Med School vs. Nursing School: Comparing Your Options

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What are the differences between med school vs. nursing school, and why choose nursing as a career? It takes far less time to become a nurse than a doctor, there is a higher demand for nurses, and nurses can choose from a wide range of specialties and workplace settings.

It’s not unusual to switch careers. If your current career path isn’t bringing personal fulfillment, you might consider pursuing a healthcare career. However, it’s not always easy to determine which might be best for you: med school vs. nursing school.

Let’s look at the differences and why you might choose nursing as a career. The University of Mount Saint Vincent’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program can build upon your previous college experience and help you earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months.

Med School vs. Nursing School: What Are the Differences?

Both med school and nursing school teach students how to care for patients, but there are considerable differences between these two academic programs. When contrasting med school vs. nursing school, you must first understand their care models.

Physicians work with the medical care model, in which the diagnosis and treatment of conditions are the primary concern. In other words, they focus on resolving the patient’s symptoms. In contrast, nurses tend to work with the holistic care model.

Although nurses can also diagnose and treat medical conditions if they become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), they also consider other aspects of the patient’s well-being, such as whether they have the proper support at home.

The curriculum is also different for med school vs. nursing school. Although some courses are the same (e.g., anatomy), students learn from a different approach. In nursing school, students focus on anatomy from the patient care perspective. In contrast, the medical school curriculum emphasizes the human body from a cellular level and the pathways that lead to disease.

There are plenty of other differences, as well. For instance, it takes longer to earn a medical degree and complete post-med school training than to complete nursing school. Medical school also tends to be more expensive and competitive to get into.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Now that you’re familiar with some of the main differences between med school vs. nursing school, you may wonder, “Why choose nursing as a career?” There are so many benefits of nursing as a career. Here’s a look at some of the top benefits.

Requires Less Time to Earn a Degree

The years of required education are another significant difference between medical school and nursing school. To attend medical school, you must first earn a pre-med bachelor’s degree (four years) and then complete medical school (an additional four years). Then, you’ll complete three to seven years of a residency in a specialty area and perhaps one or more fellowship programs.

In contrast, it’s possible to become a nurse in much less time. Aspiring high school graduates can attend a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing program and then sit for the NCLEX licensure exam. Alternatively, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, you could be eligible to complete an Accelerated BS in Nursing program, such as the ABSN program at the University of Mount Saint Vincent.

students studying with computers

The ABSN program at the Mount offers the same quality of nursing education as a four-year program, but it can be completed in as few as 16 months. It may be an ideal option if you’re a career switcher who would prefer not to spend another four years as an undergrad.

High Demand for Nurses

In addition to the significantly less schooling required for a prospective nurse, you may choose nursing because of the high demand for registered nurses (RNs). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the job growth rate for RNs from 2022 through 2032 will be 6%, faster than average. At this rate, healthcare employers expect to hire about 177,400 new RNs during this period.

In contrast, the BLS estimates the job growth rate for physicians and surgeons from 2022 through 2032 will be 3%, as fast as average. This indicates that healthcare employers will likely hire about 24,600 new doctors and surgeons during this period.

Develop Meaningful Relationships with Patients

Why choose nursing as a career when both doctors and nurses have opportunities to interact with patients? Think back to your last medical appointment. There’s a good chance you spent more time with a nurse than a doctor. You may have spent the entire visit with a nurse and not seen a doctor at all.

Indeed, many nurses serve as the primary point of contact for patients. They triage, discuss symptoms and medical history, and explain treatment options. Nurses also help family caregivers understand how to best care for their ill or injured loved ones.

Nurses have opportunities to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with patients, whereas doctors are typically so busy they might only spend a few minutes with a patient.

Are you starting to lean toward nursing school? Learn how to enter nursing as a second career here.

nurse in hospital with folder in arms smiling at camera

Broad Range of Specialization Opportunities

Another excellent reason to consider becoming a nurse is the incredibly diverse range of specialization opportunities. Nursing gives you the chance to pursue your passions.

If you care deeply about the welfare of older adults and want to make it your life’s work to ensure they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, you could choose to specialize in adult gerontology nursing.

With this nursing specialty, you could pursue jobs within hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, home health agencies, or hospice groups, among other possibilities. Or you might focus your work on policy advocacy as a public health nurse specializing in ensuring older adults in your community receive the support and resources they need.

This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding nursing specialties. There is a nursing specialty for virtually every area of healthcare, including:

  • Oncology
  • Dialysis
  • Urgent care
  • Emergency room nursing
  • Critical care
  • Cardiac care
  • Pediatrics
  • Labor and delivery
  • Informatics

The list goes on and on. So, why choose nursing as a career? The broad range of specialization opportunities can be an enticing reason.

Diverse Workplace Settings

nursing students in class

Another one of the many benefits of nursing as a career is the wide range of workplace settings you can choose from. Many nurses work in hospitals in departments such as orthopedics, intensive care units (ICUs), and trauma centers. Others decide to go into healthcare administration and manage departments or whole healthcare facilities instead of providing direct patient care.

However, there are also plenty of nursing jobs outside the traditional hospital setting. Consider the following places where nurses can work:

  • K-12 schools and universities
  • Cruise ships
  • Medical evacuation aircraft
  • Camps
  • Medical research facilities
  • Public health departments
  • Community health centers
  • Retirement communities
  • Private homes (home health agencies)

Some nurses decide they want more than one workplace setting. They may become travel nurses, accepting relatively short-term work assignments in different locations. Travel nurses tend to be adventurous souls who love immersing themselves in new places and different regional cultures.

Benefits of Nursing School at the Mount

Have you made your choice between med school vs. nursing school? If you’ve decided nursing could be right for you, an admission counselor at the Mount can help you get started.

two nurses listen to lecture

Why choose nursing school at Mount Saint Vincent? Many of our nursing students come here because our ABSN program offers:

  • The opportunity to graduate in as few as 16 months
  • Three start dates per year
  • Conveniently located ABSN learning sites in the NYC area
  • Onsite nursing coursework to enhance student engagement
  • Exceptionally personalized admission support
  • Clinical rotation placements at nationally renowned healthcare facilities in the NYC area
skyline of NYC

NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world. Check out your guide to nursing in New York City.

Work Toward Your Nursing Career Today!

If you’ve decided that nursing is the right career for you, you can build a firm foundation for the future at the Mount. With four convenient ABSN learning sites in the NYC area and three start dates per year, you can be on your way toward earning a nursing degree sooner than you might think!

When you contact our admission team, you’ll be assigned a dedicated admission counselor to guide you through each step of the process. Get started today!