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Nurse to Doctor! [Apr. 24th, 2010|09:23 am]



In my country, the UK, it is an unspoken rule by the General Medical Council, that qualified nurses who have got their nursing degree (three years of study) and have then worked for a few years, that when they then go on to do medicine, they make the best doctors.

They get the best application spread (provided they already have adequate grades in Maths, Science and English, although these exams can be retaken as an adult, in order to apply for medical school)

My university even offers an accelerated 4 year course for nurses (medicine over here is 5 or 6 years)

I thought I'd throw this out here, do you think nurses would make the best doctors? See everything from the ground up?
Is this route even possible in the USA/Canada where one needs a college degree before medical school, do nursing degrees 'count'?

PS: I'm a medical student that loves nurses and other health professionals. My mum was a nurse in the USA but got 'relieved of her contract' as she got treated terribly over there, she came to the UK to get paid more and respected more. This was in the 1970s and I expect the situation is totally different now. Anyway!

[User Picture]From: aenea_delacroix
2010-04-24 11:32 am (UTC)
In Aus you can have any undergraduate degree before medical school - from pharmacy to creative writing and anything in between. So nursing degrees do "count" but in my experience it hasn't actually been that common. That being said, graduate nurses in Australia don't earn a whole lot less than junior doctors do - and that doesn't even factor in the 4 years of nursing experience (and pay raises) they'd have by not doing medicine (and the much lower debt for tuition!). A nurse with 4 years experience earns about the same as a junior doctor, but has about $50,000 less debt.

But also here, the course is 4 years regardless of what degree you did first. The first year is mostly medical sciences, with a much smaller portion of clinical skills. It can be a relatively easy year if you did say biomedical science/pharmacy/physiotherapy as an undergraduate, but much more difficult if you did a degree in music or something. There aren't any options for accelerated courses.
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[User Picture]From: jerseyjess
2010-04-24 01:03 pm (UTC)
You can do whatever you want before med school as long as you take the required classes and get a bachelor's degree, but med school here is 4 years for everyone. (US) I knew a couple of people in undergrad who were doing the BSN program with the intent of going to med school afterward.

There were 2 girls in my class who were nurses before starting med school--one dropped out after 4 months but the other is going into her first choice residency program so I guess she did pretty well for herself. She said a lot of classes like pharmacology were really easy for her and since she had already worked at the hospital we do our clinical rotations at, she knew everyone and she knew all about the system so that probably helped her too. i was never on rotation with her though so I don't know any specifics. Also, I know a resident who was an ICU nurse for a while and he's the nicest ortho resident at my school. No idea if that's because he was a nurse beforehand or if he's just a really nice guy in general.
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[User Picture]From: mvenus929
2010-07-08 11:00 am (UTC)
I work as a phlebotomist, just to give you some background. I don't know how nurses fair in medical school because I'm not there yet and don't know any nurses remotely interested in medical school.

That being said, my supervisor says the best doctors were med techs (in the clinical lab) prior to med school, because they know what tests need to be ordered and exactly what the tests are looking at. Most nurses don't, in my experience. Not that that makes them bad docs, just saying it's a different background. I don't think a lot of nurses could hack it in medical school, just based on how many I've seen struggle in really basic classes at my undergrad (we had a pretty decent nursing program). Those that could would probably make good doctors, though, just because the nursing philosophy is to care about patients, so they'd probably have a better bedside manner than some other docs. *shrugs*
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