I'm am interested in going back to school to pursue a career in the medical field. My question is: how do I choose which medical profession best suits me?
I am passionate about nutrition, naturopathic medicine, working in third world countries, epidemiology, and specializing in diseases that affect third world nations (cholera, malaria, HIV/AIDS, ebola). I'm trying to decide if I should attain my BSN and become a nurse, or take the plunge and start working towards medical school and become a doctor.
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If you have an interest in becoming a physician, you can always become a RN first, and go to medical school later. One of the third medical students at my school was a RN in the ED before he went to medical school.
As a nurse, you will be involved directly in carrying out the treatment of patients, whereas as physician, you will be more involved in the diagnosis and development of the treatment of plan (although, depending on your field, you may be physically involved in treatment). In other words, physicians are more concerned with identifying a patient's concerns and establishing a plan to address them, while nurses ostensibly carry out the plan established by physicians. As a nurse practitioner, that dynamic will likely change; NPs will have responsibilities which are more similar to physicians.
I chose to become a physician because I enjoy the Sherlock Holmes aspect of gathering information from a patient's history and physical exam, and using such clues to identify a patient's underlying health issue.
The two fields are very different. Nursing approaches the individual from a holistic perspective and is always focused on health promotion and risk reduction. The BSN studies 'systems' and has knowledge about safety, quality, change and public health. It might be a good fit as you can attain a doctorate and practice as a Nurse Practitioner.
Medicine is more about the diagnosis and cure.
They both are essential to any healthcare team.
I am sure there are career surveys online that might further direct you. Good Luck