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Hello everyone! 

 

I'm currently in grade 12 and applying for undergraduate programs soon. I am kind of wary of applying to life sciences programs, because if medical school does not working out and no job prospects. I'm interested in applying for kinesiology or nursing. I know nursing can be subjective in marking and all but I feel as it is the best back up undergrad program for me (or kin as I am really interested in it)

 

My question is what schools am I able to apply to with a nursing degree (because of the clinical and pass/fail classes)

I have emailed some med schools expressing my concern and from what I have gathered, I think McMaster and Queens are my realistic options. If you know anymore schools, that would be helpful, or if you can give me more information on this process and RN TO MD route.

 

P.S

Sorry didn't know which section to post in! I assume this is the correct one. 

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Im a third year nursing student and I cannot speak for all nursing programs, but pretty much all of my classmates have managed to get great grades. Its definitely a difficult program but It doesn't seem like it has the 'low gpa' reputation most people think. This could be just for my particular program though… 

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I also suggest not doing nursing. You could eventually go into medicine after nursing but it would be a much longer road. If you read through the forums and speak to some of us old timers, you will see that many people do not get in on their first attempt, sometimes not even the second. Lots of people are now redoing undergrads etc.

If you are aiming for med. I would suggest doing everything you can to maximize your chances of getting in after the four year undergrad. If you don't get in (and chances are high you won't because it is competitive) then you can always go back and do nursing if you are happy with that as a backup.

Kin can also open doors to applying to professional allied health schools (OT/PT etc).

Also, lots of people disagree with professional students reapplying to another profession as they see it as a waste of money (gov funds much of health school) - "there is a shortage of nurses, and now you wasted a spot and are applying to medicine", it could potentially impact your ability to obtain good references from school profs. Some schools also don't like professional students applying to medicine (I think Ottawa doesn't allow it altogether).

 

My big piece of advice is GPA is King in the Canadian med school system. My tips might reduce your chances at US or foreign schools but if you want to stay in Canada is suggest you look at all the schools and make a table of requirements vs recommendations. Take easy courses and do not risk grades or waste time doing anything overly challenging. The game for premeds is to maximize chances not become an expert in physics or chemistry. You can do all the "hard work" in medical school, for now you need a 4.0. Feel free to PM me for more tips!

 

I actually have a hard time with a lot of this post. No offence, just a different point of view. 

 

1. If you don't get in right away, wouldn't you want a job in healthcare that pays well? That gives you good clinical experience and something to talk about in MMI's? Most of the people I know that did Kin hoping for med are now in nursing, or working serving jobs in between casual clinical hours. I would rather do one undergrad and keep applying, than do one undergrad and have to do another. Now I'm 6-8 years in and I'm still not in med? 

 

2. I've met several people that have gone from nursing to med, and all say that it's a myth that people don't like nurses going to medicine. There's no nursing shortage in Canada, there's lots. And if you were a nurse, wouldn't you want to work with a physician that knows what you go through day in and day out? 

 

3. Advising people to not do anything "overly challenging" is extremely problematic. Most things worth doing are hard, and it's only when you put yourself to the test do you really find out whether or not you have sufficient willpower to do what you need to do to succeed. Sure, don't load up on crazy difficult courses all at once, be smart. But challenge yourself. 

 

At the end of the day OP, you just have to ask yourself one question. If I don't get into med, is nursing what I want to do? Because I know a lot of people that went the biology/microbi/cell bio route that hate their lives now, because they didn't think past getting into medical school. You're in your early days, and there's no right answer. Talk to a lot of people. Get you head out there and see what it's like, keep your options open and work hard. You'll get what you want. 

 

Edit: Also, a kin degree is as useless as the other degrees you mentioned for job prospects, trust me, I know. 

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It's hard to provide you any advice as I don't know you personally and cannot comment as to your personal characteristics, but I would go for kin if I were you.

 

You can always do nursing after kin in one of the 2nd entry nursing programs that are accelerated.

 

Basically: 4 years of kin + 2 years of nursing--this is what would happen if you didn't get into med school

 

You can work as an Rkin while re-applying if necessary--make sure you get plenty of volunteer clinical experience that is relevant and build your resume in general as well as be a mature person with a great work ethic that others like working with---if you do this you shouldn't have an issue finding a job (of course there are no guarantees).

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The MD admission process is a competition.

Basically, are you trying to become a nurse? or a Doctor?

Are you trying to become an expert in 4th year undergrad sciences? Or get into MD school? - then why take hard courses that may lower your GPA?? My point is not too stress and overload yourself so much that it jeopardizes your odds. No wonderful essay about how "I took on all these challenges" makes up for a subpar GPA.

 

Do what you have to do to maximize your odds of success.

 

Clearly, we're all here to become doctors. But there is no template that guarantees admission, that's kind of my point. "Doing what you have to to maximize your odds of success" is tough because how do you do that? High GPA and high MCAT, with diverse EC's - that can be done in a myriad of ways. The UBC admissions stats just came out and the last three years acceptance for a BKin as last degree was 8/7/12, BSN 4/3/5. Now this doesn't take into account how many applicants applied with each degree, but the BSc route yielded 165 admissions. So should everyone do a BSc because it maximizes the odds of success? 

 

Also, I know several people that have gotten into med school with low 80's GPA because their essays and applications show that they're better prepared to be trained as physicians than the "competition". This journey is not black and white, nor should it be. 

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I'm doing nursing as a second degree, and it doesn't seem like it's that hard to get a good GPA. The only concern I would have is about fulfilling the prereq and weighting requirements for some med schools, but it would depend on which school you do nursing at and how many pass/fail classes you have each year. I know that at Mac it's not an issue in first year, anyway! Feel free to pm if you have any specific questions!

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I would agree with the other posters. I think at the end of the day you should decide if you'd be happy with nursing if you don't get in med. Kinesiology is vastly different from nursing. I did a nursing degree (though I didn't finish) before getting into med, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was difficult to get good marks in it (more so than my life sciences degree) but not ridiculously hard or anything. You just have to think of the end goal and make your decision from there. Feel free to msg me if you have questions.

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Hey, I just wanted to give my humble opinion :). Don't do nursing in Undergrad. I did this, then I did a rehab masters, now I work in the Rehab field, still looking into MD or PhD applications and feeling lost as to what the best option would be for me.

 

I did not work long as an RN, but I discovered that the BScN gives you very little pre-med courses and you need to take some pre-med courses if you decide to apply to MD school, as well as study on your own harder to prepare for the MCAT. I had no issues with the GPA, mine is around 3.9 from undergrad.

 

Other than that, speaking of ON only, the job market in Nursing is not any better than Kinesiology or life sciences. I would not recommend it even as second degree now. I personally think Kinesiology - OT/PT/SLP is a better option.  Also, nursing makes you disillusioned and less motivated to pursue patient care at a higher professional level. When you apply to MD schools, they care more if you were giving out water or blankets to the kids in the hospital as a volunteer, than if you worked a couple of years in a paid clinical position (not sure why, but it seems so). To me, the later makes no sense, once you work as nurse or therapist, so I am not the one with "variety" of ECs.

 

Good luck to you!

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Hey, I just wanted to give my humble opinion :). Don't do nursing in Undergrad. I did this, then I did a rehab masters, now I work in the Rehab field, still looking into MD or PhD applications and feeling lost as to what the best option would be for me.

 

I did not work long as an RN, but I discovered that the BScN gives you very little pre-med courses and you need to take some pre-med courses if you decide to apply to MD school, as well as study on your own harder to prepare for the MCAT. I had no issues with the GPA, mine is around 3.9 from undergrad.

 

Other than that, speaking of ON only, the job market in Nursing is not any better than Kinesiology or life sciences. I would not recommend it even as second degree now. I personally think Kinesiology - OT/PT/SLP is a better option.  Also, nursing makes you disillusioned and less motivated to pursue patient care at a higher professional level. When you apply to MD schools, they care more if you were giving out water or blankets to the kids in the hospital as a volunteer, than if you worked a couple of years in a paid clinical position (not sure why, but it seems so). To me, the later makes no sense, once you work as nurse or therapist, so I am not the one with "variety" of ECs.

 

Good luck to you!

 

I'm going to disagree with the bolded part here fairly strongly. I wasn't a nurse, but did work in healthcare, and my previous career did factor in positively during my applications, especially in my interviews. Even at EC-heavy schools, work experience means a lot (and the "typical" pre-med ECs matter less than most people think) and I can't imagine any school that would treat hospital volunteering as a student as more valuable than actually working in a hospital. It's true that variety of ECs matters, but that can be done both in school training for these jobs, as well as while working, and is true for all applicants.

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OP,

 

A lot of great stuff has been said already. Please, heed said advice. I'll just try to add onto or reiterate a few nuggets, I encountered along the way.

 

(1) It's possible to do extremely well in nursing school. 

 

(2) In order to do well in nursing school, something different is required from you than a typical premed. In addition to acing multiple choice tests and mastering short-answer questions, you've got to be able to write well (subjective essay grading and all), communicate orally (subjective presentation grading and all), and acquire/build on a solid clinical skill-set (objectively structured clinical exams and all). When people talk about nursing as a GPA killer, I think it's usually that they keep taking hits because of the inability to do one of these things well.

 

(3) It's hard to do well in nursing school, if you hate the essential work of nursing. I think this applies really to any other area of life actually. I think it behooves you to figure out exactly what you're getting yourself into before you sign up for 3-4 years of a BScN, and possibly years of work after that.

 

(4) If you do wind up studying nursing, you will need to do extra work to make yourself eligible/competitive. Clinical experience doesn't suffice; your application will need to stand out as much as the other kids through paid work experience, awards/scholarships, research, etc. You'll need to take summer courses, most likely to fulfill prerequisites...and even then some of the MCAT subject matter will feel like a foreign language.

 

(5) You will need to try and find mentors who are truly supportive of your dream. The very first day of school, one of my profs sat her small group down and said "there are always some people in the class who are thinking of this as a stepping stone or backup to med school; I usually try to weed those people out first". This stuff happens. Be wary. Be smart.

 

It's easy to say that people coming from baccalaureate science programs have greater success on medical school applications than people coming from nursing and other health professional undergraduates. But, admissions stats typically speak of where matriculants came from rather than applicants. In my first year, it felt like every other person wanted to go to medical school in my program...or was sorta thinking about it. By our final year, only a handful of us still wanted it, and the ones that applied all got in. The rest had truly fallen in love with nursing and everything it had to offer...or law...or research. It's a beautiful thing, and I'm quite proud of all of them.

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Great post,

 

I was just wondering about your friends who fell in love with nursing. Do they even have jobs?

 

I mean, with the liberal cuts in the hospitals and other institutions a lot of nurses are underemployed or unemployed. New grads take around 6-12 months to find anything.  My friends work only casual hours, no benefits, no sick pay, no nothing. Certainly, the pay is "great", around 20-40K for part time work and around 50-60 for full time. And this includes nights, 13 hrs shifts and so on.

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Great post,

 

I was just wondering about your friends who fell in love with nursing. Do they even have jobs?

 

I mean, with the liberal cuts in the hospitals and other institutions a lot of nurses are underemployed or unemployed. New grads take around 6-12 months to find anything.  My friends work only casual hours, no benefits, no sick pay, no nothing. Certainly, the pay is "great", around 20-40K for part time work and around 50-60 for full time. And this includes nights, 13 hrs shifts and so on.

 

I think you make a good point here. I certainly know of people in my program who are either currently unemployed (in nursing) or just getting their first nursing jobs as we speak. Others do find themselves underemployed, precariously employed or working on multiple wards/in multiple institutions to make a living. Cuts have played a big part of this. But a number of factors have as well. The new licensing exam introduced this year has had unprecedented failure rates (well over 30% for graduates of some schools). People typically spend 2-3 months in the summer studying for this thing, and any delay in licensing will end up affecting the time to being hired. Same will the time of the year people are applying for these jobs. Thinking about it reasonably, come April/June, you've got thousands of new nurses all looking for entry level jobs...this is certainly different than if you were applying on a muggy Tuesday. The places you're looking for jobs also have a role to play...a lot of people are keen on moving to places like the downtown core for work where things are more saturated than a Norfolk Gen for example. And, even the clinical area makes things tough at times (e.g. peds/l&d vs. everything else). 

 

There a number of ways people work around these obstacles.

 

The licensing exam is a doozy, but some people begin their studying earlier in the year to cut down on time they spend in the summer studying.

With regard to application time, some people from my program chose to finish a full-semester early in order to beat the job market influx I talked about.

Other people select rotations so they build extensive clinical experiences in their specialty area and have chances to build relationships in different places...for example, I had friends who did three or four stints in cardio and mental health, so they had very little trouble convincing people they could work on the units.

And, some people bite the bullet and choose to save their dream hospitals for later on in their careers.

 

Ugh, I'm really sorry about your friend. I know a few people who are in similar positions, and it's immensely frustrating to watch and hear about.

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I think it's also important to note that this cutting thing always happens. Governments always try to deal with high healthcare spending by cutting investments in manpower or hours. It swings back eventually.

 

Well, not always. This is the way they refuse to accept any responsibility for their poor political decisions, by saying it just happens and it is just like an internal force of the market. it is not. It is a deliberate policy to leave hospitals understaffed.

 

I see you are at U of T.  Ontario has become a terrible place for anyone in healthcare, and if medical workers do not stand up as a united force, they will continue to hit on all groups involved, and this includes MDs. Unfortunately, in an institution like a hospital, nursing home, rehab facility etc. your work will always depend to some degree on those around you, on the way the system functions. The system does not function well with 1 to 5 or 6 nursing ratios and 1 doctor to xyzlllsjfgn # of patients  spread over 6 different floors, overworked residents and so on. It is frustrating for everybody to watch.

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Thank you Belle_MD.

I also have an undergrad in Nursing.

Would you discuss why you chose the MD route versus the NP? Is it true NPs have difficulty finding a good position now?

We all know about the nursing versus medical model. My opinion on this is that both disciplines complement each other and have something to learn from each other. A good primary care practitioner would be best off if they can apply different approaches depending on the situation. In other words, the more tools you have under your belt, the better equipped you are to help patients. Pneumonia is pneumonia in any science, but if you can teach deep breathing and coughing, mobilization, chest physio, proper hydration and nutrition, infection prevention on top of just handing in a prescription, you are a better practitioner in my view. Same way, if you have extensive knowledge in pharmacology, you can probably figure not just an effective medicine, but the best medicine for the patient. Unfortunately, the government puts practitioners in less than an ideal position, making proper patient care very difficult by cuts in budget, caps in pay, limited time etc.

I guess I am not that interested in the "approach" answer. And I am speaking only in consideration of primary care.

Also, school is school, but ultimately if one has a desire to learn, no one can stop them to learn what they need to in order to improve their practice. While, I have a lot of respect for medical school, a big chunk of year 3 and 4 is clerkship, which I do not think is much superior in terms of knowledge acquisition than working in the hospital in another health discipline. Especially year 3s, it is a very general experience.

I think in order for nurses to apply to med school, there must be reasons beyond the applicable differences in approach or acquisition of knowledge in NP versus MD school. Could you shed more light on those reasons? I am open to a pm as well, but I think other premed101 members would find the answer helpful too.

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Also, school is school, but ultimately if one has a desire to learn, no one can stop them to learn what they need to in order to improve their practice. While, I have a lot of respect for medical school, a big chunk of year 3 and 4 is clerkship, which I do not think is much superior in terms of knowledge acquisition than working in the hospital in another health discipline. Especially year 3s, it is a very general experience.

 

I don't agree. Clerks are subjected to a rigorous training program (both on the floor experience and academic teaching/learning) that is designed to build them to the point where they can become competent resident learners. They spend a lot of time learning the reasoning for actions and the theory behind those actions. That's after they have been sent through 2 years of training and skills development in pre-clerkship. 

 

You simply don't get that when you are working on the floor in another discipline (and why would you, you are working a different job, not training to be a physician). You might learn about protocols and actions in response to a situation, but knowing what to do vs. why you do are completely different.

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