Should You Consider Nursing While Preparing for Med School?

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OPM 218: Should You Consider Nursing While Preparing for Med School?

Session 218

You aren’t looking for a Plan B, but should you consider nursing on your way to becoming a physician? That is the concern of our poster today who is a military spouse.

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Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:40] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

I’m a military spouse, my husband retires in five years. We’ll be in our current location for three to four years. We’re in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I have $32,000 in debt from my bachelor’s of arts.

I currently have a medically fragile 6-month-old who cannot be in daycare before two years old.

Here’s my current plan. Originally, I was planning to be a PA when my husband retired. But I realized that it wasn’t what I truly wanted.

2020 – Take classes at a local community college that are needed to apply for medical school

2021 – Enter the associate in science nursing program.

2022 – Nursing school

2023 – Graduate nursing school and work as a nurse

2024 – Work as a nurse to pay off old student loans

2025 – Apply for medical school; husband retires.

The other side with all this is wherever I’m accepted to medical school, we are free to move to. We are used to moving every few years and we’ve not rooted anywhere. Also upside, I get to get into medical school debt-free.

The downside is I will be 35-36 when I enter medical school. I plan to specialize in Neonatology so I will be done with the fellowship at 45-ish.

Is nursing my only logical step in my position? It is not a “plan B” as I know I don’t want a career in nursing. I’m looking at it as a stepping stone to gain experience in the medical field, pay off debt, and save debt. And gain confidence in science-based classes while waiting for my husband to retire.

In the next one and a half years before my son can be in daycare, I can get all my postbac done for medical school. But there are no medical schools in our area.

[03:40] Are You Sure You Want to Get to Medical School?

Military spouses are some of the hardest ones you give recommendations to. At the end of the day, you just don’t know what’s going on with your spouse’s career.

From an admissions committee’s point of view, the question is why are you going to do your postbac classes in 2020 and then go to nursing school and not apply until 2025. Your classes are going to be older. Some medical schools aren’t going to like that. Most won’t care. You’re going to have to take the MCAT many years after you take those prereqs.

'Nursing classes will have some of the prereqs coverage. But it's probably not as in-depth for the content review side of it.'Click To Tweet

It just looks weird to be doing the postbac classes and then go to nursing school. And as an admission committee member, they could question whether going to medical is what you really want.

Or if you thought about medical school so you did your postbac and then changed your mind and decided to be a nurse. And then you changed your mind again and thought of becoming a doctor. Hence, you’re going to have to explain a lot.

[05:17] Should You be Doing the Nurse Route?

The debt-free stuff depends on whether your VA is private or federal loans. If they’re federal loans, just add them to the list of loans you’re going to have from medical school.

That being said, nursing school just seems like a waste. You already have a bachelor’s degree, nursing school is going to be more debt and more time. You’re learning and studying something that you don’t need to do.

Instead, consider getting a job as a scribe or do something elsewhere you can make some money. Get clinical experience that way.

'The nurse route just seems like you don't need it. It's not a stepping stone. It's a detour that ultimately you still have to get back on at the same place.'Click To Tweet

[06:25] What You Can Do

You want to be debt-free and so you work as a nurse to pay off old student loans. But you’re racking up student loans to be able to pay off student loans. This just doesn’t make sense.

So you do your postbac. Work as a scribe or do something medically related. Maybe become a medical assistant for a while or CNA where you don’t have to go to school for a long time. Get a certificate and do that.

Work on the rest of your application, clinical experience, research, shadowing, etc. Then apply to medical school as soon as you can.

It makes sense why you’re waiting so long and that’s because your husband is in the military. That makes sense that you’re not applying to medical school until you know that he is fully out. Then you can move wherever that makes sense.

'The nursing school doesn't make sense. It's not wrong. But it just doesn't make sense.'Click To Tweet


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