The road to becoming a doctor is lengthy and arduous, and those who have earned a master's degree in nursing have a leg up in qualifying for medical school. A well-trained nurse has received an extensive and directly applicable education, and -- with some additional studying and brushing up -- can expect to do well on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), the prequalifying test for medical school.
Passing the MCAT exam is a key element to medical school acceptance, together with the nurse's college and employment records. Upon submission of a detailed formal application and completion of a personal interview, the medical school will determine the candidate's qualifications and appropriateness, followed by acceptance or rejection. All things being equal, a practicing nurse can expect to receive favourable treatment throughout the application process.
Program of Study
Once a nurse has been accepted to medical school, he can enter a typical four-year program of study with additional electives if desired. The nurse's significant advantage over an aspiring doctor who has not received similar training is that medical schools often give academic credit for pre-med courses as well as postgraduate study in such disciplines as anatomy, biology, paediatrics, pathology, genetics and physiology. They may also give credit for job experience, and the practicing nurse with a master's degree can expect to do well academically given his extensive training within the field.
Upon graduation from medical school, the nurse will generally accept an internship, which essentially involves becoming an apprentice for a year, working within various medical disciplines and under a range of doctors. Given the nurse's master's-level education and related experience, this step should be familiar and represents a time to gain practical knowledge and training from the doctor's perspective. It is also a key time to decide upon a field of speciality.
Board Exams, Residency and Specialization
Once the nurse practitioner completes the internship and all related exams, she may then sit for the medical board exams, followed by a hospital residency to actually practice medicine. If not already chosen, this is the time to decide upon a speciality, which will consume a number of additional years of study and practice. The nurse's demonstrated love of medicine and hands-on experience will go a long way to ensure ultimate success.