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Medicine or Nursing?


Hey there,

At the moment I'm a RN student, I love it. I'm also planning on pursuing my studies after my bachelor, likely in mental-health (have done a cert IV in mental-health before and I thought: yes that's what I want to do! Loving as well my mental-health unit at uni) I know once all my clinical placements are done it may change (I'm not close-minded to something else) but so far it's where I am up to.
I know I can go on a grad. dip. or even further master, PHD ... PRN, practitioner nurse, etc.
For the moment I'm mostly looking at the different opportunities (so I know if I go for UCAT or nursing honours ...)

Where there is a problem is that if this path seems interesting, rewarding, etc. I'm also considering applying as a non-standard applicant for med in a year or two (before or after the end of my nursing bachelor, not sure).
I have been thinking about med since very young (I'm not so young anymore but not so old either ^^) and have always found reasons on why I would not be good enough to do med school. Now, I think that if I want a go at it it's in the next couple of years or never (age and family life...).
But I'm really worried about the career prospects after med. school.
I feel like I could be giving up on a perfectly nice career as a specialised nurse to never land into a job as a doctor (to understand here: I really really want to try med but ..)

If I would to do med, I would try to go toward specialties such as GP, psychiatry, geriatric ... If I would choose med over nursing it would mostly be for the diagnosis part and because I'm really interested in biology, etc. but also in mental-health research (I know it's kind of an other path but I believe to try to get into research it's necessary to do med degree, let me know if I'm wrong).

(MY GPA so far - 6.5 and I'm a rural student. Never tried the Ucat)

What do you think I need to know? Do you think I could get in, and how likely I am to get in psychiatry for example (is it as competitive?) ?
I just can't choose between, let's say psychiatric practitioner nurse and psychiatrist (some day I'm sure it's the first, the day after I'm sure it's the other one. my brain outch!)
I guess my biggest issue is that I don't know if medicine is for me and I'm aware that we can't really be sure until we're in, but anyone with any advice?

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Hopefully the likes of chinaski or Mana or pi will chime in here, but:

Ultimately if nursing is a career you see yourself being happy in, perhaps putting yourself through medicine and specialty training is a lot to go through when you already have that alternative option that will satisfy you.

In saying that, there’s no specific age cutoff for pursuing medicine, so it should remain an option for you further down the line if you decide not to pursue it for the time being!

As for the specific specialities you’ve highlighted that you’d want to pursue: all of these are in-demand fields in medicine from what I’ve gathered, so if you do decide to pursue medicine then that’s definitely something you have going for you!

As for competitiveness, your GPA is around where it needs to be, so it will really come down to how well your perform in UCAT/GAMSAT/interviews to gain a place offer. Being a rural applicant will certainly help with your competitiveness.

Best of luck with it all! :)


Regular Member
The OP's message seems incongruous to me - it's conflicted to start planning one's way out of a career pathway one professes to love before one even completes the degree. It seems unclear why they "really really want to try med but". If it's primarily out of a feeling of inferiority - that medicine is "better", or that it's like a mountain that the OP wants to climb simply because it's there and something they've dreamed about since childhood, then I would warn against acting on those kinds of motivations - they won't sustain you. If it's because the OP is more interested in medicine as a career than nursing and can see themselves happier in that role in the long term, then fine, go ahead and gun for medicine.

However, given there appears to be some interest and enthusiasm for nursing, I would suggest seeing the degree out and trying the job on for size first before seriously considering "trading up". There's a great deal of potential for career advancement, different avenues and job security in nursing, so I wouldn't be hasty in moving on. Ultimately I'd suggest some soul-searching about what the OP actually wants to achieve, and what underpins those ambitions. Thinking about one's likelihood of a medical specialty at this point is really putting the cart in front of the horse. The real question is whether you want to be a doctor or a nurse - the fine print of specialties within each role is irrelevant until you answer the broader question first.

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