Medical education

Breaking Barriers: Can a Nurse Become a Doctor?

If you’re a Nurse and want to become a doctor, you can take primary advantage of your medical nursing education and training experience. Along with several accelerated courses available for Nurses, some medical schools offer special bridge programs for becoming a nurse to a doctor.

Becoming a doctor takes several years, involving a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and a residency program. Although, if you’re already a Nurse, your journey from nurse to doctor may be shortened with certain conditions we shall discuss here in this article.

Is it Possible to Go From Nurse to Doctor?

With the right preparation and dedication, one can go from nurse to doctor to pursue a medical career. First, however, it’s worth noting that we shall discuss here whether a nurse can become a doctor; what the prerequisites and conditions have applied to the nurse to MD process, can a nurse become a doctor.

Is it Possible to Go From Nurse to Doctor?

To go from nurse to MD, switching career requires personal motivation and individual choices since both jobs are growing and has a scope of excellence. However, the domain of doctors opens a broader range of opportunities if you have that caliber, and can a nurse become a doctor? Is that a question floating over the vortex of your mind?

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Approximately 4.3 Million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States with a growth rate of 7% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); out of which around 8 to 9% of Nurses turn their career to become a doctor and apply in the Medical Schools according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Around 82% of nurses pursue an advanced degree to increase their knowledge and skills, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). In addition, many registered nurses (RNs) would like to deepen their understanding of medical science to advance in their careers, especially in their passion for patient care from bedside to boardroom.

Around 1.1 Million doctors in America exist, including physicians and surgeons, with a growth rate of 4%. However, there are several special programs and pathways to go from nurse to MD, which helps facilitate the transition from your nursing career to medicine.

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Nurse to Doctor Bridge Programs: Eligibility

Nurse to Doctor bridge programs facilitate that transition to becoming a physician with your nursing background. Each of these programs differs in their structure of the course and enrollment requirement, but most of them allow you to utilize your nursing experiences.

Nurse to Doctor Bridge Programs Eligibility

You might benefit from a shorter course duration than regular medical students in your nurse to doctor bridge programs. Here are specific eligibility criteria that most institutions or schools have before offering you the nurse doctor or RN to MD bridge program.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited institution.
  • Active Registered Nurse (RN) license.
  • Minimum GPA Cap, around 3.0 or higher.
  • Work experience in the Clinical Setups
  • Entrance Exams such as the following,
    • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or
    • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or
    • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS),
    • Or any other depending upon the institution’s criteria.

Prospective applicants may require to meet specific additional criteria to get into nursing to medical school. However, it may look stringent, but the admission process for the RN to Doctor isn’t that difficult, and you may encounter plenty of students from the same nursing background.

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Scaling the Heights: The Path From RN to MD

You can get a valuable foundation for your medical career with your nursing background before applying to nursing to medical school. Many accelerated programs and medical schools facilitate the path from RN to MD. We shall discuss them with steps here in this section.

Scaling the Heights The Path from RN to MD

Here, we shall discuss the journey from RN to MD and the steps involved in the process that might help you with your research about whether nurses can become doctors and, if yes, through which possible ways.


You must earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited institution. Most medical schools require this four years Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree if you want to go from RN to MD. However, if you do not have this BSN degree and still want to pursue medical science, you may have another pathway.

Students not holding BSN degrees can undergo some accelerated BSN to MD programs; such institutions still provide alternative programs, as mentioned below.

  • Accelerated BSN to MD programs
  • Post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs
  • Traditional medical school programs


Your work experience as a registered nurse (RN) matters since many RN to Doctor programs requires applicants to have several years of nursing experience.

Since you already get the merit in shortened duration for the coursework, you are expected to have some knowledge related to the critical care or emergency nursing setting that will provide a valuable edge to your medical education.


Most RN to MD programs require entrance examinations such as Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The score on the test will validate your critical thinking, problem-solving, and knowledge of the foundation needed for science subjects.

There are multiple other examinations, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), that some institutions require. However, according to their admission policy, entrance exams depend upon the school or institution.

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Once you’re done with these prerequisites; now you are ready to apply for the RN to MD bridge programs. Finally, you’re prepared to complete your online application on American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

It’s essential to note that different RN to Doctor programs may have specific application requirements compared to traditional medical programs.


After four years of rigorous training and education in medical school, you must attend your residency program in your chosen specialty to have hands-on experience in the field—this program usually last for three to seven years. You can use the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) reasonably to find the suitable and most compatible RN to MD programs based on your preferences.

You must attend the practical lectures and clinical experiments in your specialty domain. Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) allows you to apply online for this program. You are supposed to learn the micro-level details and have the spirit of knowledge sufficient to become a licensed doctor.


This is a stage when you are finally ready to acquire your medical licensure; all physicians must obtain a medical license in the state where they’re supposed to practice their work.

Specific licensure examinations are required by different states, such as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX).

Medical Schools Offering RN to MD Programs

We have shorted out certain medical schools or colleges offering RN to MD Programs; you can get your admission secured in one of these top institutions.

Sr No.Medical InstituteEligibilityProgram Length
1Duke University School of MedicineRN with a BSN degree5-year accelerated pathway, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 3 years of medical school
2University of Louisville School of MedicineRN with a BSN degree4-year program, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 2 years of medical school
3University of Miami Miller School of MedicineRN with a BSN degree4-year program, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 2 years of medical school
4University of Missouri-Kansas City School of MedicineRN with a BSN degree4-year program, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 2 years of medical school
5University of North Carolina School of MedicineRN with a BSN degree4-year program, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 2 years of medical school
6University of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRN with a BSN degree7-year combined pathway, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 5 years of medical school
7University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life SciencesRN with a BSN degree6-year program, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 4 years of medical school
8University of Texas Medical Branch School of MedicineRN with a BSN degree4-year program, 2 years of nursing coursework followed by 2 years of medical school

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Transitioning from BSN to MD: Beyond the Bedside

We have seen the eligibility and entire process to become RN or BSN to MD; the terms used here are commonly knowns for many. Hence, we need not clarify much, although RN and BSN have the same meaning. We shall discuss life after getting a licensed MD with a nursing background here.

Transitioning from BSN to MD Beyond the Bedside

Residency and fellowship training is necessary for all BSN holders who want to start their medical practices in their professional careers.

According to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), 2022, there were 47,675 registrants, and the following are the different positions offered based on the previous year’s trends.

  • Internal Medicine – 9380 Position Offered
  • Family Medicine – 4916 Position Offered
  • Pediatric – 2942 Positions Offered
  • Emergency Medicine – 2921 Positions Offered

Based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) 2022, the highest number of accredited programs in Medical education is as follows.

  • New York (1,397)
  • California (1,142)
  • Texas (840)
  • Pennsylvania (818)

You can also get a good package salary after the BSN to MD programs; according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report, the average annual salary for the primary healthcare provider is $242,000, whereas, for the specialist physician, this number goes beyond $344,000.

Nursing to Medical School: A Bridge to the Future

Nursing to Medical School A Bridge to the Future

America will face a shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, based on the data given by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), showcasing the bright future for all the Nurses willing to upgrade their promising careers through nursing to medical schools.

The demand for healthcare providers never stops growing, and it continues to evolve; the healthcare industry is projected to increase its employment rate by 15% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

However, registered nurse (RNs) has the highest healthcare employment rate of 26.1%, and more than 900,000 physicians and surgeons have employment in the states with a rate of around 10%.

Although, this is understandable since the average nurse to doctor ratio in a healthcare setup is approximately 4:1, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). We have covered this topic considerably enough to call for answers on whether do nurses go to med school and provided in-depth research sources.

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In this article, we have comprehensively covered the topic of can a nurse become a doctor, which is often the question of million minds. In addition, we have briefly discussed the journey from nurse to doctor and some BSN to medical schools offering the RN to MD programs along with their eligibility.


Do Nurses go to Medical School?

Yes, although, Necessary medical education and training are required to go to Med schools and become a doctor for nurses. Although the percentage of nurses who become doctors varies widely depending on individual choices, many nurses obtain medical degrees and residency programs to become doctors.

Can you go to Medical School with a Nursing Degree?

Yes, it is possible to attend medical schools with your BSN nursing degree, however, you must meet specific eligibility criteria such as the MCAT exam and additional course work.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Doctor if you are a Nurse?

When you already hold a BSN degree, it will take at least 7 to 8 years for the additional education and training required to become a doctor beyond your nursing background; this includes the 4 years of medical school and 3 to 4 years of residency specialty program.

How Long Does It Take to Be an RN?

It requires around 2 to 3 years to become a registered nurse (RN), whereas Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) generally takes 2 to 3 years to complete, while the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will take 4 years to complete. Moreover, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which generally requires 2 to 3 months to get the licensure.

Brie Larson

Dr. Brie Larson, a seasoned physician, brings a wealth of medical knowledge and a strong commitment to patient education to her role at Medical Grants Help. A graduate from Stanford University School of Medicine, she has honed her expertise through years of patient care, delivering comprehensive healthcare services for individuals of all ages. Brie has a particular interest in expanding access to medical services through grants and funding initiatives. With her broad-based medical experience and a passion for patient advocacy, she navigates the complexities of medical grants, striving to make them more accessible for those in need. A steadfast believer in the transformative power of medical grants, Dr. Larson guides readers through the often overwhelming world of funding options, simplifying the process for patients and their families.

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