Guest Post: How Do You Go to Medical School as an RN?

Nursing is a highly fulfilling career in one of the most in-demand industries. It is thanks to nurses that patients receive excellent bedside care, and doctors can best treat illnesses. But there are many nurses who want to take a larger role in the delivery of primary care by transitioning into the role of a physician. Other than that, it's also a professional advancement with many benefits such as a higher salary. On average, RNs make $73,300 per year according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In comparison, BLS estimates the median pay for physicians and surgeons to be greater than $208,000 annually. It's definitely a huge pay bump that will interest any nurse to advance their career in healthcare. That said, entering medical school as an RN is a different experience that can be broken down into three main steps. Check Educational Requirements For starters, you must have an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree to enter medical school. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an undergraduate degree that is scientifically inclined. But that may mean that fewer of your courses can be credited. As an RN though, the most direct path to take is to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) since it will likely satisfy many prerequisite course credits. If you don’t have a BSN, this is the first requirement you must obtain. Today, there are online RN to BSN programs from respected schools that working nurses can take at their own pace. These programs are shorter than a standard BSN and can be fast-tracked so you can complete it in just a year. Academic counselors can even help tailor schedules to be more manageable. Aside from helping you get into med school, nurses with BSNs can make over $15,000 more a year. Recently, studies have shown that out of current nursing job postings, 88% of openings were only eligible for BSN-educated nurses. Of course, your GPA will also be a factor. To enter most BSN programs, you must have at least a 2.0. For medical schools, this varies a bit more and will likely have higher requirements. Which school you enter and under which program you apply to will ultimately determine this. Consider Finances Once you’ve gotten your BSN or any undergraduate degree, it’s time to crunch the numbers. Medical school is not known for being cheap. The cost will largely depend on whether you opt for a private or public institution. To give you an idea, the reports from the Association of American Medical Colleges indicate that public school medical students pay an average of $37,556 for tuition, fees and health insurance in their first year. Meanwhile, private students paid nearly twice as much, at $60,665. Many students start saving for med school before they even get their undergraduate degree. However, most still have to take student loans. As an RN, you can ask your current employer for a sponsorship. Many healthcare institutions see the benefit of helping upskill their employees. If they are unable to cover your fee, or even a portion of it, see if they can help you with grant or scholarship applications. Compare Schools Lastly, decide on which medical school has a program best suited for you. There are several things that factor into your compatibility, such as finances, family, work responsibilities. Look into residency options as well when you want to specialize in a branch of medicine later on. It’s important to find a school whose values and environment resonate with you. If you can, try visiting the school campuses. Admission directors advise that students should use a holistic approach to selecting schools. Being realistic with how you can also match up to grade requirements and course loads will also help. From there, time your application and practice your interview. A stellar GPA and experience will be impressive, but it’s nothing if you don’t catch their attention. The admission board sees thousands of applications. To stand out, experts suggest sending in your applications early. Remember, this is not a time to be modest, but rather a chance to highlight your hard work. Becoming a doctor is a dream for many RNs. While entering medical school is not easy, even for those who already work in the healthcare sector, it is a path to more resources and opportunities to help others. It can feel like starting over, but your nursing experience gives you an advantage and a special perspective that few have.

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by Adora Covers

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