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Help! MD vs. NP

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8 years 3 days ago #82755 by premedumd
Hi all, I'm 22 and graduated from college this past Spring. I was pre-med all throughout college, although a little part of me had always worried about whether medicine was really a good fit for me because of my desire to have a big family and spend a decent amount of time at home raising kids. I've been back and forth between doctor and nurse practitioner for the past few years, and was frustrated that I couldn't confidently make a decision and decided to apply to medical school anyway. Yesterday I found out I was accepted. I'm so excited, but at the same time I really want to think this decision through and not jump into medical school just because it's right there in front of me. My concerns about medical school are I want to have several children when I'm older (after finishing residency), and be able to work part time for awhile at least while my kids are young (not sure what route I want to go but currently interested in peds). I'm worried that after I'm done residency around age 30 or so, I'll have so much debt from school that working part time and starting a family won't be very realistic. I think NP would be more flexible in regards to this, and schooling is not as long so I would be able to have kids earlier, but I know if I choose this path some little part of me will always wonder if I would have been more satisfied being a physician (and especially knowing I got this far).

For any doctors/residents/med school students willing to respond, do you have any regrets about your decision?

For any NPs, do you find your career just as exciting and rewarding as those of your physician co-workers?

I'm a scribe so I work with docs, PAs, and NPs in the ER everyday, but nonetheless am having a hard time deciding. I feel like I won't REALLY know what a career as an NP or MD will be like until I'm there. And of course I feel silly trying to "plan" my future with when I want to get married, how many kids I want, etc., but I can't help thinking about it! Any advice or insight will be greatly appreciated!

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8 years 3 days ago #82756 by babylove
You don't say if you are married yet or not which impacts just how hypothetical the situation is...

If you really want to be a doctor then do it, there are Plenty of us around here who are married, have children (even lots), are med students/residents/attendings and make it work.

Just know that it is not easy and your spouse must be fully supportive for it to work.

I am 32, married with a spouse who has a professional career, have one toddler and a baby on the way and am a second year resident. Despite my crippling amt. of debt I will go into primary care and work part time at first. I am now getting used to ignoring the debt, no use fretting- it won't go away any sooner.

Knowing my personality, I would never be satisfied being an np which is why I chose this route. Only you can decide if you would be satisfied in that career- if so go for it! But don't let a bunch of hypotheticals stop you from going to med school if that is what you really want.

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8 years 3 days ago #82757 by premedumd
Thanks for the advice. No I'm not married, have a serious boyfriend of 3 years but we will see what happens, this is all just hypothetically speaking...

I guess I just have been hearing/reading alot of stories about how for many women, their priorities change once they begin having a family and suddenly they realize they're in a difficult situation and somewhat regret their career choice because of the stressful circumstances and limited ability to stay at home and raise a family. I'm confident that I would LOVE being a doctor but don't want to be one of those people who regrets their decision years later if I am lucky enough to have a family.

Thank you very much for your insight!

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8 years 2 days ago - 8 years 2 days ago #82772 by hellorebecca
i wish I had become an NP. seriously. i was dissuaded from it because my physician (ophthalmologist) father said that he wouldn't be satisfied practicing medicine without having gone to medical school.
well, i'm sure that's true for him. but with my personality, i now realize that I could have been VERY happy! i'm not the truly die-hard ambitious 'type' and I wish I had realized that sooner (like when I was 22 :) )
so i agree with a previous poster who said it's all about knowing your personality. do you really crave being a doctor? or do you just like the medical field?
if the former, go to med school and if the latter, enjoy your more manageable life as an NP.
Last Edit: 8 years 2 days ago by .

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7 years 11 months ago #82913 by varunner
I'm glad I went to medical school, but after seeing how flexible PAs are in the working world I may have considered it instead. In the ED for example they do four 10 hour shifts a week and have a much lower debt burden. But, knowing my younger self, I wouldn't have settled for anything else once I decided I wanted to be a physician.

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7 years 11 months ago #82915 by FPDOmama
If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have gone to medical school, but I am hoping that I change my mind in a year when I am an attending working part-time (primary care job search on currently!). Med school and residency is a long, dark hole, but it is only temporary, and if you are flexible about how much money you want to make in the end, there is a dim light at the end of the tunnel. If I were you, I would do everything in my power to minimize the amount of debt you take on because you are right that, at the end, you have to make enough to pay it off. I was lucky to have a very supportive working spouse all through med school, so my debt load is very manageable compared to most and is allowing me to seek the part-time options now. They are right above about personality being an important consideration...I am personally someone that doesn't mind oversight and isn't afraid to take orders, so I would likely have been happy in a mid-level capacity; however, of course there are benefits to being the "end all" in your field. Weigh carefully and shadow as much as possible now while you have a chance to make this important decision prior to taking on the related debt! Good luck and congrats on your acceptance!

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