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Tough Decision, I need some advice. RN to MD?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Crossfit Doc, May 29, 2008.

  1. A little background on me, I just turned 24 years old. My first few years of college were spent playing collegiate football, after a few injuries i decided to pursue medicine.

    After talking with a plastic surgeon, he turned me on to the career of a CRNA. He told me being a doctor isn't what it used to be, and that CRNA's have great jobs, great pay scale of work hours + time of education vs. pay. To make a long story short, without looking into to either profession (shadowing) I switched my major to nursing where I spent the last two years taking all the pre reqs.

    I have currently been accepted intothe University of Nevada Reno's BSN program. It is an accelerated 16 month program and I would start this August (08).

    Off and on, and more so lately, the desire to go through med school and become a doctor keeps popping up. After reading a book titled Becoming a Doctor. A journey of initiation in medical school by Melvin Konner, M.D. I became a little disenfranchised with the idea of being a doctor--anyone else read this book and feel the same?-- Not really basing my change of heart on one man's opinion but more so based on "apparent" facts and shortcomings of medical schools and the whole process in general. He makes some great points but does come across pessimistic, but i digress and back to the topic on hand.

    So the real question is, since i have this creeping feeling that once in the nursing program I am going to want to eventually do medical school, would it behoove me to skip nursing school?

    I have cross searched multiple threads however my situation seems to be a little different, and that is, I can obtain my bachelors degree in only 16 months. This is much faster than I would be able to obtain a degree in biological sciences. However, I only have a couple classes of my premed reqs done and I would probably end up going to a post-bac premed program such as goucher.

    The premed program is one year and then one glide year--which i'm thinking maybe i can work as an rn and earn a little something while I wait to start med school-- but overall it would be about 1.5 years until my BS, 2 years until start of med school. I'm just curious if it might not just be faster to switch majors now, not go through the pain in the ass that nursing school may be, and apply and go to med school.

    My grades are good, over the last 3 years I have a 4.0 (about a 3.82 cumulative, 6 units of C's in football is killing me) science gpa is 4.0

    It seems like i should do the nursing program, as i can always use it as a backup plan in case i end up not wanting to go through the doctor process and then I can specialize as a np or crna later.

    Any suggestions? Opinions? Maybe something I'm overlooking.

    at the end of the day the pro's and cons of both professions are split, but what gets me, is i don't want to feel like i settled knowing that i could make it in and through med school.

    I'm 24 right now, and if i went down my current route, i would most likely graduate med school when i'm 31-32. I don't want to be a poor college student forever and I do have ambitions of getting married and starting a family before i'm over the hill.

    Let me know what you guys think, thanks in advance for the tips and suggestions.
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  3. ericL

    ericL Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Where the wild things are
    If you wanna go to medical school, I would skip the BSN unless you really really want to major in nursing. Also, I wouldn't count on being done in 16 months and ready to apply to medical school. You still need to take your pre-requisites: Gen Chem 1&2, O-Chem 1&2, Physics 1&2 etc... generally these courses lie outside the nursing curriculum.

    Another note about a health degree such as nursing. Don't expect people to look admirably at the fact that you are a nurse... unless you actually use this degree and work as a nurse for a period of time. I've heard, anecdotally, that going straight from a BSN program to applying to MD schools could be actually frowned upon due to the "nurse shortage".

    All in all, major in what you find interesting, there's a lot universities have to offer and this is probably the only chance you will have to study a breadth of material like this.
  4. Thanks for the reply Eric.

    Concerning not being ready to apply to med school in 16 months, that is something I already know. I will graduate in 16 months, and then possibly work for 6 months prior to entering a post-bac premed program for a year.

    I do see where your coming from in regards to- study what u find interesting and take advantage of the one chance to be a traditional student approach- however i am currently sitting with 130 semester units/hours and I have taken most classes that are offered, unfortunately.

    I have heard the same thing about being frowned upon by med school admins, but then i have also heard, from a med school admin on here, that it is irrelevant. Albeit, one has a good reason for leaving nursing in a pursuit of medicine.
  5. 135892

    135892 Guest 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    I don't know if I understand your position completely... but, you need to make a decision as to whether you want to be a nurse or a doctor. Pick one and commit 100% to obtaining that goal. I understand that it may be a tough decision to make, but both professions are really pretty different from one another. Maybe you should just talk to some nurses and docs and try to get a feel for what both careers entail. Both have numerous positives and negatives, but you need to figure out what is best for you
  6. Quix

    Quix Herr Professor Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2006
    Lake Charles, LA
    Just to reiterate the points made about the core courses: when I was at UPitt in the Chem Dept., the nursing core sciences were not comparable to the pre-med core sciences (different experiments, different degrees of depth, etc.), so you may find yourself at a disadvantage on a standardized exam.

    Second, there is a lot to be said for being an RN, PA, CRNP, etc., etc., rather than an MD/DO. The salary is good, the hours are good, you will always have a job, etc., etc., and you don't have to take on $150K in debt, won't have to go through a low-pay residency before making decent money, don't have the same liability or malpractice rates, and will still be able to make many of the same treatment decisions (less with the RN, more with the CRNP). You really need to explore what it is about the MD/DO that is different and motivating for you, since you can do the whole "Like Science, Want to Help People" in other roles with the same benefits.
  7. The debt and time commitment is something of obvious concern. But i think you really hit home with what you said above.

    Some of the reasons off the top of my head are; I want to be as highly trained and as well prepared as possible. I look forward to the possibility of being one of the leaders in my field of choice. I want to know, all there is to know, to what extent is possible, about my field.
    Whether these things come through experience and not schooling, i need to look into, and whether these are things that are possible taking the CRNP or the CRNA route.

    I know for certain, that i will not stop with my BSN and only be an RN. I will at least get a MS/N or possibly even a doctorate, as some CRNA schools are now offering. This is of course i decide against med school.
  8. searun

    searun 5+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    If I were you, I would become a nurse. You will finish your training soon, start making money, and if anyone snickers that you are a nurse, you can remind then that you were a middle linebacker at one point in your life. That should shut them up. So go make some money, avoid the debt, and get on with your life. Sounds like med school is just ego, so let it go.
  9. p30doc

    p30doc Ever true and unwavering 10+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    If you don't want to become a nurse don't do it. You could end up miserable and doing poorly which could hurt your MD chances. If you know what you want go for it. Also med. schools won't care about a couple C's in a "football" class, your 3.82 cum is very good, keep that work up, do well on the MCAT and you will be golden.
  10. lildave2586

    lildave2586 5+ Year Member

    May 12, 2008
    The ville
    Shadow a CRNA and see if you like working in the OR. It's a very interesting job and I think it holds more responsibility than a nurse practicioner. If I had to do it all over again I would have been a CRNA.
  11. KnowledgeOfSelf

    KnowledgeOfSelf 5+ Year Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    What about PA? You'll get to take classes with med students, but you won't have to be in school so long (2 yrs). Nursing is based on a different foundation than the schools used to train physicians and PAs. Go Crossfit!
  12. 135892

    135892 Guest 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    According to your sig, it looks like you haven't even started med school yet... what do you mean "if I had to do it all over again"? You've barely even started... its definitely not too late to change, if you really want to
  13. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster 2+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    If someone is not ready to become a doctor, do not assume nursing will be a good fit either, especially if you are doing it for purely economic reasons. Just ditch medicine and switch to an entirely different field all together. You guys that are jubilating at the fact that you can knock out PA, RN or any other allied health program in a couple years, need to remember it is also only going to take a couple years to mint your replacement. The economic dynamics that has created a huge demand for nurses is changing by the month, seeing as every madhouse community college has jumped into the business these days.

    Becoming a doctor is financially and mentally risky, and I am not going to argue in favor of it anytime soon, but you might want to shadow a few nurses before you plunge.
  14. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2005
    I would say that none of us can make this decision for you. Have you considered getting more exposure to the health care field? The opinion of one (jaded) plastic surgeon is not enough for you to base your entire career plan off of.

    Shadow a few other physicians, shadow a few nurses or other healthcare workers, go talk to a few medical students even.

    There are a bunch of career opportunities, all have advantages and disadvantages. Good luck!
  15. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    One thing that no one has pointed out: CRNA usually requires (de facto or de jure) at least 2 years of ER/ICU nursing. You then have to apply to CRNA school.

    If you have the wherewithal to get into medical school you can certainly land a CRNA spot so I wouldn't worry about that. But as one friend of mine who just started CRNA told me you have to put in your time wiping a$$.

    Ultimately OP, you can't make your decision based on anything but yourself. I am always a little surprised to hear people deciding between medicine and nursing but it takes all kinds.
  16. Nikki2002

    Nikki2002 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    I've talked to more than a few jaded physicians but I've also talked to many who are very happy with their career choice. Like others have said--it is probably a better idea to start shadowing. Their are downsides to every career and unhappy people in every profession. You just have to look inside and then fully commit yourself to your decision. If you want to go to medical school then get to work finishing your prereqs, volunteering, getting ready for the MCAT, etc.
  17. WellWornLad

    WellWornLad 10+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hmm, that's a tough one. I get a few impressions upon reading your post:

    1) That you have so seriously considered a career in nursing rather than jumping straight at the MD makes me think that you're serious about medicine rather than feeding your ego.

    2) You're a smart guy. A 4.0 science GPA is nothing to scoff at, a few C's not withstanding. In fact, it's kind of refreshing to see that dichotomy - capable of pulling out the grades when it counts, but not obsessive to the point of excluding outside interests for a grade. Granted, I'm no adcom.

    3) Your main arguments against an MD seem to come from a plastic surgeon and a book. In my experience the former tend to be very practical, while the latter tend to be dramatic by nature.

    My gut says that you should go for the MD. The practical choice is to stick with CRNA, but it sounds to me like you've got the desire to really challenge yourself and excel. Which sucks really, because even with the good pay, good hours, and meaningful work of a CRNA, you're probably going to feel like you could be doing more as an MD.

    Friends of mine with less academic cred than you have felt frustrated at the slow academic pace of nursing school - I imagine that you'll feel like you're running laps around everyone. That can be frustrating.

    In short, I think you should commit to one or the other now. Don't plan on using nursing as a "back up." Med school is expensive and very few people back out of medicine once they start, especially when the alternative is still in the field of medicine (albeit at a less demanding level).

  18. I think you nailed it on the head with this, as this is what keeps me up at night.

    I feel pressure to "choose" correctly my future career, in terms of; happiness, financial security and job satisfaction. It is hard to predict what one might want in the future and with the demands of becoming/being a doctor, if you do choose that path, you better hope you are right. As like you said, there really is no going back.

    I appreciate the posts everyone, especially yours wellwornlad as it is obvious you took the time to read my post in its entirety.

    i think i need to do some more shadowing and exploring into each profession and then throw in a little soul searching and decide.

    It appears I may indeed attend the nursing program this fall, as it is accelerated which will enable me to graduate in 16 months.

    I have done the time calculations and whether i attend nursing school and then do the MD route or if i go directly to the MD route by changing majors and graduating in a different degree there is about 6 months to 1.5 years difference, depending on if i would be able to take my mcats my junior year and go directly into medical school following my senior year.

    So with that in mind, since realistically there will probably only be a six month difference, I will go the nursing route. This will enable me to work for six months prior to starting the Post Bac premed program (goucher etc.) and then I will be able to work my glide year for the full year prior to starting Med school. (if i decide to do the MD route that is) And if time is permitting, I may be able to work as an RN during holidays or vacations during med school.

    In the end, this route will give me the flexibility of keeping my options open, so that i am not forced to choose a route right now, which i may regret in the future.

    Thanks again everyone, sorry for the long post.

  19. DenaliView

    DenaliView 2+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hey I know what you are going through I am in your shoes just a couple of years a head. I contemplated switching majors right after being accepted into nursing school and decided to continue along the nursing path. While I can’t say I regret this decision it has definitely cost my a few years. I also was not sure if I really wanted to be a doctor or if would be happier as an NP. A couple of things to consider....
    When told all bachelors degrees are equal (Art & Biology) as long as you are able to complete all pre-med requirements and do well on your MCATs. This is true except in nursing ....While it will definitely a great degree the Adcomms might need you to explain why they should advance a nurse to become an MD when they could just keep the nurse and also have an additional MD. With the nursing shortage that can be kinda tough to justify...But not impossible. Just something to think about.
    Also nursing school is not like a less difficult version of medical school, in my opinion they are completely different. While you get a some pathophysiolgy as well as pharmacology you also will spend quite a bit of time talking about things like therapeutic communication... Not bad stuff… just not medicine. The intensity just is not at the same level.
    I spent some time shadowing CRNA’s as well as NP and found myself very dissatisfied. While there is no doubt in my mind that there are some incredibly hard working & knowledgeable advance practice nurses, it is not at all in the same level as an M.D. unless you go through the incredible feat that is medical school and residency there is no way to obtain the knowledge and skill that go with being a doctor. I also find myself very uncomfortable at times watching the NP’s take on the higher acuity patient just because I don’t believe they have the background to take it on (but that is probably a topic for another thread). Try to figure out the things that draw you to being a doctor as well as what draw you to being a nurse there are pro’s and con’s to each profession and the right choice is different for each person. Once you make up your mind go for whatever you choose with everything and you should not be disappointed Good luck….. Oh and by the way 31-32 is still very young. 30’s are new the new 20’s…….:p
  20. Just a little fyi, in case anyone is curious... i thought i would update this thread now that it is 6 months later.

    So yes... i have started nursing school, and no my desire to become a doctor has not ceased. Now that i am in nursing school i can clearly see the difference in the nursing model vs medical model. I fit and think more in line with the medical model.

    Nursing diagnoses frustrate me, as i also tend to want to include medical diagnoses (i.e. Impaired skin integrity r/t peripheral vascular disease) however, since nurses don't/can't diganose we are not allowed to use medical diagnoses while doing a nursing diagnosis. Nursing seems to be more common sense, and less scientific. There is a heavy focus on skills such as IV's, foley's etc. and less on the nature of "why" we do things, but rather "how" to do things. It's not worse, just different imho.

    Anyways, the more and more i'm in the hospital and around doctors and nurses the more and more i feel like i will be going the MD route.

    So goucher is still in my sights and now that i learned about link options, i can potentially shave a year off of my time.

    Sorry if this post is disorganized and somewhat sloppy. I'm a little distressed since my cowboys just got whooped on by the lowly rams!

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