I just want to start today by clarifying that I'm not angry at anyone, and I do understand how someone could make the mistake of not understanding what is going on with me right now. Being in medical school is probably a mystery to a great portion of the population, but since I am completely baptized in it right now, it can make me feel incredulous when I experience the following conversation. But it happens ALL THE TIME, so I thought it would be a great time to educate the public on exactly what goes on in medical school. Pay attention, there will be a test. Here's how it goes:
"Hey, Val, I haven't seen you in ages, what are you up to nowadays?"
"Hey, it's so good to see you! I got accepted into medical school, and I'm in my first year."
"Oh, that's so exciting! You must be so proud! So are you going to be a nurse?"
Blink. Blink. Blink blink. "OH, you're serious."
Now before you nurses come beat me up for being a butt to nurses, simmer down now. Simmah. Down. Nah. I love nurses! My best friend is a nurse (Hey, Marian)! Wait, that sounds kinda, I dunno... Anyway, this post is not to undermine nurses or belittle their education or contribution to health care.
I feel like the reason they ask if I'm going to be a nurse is because I'm a chick. And before you guys get all up in arms, let me just take you on a journey to my childhood where the boys were always doctors and the girls were always nurses. It's not that far away, let me assure you. I was buying a present for a certain little boy for Christmas who may or may not be my grandson, and I was choosing what I wanted to embroider on it. The choices included a teddy bear who was obviously male (and by obviously male, I mean in a cartoon way with or without eyelashes OBVIOUSLY) in a white coat with a stethoscope and it was called "doctor bear." The only female choice was a teddy bear who was obviously female in a pink nurse outfit called "nurse bear." Now we all know that it doesn't matter what your gender, you can be a doctor or a nurse or a garbage truck driver. But check your reaction when you hear someone say, "OH, he's a nurse." Uh-huh, see?
So since it's a matter of murk and clouds to some people, I'm going to break it down for you right here. Medical schools generally train doctors. There are some campuses out there that are medical schools and they also have other types of schools on the same campus, but they are separate schools for different programs. If you get into medical school, you will be spending four years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when you graduate, people will call you doctor. Let's review. Medical school = doctors. Got it?
OK next part. Nursing schools train nurses. If you go to nursing school, there are different levels of nursing degrees that you can get, depending on how much time you want to be there. There are LPNs, RNs, BSNs, and so forth. You can go on and get to nurse practitioner if you want! But you'll still be a nurse. Sooooo nursing school = nurses. Still following?
OK here's the hard part. Remember I said there would be a test. If you need to go back and review, take a minute and go back. No trick questions. Ready? OK here we go.
1. If someone tells you that they were accepted into medical school, their temperature was 37C, ALP was 87 IU/L, blood glucose was 81 mg/dL, and CRP was .4 mg/L, what is the mechanism for glucose metabolism in the liver?
2. A patient presents in your office c/o muscle weakness in the upper and lower limbs, with a stocking-and-glove type distribution. He drinks 2 six-packs of beer every Saturday, and his left great toe is hanging by a thread of skin. He went to nursing school, so he tells you that he was treating at home with bacitracin and bandaids. Which type of glycogen storage disease does he have?
See? I told you no trick questions, and I never lie. So now that you know the difference between medical school and nursing school, tell all of your friends. No. Go tell them now. I'll wait.