Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hey
    I was just wondering, what exactly are the differences between a doctors role and a nurses role.
    I am a 2nd year medical student but am considering dropping out of the course as it is academically too difficult and I have got to the point where I feel like I honestly can't cope with the workload anymore.
    I am now considering applying to nursing. I have done much internet research but it seems like there is much overlap between the roles.
    Obviously doctors all go to medical school whilst nurses go to university to study nursing which is a shorter course, doctors can prescribe whilst nurses generally can't (apart from nurse practitioners), nurses spend more time with each patient as they are assigned to a ward.
    Any advice/ input would be much appreciated.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hello kitty 2013)
    Hey
    I was just wondering, what exactly are the differences between a doctors role and a nurses role.
    I am a 2nd year medical student but am considering dropping out of the course as it is academically too difficult and I have got to the point where I feel like I honestly can't cope with the workload anymore.
    I am now considering applying to nursing. I have done much internet research but it seems like there is much overlap between the roles.
    Obviously doctors all go to medical school whilst nurses go to university to study nursing which is a shorter course, doctors can prescribe whilst nurses generally can't (apart from nurse practitioners), nurses spend more time with each patient as they are assigned to a ward.
    Any advice/ input would be much appreciated.
    They are very, very different roles, with a some overlap particularly with specialist nurses and nurse practitioners - who do nursing for many years before doing PhD's, Masters and further diplomas, and then end up with a very limited scope in a particular field (certainly not the same as a registrar or consultant in the field), which is far from academically easy.

    However I am very surprised as a 2nd year med student that you're asking this question, didn't you do work experience? Surely you know what doctors do from being at medschool even if it is the pre-clinical years?

    But that all said, simplified, a doctor: Assesses patients with histories/examinations and in emergencies, makes diagnoses, prescribes (or directly gives in emergencies), performs procedures and requests investigations/referrals etc. A nurse: Looks after the basic needs of a patient, check's their observations, gives medication that has been prescribed (i.e. drug rounds), liases with other healthcare professionals - and in other settings offers health advice (smoking services etc.) and gives vaccinations.

    This is very simplified however and I suggest you do a lot of reading about this - and if you're serious that you do some work experience or get some HCA work.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Mushi_master)
    They are very, very different roles, with a some overlap particularly with specialist nurses and nurse practitioners - who do nursing for many years before doing PhD's, Masters and further diplomas, and then end up with a very limited scope in a particular field (certainly not the same as a registrar or consultant in the field), which is far from academically easy.

    However I am very surprised as a 2nd year med student that you're asking this question, didn't you do work experience? Surely you know what doctors do from being at medschool even if it is the pre-clinical years?

    But that all said, simplified, a doctor: Assesses patients with histories/examinations and in emergencies, makes diagnoses, prescribes (or directly gives in emergencies), performs procedures and requests investigations/referrals etc. A nurse: Looks after the basic needs of a patient, check's their observations, gives medication that has been prescribed (i.e. drug rounds), liases with other healthcare professionals - and in other settings offers health advice (smoking services etc.) and gives vaccinations.

    This is very simplified however and I suggest you do a lot of reading about this - and if you're serious that you do some work experience or get some HCA work.
    Yes I did do plenty of work experience but it seems as though since getting to medical school I have discovered that nurses actually do a lot more than they appear do
    Previously I thought that doctors: prescribe, manage treatment, do ward rounds etc
    Since then I have discovered that nurses can do all of these too (as a lot of the basic care- washing, feeding, dressing, of patient is left to HCAs), it seems like a bit of a grey area where the role of a nurse stops and a doctor starts...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Couldn't you take some time off medical school then go back, to clear your head and catch up with some work? I know a 3rd year medical student at Kings who did that in his first year when he couldn't cope with the work.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Username97)
    Couldn't you take some time off medical school then go back, to clear your head and catch up with some work? I know a 3rd year medical student at Kings who did that in his first year when he couldn't cope with the work.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    It's odd that you say that as I am currently on a year out, I didn't pass my second year exams first time round but the university have allowed me to sit them this May
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hello kitty 2013)
    Yes I did do plenty of work experience but it seems as though since getting to medical school I have discovered that nurses actually do a lot more than they appear do
    Previously I thought that doctors: prescribe, manage treatment, do ward rounds etc
    Since then I have discovered that nurses can do all of these too (as a lot of the basic care- washing, feeding, dressing, of patient is left to HCAs), it seems like a bit of a grey area where the role of a nurse stops and a doctor starts...
    Only a small subset of super-specialist nurses do that, and then they have a very limited scope of practise within a certain area, as well as doing this from a 'nursing' model and acting partly as a to-between of the medical and nursing team.

    Honestly, if you want to see what the majority of nurses do, shadow them. I'm certain that they'll be happy to accommodate you as well as answer these questions better than I can.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    If you can pass your exams - I'd say try your first clinical year?
    You might have a very different perspective then? Either bad or good - but then you are less likely to have any regrets - also it wouldn't hurt as a nurse how to do a CV exam or a neuro exam - so if you can try that!
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hello kitty 2013)
    Previously I thought that doctors: prescribe, manage treatment, do ward rounds etc
    Since then I have discovered that nurses can do all of these too
    I really don't follow. Very few nurses prescribe, and when they do its only a very limite scope of things. Its the doctors who take the history, examine the patient, think about the diagnosis, councel the patient and come up with a management plan. Nurses may know a fair amount about the common conditions that come through the ward, but their role is more in implementing what the doctors have said, not working through the underlying science. That's pretty different.

    But if that's what you want to do that's absolutely fine of course - there are many advantages to nursing. You get to spend more time with your patients, more flexibility amongst specialities, less liability... Its an academic step down sure but there is plenty of scope for academically high-achieving nurses and if that appeals its worth looking into.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nexttime)
    I really don't follow. Very few nurses prescribe, and when they do its only a very limite scope of things. Its the doctors who take the history, examine the patient, think about the diagnosis, councel the patient and come up with a management plan. Nurses may know a fair amount about the common conditions that come through the ward, but their role is more in implementing what the doctors have said, not working through the underlying science. That's pretty different.

    But if that's what you want to do that's absolutely fine of course - there are many advantages to nursing. You get to spend more time with your patients, more flexibility amongst specialities, less liability... Its an academic step down sure but there is plenty of scope for academically high-achieving nurses and if that appeals its worth looking into.
    I know it's only a few that are - but Nurse prescribers are allowed to prescribe "anything they fell competent to do so".
    GP practices sometimes have a nurse practitioner too who will see a lot of the minor type things and prescribe away. Probably similar to what an F2 on GP rotation would do(ish). Obviously certain medical conditions have to go to the GP.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Philosoraptor)
    If you can pass your exams - I'd say try your first clinical year?
    You might have a very different perspective then? Either bad or good - but then you are less likely to have any regrets - also it wouldn't hurt as a nurse how to do a CV exam or a neuro exam - so if you can try that!
    Thanks for the advice. I will definitely do that if I pass my exams, I was considering more as a back up career if the exams don't go so well
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nexttime)
    I really don't follow. Very few nurses prescribe, and when they do its only a very limite scope of things. Its the doctors who take the history, examine the patient, think about the diagnosis, councel the patient and come up with a management plan. Nurses may know a fair amount about the common conditions that come through the ward, but their role is more in implementing what the doctors have said, not working through the underlying science. That's pretty different.

    But if that's what you want to do that's absolutely fine of course - there are many advantages to nursing. You get to spend more time with your patients, more flexibility amongst specialities, less liability... Its an academic step down sure but there is plenty of scope for academically high-achieving nurses and if that appeals its worth looking into.
    Yes indeed you are right, doctors are more the thinkers
    Problem is I am struggling with the science now, so not sure how it's going to pan out if I ever make it into clinical years

    Thanks for the advice
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Philosoraptor)
    I know it's only a few that are - but Nurse prescribers are allowed to prescribe "anything they fell competent to do so".
    GP practices sometimes have a nurse practitioner too who will see a lot of the minor type things and prescribe away. Probably similar to what an F2 on GP rotation would do(ish). Obviously certain medical conditions have to go to the GP.
    Oooh I didn't know this, so isn't there a set list of drugs that nurses can prescribe... interesting
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hello kitty 2013)
    Oooh I didn't know this, so isn't there a set list of drugs that nurses can prescribe... interesting
    I THINK you're possibly thinking of PGD's here, which nurses don't actually prescribe, but can give at their discretion AFTER the doctor has signed the relevant area on the prescription chart dependant on the environment they work in after being passed as competent - these are usually things like basic analgesics, indigestion remedies etc...

    OR it could be nurse supplementary prescribers who can prescribe any drug listed in a patient-specific clinical management plan once the patient has been diagnosed by a doctor. It's mostly used by practice nurses in the management of long term conditions.

    OR you could be thinking of Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribers who are allowed to independently prescribe from a limited formulary called the Nursing Formulary for Community Practitioners which includes over-the-counter drugs, wound dressings and applications.

    Then after that you have your nurse independent prescriber's... they have to attend a university based course of this, and then can prescribe any licensed and unlicensed drugs within their clinical competence, which was extended to controlled drugs in 2012.

    ................................ ...........................

    If you can bear to listen to any more advice... please for the love of god try your hardest to pass your exams and at least go out on your clinical years before you make any decisions that will literally change the course of your entire life. Try to arrange some time to spend on the wards with some nurses, and by this I mean your bog standard staff nurses preferably on a speciality like elderly care not with a clinical nurse specialist in order to really get a feel for which role it is you can see yourself doing. Nursing like you say is more than basic care... but the basic care is the bread and butter of any nurses armoury where you can learn far more from your patient than you can undertaking a paper based assessment. There's definitely a certain amount of overlap in the types of people that become nurses or doctors... but in general every day medicine their roles are incredibly distinct from one another.

    Don't get me wrong here - I'm a student nurse, I come from a family full of healthcare professionals and I have the upmost respect for everyone from the ward house keepers right up to the consultants. I frigged around in school and coasted my way through my GCSE's, dropped out of my A-levels and I decided medicine was "too hard, too long to study, too much money". Here I am now at 24 studying nursing after spending years doing dead end jobs and then 3 years working in mental health having the living ****e kicked out of me on a frequent basis. I'm not quite sure which of these beatings finally made me realise that if you truly want something then it's worth fighting for.

    I had to convince my university to let me study adult nursing after initially gaining a place to study mental health nursing so that once I qualify I could have a chance to get into medical school as a graduate... I'll probably be in my 30's before I get into medical school if I ever get a place! Nothing in my training is ever enough for me, if I ask questions I get told "you don't need to know that", or "well that's the doctors job to know, not yours" and I've not sat through 2 years of pre-clinicals...

    It was actually spending time with an amazing anaesthetist that made me realise what I wanted - his reasoning was simple. If you can imagine yourself winning the lottery, but still continuing in your chosen career then by all means it's the career for you. Ask yourself this question about medicine... then ask yourself this about nursing.

    I wish you the best of luck, if you have any questions about nursing then feel free to ask away or PM me xxx
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hello kitty 2013)
    Hey
    I was just wondering, what exactly are the differences between a doctors role and a nurses role.
    I am a 2nd year medical student but am considering dropping out of the course as it is academically too difficult and I have got to the point where I feel like I honestly can't cope with the workload anymore.
    I am now considering applying to nursing. I have done much internet research but it seems like there is much overlap between the roles.
    Obviously doctors all go to medical school whilst nurses go to university to study nursing which is a shorter course, doctors can prescribe whilst nurses generally can't (apart from nurse practitioners), nurses spend more time with each patient as they are assigned to a ward.
    Any advice/ input would be much appreciated.
    hi

    i hope you don't mind me commenting. I'm almost the opposite to you, I'm a registered adult nurse and have been for 3 1/2 years. In September I'm starting medical school to retrain as a doctor. Ultimately I'd say you need to choose what is right for you but think very very carefully. I would say nursing is a career you need to absolutely love otherwise you won't be happy. Whilst I understand nursing is less academically challenging there are different challenges you would face. Though less academic the course is still very challenging, out of the 300 students who started in my year around 80 of us finished. Long hours, endless case studies, difficult placements and *****y colleagues resulted in a high drop out rate. Saying that there are many wonderful things about being a nurse. The patient contact Is probably the best part, but there is also endless paperwork, targets and often lack of respect which comes along with it. A common misconception is that nurses don't have as much responsibility as doctors but this is actually very untrue. Nurses have much responsibility but little authority which can be incredibly frustrating. Accountability is a huge issue and every year more and more nurses are struck off by the nmc, sometimes with good reason and other times for very petty reasons.

    Whereas much of doctors responsibility is related to treatment, nurses is related to care. I have met some very good nurses who through stress and overwork have made minor errors which cost them their PIN number. I would definitely suggest researching thoroughly before making the jump as there would be nothing worse than regretting your decision, especially as you would be working with doctors every day, which would be a constant reminder. Saying all this I still think nursing is a great career choice, I just think often people assume it is very different to how it really is.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SarahGummer)
    hi

    i hope you don't mind me commenting. I'm almost the opposite to you, I'm a registered adult nurse and have been for 3 1/2 years. In September I'm starting medical school to retrain as a doctor. Ultimately I'd say you need to choose what is right for you but think very very carefully. I would say nursing is a career you need to absolutely love otherwise you won't be happy. Whilst I understand nursing is less academically challenging there are different challenges you would face. Though less academic the course is still very challenging, out of the 300 students who started in my year around 80 of us finished. Long hours, endless case studies, difficult placements and *****y colleagues resulted in a high drop out rate. Saying that there are many wonderful things about being a nurse. The patient contact Is probably the best part, but there is also endless paperwork, targets and often lack of respect which comes along with it. A common misconception is that nurses don't have as much responsibility as doctors but this is actually very untrue. Nurses have much responsibility but little authority which can be incredibly frustrating. Accountability is a huge issue and every year more and more nurses are struck off by the nmc, sometimes with good reason and other times for very petty reasons.

    Whereas much of doctors responsibility is related to treatment, nurses is related to care. I have met some very good nurses who through stress and overwork have made minor errors which cost them their PIN number. I would definitely suggest researching thoroughly before making the jump as there would be nothing worse than regretting your decision, especially as you would be working with doctors every day, which would be a constant reminder. Saying all this I still think nursing is a great career choice, I just think often people assume it is very different to how it really is.

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I agree with all jobs in health care there is great responsibility and accountability as patient's lives are ultimately in your hands.

    *Still in 2 minds about what to do*
    I have some nursing work experience lined up so that should help
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Orange-sox)
    I THINK you're possibly thinking of PGD's here, which nurses don't actually prescribe, but can give at their discretion AFTER the doctor has signed the relevant area on the prescription chart dependant on the environment they work in after being passed as competent - these are usually things like basic analgesics, indigestion remedies etc...

    OR it could be nurse supplementary prescribers who can prescribe any drug listed in a patient-specific clinical management plan once the patient has been diagnosed by a doctor. It's mostly used by practice nurses in the management of long term conditions.

    OR you could be thinking of Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribers who are allowed to independently prescribe from a limited formulary called the Nursing Formulary for Community Practitioners which includes over-the-counter drugs, wound dressings and applications.

    Then after that you have your nurse independent prescriber's... they have to attend a university based course of this, and then can prescribe any licensed and unlicensed drugs within their clinical competence, which was extended to controlled drugs in 2012.

    ................................ ...........................

    If you can bear to listen to any more advice... please for the love of god try your hardest to pass your exams and at least go out on your clinical years before you make any decisions that will literally change the course of your entire life. Try to arrange some time to spend on the wards with some nurses, and by this I mean your bog standard staff nurses preferably on a speciality like elderly care not with a clinical nurse specialist in order to really get a feel for which role it is you can see yourself doing. Nursing like you say is more than basic care... but the basic care is the bread and butter of any nurses armoury where you can learn far more from your patient than you can undertaking a paper based assessment. There's definitely a certain amount of overlap in the types of people that become nurses or doctors... but in general every day medicine their roles are incredibly distinct from one another.

    Don't get me wrong here - I'm a student nurse, I come from a family full of healthcare professionals and I have the upmost respect for everyone from the ward house keepers right up to the consultants. I frigged around in school and coasted my way through my GCSE's, dropped out of my A-levels and I decided medicine was "too hard, too long to study, too much money". Here I am now at 24 studying nursing after spending years doing dead end jobs and then 3 years working in mental health having the living ****e kicked out of me on a frequent basis. I'm not quite sure which of these beatings finally made me realise that if you truly want something then it's worth fighting for.

    I had to convince my university to let me study adult nursing after initially gaining a place to study mental health nursing so that once I qualify I could have a chance to get into medical school as a graduate... I'll probably be in my 30's before I get into medical school if I ever get a place! Nothing in my training is ever enough for me, if I ask questions I get told "you don't need to know that", or "well that's the doctors job to know, not yours" and I've not sat through 2 years of pre-clinicals...

    It was actually spending time with an amazing anaesthetist that made me realise what I wanted - his reasoning was simple. If you can imagine yourself winning the lottery, but still continuing in your chosen career then by all means it's the career for you. Ask yourself this question about medicine... then ask yourself this about nursing.

    I wish you the best of luck, if you have any questions about nursing then feel free to ask away or PM me xxx
    Thanks for your reply. I'm very sorry you had to go through those horrible experiences in mental health. I really do wish you the best of luck in applying to medical school, don't worry about your age, there are plenty of people who are in their 30s doing medicine, and no-one really bats an eyelid, your nursing experience will all be very useful x
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hello kitty 2013)
    Thanks for your reply. I'm very sorry you had to go through those horrible experiences in mental health. I really do wish you the best of luck in applying to medical school, don't worry about your age, there are plenty of people who are in their 30s doing medicine, and no-one really bats an eyelid, your nursing experience will all be very useful x
    Hi. Just came across this thread and was wondering how you got on with your exams and whether you are still in medical school.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brussels sprouts
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.