3 Reasons Why Being an NP is Better Than MD or DO
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
The debate of NP vs MD and DO for who is "better" will be an argument as long as theses different health care professionals are practicing medicine and nursing. There are positive points toward each title, but in this article, we will talk about a couple of positive points that a nurse practitioner has over a physician.
#1. The flexibility of jobs. Medical school takes a long time. The amount of time it takes to become a physician is also not getting any shorter. If a person decides to go to medical school, they will need to first complete a bachelors degree with the required classes needed to apply to medical school. If accepted into the medical school, the student will then need to spend another four years in their doctorate program. When finished with medical school, the new grad MD or DO will need to get accepted into a residency. Residency will take at least another three years, and then possibly a fellowship. After all this education is done, the MD's and DO's today are exceptional, and can provide the best possible care in our healthcare system. They will know their specialty insanely well, and will have seen thousands and thousands of patients before they start working on their own. This education is necessary for them for the invasive and potentially dangerous interventions and procedures that our physicians face. The problem with this is not so much the problem for the doctor, but for the human behind the white coat. If a physician is practicing in an area of medicine that they enjoyed in medical school, but after three plus years of residency, and several more years of practice decide that they can't stand their specialty, it is very hard for a physician to change without having big life altering changes.
These changes can include starting another residency, which will take a lot of time, and loss of potential income that could have been made if they stuck with their practice. Having to move again, causing the burden of another move on the physicians family, which has probably happened a couple of times throughout the medical school journey. If an OB/GYN physician decides he can't stand his job anymore, it would be very very had for him to become a cardiologist. For a nurse practitioner, however, this process will be more of a decision of just getting the job. Our world needs physicians and the incredible work they do, but as far as one strength for NP's, nurse practitioner's can move within specialties much easier. Now just because it is easier, there are specialties within the NP role as well.
There are different programs nurse practitioners can do that can make the difference in where they work. A psychiatric NP can work with psych patients, but is not able to work and prescribe for patients in other areas where an acute care nurse practitioner would. Even with these specialties, however, there are plenty of areas of growth and change for nurse practitioners that an MD or DO simply does not have the flexibility to change.
#2. The Flexibility of Education.
For a physician, the only way to be in medical school is to physically be at the medical school. Med students will have many hours being in labs, and hospitals along with the classroom setting. This will require the student to be 100% engrossed into the physical campus and program. This is good, and it helps create good physicians. For nurse practitioner students, they will have already completed a rigorous nursing program, and will be working as a licensed nurse.
The additional learning will come from the hours of rotations under the supervision of a practicing nurse practitioner, and from theory based exams. While it is debated on how effective online school really is, the fact is that there are still many online based nurse practitioner programs that allow nurse practitioners to work and go to school at the same time. Some of these programs require the student to visit the campus periodically, while some allow the student to hardly ever come to the actual campus! Online school helps the student not have to move, or not have to quit their job. So whether you think online school is good or bad, it still makes a great flexible option for students to continue their education.
#3. The Cost.
It is not a surprise to tell people that medical school is expensive. Now physicians make good money, and as long as a physician is working on paying off the loan, the loan will be paid off with the income that a physician makes. The cost is the cost of years of the human life. Doctors have so much to learn, and with the intensity of the American health care system, our physicians need to be smart and know what they are doing.
The process is not easy, and it probably won't change any time soon. While becoming a nurse practitioner is not an easy process either, and it is a process that also takes a long time, becoming a nurse practitioner is not going to take away as many years of your life as becoming a physician. Nursing school will take around four years, and then a doctorate in nursing practice degree can be done in another three. A masters in nursing can be done in two years. These years of life can be viewed as a sacrifice by the physician, but for the nurse practitioner, there is a good balance of medical life and a life outside of the medical field.
The three reasons,
1. The Flexibility of jobs.
2. The Flexibility of education.
3. The cost of years of life.