What would be a better option-to be a nurse practitioner who specializes in pediatrics or a pediatrician
I have always wanted to be a pediatrician. That is my long term goal. I plan on being a RN first, then obtain my nurse practitioner degree, and finally become a pediatrician. Recently, a lot of people have been telling about how great a career as a nurse practitioner is, I wasn't sure if I should continue or stop at being a pediatrician. Is there really that big of a difference between careers? #medicine #pediatrician #nurse-practitioner #healthcare #hospital-and-health-care #pediatric-nursing
TONYA MCDONALD, MD, FAAP
I personally think it’s better to be a physician if you want autonomy and the ability to do a broader range of care. Physicians can practice independently, have a much deeper understanding of disease processes and aren’t limited in what types of patients they see within Pediatrics. It’s a longer training but higher quality of education and better pay in the long run in most situations. States vary on autonomy, but most require a Doctor supervise NPs in some fashion.
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I would suggest talking to pediatricians and nurse practitioners about their jobs. In the end, both are quite similar - they see patients, and provide treatment. Nurse practitioners usually practice under the supervision of a doctor. Some patients will be too complex for a nurse practitioner to see, and are best referred to pediatricians. The training process is considerably shorter (and less expensive) for a nurse practitioner than a physician.
The idea of becoming "a nurse practitioner first" doesn't work that well in practice. Although it's certainly possible to do this (and I've known several who have), you don't get any advanced credit in medial school or residency for the nurse practitioner work you have done - it will still take just as long (and cost just as much) to finish medical school. And medical school is definitely full-time - you won't be able to earn money as a nurse practitioner while you are in medical school.