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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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???