Working as a nurse is a great way to prepare yourself to become a doctor. Your training and background allow medical schools to see you as a strong candidate, and it’ll help you adjust to the demands of training. If you’re thinking about becoming a doctor after getting a nursing degree, there are a few things you should know.

Preparing for a Medical Education

Most nurses already have a certificate, bachelor’s, or associate degree. If you want to go to medical school, you’ll most likely want to get a bachelor’s degree. They usually require three years of undergraduate education, but many applicants will have a four-year degree. Your medical education will take four years and a residency will take three to eight years. While your nursing experience won’t count toward your training to become a doctor, it might increase your chances of getting into a good school.

You also need to prepare financially. During your undergrad years, you might have had a part-time job to help cover your living expenses. But in medical school, you likely won’t have that opportunity. Tuition, books, and other costs are high, which is why taking out private student loans can be a wise idea. With private loans, you can borrow as much as you need and not have to worry about whether you have enough to pay for your education.

Getting into School

Admission is competitive, allowing many schools to be competitive in choosing students. Because a limited number of people can get in, the admissions requirements are strict. But as a nursing graduate, you might find that the requirements are easier for you to meet since you already have a relevant background. While standards can vary, many schools have the same basics. You should have completed science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. If your nursing program doesn’t already include these, consider taking them as electives. If you have work experience, you can meet the requirements of technical skills. You’ll likely have to take a test, and the results will be considered when making admissions decisions. Some schools also require letters of recommendation from employers.

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What to Expect

The first half of your medical education is devoted to learning in the classroom, with the last half focusing on work in a clinical setting. These courses are tough and there is a lot of information to learn at once, but the principles are not difficult. However, don’t expect to get perfect grades every time. Even if you only get a passing grade, you can still be an excellent doctor. For many students, the difficult part is learning how to apply this information and use their judgment to make decisions. Learning how to effectively give that information to patients requires strong communication skills. After graduation but before residency, you’ll need a medical license. To qualify to take the exam, you need to have graduated from an accredited school, so keep that in mind when looking for colleges. The license will be valid for the state you want to practice in.