nurse to doctor

From Nurse to Doctor: How to Advance your Medical Career?

nursing to doctor

Careers and career choices would never remains same. They depends on many factors; like sometimes  choices have to make between what’s important and what is in demand? Many people who opt for becoming a doctor while being nurses, wanted to pursue medicine in the beginning but due to time constraints and the expensive fees, this couldn’t occur. After becoming nurses and gaining experience, desire to career advancement and ambition drives nurses to become an MD. The career path of nurse to doctor helps them think to advance their careers as that they can handle new roles and take on more responsibilities in the hospital.

Becoming a doctor seems like a rewarding occupation but it comes with a price, the price of rigorous hard work, patience, mental and physical toil, expenses, and a long duration. All these factors will amount to acquiring a degree or a position. It may seem a lot, but the results seem quite rewarding. It is one of the top-paying professions out there. The field itself is quite interesting and the learning never stops. If you have a burning desire for the sciences or medicine, then you should pursue it. 

The question which usually arises is, why would an RN, resident nurse, switch to become an MD, a medical doctor? There are many reasons, most of them are a rise in salary and lifestyle choices. 

In advancement of a medical career, why do RN switch to MD? 

Better Opportunities

The nursing profession has room for advancements, such as acquiring certificates, supplemental education, and specialisations. A doctor is seen as a leader, carries more authority. They head the patient treatment processes. Due to this reason, they are given respect from the general public and colleagues. Another reason why nurses would pursue medicine is to further develop their skills and become more competent. There are some advancements and the aspect of authority is attractive for nurses.     

Extensive approach

Nurses gain mostly hands-on experience, and eventually, they become experts in their field. Nurses can acquire unique insights regarding healthcare, due to their closeness with the patients and involvement in their nature of work. Doctors who didn’t work as nurses usually don’t develop this perspective. When nurses transition to MDs’, they carry with themselves ample knowledge which can offer a comprehensive outlook. The unique combination of abilities and competencies can create a positive influence on the final results of patient care. 

Making a difference in the patient’s end treatment

Doctors influence the healthcare setup, nurses tend to use that influence to impact a patient’s outcome. The work of nurses does impact the patient’s health. Doctors are required to give input when it’s about the diagnosis, rehabilitation, treatment procedure, etc. The ability to make important decisions that could help patients; providing preventative treatment, curative care, and surgical procedure are all convincing factors that compel an RN to become an MD. 

How to advance your career from a Nurse to Doctor? 

Both nurses and doctors are a part of the healthcare industry but the duration of their education varies, medicine takes up much more time than a nursing degree. There are several steps required to change from RN to MD.

Admission in Medical school

One must have an undergraduate degree before applying to medical school. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing program does not fulfil the requirements to prepare for the MCAT exam which is one of the comprehensive exam in preparation of Medical college entry test. MCAT score 500 is usually acceptable by medical colleges. Not to forget that an aspiring candidate necessarily attends Pre-med courses such as organic chemistry and physics in college. Upon completing college, nurses have to clear a premedical post-baccalaureate program. However, few things must be considered for getting eligibility in a medical school through the American Medical College Application Service .That includes Bachelor’s Degree grades evaluation and the programs you opted for during your admission process.

Furthermore, letters of recommendation will be required to draft a personal statement, resume, transcript, and other mentioned documents. 

Medical school journey FROM NURSE TO DOCTOR

All the advancement in career begins with this vital step. In these first 2-years of your medical school, they work and polish the foundation skills which help clear basic scientific concepts. Whereas in the last two years, clinical rotations in medical metiers equip you with day-to-day experience.

Medicine degree (md)

The USMLE is a key graduation requirement for medical students. For a doctor of medicine degree (MD), you have to qualify for the USMLE exams, the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This test consists of three examinations that will elevate your medical school career. Students take USMLE step 1 during their second year of medical school. Later they can take step 2 clinical knowledge (CK) during their third or fourth year.


As graduation will be around the corner, you will have to apply for residency at numerous programs. The application process is comprehensive, it includes an interview stage and ranking activities where you will mark your program preferences. A computer algorithm will match the residents to programs. Resident physicians usually take around three to seven years to complete their program. After completing your residency, you will be eligible for the USMLE Step 3 exam. 

Obtain a license from the state

After residency, you can acquire a license from your state through a board certification exam. During the process, you would have to fulfil the particular requirements drafted by your state, to be applicable for licensure. It’s a good step to research your preferable state’s requirements for the board certification exam. For instance, some states require you to complete a fellowship, while you are completing a speciality, to become certified. 

Practice and Specialisation 

After acquiring licensure from your state, you are now a board-certified physician. You are applicable to start practising in any field or speciality. This is the last step that will advance your career from a nurse to a doctor. You have many options available, such as private practice, group practice surrounded by a health care system, or just a group practice. It usually depends on your preferences and the prospects available in your region.

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