RN to MD...where to start...help...

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AZhiker93

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To keep it short and sweet...

I graduate this coming April with a BSN. Medicine has always been my dream, but due to some other life events doing the RN thing ended up being my reality. Not the reality I want for the rest of my life...

Thankfully, things have come around to where I am actually going to be able to work toward applying to medical schools. As you would assume, my RN degree did not cover the typical pre-med courses (o-chem, physics, etc.). Therefore, I need to knock these classes out and get them under my belt. Mainly so I can do well on the MCAT and meet requirements. Boosting GPA isn't too much of an issue for me as I will be graduating with a GPA in the high 3.8's.

Two things:

1. How do I go about completing these classes in a way that will make me most competitive? Is it okay to take these courses on my own initiative at a local university or is a postbacc program truly necessary?

2. What else can I do now to make myself more competitive?

I appreciate your time and response. I'm more than overwhelmed.

Thanks.

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I graduated in 2015 with my BSN and started working right after graduation. I had decided in nursing school that I wanted to start taking my pre requisites for medical school directly out of nursing school. Finishing up my pre reqs this semester and got accepted today. (Only applied D.O.) With your high GPA, M.D. is well within your reach if you do well on the pre reqs and MCAT. Taking the courses at your local university is fine. That is all I did and reapplied as a biomedical sciences major (will not earn the second bachelors, just put it down as my major because I had to choose something). Get some shadowing hours in with an M.D., obtain a good LOR. Do well in your pre reqs and get a couple of LOR from your science professors. I was interested in research, so I started doing some research with a biology professor back in the fall as well. Considering you are aiming for M.D., research experience will definitely be a boost (and a necessity almost at some schools). Do you plan on working as a nurse when taking these classes?
 
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I graduated in 2015 with my BSN and started working right after graduation. I had decided in nursing school that I wanted to start taking my pre requisites for medical school directly out of nursing school. Finishing up my pre reqs this semester and got accepted today. (Only applied D.O.) With your high GPA, M.D. is well within your reach if you do well on the pre reqs and MCAT. Taking the courses at your local university is fine. That is all I did and reapplied as a biomedical sciences major (will not earn the second bachelors, just put it down as my major because I had to choose something). Get some shadowing hours in with an M.D., obtain a good LOR. Do well in your pre reqs and get a couple of LOR from your science professors. I was interested in research, so I started doing some research with a biology professor back in the fall as well. Considering you are aiming for M.D., research experience will definitely be a boost (and a necessity almost at some schools). Do you plan on working as a nurse when taking these classes?

Congratulations! Way to go out and get it!
I'm not really shut off to the idea of a DO program. I plan on applying to a couple that are within a fair distance of home. I do plan on working as an RN while doing the prereqs. I have a family (wife and a couple of kiddos) so working is rather essential these next couple of years. Once in med school, I will probably just drop to a PRN position or stop nursing all together. I live in AZ so my choices for catching up on classes are ASU, UofA, and Grand Canyon University. It almost seems that some schools won't let you take undergrad classes once you have a BS or BA already. Did you have any trouble with this or do you essentially say you want to work toward a second bachelors?

Thanks for the reply!
 
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Congratulations! Way to go out and get it!
I'm not really shut off to the idea of a DO program. I plan on applying to a couple that are within a fair distance of home. I do plan on working as an RN while doing the prereqs. I have a family (wife and a couple of kiddos) so working is rather essential these next couple of years. Once in med school, I will probably just drop to a PRN position or stop nursing all together. I live in AZ so my choices for catching up on classes are ASU, UofA, and Grand Canyon University. It almost seems that some schools won't let you take undergrad classes once you have a BS or BA already. Did you have any trouble with this or do you essentially say you want to work toward a second bachelors?

Thanks for the reply!
I said I wanted to work towards a second bachelors. From there, I had enough credit hours I could just make my own schedule without an advisor and only took the pre req classes I needed. (Even with advisor you could obviously just tell them what you are going to take). It was no trouble at all and a fairly smooth transition. Ideally, I would have liked to have applied M.D. but my cGPA was 3.5 and sGPA 3.7 so I knew my odds were better with D.O. schools so I never applied M.D. With your gpa, I would definitely say go for M.D. Nothing wrong at all with D.O. though and with you having a wife and kids, location is definitely something to consider. It is an expensive and long process but well worth the work. Do well on MCAT and you are golden.
 
I said I wanted to work towards a second bachelors. From there, I had enough credit hours I could just make my own schedule without an advisor and only took the pre req classes I needed. (Even with advisor you could obviously just tell them what you are going to take). It was no trouble at all and a fairly smooth transition. Ideally, I would have liked to have applied M.D. but my cGPA was 3.5 and sGPA 3.7 so I knew my odds were better with D.O. schools so I never applied M.D. With your gpa, I would definitely say go for M.D. Nothing wrong at all with D.O. though and with you having a wife and kids, location is definitely something to consider. It is an expensive and long process but well worth the work. Do well on MCAT and you are golden.

Awesome! I appreciate the guidance. Aside from doing well in prereqs, any pointers on how to start preparing for the MCAT now?
 
Awesome! I appreciate the guidance. Aside from doing well in prereqs, any pointers on how to start preparing for the MCAT now?

Welcome to SDN!

You've already received some appropriate advice from @dwgrubbs1s about taking classes. To be more competitive, look at volunteer and research activities in addition to your clinical work as a nurse. A few hours a week in the year/s you're completing prereqs can really add up and show consistency. As for the MCAT: there really isn't much you can do to prepare this early in the game. Start prepping for the MCAT once you've knocked out most of your prereqs and you have a date in mind.

If you're interested, we have an RN-to-MD/DO support thread located here.

Good luck and welcome to the madness!
 
A formal postbacc is not necessary. If you need to, register for a second degree and then just don't complete it. That's fine. Most people find it easier on the pocket to DIY a postbacc, just be aware that schools can occasionally have pre-requisites above and beyond the standard ones. For MD, the MSAR (can be purchased online) will show you the pre-reqs for every MD school and whether or not they are accepted as online courses or from a community college. This can be extremely helpful in planning your course.

Along the way be sure and build rapport with your professors, as you'll be needing recommendation letters down the line. Especially if your classes are large and you might get lost in the fray. It's important that they remember who you are and can write a strong letter, not just "S/he did well in my course and...yeah."

Unless your school schedule completely prohibits you from working altogether I would try to work. PRN is fine. I went from full-time to working two jobs PRN (I was an ED nurse and also an AEMT, worked as both simultaneously during school) to have control over my schedule during school. During my interviews I was asked about my work experience at every single one. It's invaluable exposure to patient care, medical teamwork, and the healthcare system at large, and being able to talk fluently about those things will serve you very well in interviews. I can't tell you how often I was asked to talk about some aspect of my work experience and how I thought it would help me as a physician. Also, in your PS and in interviews you're going to need to really show why you're pursing medicine as opposed to other things; experience in other job worlds can help you talk eloquently about your choice.

Other things, as people have mentioned: volunteering is a major part of the application. Preferably in service to other human beings in some capacity, though that doesn't have to be medical. Nor does it have to be in a hospital setting (especially if you're working as a hospital nurse). Find something you love to do and that you can sustain, as quality and length are preferable over multiple very short stints.

If you do not work as a nurse at all, get clinical exposure somewhere (most people get this through some kind of clinical volunteering).

Have hobbies and things you like to do outside of work and pre-med lyfe. Well-roundedness is important to bring out on an application. Thousands of people do school and obvious application-paddings and literally nothing else. Let your own interests and loves shine.

Research isn't strictly necessary (unless you're shooting for research-heavy schools) but it absolutely helps. If your institution has research going on and you think you want to get into it, be aggressive in asking about it. I got into research by just rolling into my biochem professor's office and flat out asking if I could be involved. You may not have the opportunity to publish or present in undergrad and that's fine; most people don't. But you can definitely talk about it in an application and during your interview.

And as @brainnurse said about, don't think about the MCAT at this point. The material won't make any sense to you until you've had the courses, so relax on that for now. You'll have time to study. Just as a note: take the MCAT no later than April of the year you plan to apply. It takes about a month to get your score back and you want to have it back before making the decision on whether to retake or move forward (and you want to start getting your application done as soon as possible during your cycle).

Best of luck to you.
 
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