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Experiences in nursing as an alternative to medicine

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are there any nurses here currently studying or intending to study medicine/med research etc ?
yup - what did you want to know?
Hey Scarah. Gee, what dont i want to know. how old you are and a blogish idea of what youve been doing previous to get where you are now....? not much just a life story i guess lol if im far from confident i would have the nouse for MBBS or even the staying power....what would be a good course/carrer move to test the waters?

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Regular Member
okey doke - first of all can one of the mods possibly split this post because it's well and truly off topic?

CIMTC are you thinking of doing nursing instead of Med? Sounds like you're unsure if med's the right pathway for you?

In answer to your questions I'm 28, even nursing is a grad-entry degree for me. I had no idea where i wanted to go after school so I did Arts (psych), but Arts didn't really open any career opportunities I was interested. I though about continuing with psychology (honours and then post grad) but I started to realise it was actually the medical field that interested me. Medicine seemed like a daunting task in terms of getting in so I started nursing as a kind of back-up plan.

Now I've got into med I don't want to leave nursing unfinished because i do enjoy it, so I'm trying to defer my med places to start in 2009. I do really enjoy nursing, I think if I stayed in nursing I would be looking at specialisation in critical care or emergency.

The great things about nursing:
1) patient contact, you get way more time with the patients than doctors do, you really get to know your patients and they tend to trust you and open up more to you than they do to the doctors, they also look to you for advice.
2) problem solving and medical issues - far from just carrying out doctors orders, the nursing role involves a lot of problem solving when patients' medical conditions change or problems arise. In some situations like Emerg the nurse makes a lot of triage decisions, in rural and remote the nurse can be the primary health care worker.
3) you're not the doctor - there's a lot of accountability being the doctor, and there is being the nurse too but sometimes when patients crash or things go wrong it's nice not to be doctor ^_^

The bad things
1) problem solving and medical knowledge - as much as the nurse does this, they don't have the scope for diagnosis, ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing medications etc. I want to do med because I am not satisfied leaving the diagnosis up to someone else - I want to be involved.
2) even despite your degree and training, a whole lot of your role will be about basic care (showering, toileting etc) this is important and it makes a world of difference to the patients, but it can get old.
3) shift work - nursing still rosters without any regard to research on sleep or shift work. Finishing at 10pm and starting again at 7am is common, night duty for a few nights here and there is also common.

Nursing is not necessarily a back for med for everyone, I had an interest in both before I started. If you're unsure of what you want to do something I would advise against is starting a degree simply because you feel like you should be going to uni. Consider taking a gap year.

Also with nursing - there are two pathways into nursing the TAFE (enrolled nurse) pathway or the Uni (Registered nurse) pathway. The TAFE pathway only takes a year, and often if you have this you can skip the first year of the Uni degree if you decide to become a registered nurse.

Anyway hope that answers some of your questions, feel free to ask more.


Regular Member
[offtopic] thanks angel - I think so, it seemed to be off topic but probably worthwhile enough to be a separate thread. Cheers [/offtopic]


Emeritus Staff
Emeritus Staff
If it means anything, when I was looking more seriously into grad entry quite a few of the unis said they encouraged people from nursing backgrounds to apply.

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Cheers Scarah, for the detailed response. Sorry for getting off the topic im new to this forum bizzo.
Im an orderly at a hobart hospital and have had it up too *here* with fetching towels and pads for nurses at 3am. Dont get me wrong I know our job is important but i want to be more involved. Im full time nightshift, therefore the remaining sanity i have left i want to use.
The things putting me off nursing are; seeing very intelligent nurses that are obviously bogged down in the repetitive 'toilet-bums-wet beds-showering' caper. Then again i may have to bite the bullet and do the nursing thing, my academic life was never that inspiring (as you can tell from my spelling) although i havnt had this will to learn before. And considering my brain is full just thinking of what to do lol maybe there's my answer... :p


Regular Member
I take it you are on the wards, and at a private hospital... not many young intelligent nurses stay in general ward nursing for long. Two of my friends who are already out and nursing are both studying this year, one a critical care course and the other ICU (so basically both are studying crit care). There's areas where you almost never have to shower or wipe bottoms, like practice nurses in a GP setting, theatre nurses, recovery nurses but generally you do some time on the wards before you specialise.

Private hospitals are also different to public - the patients are often more stable in private hosps and there's less going on in a medical sense for the nurses. I prefer being on a public acute ward where things happens, even tho I was on a general surg ward in a public I saw several AMIs, haematoma formation, haematemesis etc - unfortunate for the patients but fun for me.

Anyway have a look into the specialities of nursing, also consider doing cert IV in nursing through TAFE first. This makes you an EN which isn't that exciting but it does mean you can then work as an EN while you convert that to RN. It'll be the same length of time either way - either three years at Uni or one year at TAFE and two at Uni. TAFE fees are cheaper than HECS too!

Good luck with decisions


Hey! Congrats on getting into medicine, lucky duck!

I'm a first year science student interested in doing science/master of nursing. Basically I'd like to get into med but i fear the nursing assessments might drag my GPA down. Were the nursing assessments difficult or were they similar to rocket science lol

thank you so much for the help!

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