Benefits of Moving From Nursing to Medical School
If you're thinking of moving from nursing to medical school, you should be aware of the differences between programs as well as the benefits of this transition. There is some overlap, but medical school contains plenty of new topics and concepts that must be learned in order to graduate.
Advantages of Switching from Nursing to Medical School
You Know What You're Getting Into
Unlike applicants from non-medical backgrounds who are unsure what lies ahead, medical school candidates with a nursing background have prior exposure and know that they are on the right path. These students can confidently move into medical school without the doubt and uncertainty that many other candidates face because they've already had exposure to medical topics and have confirmed that they are of professional and academic interest.
Nursing School Provides an Academic Head Start
People moving from nursing to medical school have a head start in the application thanks to their prior training and education. Nursing programs cover topics in chemistry, anatomy, and physiology, and there is often overlap with medical school curricula. Instead of tackling complex new subjects, medical school candidates who switched from nursing can draw on their past experience to make the transition smoother.
You Already Have Clinical Experience
One of the toughest challenges pre-med students face is a lack of clinical experience. Nursing students do not have this problem, as their programs include practical experience and prepare them well for the rigors of medical school. Furthermore, this clinical experience usually means nurses have a professional network that they can turn to for guidance and advice as they progress through medical school.
Nursing Programs vs. Medical School
Degrees in nursing are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing programs. These degrees begin with an overview of fundamental nursing topics such as nursing informatics, leadership for nurses, and evidence-based practice, before moving on to more advanced topics and clinical experiences. Application requirements vary from school to school, but BSN programs typically require prerequisite coursework in the sciences and personal essays, while MSN degrees can require proof of a current nursing license, admissions test scores, letters of recommendation, and more. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in nursing, candidates can become registered nurses. A graduate degree in nursing prepares graduates to pursue careers as nurse practitioners, midwives, or nurse anesthetists, among others advanced practice nursing roles.
Like nursing degrees, Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs mix traditional classroom instruction with clinical rotations, but they also include internships and externships. Courses cover biomedical science topics, such as endocrinology and immunology, as well as more quantitative concepts like the moral and ethical implications of treating patients. Graduates coming out of these programs complete residencies, and possibly fellowships, in the area of practice in which they're interested, such as internal medicine, surgery, or podiatry.
|Degree Name||Program Requirements||Potential Careers|
|Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)|| *High school diploma]|
*Prerequisite coursework in relevant subjects (biology, anatomy, etc.)
| *Registered Nurse|
*Clinical Research Nurse
|Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)|| *Bachelor's degree (BSN strongly recommended but not always required)|
| *Registered Nurse|
|Doctor of Medicine (MD)||4 years|| *Undergraduate degree|
Application Prerequisites for Medical School
Medical schools require prior relevant coursework, which graduates of nursing school should have completed. In addition to previously acquired knowledge, applicants will need high Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores, as some programs have a minimum required score. Other common application requirements include letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose in which an applicant explains their background and goals for the future.
How to Earn a Degree in Medical School
Getting an MD is an arduous task and takes several years of hard work. Students are expected to learn about a multitude of topics and take part in theoretical discussions and hands-on clinical experience. The following list contains a few examples of courses one might encounter in the process of earning a medical degree.
Public Health Foundations
This course aims to explore the dynamic between the public and clinical healthcare, and how the relationship could be improved. The course covers epidemiologic methods, ethical principles, and the ways in which health care systems can impact an individual's health. This course can also contain an overview of the American health care system.
Introduction to the Profession
Taking a step back from the more complex points of medicine, this course introduces students to the day-to-day responsibilities of a doctor and the profession's best practices. Students learn about the ethical codes, intellectual challenges, and professional development opportunities that make up a career as a doctor.
This course examines the processes and methods the human body uses in order to sustain internal balance. Key topics include red blood cells, anemia, hemostatic disorders, and the lymphatic system. These courses may also discuss environmental health and the ethics of organ transplants. Instruction could also feature clinical contexts that allow students to hone their problem-solving and inductive reasoning skills.
Moving from nursing to medical school is a demanding transition, but the experience gained from nursing can give students a head start thanks to relevant coursework. MD programs feature a diverse blend of biomedical science classes and practical experience and prepare graduates for a number of roles as physicians.