UCD grad with family concerns- NP or MD?

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  • #93679
    maryccmarycc
    Participant

    I am a 22 year old recent University of California, Davis graduate in Managerial Economics. After years of internships, jobs, and volunteering, I know that my passion is working with patients. I am now faced with a decision I am very much struggling with- becoming an NP or MD? I love working with children and chronic illness and also women’s health, and feel I can work with either both as an NP or MD. However, most people I know are pushing me toward the MD route simply because I do well in school and am capable of completing med school. My number one priority upon graduation I know will be family time however, and I’m wondering if it’s worth going through med school if I’m going to end up part-time as soon as I am done with residency and fellowship (in order to have more time with my future family- I don’t plan on children for another 8-10 years though). I don’t want to do general practice and will likely specialize in Endocrinology or OBGYN, though I have a lot to learn before I can say for sure. My questions are:

    1) How many hours/week would a part time doctor work and on what salary? (I was told at one point 40 hrs at 100,000 which I could make as an NP without the long med school commitment right?)
    Do full-time doctors really work 60-80 hrs/wk?

    2) Is it plausible to work part-time straight out of residency/fellowship? What are fellowships like in terms of stress/hours per week/salary etc.?

    3) I have type 1 diabetes and am careful to have balance and as little stress as possible in my life. Is med school/residency/fellowship stressful the entire time? What are some things I should consider with regard to this.

    Thank you so much for any advice you may have. This is a wonderful resource for me and I appreciate the help you’ve already given me with other forum topics. I apologize for the lengthy story.

    #93680
    aspenaspen
    Participant

    Any comments? I am also trying to decide between NP and MD, so I would like to hear about the possibility of working aprt time immediately following med school . Also, any MDs or med students who were once nurses? What made you want to go on to med school?

    #93682
    maryccmarycc
    Participant

    I haven’t had any replies yet. I searched for a long time through old forums and found some info- people have gone from RN to MD, though I can’t tell if the courses taken as an RN satisfy pre-recs for med school or not. I also found that while difficult at times to find part-time work, it seems many have been able to find it if they search for awhile and/or approach their employers. What I really would like to know, however, is how many hrs/wk part time is and what the change in salary and benefits is (half salary, no benefits?) That’s something I haven’t been able to find anywhere, probably because it depends on your specialty and where you work.

    As for why I started considering med school, I realized after various jobs, volunteer work, etc. that I really need to work with patients (I was going to do the business side of medicine and felt unfulfilled). It then became a question of which license to pursue. I know I desire more responsiblity and autonomy than an RN, but beyond that I’m not sure what’s best. I enjoy school and do well in it, which is why I feel compelled to consider med school as an option. But family time will be more important to me than my career, so I need to consider what’s best in terms of my future family.

    #93683
    2badr2badr
    Participant

    Hi. 😀 I recently turned 30 and I am a NP. I have been struggling whether to be a doctor or take my master’s to be a NP. So finally, I graduated at the of 29 with a master’s degree in both adult and geri NP. I am happy with my current position . However, I continue to wonder “what if” :confused: “I just went to complete my pre-med”. I am still thinking of going to pre-med but right now time is my enemy. I think I am toooo old and I recently got married and want to start a family. (It could be done but I think family and school may be a a very difficult comb).
    My suggestion: 😎
    If you really want to be doctor GO FOR IT. Sure you may finish your NP and make money but you will always wonder “what if”. Ask yourself what do you really want to achieve 10 years from now!!
    All my doctor friends are thrilled I am considering it and they are encouraging me. It is really a tough decision but it is you who will really know what you want. I have other friends :crossfingers:
    :crossfingers: :crossfingers: :crossfingers:

    #93684
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Marycc,
    Hello! I am a registered nurse, but am not a med student yet, I have 2 more prereqs to go after this for med school. Most of the classes you take as a nursing dont count toward the prereqs. Human Anatomy and Physiology will look good, also micro, nursing courses like pathophysiology, pharmacology although they dont meet prereqs. I have an ADN, the bio classes I was advised to take were cell biology and genetics. Topics covered will appear on the MCAT, also physiology too. I became a premed 4 years out of school. I did so because it was a long lost dream of mine, and working around hospital confirmed that my dreams were a reality, something I had to do. I could have chosen NP, but was afraid that I would not be satisfied, and figured, I might have well go for what I always wanted to be, not necessarily the path of least resistance. I hope I made the right choice. Like the above poster mentioned, I dont want any would haves or could haves.
    Let me know if I can be of any more help.
    —Dana

    #93685
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    I am not in medical school yet but will be starting next fall so I will give some insights that I have gained through the years. If you want to have a full family life being a physician will make this not impossible but much harder than if you become a NP. Residency years are quite grueling and there is a law now stating that residents should not work more than 80 hrs/week but some hospitals have yet to adhere to this new ruling. So you are looking at possibly working 80 hrs/week for whatever number of residency years your residency of choice will demand, I am not sure but I think that IM is 4 years, general surgery is 5, and so on. Medical school will probably be more family friendly during the first two years and then during years 3 and 4 it will depend on what clerkship you are in. I am not too sure about how the part time doctoring works but I would ask some other female physicians about this and see what they have to say. I would find it quite difficult to do medicine part time but this is just my personal opinion. I would find it hard to it, specially with a specialty such as OB/GYN were patients have no control when they will deliver a baby and they will want to have their physician deliver the baby regardless of the hour. If your heart is set on medicine than go for that making sure that you know all the advantages as well as the disadvantages of going this route. Most doctors do work a lot of hours anywhere from 60-80, yes some specialties like derm may have better hours but those are hard to get into, and it may not be what you like. If you think that you would be happy pursuing the NP route then research that some more and see what you think. Regardless it may be hard at times to have your cake and eat it too, we women tend to think that we can have it all. The perfect family and the perfect job but many times one or the other will take the backburner. Good luck.

    #93687
    Kate_dup1Kate_dup1
    Participant

    It’s nearly impossible to say what the right decision for you is going to be without the benefit of hind sight. I think we are all like that. But I can say, don’t do something like med school just to prove you can or to avoid saying “what if”. Med school is lots of money and lots of time for gratification that comes much later and for some, not at all. Not to be discouraging.
    I’ve worked with a lot of NP’s, many that I have consulted due to their expertise in areas and many that were my preceptors when I was a student. And I have been to some as a patient. They are definately in the position of being a patient’s primary care giver and in some states, their only care giver, depending on the legislation. So it’s not like an NP’s job is any easier because they aren’t MD’s.

    #93688
    maryccmarycc
    Participant

    I cannot thank all of you enough for your insight. I’m still struggling with the decision but your advice is helping me get there! I think either way I’ll wonder about the other road, and that’s just something I need to accept. Please keep comments coming- I would love to have new things to consider when weighing pros and cons with both roads. Thank you so much 2badr, PremedRN, efex101, and Kate. I really, really appreciate your comments!!!

    #93689
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Fact is, most people dont attempt at med school to just satisfy “what ifs”. It is a deeprooted heartfelt dream not just a “what if”. As far as NP’s, yes they do have a lot of responsibility, no argument there, but they can perform surgery, or do a cardiac catheterization, etc, etc. For me, I always wanted to become a doctor but never had the confidence, grew up in poverty,etc…..
    decided to be a RN thinking my desire to be a doctor must just be a fantasy. Well I found out it is not. I made myself a promise when I finished Nursing school, that if I ever went back to school, I would go for what I always wanted to be, a doctor and by God that is what Im doing. Being a NP would not be following my dream, sure it would be easier for me, but I dont follow the path of least resistance for me.

    Just wanted to clear up any misconceptions about my previous posts. 😀

    #93691
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Sorry, I made a mistake didnt add a “t” to the end of can when talking about the cardiac caths,surgery….

    #93692
    Kate_dup1Kate_dup1
    Participant

    I think the majority of people who join the healthcare field do so out of desire to “help people.” For me, the decision to be a doc came from my desire to be in control. I felt that with my personality I wouldn’t be comfortable with taking orders and I would have the capability if I chose to do so, to practice any type of medicine. As pointed out in previous notes, NP’s don’t have that choice. Some of the primary care NP’s can virtually act independently but there is always a doc somewhere reviewing cases. I met an NP in NM who was the sole provider for a remote area in NM (probably a 200 mile radius). The community begged her not to leave and she gets reward from knowing she is their only link to health care. She runs the EMS service as well.

    I felt sure I wanted to be a primary care provider before I entered med school…it is a good thing I didn’t decide to be an NP in order to fulfill that. I’ve discovered I absolutely do not get any satisfaction from being in primary care…it’s pathology for me.

    It’s definately a difficult decision when considering family. My personal opinion is family life will never be easy for me. I have to constantly compromise. To have cake and eat it too is not possible. Or maybe I can have cake and eat it too but the cake is burnt.

    #93693
    maryccmarycc
    Participant

    I loved you burnt cake comment Kate! Too funny. I think it’s interesting that you mentioned the control vs helping people thing. I feel I can help people in both fields so that was never a good enough reason for me to pursue a medical degree instead of becoming an NP. I’m glad you brought that up. I certainly prefer control but I’m not sure it’s worth the more difficult MD route…something to think about. Thank you!

    Also what you said about primary care interests me. I really, really don’t want to be dealing with broken arms, colds, stiches, etc. My passion stems from helping people with medical problems that are far more difficult for the patient to cope with than a temporary cold, flu, hurt limb etc. I am NOT trying to say that helping people in such a manner is in any way a lesser form of helping, it’s just not where my passion lies. I love working with children with a long term medical illness/problem. Is this something that will be harder to do as an NP? I always thought as an NP I could still sort of specialize in chronic illness or women’s health (my two main interests thus far). Is that an incorrect assumption? If I do the MD route I’d really want to look into pediatric endocrinology (I loved working with diabetic and PKU patients) but that’s an extra 3 year fellowship I think- one of the reasons the NP route seems more appealing. But if I can’t do what I’d like as an NP, then I’d rather stick out a long fellowship if I must… any thoughts???

    #93695
    maryccmarycc
    Participant

    PremedRN- I think it’s absolutely AMAZING what you’re doing and I cannot stress enough how inspiring you are- I am so glad you’re following your dream despite what it sounds like have been some tough road blocks! I can tell you will be a pretty amazing doctor with the attitude you have.

    Just curious, is there anything you’ve seen in the medical field that’s driving you to med school (any strong factor besides your dream to always be a doctor)? What do you find fulfilling about being a doctor that you would not get as an RN or NP? What finally made you say that being an RN wasn’t where you wanted to be? Responsiblity level? Control? Just curious what the strongest factors were for you personally- even if it’s something you’ve always wanted, you must have seen things as am RN that pushed you to finally saying, “this is what I am going to do now, it’s what I always wanted.” I ask these questions since your comment, “working around hospital confirmed that my dreams were a reality” implies there were important things you saw in the hospital that made you realize you were better fit to be an MD. Thank you SO much for your invaluable information, advice, and inspiration.

    #93696
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Marycc,
    Oh thanks, that makes me feel really good! I have been a RN for 5 years. What strongly made me to decide medicine finally, was there were countless times, when Im with patients at night and things would happen (symptoms, if you will) and I would call the doc and tell him or her what I thought was happening, of course, being that Im a RN not a MD/DO a lot of the time my judgement was looked over, and in the long run I was right, while the patient could have been treated sooner. This bothers me, because I cant do anything but sit on it. Now, this doesn’t happen ALL the time, but it has enough in the 5 years Ive been working. No offense to the docs, because sometimes nurses will do silly things and call for BS that could have waited, then you too, have your overly worried nurses who call for everything and wont be anything. I think this makes it harder for the docs to trust another nurse’s instinct.
    I also hunger for more knowlege, I love it when the teaching docs sit with me at the computer looking at lab values and ask me what’s happening, yum, yum. Not that I know, but they are trying to learn me. When things are happening to patients that I dont know the treatments, I yearn to know more, to learn more. I see the compassionate docs, have learned to be a doc, like a nurse, is treating the whole person, in their everday lives, as inpatient, and at discharge and beyond. I want to become a doctor, I plan on helping the indigent who cant afford healthcare, I want to show my community despite the despairs life sometimes may bring, they too can have a dream and be successful, be a doctor, lawyer, or anything they desire. Because when you grow up like I did, you just fantasize thinking it is unacertainable. Im going to take a hungry, poor, undirected child by his or her hand and show mercy, opportunity, and success.
    I promised myself after nursing school, if I ever went back to school, it would be to fulfill my long, lost dream. That is why Im not doing the NP. Graduate school costs A LOT of money, and so does med school, but debt to income make me push more toward the MD/DO. I plan on coming back to my home town after Im done, and the NP’s here make about 60,000. I plan, if accepted into my state’s school, to sign a contract with a health network, who will pay for med school if I work 3 years after. Part of that network is in my hometown. That is my plan, anyway. Hope it falls through. And who knows, maybe I will regret later on for not doing the NP, I dont think so, but that’s the chance I have to take.
    Sorry for the long post!
    –Dana

    #93698
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Marycc,
    Oh thanks, that makes me feel really good! I have been a RN for 5 years. What strongly made me to decide medicine finally, was there were countless times, when Im with patients at night and things would happen (symptoms, if you will) and I would call the doc and tell him or her what I thought was happening, of course, being that Im a RN not a MD/DO a lot of the time my judgement was looked over, and in the long run I was right, while the patient could have been treated sooner. This bothers me, because I cant do anything but sit on it. Now, this doesn’t happen ALL the time, but it has enough in the 5 years Ive been working. No offense to the docs, because sometimes nurses will do silly things and call for BS that could have waited, then you too, have your overly worried nurses who call for everything and wont be anything. I think this makes it harder for the docs to trust another nurse’s instinct.
    I also hunger for more knowlege, I love it when the teaching docs sit with me at the computer looking at lab values and ask me what’s happening, yum, yum. Not that I know, but they are trying to learn me. When things are happening to patients that I dont know the treatments, I yearn to know more, to learn more. I see the compassionate docs, have learned to be a doc, like a nurse, is treating the whole person, in their everday lives, as inpatient, and at discharge and beyond. I want to become a doctor, I plan on helping the indigent who cant afford healthcare, I want to show my community despite the despairs life sometimes may bring, they too can have a dream and be successful, be a doctor, lawyer, or anything they desire. Because when you grow up like I did, you just fantasize thinking it is unacertainable. Im going to take a hungry, poor, undirected child by his or her hand and show mercy, opportunity, and success.
    I promised myself after nursing school, if I ever went back to school, it would be to fulfill my long, lost dream. That is why Im not doing the NP. Graduate school costs A LOT of money, and so does med school, but debt to income make me push more toward the MD/DO. I plan on coming back to my home town after Im done, and the NP’s here make about 60,000. I plan, if accepted into my state’s school, to sign a contract with a health network, who will pay for med school if I work 3 years after. Part of that network is in my hometown. That is my plan, anyway. Hope it falls through. And who knows, maybe I will regret later on for not doing the NP, I dont think so, but that’s the chance I have to take.
    Sorry for the long post!
    –Dana

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