Friday, December 20, 2013

A woman asks, "Should I be a nurse practitioner or a doctor?"

On the "Ask Skeptical Scalpel" blog, a young woman asks if she should go to med school or become a nurse practitioner.

Here's the link

If you agree or disagree with my response, feel free to comment.



artiger said...

I liked your response. I have an 8 year old who has something of an interest in what I do. Who knows how medical education will change in the next decade or two, but if things are similar to present times, I'll probably try to talk her into something else.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I heard that same thought expressed by a few doctors on Twitter too.

bigjimricotta said...

I guess it depends on what type of medicine you want to do. If you want to do primary care then nursing practitioner is probably a good choice--much less debt--medical school is extremely expensive; less personal sacrifice on you and your family; medical school is a lot harder to get into, will require a lot more intensive study to get through it, and internship and residency will take a great toll on you and your family. You may make more money as primary care doctor than nurse practitioner, but it may take years to catch up for the extra expenses of medical school. Also, the way things are going, do not expect insurance companies to raise fees. If you want to go into surgery or more specialized medicine, then of course a career in nursing would not allow that. You can become a nurse anesthetist which is another option. The future of medicine is not good in my opinion for doctors. They will always have a job, but I think the sacrifices that are made may not be worth it. I am speaking as a surgeon. FYI--surgeons fees are less than one half of what they were 25 years ago... You can make a decent income as a surgeon but it is not a 9-5 job by any means. I think a nurse practitioner can be a rewarding job--you will have constant contact with people, you will be able to make a living, you will be able to have a personal life and enjoy your family, you will be able to help people.

Anonymous said...

The acceptance criteria to medical, nursing, and PA schools are somewhat different, and the OP may want to take that into consideration.

In general, physicians do have more clinical autonomy than mid-levels, but that is heavily dependent on specialty and locale.

In general, physician-specialists (note: specialists) will earn more, but not much more taking into consideration hours worked, on-call, benefits, educational loans owed.

I think if you you want a career in primary care, the NP route is more attractive. Keep in mind that many, many primary-care physicians are unhappy with their jobs. I don't know the work-satisfaction levels for NP's or PA's.

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