I'm new to the forum and like many here, am trying to decide whether to follow through with my work up to this point of pursuing a career in medicine. I recently applied and was accepted to medical school. However, I am now doubting if the lifestyle of a physician will be the best fit for the rest of my life. I know I want to help patients become and stay healthy and happy, but I know that being a doctor isn't the only way to do this. The other option I am looking at is becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner at an accelerated graduate entry program - this would take me 2 to 3 years. I am 25, and hope to begin a family in the next 5 or so years. I know that I will want to stay at home with my children when they are young, and I really value having time in my day to take care of myself with exercise and relaxation. These are some things that are priorities in my life:
1. Have time to spend with my (future) family, especially when my children are young
2. Have a healthy lifestyle - good stress control or low stress and time for exercise and relaxation frequently
3. Have a fulfilling career that will also allow me to support a family
4. have flexibility in my work and the ability (and financial possibility) of working part time
Considering my priorities and the fact that a medical education will put me $240,000 in the hole, do you think medical school is a poor fit for me? Since I was in high school I've had the goal of being a doctor, but all that time I also never looked into alternatives. The NP route might be just as fulfilling for me - not being the top dog isn't really a priority of mine. I just don't want to regret later in my life not taking the opportunity to go to medical school now that I've been accepted. I would finish an NP program either 1 year earlier or at the same time I would finish medical school, since I would have to wait another year to start. However, I wouldn't have to do a residency. The residency really frightens me, as I can't imagine what working 80 hours a week would be like, especially if I children who I want to spend my time with. Anyone who could give me insights about what their residencies were like time commitment wise would be much appreciated! If I did go the NP route, I would likely complete a PhD one day, as being educated at the doctoral level has been a longstanding goal of mine.
I've been struggling with this decision for along time now, even before I was accepted into medical school. Its starting to keep me awake at night and consume all my thoughts! Help!! Any insights or advice would be greatly appreciated!
NP sounds better for you. If you do not care being "top dog", NP sounds like a perfect fit for you. It will take less time, it is overall less hours of training and afterwards less hours of work. It's a no brainer IMHO specially once I saw your priorities. Also, you are young and IF one day after your kiddos are older you can always go back to medical school, it will always be there but your youth will pass quickly....
Thank you both for your answers. Low stress is a priority for me in order to be in good health. I usually do well in stressful situation - like at a birth, for example. Its when I don't have time to manage it that it becomes a problem. I am pretty good at managing stress now, but I have a flexible job so I have time to do lots of yoga or take a long, quiet walk to keep the stress away. I can't imagine I will have the same luxury as a physician and especially not as a mom-physician. I'm so in awe of the women who do it all.
After hearing myself hash this out so many time, I know it sounds like a no brainer to go the NP route. I guess since I've been on this medical school track for so long and now its right at my fingertips, its hard to just let it go. I feel a little like a coward. I really do think pre-med advisors should help students understand what they are getting into more, instead of pushing medical school on every bright student who is good in science.
And you're completely right, I can also go back to medical school later after my kids are older if I feel like I missed my calling.