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Can I become a RN first and then work up to becoming a physician?

I am asking this question because I want to have a career in the medical field and want advice on what steps I should take to achieving my goal #medicine #healthcare #pre-med #registered-nurses #physicians


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Richard’s Answer

Yes, some of my classmates during med school and a member of my group in private practice took that route.

You will need to complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters

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Estelle’s Answer

yes, but the road to becoming a physician is long:
4 years college
4 years of medical school
3-6 years residency

However, if you become a nurse first, you will be an excellent candidate for medical school.

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James’s Answer

hi briena,


yes, you can go to nursing school first and then apply to medical school. however, i'd like to make a suggestion. a medical school admissions committee would likely look more favorably upon ICU or ER nurses as they generally have more expertise.


another suggestion i have would be to get as much additional training/certifications as you can, such as becoming an EMT, a CPR trainer, a radiology tech, etc. depending on what field you plan to go into you might also consider things like being a nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, etc.


i would suggest you discuss your career goals with a counselor. you need to think hard about what role you are most comfortable with. doctors crave being in the drivers seat, taking sole responsibility most of the time. so it's not just about your skill set.


good luck!


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Rachel’s Answer

Yes you can become an RN first. However, this is a somewhat circuitous route to med school. Many of the required nursing courses are not required for med school and vice versa. If you become a nurse, you may have to go back to school for a couple of years when you do decide to complete the pre-med requirements.

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