Kelso9

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Hi all,
I am a 31 yo female (married, no kids) RN. I’ve been working as a nurse in the ED for the past 6 years. Prior to that, I had a biology degree (graduated with a 3.8) and had plans to go to medical school. Took the mcat in 2011 and got a 31. In the middle of applying to school, my mom died of ovarian cancer. My dad struggled with mental health issues and I decided to go to nursing school to get a marketable degree quickly so that I could help my family out.

it’s been so long but I still feel like I have all this regret and sadness at the fact that I didn’t try harder for medical school. I could easily work as an NP, make a good living, and start my family. But I just can’t seem to shake the thought of going back to school. Is this crazy? Or is this something I would even be able to do without retaking a bunch of classes?
Thanks in advance!
 
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wilhelmsa

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I don't have much to offer in terms of advice, but I want to say it is definitely possible. I had a different career before starting medical school. Getting my application ready (prereqs, mcat, etc) took about two years. Two of my closest friends in school are around 30 y/o and the oldest in my class is 45. Age won't be a problem. My understanding is that retaking classes is school specific. @Goro would have good advice.
 
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Jul 7, 2020
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Hi all,
I am a 31 yo female (married, no kids) RN. I’ve been working as a nurse in the ED for the past 6 years. Prior to that, I had a biology degree (graduated with a 3.8) and had plans to go to medical school. Took the mcat in 2011 and got a 31. In the middle of applying to school, my mom died of ovarian cancer. My dad struggled with mental health issues and I decided to go to nursing school to get a marketable degree quickly so that I could help my family out.

it’s been so long but I still feel like I have all this regret and sadness at the fact that I didn’t try harder for medical school. I could easily work as an NP, make a good living, and start my family. But I just can’t seem to shake the thought of going back to school. Is this crazy? Or is this something I would even be able to do without retaking a bunch of classes?
Thanks in advance!
I did this exact thing. I’ve been an ER nurse for 6 years and I just got my first Med school acceptance. Most schools that I reached out to didn’t require me to retake any classes, but they did want to see some recent science work. I retook everything mostly to help me prep for the MCAT and then took what I was missing. I did that over the course of 2 years while working full time. However, if you don’t think you need to retake anything, you could definitely do it faster than I did. I chose not to go to NP route because 1. I always wanted to be a physician and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with anything else. 2. There are aspects about NP that I don’t like and I didn’t feel I would get to practice to the extent that I want. Feel free to PM me with any questions. I would love to help!
 
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Itisnottoolate

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Former nurse now M1. It is definitely doable! If you have a biology degree then you likely have most of your prerequisites. You would have to retake the MCAT so you would need to do a refresher. I think you would have a great shot.
 
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Kelso9

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Thanks so much for the encouragement! I will start looking into mcat prep. It seems like I have taken all of the prerequisites and likely won’t need to re-take. Maybe I will consider just taking a couple of upper level science classes to freshen up!

thanks again!
 
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Former nurse, then became NP, and now MS1 at the age of 34. You can do it. I started preparing for medical school when I was 31. Just keep in mind that some nursing class do not satisfy medical school pre-requisite requirements. Your MCAT is too old so you likely need to retake, since you got 31 before, you can definitely do it again. Good luck!
 
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deleted480308

Lots of people do it this late, the financial return on investment is less but it can be done
 
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operaman

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In addition to the other advice here, I’d take some time and try to figure out what you want to do in medicine. Sure, people change their minds and it’s hard to predict, but you’re in a unique situation where some foresight could save you a lot of time and money.

If your goal is to practice primary care, I would strongly consider the NP route. You’d be done in a tiny fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost and you’d have almost the exact same day to day practice at a comparable salary. If you’re eyeing surgical or other procedural fields that NPs can’t do, then by all means do the Med school thing as you clearly have the grades and should have no trouble getting another good mcat score.

You’re 8-9 years from practice as an MD but maybe only 1-2 from practice as an NP. If you’re gonna do the MD, best to make sure it’s going to let you do something beyond what you could do with your NP.
 
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deleted480308

In addition to the other advice here, I’d take some time and try to figure out what you want to do in medicine. Sure, people change their minds and it’s hard to predict, but you’re in a unique situation where some foresight could save you a lot of time and money.

If your goal is to practice primary care, I would strongly consider the NP route. You’d be done in a tiny fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost and you’d have almost the exact same day to day practice at a comparable salary. If you’re eyeing surgical or other procedural fields that NPs can’t do, then by all means do the Med school thing as you clearly have the grades and should have no trouble getting another good mcat score.

You’re 8-9 years from practice as an MD but maybe only 1-2 from practice as an NP. If you’re gonna do the MD, best to make sure it’s going to let you do something beyond what you could do with your NP.
I would argue if you care about the patients and want to do primary care, be a doctor. The amount of knowledge needed isn’t given in NP education
 
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Itisnottoolate

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I would argue if you care about the patients and want to do primary care, be a doctor. The amount of knowledge needed isn’t given in NP education
I agree. Former NP and now current M1. I definitely did not receive the foundational knowledge that I am getting now!
 
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Itisnottoolate

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Former nurse, then became NP, and now MS1 at the age of 34. You can do it. I started preparing for medical school when I was 31. Just keep in mind that some nursing class do not satisfy medical school pre-requisite requirements. Your MCAT is too old so you likely need to retake, since you got 31 before, you can definitely do it again. Good luck!
I was reading this and thought I was reading my own life. Nurse, then NP, now m1. I also started at 34 but turned 35 the next month. I wish you the best of luck!
 
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Agreed, I decided to go back to medical school because of that. Primary care isnt just a specialty that NP can just jump in and replace family docs.
I would argue if you care about the patients and want to do primary care, be a doctor. The amount of knowledge needed isn’t given in NP education
Exactly, I request to see an MD/DO when I have medical appointment. No disrespect to fellow NPs, but the training we received is laughable. I will always fight for physcian-led care.
 
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Kelso9

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My goal would be to stay in the emergency department. I really enjoy it and want to continue in that setting. I know that APPs do work in the ED but it seems like many are restricted to fast track and level 3-5 patients. I’m sure that there are states and hospitals where they have some more autonomy but obviously the physicians tend to get the more interesting and complicated cases due to their training.
 
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calivianya

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You are going to have to retake probably at least all of the prerequisite courses and the MCAT. However, your nursing experience will be an incredible asset to your future medical school performance, should you decide to go.

After I matriculated and really got tired of sitting in front of my computer and in the classroom all day, I really started to wish I'd just gone to NP school. I was watching my coworkers who started NP school the same time I started med school graduate and get their "real jobs," while I was just about halfway done. It was tough. However, I'm in my third year now, and at the end of my first rotation (IM), my attending told me I was one of the strongest third years he's ever worked with and that there is a space for me at this program if I want it. And he's on the residency admissions committee at my site, so he really can make me that promise.

I had five years in a tertiary referral center MICU as staff nurse/charge nurse/RRT team lead when I matriculated. 5+ years of solid clinical experience does amazing things for your clinical reasoning and it's going to show on your evals and LORs, and the places you rotate at will very likely love you. I cannot overstate the advantage you will have. It extends to the preclinical years, too - knowing (a watered down version of) the mechanisms for how most common diseases work, and what drugs and drug doses are used to treat them, easily cuts the amount of material you have to learn from scratch by half for the preclinical years (except for crap like biochem). I feel like I did a lot less work than my classmates and I maintained top 1/4 without having to fight too hard for it, and I entirely attribute that to my nursing experience coming in.

So my advice is to go for it. You may regret it some during the first two years, but the satisfaction of absolutely acing your clinical rotations is going to make it worth your time.
 
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Dave1980

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My goal would be to stay in the emergency department. I really enjoy it and want to continue in that setting. I know that APPs do work in the ED but it seems like many are restricted to fast track and level 3-5 patients. I’m sure that there are states and hospitals where they have some more autonomy but obviously the physicians tend to get the more interesting and complicated cases due to their training.

Let me be the sole voice against going back to med school. If your goal is working in an ED being an NP is enough. Most EDs aren't level 1 trauma and the bread and butter is handled by docs and NPs. The ones that are level 1 will have anesthesia and trauma surgeons who will take a tons of the "exciting" stuff.

It's not worth the blood, sweat, and treasure for those elusive 2 letters after your name.
 
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ThetisAntithesis

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Former NP, now MS1, 32. Biology major in college 10 years prior. Did not have to retake any classes (only restriction was 1 med school that did not take prereqs over 10 yrs old). Took biochem 1 yr before applying for better MCAT understanding.
Only retake classes if you did not do well in them or feel you need to to brush up or something.
Got multiple invites and acceptances, no one asked about my older classes.

Do it, take the plunge. You won't regret it. If you go NP however, you will always wish you had gone to med school.

Edit: Age
 
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ThetisAntithesis

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So my advice is to go for it. You may regret it some during the first two years, but the satisfaction of absolutely acing your clinical rotations is going to make it worth your time.

Omg this is me. 1st semester and already tired of studying (its the volume of info thrown at you) but would rather be doing this than working as an NP and can't wait for 3rd year!
 
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I also think you should go for it. I’ve been a PA for 7 years and will be starting med school next year. If you want to be a doctor nothing else will be enough. PA and NP are great careers but some people are wired to be doctors. Good luck!
 
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Kelso9

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Wow, these responses have been so inspiring. It is so good to hear that there are so many former nurses, NPs, and PAs working towards their MD. It seems I have some soul searching to do. @Dave1980 makes a great point since my goal is emergency medicine. I will speak with some of the providers at my current ED about this as well. I would like to start a family within the next 4 years so that is making my decision a little bit more difficult. I know it is possible to do with young children but it definitely makes it a little... more scary.

Thank you again - I really appreciate all of the feedback and I love hearing all of these success stories. Keep it up!
 
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I did this exact thing. I’ve been an ER nurse for 6 years and I just got my first Med school acceptance.

Hey there, congrats on getting accepted into medical school! Did you retake courses at a university or do any pre-reqs at a community college?
 
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If it's nagging you it's worth pursuing. I am 42, and an RN, applying this year. I just got my first II. I put together my own prereqs at in person CC and online and in person University.
 
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redmustardseed

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All those of you who went RN or APRN to MD/DO school, I have 2 questions:

1) Did you have research, volunteering and shadowing to improve your holistic review or did you significant clinical experience (I have almost 20 yrs as APRN) outweigh the need for that?

2) To give #1 context, did you apply to research or community-oriented schools and did your acceptance seem to reflect whether you had the above ECs?

I ask because all my research experience is old and no publications and very little volunteering although I work with underserved populations and I do pro bono in my private practice, I just don't have any evidence to offer if they ask for it.

Sorry to piggyback, but I'm hoping the answers to the 2 questions will be helpful to the original poster and others as well as we progress towards applying.
 
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If you think taking a bunch of classes is a hurdle, how much more when you are in med school swamped with classes. You have to think about your commitment to the journey. No hindrance should stop you from doing it. Yes we get tired from studying but the desire keeps us going. That's how I was and now I am preparing to start med school in the fall. I had the same story like you in helping my family.
 
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All those of you who went RN or APRN to MD/DO school, I have 2 questions:

1) Did you have research, volunteering and shadowing to improve your holistic review or did you significant clinical experience (I have almost 20 yrs as APRN) outweigh the need for that?

2) To give #1 context, did you apply to research or community-oriented schools and did your acceptance seem to reflect whether you had the above ECs?

I ask because all my research experience is old and no publications and very little volunteering although I work with underserved populations and I do pro bono in my private practice, I just don't have any evidence to offer if they ask for it.

Sorry to piggyback, but I'm hoping the answers to the 2 questions will be helpful to the original poster and others as well as we progress towards applying.
1. Yed, I did shadowing, community volunteer, and research. But I did not do it for a long timr. Maybe 6 mo to 1 year since I already have a lot of clinical experience. But doing these extras shows that you are seriois in going back and getting your medical degree.

2. I took postbacc premed classes from a state univ where there's a lot of research opportunities that's where I got my research experience.

Most schools do holistic approach especially DO schools. It really depends on the schools. If they are research heavy don't apply there..
 

Newtonian21

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You can do it. If I can do it as a medsurg/icu nurse for the past 6 years who now holds multiple acceptances to MD schools, and declining DOs interviews, then you’ll be fine. Just do well on mcat.
 
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Nov 15, 2020
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I was reading this and thought I was reading my own life. Nurse, then NP, now m1. I also started at 34 but turned 35 the next month. I wish you the best of luck!
I didn't realize so many people took this path. 33 next month, RN x 9 years, NP x 1, halfway done pre-reqs plan to finish then and then take MCAT & applications this coming year, so would be 34 as an M1 if I get in somewhere. Did you find as an NP that med school was a little easier for you having gone through NP program?
 
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gramnegative

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If anyone is looking for help on this path, PM me. I'm an ICU RN and I'm having a successful cycle. If you can explain well why MD and not NP the nursing experience will be lauded.
 
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Itisnottoolate

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I didn't realize so many people took this path. 33 next month, RN x 9 years, NP x 1, halfway done pre-reqs plan to finish then and then take MCAT & applications this coming year, so would be 34 as an M1 if I get in somewhere. Did you find as an NP that med school was a little easier for you having gone through NP program?
I think being an NP has helped when we have interaction with our standardized patients and doing exams. As far as preclinical course work it has not help very much being a NP. Most students have a degree in science and I have a degree in nursing. It is actually a disadvantage when I started with foundations in med school. A lot of the material was review for biology or biochem majors and some of it was the first time I was seeing the material besides MCAT prep. I do think with being older I have more discipline to study so I do okay. Med school material is very in depth which is the reason I wanted to go to medical school. Sometimes I learn something and I am like, okay that makes since now! For instance, I know with head trauma you can have CSF leak out of the ears but now I know why. The inner ear has an area that connects to the subarachnoid space which is where CSF is. Maybe I should have known that before but I didn’t. I knew it could happen but didn’t know the WHY. I love learning the WHY. Feel free to ask any questions. Good luck!
 
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