursing program. My AACOMAS science GPA is going to be way higher than my AMCAS science GPA because of it.

I would personally advise you to stay in, since that's an accelerated program and you'll be done quickly. I'm guessing you'll be done next December at the latest? If you don't have any clinical experience anyway, what's putting off your application to med school a couple of years? Gives you time to take some upper level sciences while actually having an income to pay for your classes, at the least, and have some clinical experience to back your application up. Not to mention you'll still have a job if you fail to become a physician after that.

As for the being too sharp to be a nurse comment... just choose where you plan on working carefully and you may really enjoy being a nurse. I did a summer externship while in school in an inpatient neuro rehab unit where it really was just pill passing and a little bit of basic assessment, and I felt like it would have killed me intellectually to stay there. In contrast, if you work ICU in a high acuity tertiary referral center, particularly at a non-teaching hospital, you're going to be working relatively independently, with a lot of other smart people. The people who aren't quick or intelligent enough are usually edged out within a year of hire, tops, in those places.
 
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DokterMom

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What I'm hearing is a "just a nurse" attitude, and that the OP would view becoming a nurse as "settling" and that's not a good life plan. Regardless of how critically important nurses are and how much we do (or don't) respect them deep down inside, it's the OP's personal mindset that matters to his/her own future happiness, not ours. We're not doing them any favors trying to talk them into nursing as a worthwhile career.

Also, it's the nurses that really want to be doctors that drive the physicians nuts...
 

Stagg737

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The program is 2 years in time but it's basically 3 years worth of credits crammed into those 2 years.

After I graduated with my Bio degree, I just wanted to get a job. So I took the prerequisites for the nursing program and applied. But after taking those prereqs, which included courses like Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology etc., I started to get a taste of what medicine is like. I enjoyed it and did very well. The difference between being a physician and being a nurse for me is the scope of understanding. Nurses only scratch the surface of medicine. They get a little teaser of what it's like but they don't get to delve into it. I love science. I love feeling like I'm smart. I love the idea of reaching the pinnacle of a field. I would totally pursue a Masters and then a PhD if the pay was better. I don't think I will get that kind of intellectual satisfaction as a nurse. And honestly, I don't care too much about helping people. Maybe if I was treated better throughout my life, I'd feel altruistic, but I don't. I'm incredibly jaded and cynical and I'm doing this for me.

But maybe I'm just dreaming. Maybe I need to be more realistic. I do tend to get carried away with ambition sometimes. Getting into the nursing program was a great opportunity and I don't want to jeopardize it for something that may not work out.
This makes it sound like being a physician is a far better career choice for you. As others have said, you'll be passing up a solid career with decent pay. Imo if you're miserable at your job though, there's no point in sticking with it. Getting into a nursing program isn't very hard, so if you think you can get into med school and it's right for you I say go for it. If you don't like it, you can always quit and enter nursing later. As long as you quit first year you won't rack up too much debt. You can also do it the other way around. Go into nursing, make some money and save it up, and if you don't like it retake some classes and apply to med school later. There's risks and downsides either way, it's just a matter of how much are you willing to risk and how much would "wasting" a few years of your life really mean to you?
 
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