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Medicine vs Nursing

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    How does one decide between wanting to become a doctor or a nurse? I have had experience with the two professions and I am aware that the two roles are very different, but there are also a lot of similarities. The similarities attract me to both professions and I have found it difficult to really decide which appeals to me more. How have you decided between the two?
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    (Original post by Oggz)
    How does one decide between wanting to become a doctor or a nurse? I have had experience with the two professions and I am aware that the two roles are very different, but there are also a lot of similarities. The similarities attract me to both professions and I have found it difficult to really decide which appeals to me more. How have you decided between the two?
    If you know that their roles are very different then you should be able to decide for yourself, quite easily. In case you don't:

    Doctors: diagnose and treat patients
    They have the ultimate responsibility for their patients. They lead and devise treatment plans. They have far less patient contact than nurses.

    Nurses: hands-on care and administrates treatments
    They follow what doctors order them to do for patients. They (along with HCAs) are responsible for the physical care of patients. They have the most patient contact out of all the healthcare professions.

    Questions that you should ask youself:

    Do I enjoy a deep understanding of the underlying physiology of the human body?
    Do I enjoy the idea of life-long learning?
    Do I enjoy being a leader? Or follower? Or both?
    Do I enjoy lots of hands-on care for patients?
    Do I want to work in a female-dominant profession?
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    (Original post by Panda89)
    If you know that their roles are very different then you should be able to decide for yourself, quite easily. In case you don't:

    Doctors: diagnose and treat patients
    They have the ultimate responsibility for their patients. They lead and devise treatment plans. They have far less patient contact than nurses.

    Nurses: hands-on care and administrates treatments
    They follow what doctors order them to do for patients. They (along with HCAs) are responsible for the physical care of patients. They have the most patient contact out of all the healthcare professions.

    Questions that you should ask youself:

    Do I enjoy a deep understanding of the underlying physiology of the human body?
    Do I enjoy the idea of life-long learning?
    Do I enjoy being a leader? Or follower? Or both?
    Do I enjoy lots of hands-on care for patients?
    Do I want to work in a female-dominant profession?
    Is that relevant? And which job are you talking about when you say that? Appararently, 40% of doctors were women in 2009, and by 2013 were expected to be in the majority.

    And I would like to point out that both jobs involve constant learning and training - new treatments prescribed by doctors are carried out by nurses! Would you say the charge nurse was a leader or a follower? And in quite a few cases, the nurse will say to a doctor 'can you prescribe me some X for Y because they're a bit Z'
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    (Original post by Oggz)
    How does one decide between wanting to become a doctor or a nurse? I have had experience with the two professions and I am aware that the two roles are very different, but there are also a lot of similarities. The similarities attract me to both professions and I have found it difficult to really decide which appeals to me more. How have you decided between the two?
    It's nice to see that someone is trying to make an informed decision for once - for so many school leavers medicine is almost an automatic choice and work experience nothing more than something to be endured so as to be able to get a place.

    The post above describes the difference between the roles relatively well.

    The difference in the length of traning is something you might want to consider also.
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    Funny how nobody has mentioned the difference in salary. Why can't this be a valid reason? It certainly influenced my decision to persue medicine over other careers.
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    (Original post by Elwyn)
    Funny how nobody has mentioned the difference in salary. Why can't this be a valid reason? It certainly influenced my decision to persue medicine over other careers.
    Probably to convince the world that they aren't totally materialistic
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    (Original post by twelve)
    Is that relevant? And which job are you talking about when you say that? Appararently, 40% of doctors were women in 2009, and by 2013 were expected to be in the majority.

    And I would like to point out that both jobs involve constant learning and training - new treatments prescribed by doctors are carried out by nurses! Would you say the charge nurse was a leader or a follower? And in quite a few cases, the nurse will say to a doctor 'can you prescribe me some X for Y because they're a bit Z'
    Relevance is a subject matter – and in my opinion, of course it's relevant. I'd think it'd be particularly relevant if you are a male wanting to go into nursing since it's a female-dominant profession (I thought that was pretty obvious?). As a male HCA at the moment in my gap year, I have had quite a few issues working with other HCAs and nurses, and I’ve spoken to and been told, personally, by my ward manager (who’s a male) that it’s an issue.

    Of course you have other nurse rankings such as, charge nurses, ward managers/sisters, and matrons. Matrons, for example, don’t actually do any of the nursing jobs; they mainly focus on admin work. Would you go into nursing just because you like admin-related work? I simply referred “nursing” to a general term. Also, I have never mentioned anywhere that nurses (or any other healthcare professionals for that matter, by the way) don’t require constant learning. Even as a HCA you learn new things every day, but it’s definitely not to the extent required for doctors - same as the “leader and follower” and other arguments, etc. We should all know that nothing is actually black and white in healthcare, but there must be certain boundaries that need to be established when considering going into one profession over the other.

    (Original post by Elwyn)
    Funny how nobody has mentioned the difference in salary. Why can't this be a valid reason? It certainly influenced my decision to persue medicine over other careers.
    Would have mentioned it, but forgot. Haha.
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    I think the main points have been addressed above. Note that the boundary between nurse and doctor is now blurring, with the emergence of nurse practitioners, nurses can train to be more diagnostic. Obviously you aren't going to be House or doing surgery, but if you want an opportunity to diagnose take note that it is open to nurses too.

    I think at the most superficial level it is dependant on how much hands on care you want to give the patient. Your interest in the actual biology of disease would be a factor as well, as nurses do not need to learn this to the same level as doctors (from what my gf's Mum who is a nurse says, not dissing nurses).

    The pay is obviously a factor, I know people who have been nursing for 30 years and haven't gone up much in the pay scale over the years. They still earn an okay salary (a bit below national average), but compared to some jobs the pay certainly isn't pitiful either. Doctors obviously earn a lot more (generally speaking). Yet again though, if you are a doctor who works in a hospice half the time voluntarily or a nursing manager that completely turns the table.

    I don't know anything about you, but there is a slight elephant in the room: medicine is very, very competitive to get into. This might be something that you need to take into account, it is by no means impossible to get in, but it is a lot more difficult to get in. This might be something that you want to take into account. The other thing is, if you can't decide, write a medical personal statement and apply to both. I know of people who have applied to medicine with nursing as their firfth choice and there is no reason why you couldn't do this or apply to say 2 nursing and 3 medicines.
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    (Original post by Panda89)
    I
    Do I want to work in a female-dominant profession?
    Med schools are some 60% female or so I've read.
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    (Original post by No Future)
    Med schools are some 60% female or so I've read.
    That's true, some as high as 70% female. Over the next few years I think the gender change will become more apparent.
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    (Original post by Oggz)
    How does one decide between wanting to become a doctor or a nurse? I have had experience with the two professions and I am aware that the two roles are very different, but there are also a lot of similarities. The similarities attract me to both professions and I have found it difficult to really decide which appeals to me more. How have you decided between the two?
    may i ask what are the similarities that attract you to both
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    (Original post by Oggz)
    How does one decide between wanting to become a doctor or a nurse? I have had experience with the two professions and I am aware that the two roles are very different, but there are also a lot of similarities. The similarities attract me to both professions and I have found it difficult to really decide which appeals to me more. How have you decided between the two?
    Other Healthcare professions that might be worth a looksie - Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy. (pharmacy too, but if you like nursing then probs not your thing).
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    (Original post by Panda89)
    Relevance is a subject matter – and in my opinion, of course it's relevant. I'd think it'd be particularly relevant if you are a male wanting to go into nursing since it's a female-dominant profession (I thought that was pretty obvious?). As a male HCA at the moment in my gap year, I have had quite a few issues working with other HCAs and nurses, and I’ve spoken to and been told, personally, by my ward manager (who’s a male) that it’s an issue.

    Of course you have other nurse rankings such as, charge nurses, ward managers/sisters, and matrons. Matrons, for example, don’t actually do any of the nursing jobs; they mainly focus on admin work. Would you go into nursing just because you like admin-related work? I simply referred “nursing” to a general term. Also, I have never mentioned anywhere that nurses (or any other healthcare professionals for that matter, by the way) don’t require constant learning. Even as a HCA you learn new things every day, but it’s definitely not to the extent required for doctors - same as the “leader and follower” and other arguments, etc. We should all know that nothing is actually black and white in healthcare, but there must be certain boundaries that need to be established when considering going into one profession over the other.
    You are right that nursing is a female dominant profession (although I'm surprised you've had problems with that - none of the male nurses (A or D grades, or sisters) seem to have any difficulty at all. What do you mean by problems? Personally, I like having a few men around - means I don't have to shave any of the male patients :P But as the quote below said (and I thought I said as well... maybe not) medicine is now also becoming a more female dominant profession.

    (Original post by No Future)
    Med schools are some 60% female or so I've read.


    What you said about it not being black and white is pretty much what I was going for. So the questions you put:
    Do I enjoy a deep understanding of the underlying physiology of the human body?
    Well, doctors have a DEEPER understanding, but nurses still have to have an understanding, even if its only within their specialty.
    Do I enjoy the idea of life-long learning?
    Doctors and nurses both have to do training days etc
    Do I enjoy being a leader? Or follower? Or both?
    Doctors are leaders when they are decision makers, followers when they are following hte consultant on the ward round. Nurses are leaders when they are charge nurses, or sisters, or even just a staff nurse telling and A grade what they want them to do, and are followers when doing what they are told by doctors.
    Do I enjoy lots of hands-on care for patients?
    Yep, this one I can't argue - nurses definitely have a lot more hands on care than doctors. A doctor would never do a bed bath for example (although I've heard about some doctors who have helped out in special cases, so its not completely gone)
    Do I want to work in a female-dominant profession?
    And this one - nursing is definitely female-dominant, but medicine is also becoming increasingly more so - perhaps in some specialties more than others.

    But yeah, OP, all of these things are important to consider - which part of the balance do you want to be in? And also, the pay will affect your decision, don't pretend it won't (lets be honest, you wouldn't say it to admissions tutors, but its true) as well as the likelihood of you getting in.
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    (Original post by No Future)
    Med schools are some 60% female or so I've read.

    (Original post by MissEviscerator)
    That's true, some as high as 70% female. Over the next few years I think the gender change will become more apparent.
    In 2007, the Royal College of Physicians published a report which showed that 57% of the acceptances across all the med schools in the U.K are females. However, only 40% of the doctors are females (42% and 28% of GPs and consultants are females, respectively). This was 5 years ago, so I'd expect the figures to change slightly, but not significantly. As for the nursing force, ~90% are females (it's even higher in U.S with 94.6%), though it is becoming more popular amongst males .




    (Original post by twelve)
    x
    Well, I've not had any problems with them until I “noticed” (ambiguous term here) that they had problems with me. As an individual, I’d describe myself as open, friendly and approachable, so it was a real shock to me to see how they had perceived me. As my manager said to me, "we (males) are working in a female-dominant profession so we’ll always be noticed more and be talked about much more often”, and I totally agree with that. Also, it doesn’t help with the fact that the ward I’m working at is one of the busiest and has one of the worse working-friendly environments in the hospital; a few current staff and NHSPs have said so, too, without going into too much detail. It doesn’t happen just to me or my ward, though; I’ve spoken to a ST1 recently and she told me that when she was in her foundation years, there were a few occasions when the nurses were "bullying" her (she was talking about gender differences in medicine and relationships between doctors and nurses).
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    (Original post by Panda89)
    In 2007, the Royal College of Physicians published a report which showed that 57% of the acceptances across all the med schools in the U.K are females.
    Yes, as I said some 60%

    The other person is right. Some med schools are closer to 70%
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    (Original post by No Future)
    Yes, as I said some 60%

    The other person is right. Some med schools are closer to 70%
    I never said you were wrong.
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    Women will outnumber men in Medicine by 2017.
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    (Original post by Oggz)
    How does one decide between wanting to become a doctor or a nurse? I have had experience with the two professions and I am aware that the two roles are very different, but there are also a lot of similarities. The similarities attract me to both professions and I have found it difficult to really decide which appeals to me more. How have you decided between the two?
    Why don't you try and get some work experience in both and see for yourself what they're both all about.

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