Torn between NP and MD. Advice appreciated.

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deleted520847

I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time. I have decent grades and I now have a US bachelor’s with a decent GPA. The issue is whether to choose NP or do an MD.

I don’t have an RN so my options would be an accelerated BSN course then a masters. With an NP, I would also be doing much of what a doctor does, but I would be able to finish sooner and start earning sooner. Also, there’s a chance that an employer might pay for graduate school, so less debt.

On the other hand, I am more attracted to the scientific side of healthcare. I love solving problems and I do want to make the money that equals what I do. My cousins are NPs who both chose it because they didn’t want high debt, and they both regret not doing their MD. They work in a Pediatric practice and earn significantly less than the practice doctor for almost the same work.

I am 34 and have not yet done my prerequisites (although I have self studied and done practice mcat with good scores). I also have preschool and elementary school kids. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
Apr 7, 2019
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Prereqs, MCAT study and applications would probably take you 2 years to get. Med school is 4 years. Residency is 3-4 years. You'd be looking at starting a doctor's salary at age 44. That's pretty late in your working years to become an MD. NP on the other hand is only 3 years with no residency needed and with time to get prereqs you'd be out by 37-38 with a $100-130K salary. You mention you have young children -- with an NP you'd be able to be around for them a lot more than if you went to med school and the debt load isn't nearly as high. Don't let your pride get to you like it has with your cousins. The choice is obvious: go NP.
 
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Cornfed101

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Have you shadowed an NP and an MD to see the difference for yourself? I will be matriculating to med school this Summer and I am 30 with 2 kids. What I like about MD/DO compared to NP is that there isn't really a ceiling and there is a huge breadth of opportunity. I could become a generalist or I could become a retinal oncologist (my cousin just did 2 fellowships after ophtho residency for this).

Only you can determine exactly what you out of your career. Either is a respectable path.
 
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Dave1980

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Also, there’s a chance that an employer might pay for graduate school, so less debt.
Extremely unlikely. Better chances of winning the lottery.

I am 34 and have not yet done my prerequisites (although I have self studied and done practice mcat with good scores). I also have preschool and elementary school kids. Any advice would be appreciated.
Putting aside whether or not you can get into med school with 2 kids getting an MD seems like a terrible idea unless you have a supportive partner with a very high income or family money. Becoming an NP seems like a much better choice for you.
 

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I agree with above that NP sounds like a more feasible route for your particular situation. However, keep in mind jobs as an NP can be significantly more difficult to find. I work in a rural, J1 visa waiver place and we have a lot of NP and PA students who rotate through with our services. I've gotten to know a handful of them and jobs even in my city are scarce. 2 are currently working as RNs waiting for a position to open, and a third is looking at relocating 3 hours away to BFE as that's the only place they can find a job. Same thing with PA's. We list a job for a midlevel and immediately get a ton of applications to the point we have the ability to only take candidates with at least 2 years of experience.

Your results may vary, but with the rate at which online schools are pumping out the DNP degree expect finding a job to only get harder. I'm not saying there aren't ample job opportunities for NPs, but keep in mind that they may not be anywhere close to where you want to be.
 
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deleted520847

Prereqs, MCAT study and applications would probably take you 2 years to get. Med school is 4 years. Residency is 3-4 years. You'd be looking at starting a doctor's salary at age 44. That's pretty late in your working years to become an MD. NP on the other hand is only 3 years with no residency needed and with time to get prereqs you'd be out by 37-38 with a $100-130K salary. You mention you have young children -- with an NP you'd be able to be around for them a lot more than if you went to med school and the debt load isn't nearly as high. Don't let your pride get to you like it has with your cousins. The choice is obvious: go NP.
That is something I am really struggling with, pride. I had an Australian bachelors but it was not attractive to universities in my neighbouring states. Took several years to do my current bachelors with kids just so I could apply for medical school. Pride is hard to work through
 

Cornfed101

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That is something I am really struggling with, pride. I had an Australian bachelors but it was not attractive to universities in my neighbouring states. Took several years to do my current bachelors with kids just so I could apply for medical school. Pride is hard to work through
If pride is the only reason you are considering MD, then I definitely agree with the posters above. Don't become a physician for that.
 

Dave1980

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That is something I am really struggling with, pride. I had an Australian bachelors but it was not attractive to universities in my neighbouring states. Took several years to do my current bachelors with kids just so I could apply for medical school. Pride is hard to work through
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but med school is extremely hard to get into. It doesn't sound like it would be possible for you.
 

sb247

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I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time. I have decent grades and I now have a US bachelor’s with a decent GPA. The issue is whether to choose NP or do an MD.

I don’t have an RN so my options would be an accelerated BSN course then a masters. With an NP, I would also be doing much of what a doctor does, but I would be able to finish sooner and start earning sooner. Also, there’s a chance that an employer might pay for graduate school, so less debt.

On the other hand, I am more attracted to the scientific side of healthcare. I love solving problems and I do want to make the money that equals what I do. My cousins are NPs who both chose it because they didn’t want high debt, and they both regret not doing their MD. They work in a Pediatric practice and earn significantly less than the practice doctor for almost the same work.

I am 34 and have not yet done my prerequisites (although I have self studied and done practice mcat with good scores). I also have preschool and elementary school kids. Any advice would be appreciated.
They don’t “do almost the same work”. The training isn’t even remotely close to comparable. If you want to give the best care, go be a doctor
 
Apr 7, 2019
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That is something I am really struggling with, pride. I had an Australian bachelors but it was not attractive to universities in my neighbouring states. Took several years to do my current bachelors with kids just so I could apply for medical school. Pride is hard to work through
I'll throw a cherry on top and include opportunity cost. You would start making $100 - 130K/year roughly 6 years earlier as an NP than if you went to med school, or $600-780K before cost of tuiton, taxes, and potential investment growth. What could you do with an extra $780,000, especially now that you are entering your middle-age years with young children? Is having the title MD really worth that much to you? You are at a stage in your life where NP or PA makes far more sense.
 
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Depends on your passion for medical knowledge. I am an NP and I can tell you that NPs does not provide the same care. Just because I use the same billing codes when billing Medicare/Medicaid doesnt mean I have the same knowledge as an MD. NPs can provide great care to a healthy patient or simple cases (sore throat, laceration, etc); but complex cases require someone with more training. NPs who tell you they do the same job as physicians are either ignorant of their own limitations or too proud to admit so. Heck, NPs didnt take biochemistry and didnt learn about the Kreb cycle, let alone about the coagulation cascade. I will be 34 next year when I matriculate, and Im married with 2 kids, but im doing it through the military. It is entirely up to you, NP is a great profession with good life/work balance. But if deep down inside you are thirsty for true medical knowledge, then only Md will quench that thirst.
 

bent1993

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I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time. I have decent grades and I now have a US bachelor’s with a decent GPA. The issue is whether to choose NP or do an MD.

I don’t have an RN so my options would be an accelerated BSN course then a masters. With an NP, I would also be doing much of what a doctor does, but I would be able to finish sooner and start earning sooner. Also, there’s a chance that an employer might pay for graduate school, so less debt.

On the other hand, I am more attracted to the scientific side of healthcare. I love solving problems and I do want to make the money that equals what I do. My cousins are NPs who both chose it because they didn’t want high debt, and they both regret not doing their MD. They work in a Pediatric practice and earn significantly less than the practice doctor for almost the same work.

I am 34 and have not yet done my prerequisites (although I have self studied and done practice mcat with good scores). I also have preschool and elementary school kids. Any advice would be appreciated.
As an RN, I don't believe you should go to NP school without 5-10 years of solid experience. I work pediatric acute care/PICU and the NP's that cover the overnight service all had 10+ years of pediatric emergency medicine/PICU experience as RN's. The Physicians when interviewing wouldn't even look at someone without at least 5 years of RN experience. NP school is for seasoned nurses, not novice nurses looking to take a medical school short cut. I would be hard pressed to take orders from an NP with 6 months of RN experience.
 
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