Apply to Medical School With an Undergraduate Nursing Degree

Nurses possess desirable medical skills, including a familiarity with terminology and hospital culture.


Apply to Medical School With an Undergraduate Nursing Degree.

Nurses possess desirable medical skills, including a familiarity with terminology and hospital culture.


I HAVE BEEN ASKED IF Someone with an undergraduate degree in nursing can apply and attend medical school. The answer is, “yes.” ​Nurses can go to medical school.

According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, 1,034​ applicants with undergraduate degrees in nursing applied to medical school between 2010 and 2014, and 319 nurses have matriculated.

Nurses can go on to become physicians or advance practice nurses boarded in particular fields, such as family, acute care or psychiatry. These paths are not simply a shift within the same profession, but a momentous alteration in one’s position in medicine. Nurses implement the orders of a physician, whereas physicians and nurse practitioners ​

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Nurses typically make excellent doctors because they have spent a lot of time at the bedside developing finely tuned skills in observing, communicating with and caring for patients. Nurses are experienced with medical terminology, working in teams and with the culture in hospitals.

Nurses also possess technical skills, such as IV​ placement and medication conversions, which serve them well in medical school. Nurses exercise compassion​ and patience, and both are invaluable skills for a physician.

If you’re a nurse considering attending medical school, you must ask yourself why you want to now pursue medicine. ​Being able to search your soul to form and communicate a cogent answer to this question is critically important to your success, as it is with other applicants.


Think about why you want to go to medical school. Have you considered becoming a nurse practitioner or pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing​? Consider your goals, and if they can be accomplished via nursing.

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You should reflect on why you went to nursing school in the first place, and about what has changed about your life that makes the shift to medicine a new dream. For example, perhaps you are experiencing a period of unhappiness with nursing.

Cassandra Donnelly, D.O., a former registered nurse who is now an emergency medicine physician, recommends that nurses pursue both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools to have a variety of options.​

Medical school prerequisites are one year of biology, physics, and English, along with two years of inorganic and organic​ chemistry. Nursing school courses are different, although there may be some overlap depending on the institution.


Volunteer work, research and leadership are also integral parts of the medical school application. Nurses, along with experienced applicants from other fields, likely have more experience from which to pull to support their applications. Accordingly, highlight work experience that serves as an impetus for the transition to the practice of medicine.

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Nurses follow the same process and are treated equally to all other applicants to medical school. Each applicant is judged on his or her own merit. The personal statement and interview process provide an excellent opportunity to explain the journey that led to medicine from nursing.

Once in medical school and the occasional obstacle appears, remember why you followed the transition from nursing to medicine and continue to move forward. People come to medicine from many different paths. Among them are those from the inside, from nurse to doctor.​