This question is asked more and more in today’s medical scene and our current economic climate. More and more nurses are wondering why they didn’t spend the extra years in medical school to become a doctor and be able to do everything that a doctor does. The question comes into play when nurses consider the pay difference between a doctor and a nurse. The average salary of a general doctor can be estimated at around $150,000 per year compared to the salary of an average Registered Nurse is approximately $65,000. As you can see the average doctor makes about twice as much as the average nurse. With the difficulty of the job at hand, many nurses are wishing that they would have gone to medical school instead. However, before nurses decide to go back to medical school they should consider a few factors.
First, the process required to become a doctor is significantly longer than the average nursing program. From start to finish the process to receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing takes approximately five years and this includes your time in a hospital setting receiving training. It takes much longer to become a doctor. Doctors are required to spend four years in undergraduate university, approximately four to five years in medical school, followed by several years in internship and residency. On average this entire process takes most students twelve years to complete. If the average student enters college at 18 years of age they would become a doctor around the age of 30, compared to a nurse who could begin practicing around the age of 23. The time investment is much greater to become a doctor and is not recommended for everyone.
Lastly, nurses and doctors do very different jobs. While nurses spend their time holistically treating patients: working at their bedside, tending to their needs, and spend a great deal of time “hands on” with patients, doctors are primarily there to treat and diagnose disease. Many people become nurses to help people and enjoy the experience of the hands-on approach to medicine. If they were to become a doctor this would no longer be the case.
Before reflecting back on your time in school and regretting becoming a nurse, make sure to accurately consider the decision. Why did you want to become a nurse in the first place? Would the large amount of extra time really be worth the pay increase? Would the amount of time spent diagnosing really be as satisfying work as treating patients hands on? If you still want to go back to medical school there are lots of options that will allow you to start the process online. Be sure to check out the myriad options.