Question for nurses who went on to PA or MD

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by gonj, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    I have a year to go in my nursing program and I wonder if I should

    1) finish and gain RN clinical experience to take with me to PA/MD school

    or

    2) drop out now and start working on those pre-med science classes in order to get into a PA or Med program ASAP. I could apply for an EMT-B or CNA job tomorrow if I had to but obviously I would see and do so much more as an RN.

    Anyway my main question is: what aspects of your nursing experience helped you in PA/Med school?

    If I were to finish RN school and work as an RN I suppose I would focus on those experiences. Work smarter, not harder is my way.
     
  2. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    FINISH THE RN.
    whatever you do after that at least you will have a marketable skill and always be able to get a job. take prereqs while working at your first job over a few yrs while you gain experience. taking 1-2 classes at a time instead of 4+ also allows you to focus on them and get "A's", something required for most pa and md programs at this point.
    pa vs md is entirely up to you and basically comes down to time commitment, level of debt, scope of practice, and desired income and specialty.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  3. PHealthMan

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    The flexibility and salary of an RN position would make for a great job while earning your pre reqs. It will also give you the opportunity to work more closely with PAs and MDs (letters of recommendation :cough:)
     
  4. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member
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    It is very important to understand how your application/resume looks. If you drop out it will be interpreted as flakiness or lack of self discipline. That maybe unfair. If you finish it demonstrates your commitment to medicine, rather than titles.

    THe RN is very helpful for PA programs - the case for my wife. Less true for MD programs because the 2 yrs of clinical training followed by residency makes up for lack of skills.

    Absolutely agree with other comments as well.

    Good Luck
     
  5. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    I have no idea what aspects of nursing would help you in PA/MD school. However, I am wondering why you haven't considered NP school if you are considering PA school?

    Definitely finish nursing school and get your bachelors; you need a degree to get into med school. By finishing your BSN all you would need to do is complete the pre-med prereqs and that wouldn't take that long. But definitely think this over because it's a really long path with a lot of work and a lot of debt with no guarantee that you'll get into med school.
     
  6. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    I have a bachelors degree. Nursing would be a 2nd degree. So I'm not getting any younger. It's the reason I wonder if I'm wasting time by not pursuing PA/MD/DO directly.

    Reasons for not pursuing NP are mostly related to training and curriculum.

    I appreciate all the advice so far.






    Btw, here's some stuff for anyone deciding between NP or PA school:
    Other things I've found helpful:
    • certain threads at the nurses forum
    • certain threads at the PA forum
    • the curriculums themselves
     
  7. howelljolly

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    How and were are you getting your pre-reqs for MD/PA school? It's better to have them within a degree program, or a post-bacc. If that degree can be a BSN, then thats a good thing. The key is, you need to make your academic record, and pre-med classes look good... not peacemeal. Thats the most important thing.

    I dont know about for PA school, but for Med school, nursing expereince will likely not help, unless you constantly self-regulate, and realize the differences in the thought processes. Nursing and physicians are often at odds because of the differences in thought processes, paradigms, philosophies... theres even a Nursing Diagnosis... which is worlds apart from the way a medical diagnosis or differential diagnosis is determined.

    Its hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and its harder to re-learn than it is to learn.

    So, if MD/PA is what you want, make your academic record look spectacular... No bad grades, no dropping out, no jumping around. Then go for it.
     
  8. I agree, with previous poster.
    BSN or Entry-Masters in Nursing programs do not have pre-reqs that directly align themselves towards the transition to PA or MD/DO.

    The PA or MD/DO route can all accomplish the same pre-reqs. The PA route will generally require that you have accumulated Health care experience (HCE) to some degree.. the PA pre-reqs are somewhat varied as some require more or less HCE, some don't require Physics, some require less chem, etc etc... IF you did the pre-reqs while working p/t to gain HCE you would be prepared to enter PA or MD/DO.... if you could decide between either you could then reduce HCE and focus on studies and MCAT prep if you knew MD/DO were the case.. if you knew PA were the case you could tailor your pre-reqs to a few schools and focus towards HCE accumulation.
    Nursing is reat - but more so if you have an extended timeline of when you want to become a PA... as time to do nursing pre-reqs, time to get BSN or MEPN, time to be a nurse, time to do PA pre-reqs, time to do PA school... now you are a PA.
    If you went MD/DO route I would not recommend nursing at all unless you were pretty young - as this timeline is a much longer route then needed.. MD/DOs don't require HCE.. they have a 'general' timeline/model for breeding successful med students and being a nurse is not one of the them.. it works and some do it.. but it's definately not required.
    v/r
     
  9. howelljolly

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    Exactly. medical education goes through an established process. One can debate its effectiveness ad nauseum, but it is what it is. The process is designed with 11 to 15 or so, years of "gunner level" post-highschool education, without any previous healthcare experience. The experience you need is forced into you during your training. Any previous healthcare experience you may have is systematically forced out of your brain; and will only have served to make you that much older and with fewer functional years of service available when you become an attending physician.
     
  10. theslave

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    This I can agree with. IF you want to become a PA, you need health care experience some how. So becoming a nurse will give you the experience. Have you done the CNA training thing? Most nursing programs I know require the CNA stuff before getting into nursing school. IF you want to become an MD, being a nurse won't really help ONCE in medical school, but it COULD help with the third year and residency.

    Personally, I know of a few new nurses that don't like being told what to do on a daily basis and are taking classes to apply to PA programs.

    If you are only a year away from finishing your nursing degree, FINISH it!!!!! Get a local job by a major university and take a couple of courses a semester. If you work third shift that will give you the day free to take the classes.
     
  11. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member
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    hey there
    I got a BSN, then MS (in biochem) then went to med school:) It's been a long road but I'm glad I did it. Nursing is a tough program, with a lot of requirements. It gave me a good kick in the behind (taught me how to study and be disciplined) but honestly you could just as easily do a bio or psych degree (or anything else) as long as you take the main prereqs for med school. With that said, I didn't really work for years as a nurse or anything (I went right on through school). As far as what ADCOMs look for, every ADCOM will probably have a slightly different opinion of what they look for (while following similiar general guidelines) I speak from experience, but that's all I will say about that;)
    It really wouldn't be a negative at all to be a nurse before med school (I know this goes against a lot of what you will hear in pre allo sdn). Actually, it would probably be looked at as a huge plus (I mean you know health care, you have some serious experience). With that said, NOTHING can really take the place of great grades and a good MCAT score. That is what you really need to focus on (and a real good reason of why medicine) no matter what your degree/background. If you have done bad in school that can be overcome, BUT it will be a long hard road. You need to be willing to make some sacrifice (like a post bac informal or formal)..why? well you really need to prove you have smartened up and will do what you need to do (a reformed student) because they wont want to take a chance on you without seeing that, and you put yourself in that situation (so you need to accept it and step up to the challenge and what you need to do). Medical school has a speedy pace compared to other programs I have experienced. There is no room for you not to be a good student at that point.
    good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
     
  12. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    Ok so I should finish because I'm almost done, would be demonstrating that I can follow through on what I started, and can work in a hospital while completing my science pre-reqs. Very practical advice. Esp w/ the PA route, where clinical experience is (usually) required.

    But helpfulness of experience is minimal. O rly?

    Wouldn't exposure to drugs, disease, pathophys, pt contact, etc. make it all easier to take in? I mean I know the level of detail is on another level. But still. Not helpful?
     
  13. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member
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    Can you give me a little more information on your situation. How long will it take for you to finish nursing? What is your GPA now? I can only speak in terms of medical school admissions, and I don't know too much about PA admissions, so I can give you some general advice.
     
  14. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    i was actually looking for more insight as to what extent nursing background actually helps during med school (or pa school) and the clinical rotations.

    but ok here goes:

    • 1 yr left in ADN nursing program
    • certs: EMT-B, CNA (eligible to take cert test d/t nursing school)
    • phlebotomy experience
    • ECs: incl hospital, disabled, teaching/tutoring
    • BA in economics
    • cum 3.3 GPA...yeah need to raise it. i'm sure i can.
     
    #14 gonj, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  15. theslave

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    I would say just to finish the nursing degree so you have a good paying job while you try to get into graduate school. Since you already have a BA degree, you should have most of the non-science prerequisites done.

    From what you have said above, it seems like PA school is your thing.
     
  16. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member
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    1. You don't need to be in a formal degree or post-bacc program to finish some pre-reqs -- I didn't and it had no bearing on admission. Your ASN stands very well on its own as a committment to healthcare, which is what admission committees look for.

    2. Your RN experience will help some in your first 2 years of med school, when it is mostly book work. BUT, you will be miles ahead of your class in 3rd year clinical rotations and separate you from the mass when getting letters of recommendation. So, in short, your experience will be very helpful.

    3. As for PA school, the same goes, because good programs require experience and when you graduate you will be ready to work and be very marketable -- which is the case for my wife who is RN and finishing PA school and will be ready to run after graduation.
     
  17. howelljolly

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    I actually disagree with this. Basic sciences dont get any easier due to RN experience. Pharmacolgy might, but only due to name recognition. The deapth at which you'll have to know even the ACLS drugs is something that youve never encountered before.

    As for clinicals. You might feel like you have an easier time i.e. youre already comfortable with talking to patients. But, you'll still have to study as much as anyone else. The stuff you'll be pimped on is medical stuff, not nursing stuff. Any procedeures you know... again you'll feel more comfortable doing them, but you'll still have to zip it and listen to the instructions on how to do them, though youve done them a hundred times already.

    Medicine is a different ball of wax.
     
  18. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member
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    RN school helps "some" in first years -- as I said. As an RN, you will understand the healthcare context of everything better than most.

    As for 3rd-4th year: I stand by what I said. To say "nursing stuff" is different than "medical stuff" is buying into the artifical separation of healthcare professions. The care of the hospitalized patient is a bit more than bathing patients.

    But most importantly, an RN knows so much more of how a hospital works than a med student, and will put you far ahead of young med students who think they already know it all. It ain't all about pimping for LOR's, its professionalism.
     
  19. howelljolly

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    Thats not what I mean. What your attendings are going to pimp you out on (meaning what questions they will ask you on rounds), will not be how the hospital works, or about the discharge planning, or or even the medication regimen. Its going to be anatomy, phys, pathology, pharmacology, complications, the best diagnostic test for a particular disease, all of the differential diagnoses for a particular presentation and specifically medical... not nursing diagnioses. They are going to stand with you at a patients bedside and ask you the differential diagnoses.... you better say "CHF, vs. COPD exacerbation, vs. pneumonia vs. aspiration pneumonitis" and not "Gas Exchange Impaired"

    Im not picking on the "artificial separation between healthcare professions" Im pointing out that Medicine and Nursing are two different ways to skin a cat. So knowing one may not always help with the other, and may in fact confuse things" It is harder to relearn, than it is to learn.
     
  20. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    oh is that all? in that case, i cant wait to move on from nursing diagnoses to medical diagnoses. patho, diagnostics, medical treatments, etc = way more interesting.
     
  21. howelljolly

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    Another example, since youre an EMT. They told you in school. "Dont give a COPD patient high flow oxygen. You'll knock out their hypoxic drive to breath."

    In med school, you'll learn what the Hypoxic drive is all about, and you'll learn about (what I call) the normal hypercapnic drive to breath. You'll learn why COPD patients run on the pathological hypoxic drive, what oxygen does to the blood supply to the lungs, what the lungs of a COPD patent look like and what the altered blood flow would do in this case, You'd know what partial pressure of oxygen has to do with the exchange of gases on hemoglobin.
    Then, when thats all done, noones going to tell you not to give a COPD patient high flow oxygen. And, you'll have to decide for yourself if supplimantal oxygen will be helpful or not... and if so, how much.

    So, even tho the "end" is the same, its the "means" that you and I didnt learn as EMTs, which will be what they quiz you about in med school. Same applies for nursing.
     
  22. Josh L.Ac.

    Josh L.Ac. MSA/LAc & BSN/RN --> AA-S
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    Hey, are we making fun of nursing diagnosis?


    If so, I would like to join in.
     
  23. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member
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    Back on track.
    Whether you want to be a PA or MD: Depending on your schedule, try to spend some time in ICU. This will provide you excellent advanced understanding of the hospitalized patient.
     
  24. Josh L.Ac.

    Josh L.Ac. MSA/LAc & BSN/RN --> AA-S
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    It also will clearly illustrate the difference in responsibilities in treating the patient between nursing and medicine, eg, total patient care versus medical care.



    The ICU made me realize that I absolutely did not want to be a nurse.
     
  25. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    Oh I already get the difference between medicine and nursing. Nusing diagnosis...lol...just lol.

    Gotcha on the ICU, will try to get time there. Though, I was thinkin I'd get more exposure to more things, and therefore more learning opportunities, on a med-surg floor. Was also thinkin aiming for ER time might be more my thing. Or would ICU time be that much more helpful?
     
  26. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member
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    Med-Surg is where you learn basic nursing. It can be a minimalist job where you follow a few orders, but spend most of the shift trying to catch up. If it is a place with mixed step-down and med-surg, there maybe some good learning. 1 RN to 5-7 pts.

    ER RNs are great and decisive. But, they tend to stabilize and triage, and do not see the follow up on what happens. You will benefit in the ER, too.

    ICU sees the whole picture with sick pts with multiple problems; they monitor the effect of meds, and often run codes until the code team shows up. 1 RN to 2-3 pts. CRNA school requires ICU experience. A good ICU RN can manage a pt better than many hospitlists.

    Unfortunately there are bad RNs that allow young punk med students and residents with superiority complexes to generalize about all RNs. Good luck whatever you decide.
     
  27. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    ok, that does sound better. maybe i can take it slow and rotate through all 3 while finishing my science classes...
     
  28. 237696

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    I did a very piecemeal post-bac course of study at two local schools for the eight medical school science pre-reqs while working full-time (although as a calculus teacher, not a nurse). Not once has that fact been discussed in any of my interviews so far (i.e., asking why I didn't enroll in a formal post-bac program). I really don't think they cared. When you're an older non-traditional student I think they understand that you've likely got a mortgage, work commitments, maybe a family and doing a full-time formal program isn't practical. I've gotten D.O. acceptances so far and have more interviews to go. I wouldn't stress too much about whether getting the RN and working as a nurse would still allow you to do a formal program.
     
  29. gonj

    gonj Oh no you di'int
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    Good to know it hasn't been an issue for you, esp since I was already leaning towards doing an informal post-bacc or a 2nd bacc. Good luck on your interviews :thumbup: ...and please let us know if the issue ever does come up.
     

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