Can I Get Into Medical School with a Nursing Degree?

It is easy to assume that because doctors and nurses have different jobs, students who are interested in becoming doctors would be better off not majoring in nursing during undergraduate college. Such is not the case. Nursing provides a solid background in the courses every would-be medical student must take, and the in-depth view it gives into the “other” side of the medical profession can produce better doctors than those who have no idea what nursing is all about.

How does a non-medical major benefit anyone?

Medical schools, like law schools, like to have students from a wide variety of majors. History and English, for example, are popular majors among those who go on to practice medicine. Although they do not focus on medicine, students in those majors learn to be thorough and detail-oriented, traits which come in handy when one is in the business of saving lives. The same traits enable the study of medicine to move forward; consider the works of Galen, the ancient Roman physician whose study of wounded gladiators gave physicians vastly greater knowledge of the human body.

Nursing as a premed major

An example of how a nursing major can satisfy the requirements for pre-med can be found at the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies. Students at that school take, in addition to other classes specified by their major, the following relevant courses: a year of biology, a year of general chemistry, a year of organic chemistry, a year each of physics and math, and one semester each of calculus and statistics. These courses can be applied to training in medicine, dentistry, and physical therapy. Note that students at this university program have two advisors each during all four years at the school. Do medical schools appreciate this approach? Ask the students who have gone on to medical school at Georgetown, Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Columbia, and Ohio State among others.

Do nursing majors make better doctors?

Nurses who go on to medical school get a first-hand look at patient care during their time in the nursing program. Caring nurses are invaluable assets to patients facing the fear of a major medical procedure and, after the operation, the pain and the need to recover. It is not an insult to either profession to say that the roles of doctors and nurses in the healing process are different.

Even if a nursing student does not practice nursing after graduation but goes straight to medical school, he or she will still see and experience caring for patients from hospital intake to discharge. This can help keep students in the demanding worlds of medical school and medical practice from losing their humanity and compassion, an aspect of medical care that can sometimes be left behind. Nursing majors have not only the chance to become doctors, but to become the best doctors of all.