Probably leaving nursing. Trying to make decision after 10 years.

Aug 9, 2017
8
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Bear with me.

I've been an RN for 5+ years now, I'm a 30yo female. The dream was always med school or PA school, but a lot of socioeconomic "life" stuff sent me make the choice that a 1 yr accelerated BSN program after undergrad was the best decision for my lifestyle (and it was, at the time, no big regrets). While my nursing career hasn't been completely miserable and has definitely provided some OK gigs and decent income, I've never been challenged or stimulated by it, per se. The highlights of my career so far have been doing clinical research and home hospice, both having the commonalities of working 1:1 with patients, more autonomously as a nurse, and a closer relationship with physicians that I respected the hell out of and taught me a lot more than they needed to for what my scope of practice is.

Med school has been a desire for about 10 years now, and about twice a year for a month I think, "it's time to finally bite the bullet and go to medical school". Set an entire plan for the next 10 years, talk to family and colleagues, and get excited. Then I start to think more holistically, scour SDN threads, and freak out over if it'll be the best decision for me, and how I don't know if I want to give up some years of life for medicine. I wonder if I can handle the stress, and the lack of balance. I enjoy my hobbies (hiking/yoga/reading), and am newly married to a husband who I have a lot of fun with and want to travel with. However, I think what's really new for me this year is that I am pretty set on leaving nursing, but I can't imagine leaving the patient care aspect. I'd miss the exposure I have to medicine. That there, is a pretty big signaling flag for me. Other concerns are that many of my personal issues are more ethical and political that encompass all of healthcare, not just nursing. I consider that becoming a physician may only make me want to pound my head into the wall 10x harder (administrative, reimbursement issues, etc).

Please do not bother recommending NP school. I have a huge qualm with the fact that the NP role has become what it has; I completely disagree with that type of independence/power with that lack of education (the online ads for "XYZ University finish your degree 100% online in 18 months"!, do not get me started). I do still consider PA school, but I think at this point that's not the best decision, as I'd see myself wondering why I did that instead of med school.

Also, I'm pretty much set on family medicine and other non-clinical side projects, a bit of an idealist in that "I'm going to help fix this system and really educate, care and make strides for my patients"...yeah... Pros are that I likely won't stress myself too much during school with perfectionist tendencies (also my ISS is Pass/Fail which helps), doesn't seem like residency would be too terrible, making the 7 year plan seem less stressful than it is for a lot of other students. Cons, the volatile healthcare arena, I can't decide if this makes it a worse decision. Fear of debt used to hold me back, but I'd have reasonable ISS tuition, a supportive hubby with income, and some actual savings as well.

Do I feel like I can see myself doing other things besides medicine? Sure. I'm always more life then work, and into spending time outdoors and such to ever have my job be my "passion", it's just not my personality. Would I like other jobs more? I don't think so. I think I could become more passionate about medicine. Do I feel like I'll live the rest of my life thinking "wish I would have done it?" Very possible. Do I feel like it will keep me up at night? So far, it hasn't.

I get that only I can make the call, but at this point after a decade of SDN browsing, working in the industry and talking to colleagues, I still don't feel like I can make a concrete decision. I think my biggest fear would be getting so overwhelmed at some point in medical school and then asking "what the hell did I do all this for?". I also haven't been to school in a long time and have no idea how to study appropriately, or even what kind of habits I hold. On the other hand, some of the most stressful times of my life were most rewarding, in the sense that I had so many things going on and I just cruised on a routine and slammed them out, not having anytime to hyper-psychoanalyze myself or things in my life. Most physician friends that are specialized tell me not to do it, not worth it, do something else. The few family docs I've talked to that really seemed to have their hearts in the right place advised to just go to medical school, there's a place for me in it. I do feel like I only have a few more years left in nursing full-time, and it'll be a sad day to leave both the steady income and patients. I will probably fulfill my other dream of working in a library and take a big bend over as far as salary.

Help, plz. Be sure to post your address and I'll mail you warm cookies and milk for making it through all of my bull**** and torturous amount of run-on sentences.

also - GPA from both Bach about 3.7. Science GPA 3.7. Still need orgo + phys, will likely take calc and biochem as well. Then MCAT. Planning to take 2-3 years to finish all this and save more. Shouldn't be problem to have solid LOR and essay. I have support from administration and big thumbs up from in-state school I plan to attend.
 
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operaman

7+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2010
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I promise I read your whole post and I know you addressed this, but the honest answer is that for the goals and type of practice you lost above, become a family nurse practitioner will give you essentially the same scope of practice as a family med MD. Sure there are the online only baloney programs, but there are also good ones - a friend of mine recently finished Columbia's program and has wonderful things to say about it.

I completely understand your concerns regarding the difference between the fields, but the honest truth is that your day to day after training would be identical. Your useful knowledge base would be similar too (yes I realize that's a controversial statement).

Remember that despite its current bastardization, nurse practitioners were designed for people just like you - very experienced people who want to do exactly what you do. Sure, now it's become a fast way to higher income with every brand new nurse doing some online coursework, but that's not you. I think you can honestly remain true to your ideals and take great care of patients as an NP.
 
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OP
cheesepizza
Aug 9, 2017
8
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I promise I read your whole post and I know you addressed this, but the honest answer is that for the goals and type of practice you lost above, become a family nurse practitioner will give you essentially the same scope of practice as a family med MD. Sure there are the online only baloney programs, but there are also good ones - a friend of mine recently finished Columbia's program and has wonderful things to say about it.

I completely understand your concerns regarding the difference between the fields, but the honest truth is that your day to day after training would be identical. Your useful knowledge base would be similar too (yes I realize that's a controversial statement).

Remember that despite its current bastardization, nurse practitioners were designed for people just like you - very experienced people who want to do exactly what you do. Sure, now it's become a fast way to higher income with every brand new nurse doing some online coursework, but that's not you. I think you can honestly remain true to your ideals and take great care of patients as an NP.
Thanks for the read and response, operaman. I can empathize with what you're saying, it's been an ongoing battle for me (FNP vs MD) for years. I just can't seem to think I'll still be dissatisfied with the level of autonomy and not being the ultimate provider. I promise I don't have a huge ego and it's compassion all the way, but I don't like the idea of one day treating a patient as an NP and having them ask if they can see the MD. For strep throat, I'd probably roll my eyes and give some education; for more complex issues, I'd completely understand why they'd ask and wouldn't feel comfortable in my knowledge base anyways. That said, the hours I'd put in the two years it'd take me to become an NP while still be working as a FT nurse and stressed in a more spiritual way, well, I feel it makes more sense to just go for MD. The NP program would also not include the breaks that MD has, which technically makes the actual weeks in school a little longer.

Besides the education and jurisdiction, NP would definitely make the more reasonable choice, lifestyle and financial wise. I just can't get on bored.

I think it's MD or, pursue the dream of librarian and start at the bottom climbing that ladder (which sounds peaceful and fun, just the loss of income up front).
 
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Medic2MD4me

10+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2009
94
54
Status
Pre-Medical
Your posts make it seem like you'd rather be a doctor vs pa/np. As a practicing pa, I was in those same shoes 5 years ago, knowing I wanted to be a doctor but thought pa could satisfy that need more quickly, enabling me to start a family...blah blah all that. Well now my applications are in to the 8 closest medical schools to me because pa didn't satisfy that desire. Longer road, wayyy more obstacles now too with wife and kid, but who says you can't raise a family in med school? Honestly I'd prob see my son more 1st and 2nd year than I do now working mostly 2nd shift hours in the ED. I'm just one anecdotal tale who's at the very beginning of this journey, but I can tell you there is no substitute for becoming a doctor and that urge doesn't just go away cause you fed it something similar.
 
Jul 10, 2017
38
7
Status
Pre-Medical
I was in a similar situation and I chose the NP route. Now I'm essentially starting over with pre-med classes because NP is not cutting it for me...and I'm saying this as someone who works in a busy hospital primarily with ICU and tele patients. I could go on for days about problems with NP education and role. Your post reminds me a lot of myself. IMO, you won't be happy until you try your absolute hardest to get into med school. I agree with the previous poster that going into a similar field will NOT satisfy your urge.
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Bear with me.

I've been an RN for 5+ years now, I'm a 30yo female. The dream was always med school or PA school, but a lot of socioeconomic "life" stuff sent me make the choice that a 1 yr accelerated BSN program after undergrad was the best decision for my lifestyle (and it was, at the time, no big regrets). While my nursing career hasn't been completely miserable and has definitely provided some OK gigs and decent income, I've never been challenged or stimulated by it, per se. The highlights of my career so far have been doing clinical research and home hospice, both having the commonalities of working 1:1 with patients, more autonomously as a nurse, and a closer relationship with physicians that I respected the hell out of and taught me a lot more than they needed to for what my scope of practice is.

Med school has been a desire for about 10 years now, and about twice a year for a month I think, "it's time to finally bite the bullet and go to medical school". Set an entire plan for the next 10 years, talk to family and colleagues, and get excited. Then I start to think more holistically, scour SDN threads, and freak out over if it'll be the best decision for me, and how I don't know if I want to give up some years of life for medicine. I wonder if I can handle the stress, and the lack of balance. I enjoy my hobbies (hiking/yoga/reading), and am newly married to a husband who I have a lot of fun with and want to travel with. However, I think what's really new for me this year is that I am pretty set on leaving nursing, but I can't imagine leaving the patient care aspect. I'd miss the exposure I have to medicine. That there, is a pretty big signaling flag for me. Other concerns are that many of my personal issues are more ethical and political that encompass all of healthcare, not just nursing. I consider that becoming a physician may only make me want to pound my head into the wall 10x harder (administrative, reimbursement issues, etc).

Please do not bother recommending NP school. I have a huge qualm with the fact that the NP role has become what it has; I completely disagree with that type of independence/power with that lack of education (the online ads for "XYZ University finish your degree 100% online in 18 months"!, do not get me started). I do still consider PA school, but I think at this point that's not the best decision, as I'd see myself wondering why I did that instead of med school.

Also, I'm pretty much set on family medicine and other non-clinical side projects, a bit of an idealist in that "I'm going to help fix this system and really educate, care and make strides for my patients"...yeah... Pros are that I likely won't stress myself too much during school with perfectionist tendencies (also my ISS is Pass/Fail which helps), doesn't seem like residency would be too terrible, making the 7 year plan seem less stressful than it is for a lot of other students. Cons, the volatile healthcare arena, I can't decide if this makes it a worse decision. Fear of debt used to hold me back, but I'd have reasonable ISS tuition, a supportive hubby with income, and some actual savings as well.

Do I feel like I can see myself doing other things besides medicine? Sure. I'm always more life then work, and into spending time outdoors and such to ever have my job be my "passion", it's just not my personality. Would I like other jobs more? I don't think so. I think I could become more passionate about medicine. Do I feel like I'll live the rest of my life thinking "wish I would have done it?" Very possible. Do I feel like it will keep me up at night? So far, it hasn't.

I get that only I can make the call, but at this point after a decade of SDN browsing, working in the industry and talking to colleagues, I still don't feel like I can make a concrete decision. I think my biggest fear would be getting so overwhelmed at some point in medical school and then asking "what the hell did I do all this for?". I also haven't been to school in a long time and have no idea how to study appropriately, or even what kind of habits I hold. On the other hand, some of the most stressful times of my life were most rewarding, in the sense that I had so many things going on and I just cruised on a routine and slammed them out, not having anytime to hyper-psychoanalyze myself or things in my life. Most physician friends that are specialized tell me not to do it, not worth it, do something else. The few family docs I've talked to that really seemed to have their hearts in the right place advised to just go to medical school, there's a place for me in it. I do feel like I only have a few more years left in nursing full-time, and it'll be a sad day to leave both the steady income and patients. I will probably fulfill my other dream of working in a library and take a big bend over as far as salary.

Help, plz. Be sure to post your address and I'll mail you warm cookies and milk for making it through all of my bull**** and torturous amount of run-on sentences.

also - GPA from both Bach about 3.7. Science GPA 3.7. Still need orgo + phys, will likely take calc and biochem as well. Then MCAT. Planning to take 2-3 years to finish all this and save more. Shouldn't be problem to have solid LOR and essay. I have support from administration and big thumbs up from in-state school I plan to attend.

It was always physician or nothing for me in terms of healthcare, but I too had other options like you and similarly always felt like I would wonder, "what if?" if I never pursued being a physician.

There probably will be times when you ask "what the hell did I do this all for?" Frankly that comes with this territory, I think there are very few pre meds who don't ask themselves this in UG, med school, residency, etc.

The fact of the matter is tons of healthcare professionals in your position do exactly what you're pondering now, and make it work.

Good luck with whatever you decide OP.
 
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Faha

7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
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If you want to be a physician then go for it. Take the prerequisites and score at least 500 on the MCAT and you should receive interviews at DO schools. Score over 505 and you should receive interviews at MD schools.
 

Aspiringdoc235

Recent foreign medical grad (Sep 2017)
Aug 7, 2017
6
5
Chicago
Status
Non-Student
Bear with me.

I've been an RN for 5+ years now, I'm a 30yo female. The dream was always med school or PA school, but a lot of socioeconomic "life" stuff sent me make the choice that a 1 yr accelerated BSN program after undergrad was the best decision for my lifestyle (and it was, at the time, no big regrets). While my nursing career hasn't been completely miserable and has definitely provided some OK gigs and decent income, I've never been challenged or stimulated by it, per se. The highlights of my career so far have been doing clinical research and home hospice, both having the commonalities of working 1:1 with patients, more autonomously as a nurse, and a closer relationship with physicians that I respected the hell out of and taught me a lot more than they needed to for what my scope of practice is.

Med school has been a desire for about 10 years now, and about twice a year for a month I think, "it's time to finally bite the bullet and go to medical school". Set an entire plan for the next 10 years, talk to family and colleagues, and get excited. Then I start to think more holistically, scour SDN threads, and freak out over if it'll be the best decision for me, and how I don't know if I want to give up some years of life for medicine. I wonder if I can handle the stress, and the lack of balance. I enjoy my hobbies (hiking/yoga/reading), and am newly married to a husband who I have a lot of fun with and want to travel with. However, I think what's really new for me this year is that I am pretty set on leaving nursing, but I can't imagine leaving the patient care aspect. I'd miss the exposure I have to medicine. That there, is a pretty big signaling flag for me. Other concerns are that many of my personal issues are more ethical and political that encompass all of healthcare, not just nursing. I consider that becoming a physician may only make me want to pound my head into the wall 10x harder (administrative, reimbursement issues, etc).

Please do not bother recommending NP school. I have a huge qualm with the fact that the NP role has become what it has; I completely disagree with that type of independence/power with that lack of education (the online ads for "XYZ University finish your degree 100% online in 18 months"!, do not get me started). I do still consider PA school, but I think at this point that's not the best decision, as I'd see myself wondering why I did that instead of med school.

Also, I'm pretty much set on family medicine and other non-clinical side projects, a bit of an idealist in that "I'm going to help fix this system and really educate, care and make strides for my patients"...yeah... Pros are that I likely won't stress myself too much during school with perfectionist tendencies (also my ISS is Pass/Fail which helps), doesn't seem like residency would be too terrible, making the 7 year plan seem less stressful than it is for a lot of other students. Cons, the volatile healthcare arena, I can't decide if this makes it a worse decision. Fear of debt used to hold me back, but I'd have reasonable ISS tuition, a supportive hubby with income, and some actual savings as well.

Do I feel like I can see myself doing other things besides medicine? Sure. I'm always more life then work, and into spending time outdoors and such to ever have my job be my "passion", it's just not my personality. Would I like other jobs more? I don't think so. I think I could become more passionate about medicine. Do I feel like I'll live the rest of my life thinking "wish I would have done it?" Very possible. Do I feel like it will keep me up at night? So far, it hasn't.

I get that only I can make the call, but at this point after a decade of SDN browsing, working in the industry and talking to colleagues, I still don't feel like I can make a concrete decision. I think my biggest fear would be getting so overwhelmed at some point in medical school and then asking "what the hell did I do all this for?". I also haven't been to school in a long time and have no idea how to study appropriately, or even what kind of habits I hold. On the other hand, some of the most stressful times of my life were most rewarding, in the sense that I had so many things going on and I just cruised on a routine and slammed them out, not having anytime to hyper-psychoanalyze myself or things in my life. Most physician friends that are specialized tell me not to do it, not worth it, do something else. The few family docs I've talked to that really seemed to have their hearts in the right place advised to just go to medical school, there's a place for me in it. I do feel like I only have a few more years left in nursing full-time, and it'll be a sad day to leave both the steady income and patients. I will probably fulfill my other dream of working in a library and take a big bend over as far as salary.

Help, plz. Be sure to post your address and I'll mail you warm cookies and milk for making it through all of my bull**** and torturous amount of run-on sentences.

also - GPA from both Bach about 3.7. Science GPA 3.7. Still need orgo + phys, will likely take calc and biochem as well. Then MCAT. Planning to take 2-3 years to finish all this and save more. Shouldn't be problem to have solid LOR and essay. I have support from administration and big thumbs up from in-state school I plan to attend.

I'm 38 and I have been a critical care RN for 17+yrs now with primary experience in ICU and ER and have also worked in various nursing specialities (OR, PACU, tele, unit charge of a nursing home and even custody units of inmates to try different fields so I don't get bored) as an RN, nurse educator, care co-ordinator, administrative experience, teach nurses, drug research studies and so on... But I always loved being a doctor and it had been my forever childhood dream... I'm also a single mother who moved to US all by myself with absolutely no near or far relatives here... After much debate and thinking whether to pursue NP or follow my dream, I decided to go to medical school in Caribbean which is slightly easy on your budget and also lets you do hospital rotations in US... Done with my Step1, Step2 CS and gave my CK couple days ago and planning to apply for 2018 residency... If you really have a heart and set on your goals, then I suggest you to not hesitate and follow your dreams... It's definitely doable... My tuition loans are all paid in full by me with no balance.

I had 3.97 GPA in my BSN and aggregate 3.91 GPA in entire med school and also on school's dean's list (which I was told it doesn't matter) I just wish I had a better step1 score than what I got being sick during exams, but other than that I'm thankful for all God's blessings and thankful for all those professors, residents, attendings and strangers like here in such forums who have helped me thus far... I wish you the best in whatever you wish to pursue...

Now when can I expect my warm cookies and milk? Lol j/k :)
 
OP
cheesepizza
Aug 9, 2017
8
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you to all of those who took time to read and reply - it's very appreciated.

I will more than likely take the route of going back to school.
 
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May 11, 2016
278
397
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Medical Student
Thank you to all of those who took time to read and reply - it's very appreciated.

I will more than likely take the route of going back to school.
You will be great. I started the post-bacc journey newly engaged (a little younger than you, but similar), and my spouse and I have traveled to 12 different countries since (4 during my first year of med school). Life will change, but if you prioritize what you want and what you want for your family, you can make it work in a way that is ideal for you. Follow your path in your own time.
 
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Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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Thanks for the read and response, operaman. I can empathize with what you're saying, it's been an ongoing battle for me (FNP vs MD) for years. I just can't seem to think I'll still be dissatisfied with the level of autonomy and not being the ultimate provider. I promise I don't have a huge ego and it's compassion all the way, but I don't like the idea of one day treating a patient as an NP and having them ask if they can see the MD. For strep throat, I'd probably roll my eyes and give some education; for more complex issues, I'd completely understand why they'd ask and wouldn't feel comfortable in my knowledge base anyways. That said, the hours I'd put in the two years it'd take me to become an NP while still be working as a FT nurse and stressed in a more spiritual way, well, I feel it makes more sense to just go for MD. The NP program would also not include the breaks that MD has, which technically makes the actual weeks in school a little longer.

Besides the education and jurisdiction, NP would definitely make the more reasonable choice, lifestyle and financial wise. I just can't get on bored.

I think it's MD or, pursue the dream of librarian and start at the bottom climbing that ladder (which sounds peaceful and fun, just the loss of income up front).
FNP > MD for you.
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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I'm not the OP but out of curiosity, why?
It's a faster, cheaper and less strenuous path for OP from where she is to where she wants to get to.
 
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OP
cheesepizza
Aug 9, 2017
8
2
Status
Pre-Medical
It's a faster, cheaper and less strenuous path for OP from where she is to where she wants to get to.
Goro, good to get your opinion. I've been lurking on SDN for awhile I promise I respect your thoughts...a lot. Would you want to work with me if I was a FNP? What's your take?
 

Goro

Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
54,478
80,920
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
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Goro, good to get your opinion. I've been lurking on SDN for awhile I promise I respect your thoughts...a lot. Would you want to work with me if I was a FNP? What's youke?
I'm a PHD, so if you wish to teach in our labs, I'd be happy to have you as a colleague.

Plenty of MDS in these fora have high praise for their NP colleagues.

For a long time, an FNP was my own, and wife's PCP, and an NP is my kid's pediatrician.
 
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