Bioethics Discussion Blog: The Choice for Your Professional Career: Nurse vs Doctor

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Choice for Your Professional Career: Nurse vs Doctor

My introduction to this thread is very simple. It's a question: If you were or are looking for a professional career, which profession would you select of these two options, either to become a nurse or to become a doctor? And then, why would you select one over the other? ..Maurice.

6 Comments:

At Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:46:00 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

As an RN PhD, I would go into biomedical engineering. As an advanced practice RN, I filled many of the functions of a physician. I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with physicians of all ilks, and nurses of all ilks. Almost none of them impressed me. There were a very few excellent exceptions.
There is no reason for the slovenliness of practice I saw, and continue to see.
Given the opportunity to "do it over again," I'd go into either biology or engineering and then into the other field for masters and PhD. Doesn't matter which comes first. There's more opportunity to influence the health of a large number of people for the positive in that area.

 
At Thursday, April 22, 2010 8:39:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Elizabeth, I would be curious how you would further describe your distaste for entering either the nursing or physician professions. When you use the term "slovenliness" you don't mean the dress or appearance but do you really mean negligent,careless and slipshod in manner towards patients or use of professional skills? Did you ever challenge those doctors and nurses with your appraisals and if so what kind of response did you get in return?

What is it in the fields of biology or engineering that would you expect to find participants of a different "ilk"? ..Maurice.

 
At Saturday, April 24, 2010 4:22:00 PM, Anonymous medrecgal said...

I could just about write a book about why I would choose medicine over nursing, though when I was growing up the automatic assumption was that because I was a girl, I'd automatically become a nurse rather than a physician. This isn't to suggest there's anything inherently wrong with nursing as a profession, only that in my mind, it was the physicians who had the interesting, life-saving, "heroic" functions. Now that I've seen both sides of these as patient and as someone in an allied health profession, the perspective is certainly less slanted and I can say I've seen some "nurses rock" sorts of moments as well.

However, I would still choose medicine if I had that opportunity. I'd probably have been most suited to a "cognitive" specialty like endocrinology, neurology, or some other subspecialty of internal medicine. It would have been the combination of relative autonomy and the opportunity to know a "regular" patient population on a deeper level that would have been most appealing. I would not have been one of those "slovenly" types mentioned in Elizabeth's post, for I am conscientious by nature and have seen too much from the patient side of medicine to ever be intentionally careless towards others. More in part 2.

 
At Saturday, April 24, 2010 4:34:00 PM, Anonymous medrecgal said...

I think another aspect of this would be that generally medicine is more cognitive in nature whereas nursing is more hands on (until you get up into the more advanced practice sorts of situations like your other poster described). I don't think I would have been spectacularly good at either direct patient care or the paperwork that seems to have invaded the sanctum of nursing these days; I'd be far better at things like understanding the esoteric technicalities of the interactions between a patient's various chronic conditions or juggling their handful of medications appropriately, while also having the necessary amount of compassion and a willing ear borne out of "been there, done that". (Not to say that physicians don't see their fair share of paper...it's just that it's less obvious unless you're buried under a stack of charts like I am every day.) I have, after all, been bucking the stereotypes pretty much since the day I was born, and medicine just seemed more appealing personally. Nothing against one or the other.

 
At Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:36:00 PM, Blogger Snaps said...

I love connecting with patients so my choice would have to reflect getting to have high levels of patient contact. (I'm currently a paramedic)
What I consistently hear from my RN and LPN friends is that in their work environments (public or private) there is very little time for meaningful patient contact due to overwork, lack of staffing etc.
I imagine being a physician is very similar, however I believe I'd pick physician over RN. IN addition to my desire to have meaningful patient contact time, I feel the profession of physicians needs more women, and more individuals who don't suffer from the "god complex" or do it "for the money".
I don't mean to portray all physicians as greedy and arrogant, the vast majority arn't. I'd like to be one more humble, out going and hard working physician to help convince the public that stereotypes aren't always to be believed.

That's my two cents.

 
At Friday, November 12, 2010 4:49:00 PM, Anonymous Joshtoma said...

Having been a nurse for 5 years I would definately choose nursing over medicine. I work at UM medical center in Michigan. I work in 9 different ICU's including 2 pediatric ICU's. I would choose nursing because in my expierence the nurses have more patient contact and in some cases "guide" the medical care of the patient. However, the ICU enviroment is a completely different enviroment than a general care floor. I love working at a teaching hospital also. My attitude towards it is that the nurses and doctors are there to learn from each other. There was been many times when I've showed residents how to put in IVs, give boluses and assess patients. I enjoy working as a team and have lots of respect for our docs and they have lots of respect for me. I enjoy being a nurse. -Josh

 

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