RN to MD/DO - spouse starting as M1 this fall

The Pasta Box

New Member
Apr 6, 2020
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi everyone,

    As some background, I am 23 and currently an RN in the OR (been a nurse for about 6 months) and my husband starts MD school in August. I've always thought about going to med school, but when I had the opportunity to pursue it in undergrad, I didn't go for it, and chose nursing school. As I started nursing school, I realized the knowledge gap between nurses and doctors, but thought that once I was out of school I would be really happy as a nurse. However, I'm having feelings again about going to med school. I'm not happy with the lack of knowledge in nursing, and I don't want to go NP for that reason. I also really don't like the curriculums for NP. I have thought about PA, but worry that if I'm feeling this way now, I will feel this way later too.

    Here's where I start to doubt whether or not this is a good choice. It's what I want, but I want to make good decisions for my family too. My husband starts as an M1 in August, and I worry that if I take this journey too, we would have to be separated when it comes to me going to school/him for residency. We don't have children but we do have two dogs. I guess I'm wondering if anyone else has an experience like this? I'd like some advice on timing, relationship, etc. I want to be a doctor, but really don't want to have to live away from my husband.


    Full Member
    15+ Year Member
    Aug 7, 2005
    1. Fellow [Any Field]
      I don't have personal experience, but I have had a large number of med students, residents, and fellows that have similar situations and while it is hard, it is manageable. One question is when you hope to start med school? If you are starting next year and your husband is an M2, that is a different situation than if you are starting med school when he starts residency. but even with that, people have done it without problems. it is just something you need to determine whether or not it is worth it.

      I am married and have kids. there have been many things in my life where I have had to make a choice to determine if it is worth it. going to a specific med school that my wife requested was absolutely worth it. doing general peds when my wife wanted me to be done wasn't worth it. doing residency in a place my wife wanted to be instead of going across the country to "experience a culture change" was worth it. when it gets to the point of settling, maybe kids, etc. you gotta be the one to answer what was worth it or not.

      I don't want to live away from my wife, but there are levels as well. I don't want to live away from my wife and kids for 3 years during fellowship so they came with me. however I would live mostly apart for 1 year so my kids could be in better schools and my wife is where she wants to be. figure out a timeline and when there would be possible separations. yes medicine doesn't allow for much flexibility at times, but in residency and fellowship, we have ranked people higher for our program because their partner is already in the city.
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      Full Member
      7+ Year Member
      Oct 15, 2012
      1. Medical Student
        Are you in a position to be able to apply ( have all your pre reqs and everything done ) If not you have to factor in completing those around your work schedule, you have to study for and take the mcat and then the application process itself takes a year so It may not even be an issue as he may be going into residency by the time you are starting which may be a little easier to coordinate depending on what he goes into and where you get into school. Im in a similar situation as I am a PICU nurse but I'm currently 31 and single. Im applying this year and getting through all the pre reqs and getting myself ready to apply took a lot longer than I anticipated so like I said it may not be as big of an issue if you are not in a position to apply immediately.
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        The Pasta Box

        New Member
        Apr 6, 2020
        1. Pre-Medical
          Since both of you asked, I do not have prerequisites done, so I would most likely be starting med school when he starts residency. I know there’s a bit more flexibility there, but I still worry about ending up somewhere completely different for four years. I would be more willing to do a year, but four years is just a sacrifice I don’t want to make. I really appreciate your input!


          10+ Year Member
          Dec 26, 2010
          Boston, MA
          1. Resident [Any Field]
            It's sure not something you want to plan on doing, but there are stories of people switching residencies if it comes to that. We even had a guy transfer into our school because his wife was there, but that seems less feasible. Just don't give up before you get rolling, is all I'm saying.
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            Full Member
            5+ Year Member
            Apr 29, 2014
            1. Non-Student
              I would go crna, nnp, or pmhnp since he’s in medical school. Other than clinicals, all your coursework would be online. The logistics of you both being in school at the same time would be a nightmare.


              Full Member
              2+ Year Member
            • Jun 26, 2017
              1. Medical Student (Accepted)
                I was a nurse for five years, so I get it. I had thought maybe I wanted to do medicine, but I took one look at the school and debt and said no way I am going through that; I’m sure I’ll be happy as a nurse. Took me about 3.5 years into my nursing career to start the pre-reqs.

                Start taking the pre-reqs during his third year when he’s in rotations, as they shouldn’t take you two years to finish. Take the MCAT enough time before applications open up that you have time to retake it and perfect it if you need to, and get straight As in your classes like it’s your job. And make sure he takes your situation into account when ranking programs to match, if it’s feasible. Like ideally he could rank programs in areas with less than a 1 hour drive to multiple med schools highly if he liked the programs at all. Ideally, you could apply the year of his first year of residency and start in the same area during his second year.

                As someone who ended up divorced when her husband had to take a long-distance job, cheated, and fell in love with someone else at the long-distance site, it’s 100% not worth it to be separated IMO. I think I’d still be married if going to med school hadn’t resulted in us living apart.
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