Should I Drop Out of My DNP Program to Go to Med School?

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Session 129

If you’re in the middle of a DNP program but want to be a physician, what would you do? I’d drop out and start working on medical school, that’s what I’d do!

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[02:08] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I’ve been lurking here and occasionally posting for the past 8 years or so. In that time, I’ve become a nurse and I’m now working on my DNP (Doctor of Nurse Practitioner). But I want to be a doctor (physician).

The thing that keeps me bak is the reality of the debt, the time away from my kids, the realization that I won’t be able to work while I’m in med school, but I can while I’m in DNP school. But I want to be a doctor. I have one more year of prereqs if I do the bare minimum of those. I’m seriously considering dropping out of DNP school. I’m only a year into a six-year program and enrolling in the final classes that I need for med school this Fall instead. All my reasons for not doing it are valid. But I keep coming back to this desire to be a doctor. I’m wondering if I should put it to bed once and for all or if I should try to figure it out. If it matters, I’m 36. So I wouldn’t even be in medical school until I was 38 at the earliest.”

[03:25] The Debt Issue

So you’re worried about three things – debt, time away from kids, and not being to work in medical school. Now for debt, every student worries about that. Read the White Coat Investor if you’re worried about medicine and money. Google around. Listen to a previous podcast back episode 286 on The Premed Years, where we brought in a financial advisor who works with physicians.

Paying back loans is possible and can be relatively easy if it’s something you focus on, plan, and do right.

[Tweet “”Every student who graduates medical school deals with debt.””]

[04:33] Time Away from Kids

This can be a concern depending on their age. But sometimes, it’s about showing your kids that if you want something, you go and do it. Yes, there’s going to be sacrifice along the way. But what that life lesson will teach them is completely invaluable.

[Tweet “”It’s so valuable of a lesson to teach your kids that no matter what you want in this life, you go out and do it.””]

I’m a parent with a second kid on the way and I would sacrifice. There is that sacrifice of going to medical school and the sacrifice of being away from the family. And the spouse have to be okay with that. This can cause a lot of conflict so there has to be lots of communication. But the lesson to your kids would be huge.

[06:05] Working While in Medical School

Personally, it was a mistake for me. You shouldn’t work in medical school because you don’t have time to. I thought I did and my grades suffered because of that. Yes, you can work in DNP school. But they are completely different schools.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice is not a clinical degree, but more of an administrative degree. So you can’t be a nurse and a doctor. In fact, if you like the clinical side of things, being an NP is better than being a DNP. But the DNP world came about because there needed to be a higher ceiling for nurses. So they created a new degree so that nurse administrators could go with this DNP degree and move up the ladder in the hospitals.

[Tweet “”A DNP is not a clinical degree. It’s not comparable to being a physician at all. And being a nurse practitioner is more comparable to being a physician than a DNP is.””]

[07:20] I Want to Be a Doctor!

If you know in your heart that you want to be a physician, go and do it. It’s that easy. If this is what you want, drop out of your DNP program today. Register for classes today. And start your journey to medical school. It’s that easy.

But will it be easy in the future? No. But it’s that easy to start. Right now. Medical school is tough. Residency is tough. But if you’ve done your soul searching and been lurking around the OldPreMeds community now for 8 years, if this is what you want, then do it!

Stop waiting for something to change or for that world to finally catch up to you to the point of telling yourself you’re okay in your DNP program. But what you’re waiting for is never going to come.

Again, if this is something that you really want, drop out of your program. Register for classes. Communicate with your spouse and your kids. Go and live your dream!


Nontrad Premed Forum

Premed Hangout

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

The White Coat Investor

The Premed Years Session 286: Common Mistakes and More About Financing Medical School