Nurse or MD? Why Nursing Is Better

Nurse vs MD?

Nurse or MD? Why Nursing Is Better

So you’re a nurse. You’ve spent three years in nursing school, you’ve done two years of clinical residency, you are hard at work in your chosen field and now people are asking you “Why didn’t you just go to medical school?”

Jo, head nurse of a neurology department, says it best:

“It happened again: a raft of compliments from a patient and her husband, with the husband taking me aside and speaking seriously about what a pity and a waste it was that I didn’t go to medical school. The implication is that I’m too smart, or too hard-working, or too marvelous overall to be a nurse; that I’d be doing the world more good as an MD.

My two main foci as a nurse are assessment and education. It’s because I’m a nurse that my assessment skills are more detail- and change-oriented than those of my medical colleagues: after all, they’re in surgery or clinic all day, while I’m dealing with the same people for twelve hours at a stretch. When something minor changes, the nurse is often the first to notice–or the only one to notice–not just because she’s there, but because she knows the patients better.

I’m not a helpmate. I’m not a handmaiden. I’m certainly not a failed, frustrated doctor-wannabe. I’m a carefully-trained, careful-thinking, observant clinician with a wide range of disparate skills and some strange little tricks up her sleeve.”

Nurses offer patients something doctors can’t; a holistic treatment approach that includes extended direct care. Doctors diagnose; nurses heal. There’s nothing more worthy a  person can do.