How to Study Medicine After Nursing?

Updated on 17/11/2022 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 there are plenty of people who are in love with nursing and can’t imagine doing anything else, not everyone who signs up to study nursing actually 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:

  • Can you study medicine after 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. 

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? A lot of 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 you, your own motivation, problem-solving skills, achievements, and even hobbies! 

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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:

1. Finish your degree

Before you can begin your medical graduate degree, you need to have completed your nursing programme and obtained 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.

2. 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).

3. Choose your university

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

4. 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.

5. 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 that 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 you’ve applied to.

How to study medicine after nursing

Is it possible to transfer into medicine from nursing?

Transfering 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 a great 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, and for many, it may very well 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’re going to take your specific needs into account. The result will be a solution that’s tailor-made just for you.

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 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 that 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 countries like 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 to hear, and has discouraged many students from following their true dream. Meanwhile, a lot of European medical schools offer a graduate programme 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, not on the quality of education. Your average university in, say, the US will cost less than its equivalent in Serbia, just like a house would cost less. This means that 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 the best way to become more empathetic is to interact with people who are different from you. As such, living in a different world, a different culture, will give you a valuable education that’s not taught by any university on Earth.
  • Adventure & independence - Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen travel videos and blogs online, and we’ve all fantasized about what it would be like to do the same. Well, 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 after finishing your nursing degree? Or would you prefer to transfer into 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!

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Article written by Medlink Students
We specialise in guaranteeing students' admission into top medical universities in Europe. Trusted by 1000s of students every year, we provide support from your initial enquiry until graduation, and beyond. Contact us now to learn how we can help YOU.
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10 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.


  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

    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 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 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 It takes only 10 seconds, and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible.

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