How to Study Medicine After Nursing?

Updated on 21/05/2024 in
Studying Medicine After Nursing. How does it work?

Nurses truly are the unsung heroes of the medical profession and the essential parts without which the entire medical system would fall apart within hours. Despite the ancient importance of nursing, it is often a stressful and ungrateful job, sometimes even more so than being a doctor. And while plenty of people are in love with nursing and can’t imagine doing anything else, not everyone who signs up to study nursing wants to work as a nurse.

Sometimes it’s seen as a stepping stone so the student can study medicine after nursing, given how limited spots for doctors are in medical universities. 

Our experienced student advisors speak with current and future medical students literally every day, and many of them are nurses in training (or freshly graduated) who wish to become doctors. Some of the questions our advisors get all the time include the following:

  • Can you study medicine after a nursing degree?
  • Can a nurse become a doctor?
  • Are nurses blocked from working as doctors?

If you’ve had questions like this, too, don’t worry, we’re here to answer all of them and set you on the path to getting your medical degree!

Is it possible to study medicine after nursing?

It is absolutely possible to study medicine after nursing. Many medical universities offer graduate entry programmes for healthcare workers who have already completed a nursing degree. This allows them to become full-fledged, practising doctors with both MD and nursing qualifications.

Of course, there are some limitations. Not every university offers graduate-entry courses, so it’s possible that you won’t be able to study medicine in the same place where you got your bachelor’s in nursing. 

However, it's important to note that the General Medical Council in the UK requires graduates to complete a full Medicine course before they can register for work in the UK. Basically, you won't be able to work in the UK if you have transferred from nursing to medicine.

Don't worry, though, there's a very pleasant alternative. You can complete your nursing degree and then enrol in a graduate entry Medicine programme in the paradise-like destination of the Caribbean. With your prior qualifications, you will be able to skip the first year where you study premed and go straight to the 4-year Medicine programme.

After you finish this graduate entry course, you will be able to register with the GMC and complete your residency training in the United Kingdom.

Of course, you can also try to get a medical degree from scratch, but there’s little point in that. The 1 or 2 years you save will be mostly theoretical and overlap with subjects you learned during your nursing studies. That’s why the graduate course skips them: you gain very little from sitting in on the same subjects twice.

Do you need to take an exam when applying for a graduate degree?

Medical schools in the UK will often require you to take the UCAT exam even if you already have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, many medical schools in Europe will already recognise your degree and only require an interview to admit you.

Let’s be honest here - no one wants to take exams all over again. You already qualified for your nursing degree and finished it, too! Why should you need to prove your knowledge when you already have the qualifications gained with it? Many medical schools throughout Europe agree with you and, aside from your bachelor’s degree in nursing, will only request a short interview. 

This online interview may include a few questions about science and medicine, but, for the most part, the interviewer will ask about you. As such, you can expect questions such as “why did you decide to study medicine after nursing” “what do you expect out of being a doctor compared to being a nurse” and “why do you feel you’re better suited to be a doctor than a nurse?” 

Not all questions will be about your nursing education. They will also likely ask about your motivation, problem-solving skills, achievements, and hobbies! 


File in this form if you want a free consultation about your options to transfer from nursing to medicine:

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How to become a doctor after studying nursing?

These are the steps you need to take to start your journey to becoming a doctor after obtaining your nursing degree:

Finish your degree

Before beginning your medical graduate degree, you must complete your nursing programme and obtain your bachelor’s degree. This will prove to the university that you’ve already completed your pre-clinical studies and can be fast-tracked to the 4-year medical programme.

Prepare all documents

After graduation, you will need to start preparing the documents you will need to apply for a medical course. Many of those will be very similar to ones you’ve already used to apply to medical school for your nursing degree (such as a motivational letter). 
Instead of exams or A-levels, however, this time, your bachelor’s degree will be enough. If you’re studying abroad, you’ll also need a valid passport and all necessary travel documents (for example, vaccination certificates).

Choose your university

You must select the university you wish to study for your medical degree. It can be located in your home country or abroad; this depends on your preferences and needs. The most crucial factor is that the university of your choice must accept a graduate entry and offer a 4-year medical programme. If it’s located outside your home country, you must also ensure this graduate course is available to international students and taught in English.

Send your documents

Once you’ve made your choice, you need to apply to your selected university in accordance with their specific requirements. Most often, this will require sending them your bachelor’s degree and a motivational letter. Some universities may also request references from your nursing teachers. If the university is located abroad, you may need these documents translated and notarised, which you can do by yourself at a notary or through a student admissions agency.

Comply with any additional requirements

Before you get accepted into the university of your choice, they may provide you with a list of additional requirements you’ll need to fulfil. Entrance exams for graduate programs are very rare, but interviews with the faculty are much more common. These additional requests depend on the university to which you’ve applied.

study-medicine-after-nursing

Is it possible to transfer into medicine from nursing?

Transferring into medicine from nursing is possible, but there is a catch. Not many universities allow a direct transfer from nursing to a medical programme. Those that do will often require you to undertake additional classes to make up for what you missed in your nursing course.

Switching from nursing to medicine seems like an excellent option for students who aren’t big fans of waiting. And since many medical schools accept transfers, it can be considered a good way to get your medical degree while saving time. 

Ultimately, everyone’s needs are different; for many, it may be worth skipping that year and transferring, even if it means extra classes and fewer qualifications. When you book a consultation with our expert student advisors, they will consider your specific needs. The result will be a solution that’s tailor-made just for you.

Our Webinar Awaits You

Medlink Students Webinar On Studying Medicine Abroad

The underpraised heroes who keep the healthcare system operating efficiently are nurses, who form the foundation of the medical field. They are important to the entire medical ecosystem and play a crucial role in patient care. Nursing may be a tough and frequently underappreciated career, and some nurses feel the need to pursue new opportunities in the medical industry despite their important role in society.

We have exciting news if you have ever pondered switching from nursing to medicine! We kindly invite you to Medlink Students’ webinar that explores the options for going to medical school following a career in nursing.

The advantages of studying medicine in Europe after nursing

Believe it or not, most nursing students from the UK who go on to study medicine prefer to do so in Europe or the Caribbean rather than stay in the UK. There are many reasons why that is, but a few of the most notable ones are:

  • Higher availability - There aren’t many universities in the UK offering graduate programmes for nursing students. Not to mention, the ones that do offer them have very limited seats. Meanwhile, medical schools in Bulgaria, Poland and Georgia have significantly more seats while offering the same level of education, with the option for graduate entry - all in English.
  • Shorter programmes - Many universities in the UK require students who have a nursing degree to start their education all over again if they want a medical degree. As you can imagine, this can be incredibly disheartening and has discouraged many students from following their true dream. Meanwhile, many European medical schools offer graduate programmes to nursing graduates. 
  • Lower tuition fees - The tuition fees that all universities (not just medical ones) charge largely depend on the standards of living in the country they’re located in, not on the quality of education. Your average university in, say, Serbia will be cheaper than its equivalent in the US, just like a house would cost less. This means Western students can have a world-class education at a fraction of what they’d pay at home.
  • Empathy & compassion - As a doctor, empathy will be one of your most valuable qualities - sometimes even more valuable than your medical knowledge. And it’s been proven that interacting with different people is the best way to become more empathetic. Living in a different world and culture will give you a valuable education not taught by any university on Earth.
  • Adventure & independence - Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen travel videos and blogs online and fantasized about what it would be like to do the same. On top of all the other benefits, choosing to study medicine in Europe will also provide you with an adventure, just like on YouTube! New places, cultures, foods, buildings, people… All while learning to be a doctor and help those back home.

What are the next steps?

Determined to study medicine in Europe or the Caribbean after finishing your nursing degree? Or would you prefer to transfer to a medical programme? Whatever your choice may be, it’s always best to consult with our expert student advisors as soon as possible. They’re the most qualified people who can give you advice on how to proceed and then assist you every step of the way. Remember: the end goal here is to make you a doctor. And we’re here to help you achieve it, no matter what it takes!

Article written by Dr Sam El Mais
Dr Sam El Mais, MD, MSc, BSc, graduated from a renowned medical school in Romania in 2019. He uses his professional knowledge and personal experience to guide students on crucial aspects such as university selection, admissions processes, and cultural adjustments.
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52 comments on “How to Study Medicine After Nursing?”

  1. Hello.

    I must say I'm blessed by your write up.

    I'm a nursing student preparing to write my final exam. I've always wanting to study medicine and I still want to after nursing.

    I'm from Nigeria. The major concern I have is about expenses and fees associated with studying abroad.

    I would much appreciate if you can help me with more information as to cheapest school I can study as well as duration and if there's a special offer or scholarship.

    Thanks.
    Paul.

  2. Hello.
    I'm Sara
    I'm from Iran.
    I'm working as a nurse for 15 years in Iran and I have master degree in nursing.
    I'm interested to know how can I continue my education in MEDICINE and how can I emigrate to USA.
    The major concern is about my age because I am 39 years old now
    Can you please help me with more information please?
    Thanks a lot
    Sara

    1. Hey Sara! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

    2. Hey ! I'm also looking for same and Even I have also completed my masters in nursing and I'm confused what to have you decided

      1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  3. What if it not a nursing degree but a RN (registered nurse)
    Does this mean i will start from scratch?
    Favour from nigeria

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  4. Hi. I wanted to inquire about switching to medicine after my masters in microbiology. I just love reading! And although am doing a bachelors in nursing right now, I still want to be a microbiologist and a doctor too. Sounds like a childish dream but I love it. My worry is, how long will I be in medical school if choose to do master's first than just jumping direct from my bachelors in nursing to medicine. Thank you.

    1. We should all have dreams, sounds great to us! We would have to look at your transcripts, so we can see how much relevance your qualifications hold and therefore how many years you will need to study. This will be taken from the BSc rather than the master's.

  5. Hi!
    I am Vijith Vijayan, working as a nurse in Ireland, would like to join for 4 years Medicine course. Could you please tell me, any opportunities are available in Ireland?

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  6. Hi
    I am Nifemi
    I just finished writing my final exam to get a "registered nurse" certificate
    I wish to study medicine
    Pls,could you help on how to process it

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

      1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person by one of our expert advisors. You can submit an application for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It only takes 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  7. Hello.

    I must say I'm blessed by your write up.

    I'm a nursing with working in the Uk. I've always wanting to study medicine and I still want to.

    I'm from Nigeria but I work in the Uk as a nurse. The major concern I have is about expenses and fees associated with studying abroad.

    I would much appreciate if you can help me with more information as to cheapest school I can study as well as duration and if there's a special offer or scholarship.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  8. How can I study medicine with only an RN certificate, no bachelor's degree in nursing

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Possible options are best enquired with our expert advisors. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  9. hii
    i am Rimpy
    i completed my msc and bsc nursing in one like i did both foundation course. is there any chance i can apply medicine course.

    thank you

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Please reach out to our expert advisors to assist you in becoming a doctor. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  10. hey I'm Dinah from kenya
    i just finished my high school.
    I found this information very useful.
    I'm looking forward to pursue a degree in nursing then later furthur to medicine abroad.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Learn about your options to pursue a medical degree from our expert advisors they will provide you with guidance on which route to take. This decision is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  11. I am also a nurse who just moved to the UK, and still thinking of doing medicine. Does this article say it will be harder to get an entry that considers my nursing degree and experience?

    Thanks
    Celvin

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. You can get the best answers and possible options form our expert advisors who can help you study medicine after a nursing degree. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  12. Hie.

    I'm Pamela

    I'm a nursing student preparing to write my final exam. I've always wanting to study medicine and I still want to after nursing.

    I'm from Zimbabwe . The major concern I have is about expenses and fees associated with studying abroad.

    I would much appreciate if you can help me with more information as to cheapest school I can study as well as duration and if there's a special offer or scholarship.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Our expert advisors can provide you with many options on studying medicine abroad. Your excellent questions are best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  13. Hi,
    I am Mrs Omorogieva Olutokunbo Rita. I have a 21 yrs old daughter who is completing her nursing science degree programme next year 2024. I hope and still wish she studies medicine after a first degree as a nurse. I will be most grateful if I can be assisted and guided on how to go about and achieve that. Thanks. My regards

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Our expert advisors can definitely assist you and guide you to achieve your dream in helping your daughter become a doctor after nursing. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  14. HELLO MY NAME IS SALOMEY, I AM A REGISTERED GENERAL NURSE (DIPOMA) AND BEEN PRACTICING FOR 6YRS NOW. I AM A STUDENT OFFERING MY BSc IN NURSING AND WILL BE COMPLETING MAY/JUNE 2023. I HAVE DEVELOPPED THE PASSION TO STUDY MEDICINE AND BECOME A SURGEON ONEDAY.IS THERE ANY HOPE? WHAT DO I DOO? I NEED YOUR ADVICE. THANK YOU.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. We are here to help you fulfil your passion for becoming a doctor. Our expert advisors can guide you on your next steps to achieving your dream. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  15. Hello. I'm an undergraduate student from Bangladesh and i will continue my bsc nursing course from July. The thing is I have always wanted to study medicine but for financial problem I couldn't meet the criteria that needs, to study medicine in Bangladesh. Plus there's not even any option to switch from nursing to medicine. Even if it seems impossible, still is there any way for me to study medicine abroad as an international student with nursing major? And does any university give full free tuition in this case? I'm just so lost and I'm in need of proper guidelines so I'll be so grateful if I can get any advice from here. Thank you.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  16. Hi,I am an registered nurse and midwife from Malawi(bachelor’s degree) and I aspire to study medicine in Europe especially in UK even if I can start all over. How can I get links of the appropriate medical schools to apply for admission.

    Regards,
    John Mkoola

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Expert advice is available on your options to study medicine after a nursing degree. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  17. Thanks for also talking about the kinds of tests that one should prepare for when planning to become a doctor for nursing. I'm interested in helping a friend of mine getting that kind of training someday. She plans to have her own clinic in the future.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. We are glad that you benefited from our advice. If you or your friend need any assistance in the future we can answer it in person. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  18. Hi, I want to know if I can get undergraduate entry to study medicine while am working as a practicing nurse in UK. I meant to study and be working all at the same duration?

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. Our expert advisors can assist you with your concern. They will give you options to explore. So this excellent question is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person. You can submit an application for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  19. Hello
    I'm blessed by your write-up.
    I'm a nursing student I graduated from IUA Sudan.
    Didn't collect my certificate and transcripts due to an ongoing crisis. I also wanted to study medicine
    Can I use my last semester's results to move to medicine?
    I will appreciate it if you can help me
    Thank you.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  20. Hello, my name is Lina, am interested in studying medicine after my nursing program,just about finishing my degree. What are my options and how many years will the course be for. I am in the UK. Thank you.

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. To learn more about your options, it's best to have a free call with one of our expert advisors. You can submit an application for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  21. Hi!
    I've gained more knowledge from this article.
    I'm a registered Midwife from Ghana and I would like to know if a registered Midwife can study medicine in Europe? Also is the medicine for students with only pure science background?

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person after considering your situation. You can do that for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

  22. Hello,I am a RN trained from Uganda, and I'm glad such a program is here to help us,just wondering if I have to do a bachelor's degree for me to be admitted for a medical course Cz the writer only talks about bachelor's degree,kindly give me some light on this...thanks

    1. Hey! Thank you for contacting us. This is an excellent question that is best answered in person by one of our expert advisors. You can submit an application for free here https://www.medlinkstudents.com/apply/. It only takes 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

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