You are currently viewing CAN A NURSE BE A DOCTOR?

The answer is…

Okay, hold on. Let me just explain first.
I’ll start from the beginning.

In Nigeria, there are two ways I know to become a Nurse and this depends on your school of choice:

One who studies Nursing at a School/ College of Nursing becomes a registered nurse (RN) after the three years basic nursing program, and after passing the basic nursing council examination.

  • One who studies Nursing at a School/ College of Nursing becomes a registered nurse (RN) after the three years basic nursing program, and after passing the basic nursing council examination.

If it’s the university way, you take the UTME of JAMB. It would take five years, after which you graduate with a Bachelor of Nursing Sciences (BNSc), and become a registered nurse (RN), having passed the same basic nursing council examination. Let’s not forget the compulsory one year internship too. Oh, and one year national youth service.

If you are a registered nurse from an accredited School of Nursing and you’d like to obtain the BNsc, you come in as direct entry (DE) to the university. You spend four years.

That’s the basics. Whether School of Nursing or University, there are different routes and options to choose from, either as a specialty or for advancement.

As an RN from School of Nursing, you can decide to specialize in other areas of Nursing or advance to BNsc and higher levels subsequently. Some of these specialties can be obtained by degree nurses too after passing the qualifying exams of the specialties.

In Nigeria, the underlisted are the Nursing Council accredited specialties:

πŸ“Œ Midwifery (maternal and child health nursing): A midwife would care for women during labor and childbirth, monitoring the baby and the mother, and also coaching mothers. They are advanced practice registered nurses who provide counseling and care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. In some other parts of the world, the function of the labor and delivery Nurse differs from Nurse midwife.

πŸ“Œ Accident and Emergency Nursing: In this nursing specialty, they work mostly in high pressure situations with critically ill and unstable patients in emergency rooms and other critical care facilities.

πŸ“Œ Public health Nursing: They work with whole communities. Public health nurses are able to educate people about health issues, improve community health and safety, and increase access to care.

πŸ“Œ Paediatric Nursing: These nurses specialize in pediatrics and devote their knowledge and skills to caring for children from infancy through the late teen years.

πŸ“Œ Dialysis/Renal/ Nephrology Nursing: Nephrology Nurses help patients with kidney disease or abnormal kidney function. They work in one of the most diverse collections of environments in nursing.

πŸ“Œ Peri-operative Nursing: Also called Operating Room Nursing, Peri-operative nurses are the ones who are actually in the operating room during surgery, doing different tasks to either directly or indirectly assist in performing the actual operation.

πŸ“Œ Occupational Health Nursing: Using their specialized experience and education, these registered nurses recognize and prevent health effects from hazardous exposures and treat workers’ injuries/illnesses.

πŸ“Œ Anesthetic Nursing: These are nurses who specializes in the administration of anesthesia. These nurses have to be Board Certified in Anesthesia.

πŸ“Œ Ophthalmic Nursing: Nurses in this category care for people with eye disorders. They are essential during operations, working with the surgical team and functioning as circulating or scrub nurses.

πŸ“Œ Otorhinolaryngology/ ENT Nursing: This involves caring for patients with chronic illness, disease, or small disorders related to the head, ear, nose and throat.

πŸ“Œ Oncology Nursing (in the making): They provide care for cancer patients. These nurses also monitor physical conditions, prescribe medication, and administer chemotherapy and other treatments.

πŸ“Œ Orthopedic Nursing: An Orthopedic Nurse takes care of people with musculoskeletal diseases and disorders like arthritis, fractures, broken bones, joint replacements, genetic malformations and osteoporosis.

πŸ“Œ Neonatal Nursing: Care for premature and critically ill newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a hospital. These babies are born needing immediate medical attention.

πŸ“Œ Intensive Care Nursing: Nurses who focus their work on the most critically and acutely ill patients. Also works with unstable patients, such as in ERs.

πŸ“Œ Cardiothoracic Nursing: The nurses in this specialty work specifically with patients who have cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attack and cardiac arrest patients, and help them to get on the road to recovery.

πŸ“Œ Psychiatric Nursing

πŸ“Œ Burns and Scald/Disaster Nursing

πŸ“Œ Nurse Tutor/ Educator

There are many other nursing specialties you can do in other parts of the world. Some of these specialties are strictly for the Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. They include but not limited to:

πŸ“Œ Advanced Practice Registered Nursing

πŸ“Œ Ambulatory Care Nursing

πŸ“Œ Dermatology Nursing

πŸ“Œ Developmental Disability Nursing

πŸ“Œ Diabetes Nursing

πŸ“Œ Ethics in Nursing

πŸ“Œ Family Nurse Practitioner

πŸ“Œ Flight / Transport Nursing

πŸ“Œ Forensic Nursing

πŸ“Œ Gastroenterology Nursing

πŸ“Œ Genetics Nursing

πŸ“Œ Geriatric Nursing

πŸ“Œ Gynecology/Obstetric Nursing

πŸ“Œ HIV/AIDS Nursing

πŸ“Œ Home Health Care Nursing

πŸ“Œ Informatics Nursing

πŸ“Œ Infusion Nursing

πŸ“Œ International Nursing

πŸ“Œ Medical-Surgical Nursing

πŸ“Œ Military and Uniformed service Nursing

πŸ“Œ Neuroscience Nursing

πŸ“Œ Nurse Attorney

πŸ“Œ Nurse Entrepreneur

πŸ“Œ Nurse Researcher

πŸ“Œ Pain Management Nursing

πŸ“Œ Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing

πŸ“Œ Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

πŸ“Œ Peri-anesthesia Nursing/ Recovery Room Nursing

πŸ“Œ Plastic Surgery Nursing

πŸ“Œ Poison Information Specialist/ Toxicology Nursing

πŸ“Œ Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

πŸ“Œ Pulmonary Care / Respiratory Nursing

πŸ“Œ Rehabilitation Nursing

πŸ“Œ Volunteer/ Refugee Nursing

I can go on because the list is endless, but I wouldn’t want to bore you. Besides, the initial question has not been answered 😁 So can a Nurse be a Doctor?

The answer is Yes and No.
π™”π™šπ™¨: A Nurse can be a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Nurse Practitioner i.e. at the doctorate level which is the highest I know for now.

The “Doctor-ship” title is not limited to medical doctors alone. A doctor of medicine is called a Physician. There’s been arguments recently about this. I just feel the need to clarify.

Anybody can be a Doctor in their field. For example, there’s a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), etcetera.

𝙉𝙀: Not as a form of advancement to be a Medical doctor/ Physician.

That is not to say a Nurse who wants to go back to study medicine can’t be a Medical doctor. I never said that. It’s all a matter of choice. Just make it clear that Medicine is not an advanced form of Nursing.

Here’s my honest opinion if you are a Nurse contemplating going back to study medicine: Just advance to the highest level you can get with your Nursing. Besides, it’s only in this part of the world that nurses are underrated. In sane climes, both are given equal opportunities.

If you can, and as the conditions are favorable for you, go where you’d be valued. I weep for the Nigerian health sector anytime I remember that “jappa” (slang for vamoose, evacuate, leave) is the trending word on the lips of many nurses and other healthcare professionals. The rate of brain drain is alarming!

Call it your “plan B” or whatever you’d like.
Bottomline is, don’t be among those nurses that stop at the basic level. Specialize or advance. There are many opportunities out there. The sky is enough to contain all of us.

Be proud of what you do and carry your head high. Know what your job is, be confident about it and do it to the best of your ability to avoid “see finish”.

Nursing is not as easy as many people think it is. You didn’t come this far to allow yourself be looked down on. If not the “too intelligent”, who else should be doing Nursing?

It is true that many of us “settled” for Nursing after failed attempts at securing admission to study Medicine. I know many others who were forced to do Nursing.

Yet, a lot of us chose Nursing from the start. At least, I did. In fact, I gained admission to study Nursing at Ahmadu Bello University after my name was not shortlisted in the final list for the same ABUTH School of Nursing.

There are still many out there who desire Nursing. Nursing is “hot cake” too. Just go to anywhere a School of Nursing is conducting her entrance exam.

Dear Nurse, whatever your initial choice, you’re here already. Why not just focus on giving your best, and advancing in your career? As seen above, there are many opportunities for career advancement in the Nursing profession.

Who said you can’t be the best even as a Nurse? Even if you’re not a Nurse, do diligently what your hands have found to do.

It is not the end of the world because you didn’t study Medicine or Nursing (or any other course you want). Many times, one’s course of study may not be what puts food on the table at the end of the day. This is Nigeria!


Please share. Let people know how vast Nursing is. You just might be encouraging someone who wants to consider the Nursing profession. Nursing is beyond giving injections and wearing uniform.

Drop your questions, contributions, comments, etcetera below.

Feel free to come inbox too, especially if you have any idea or partnership. I’d gladly engage you. You can as well send a mail. I respond faster there.

Your Nurse,

©️ Lima Cares ✍️ | 12th, May 2021. | Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.


This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Ayomide

    Wow itz really inspiring
    Thanks for this

  2. Okpithe blessings

    Thanks but is not easy bcos am nursing student in University wanted to study medicine

  3. Elizabeth

    I love this

  4. Omotola zeezah

    Very informative

  5. Nursing the Heart of Healthcare. I’ve never in a second regretted been a Nurse. Nursing is in me from the day one, I’ve found so much desired in my scrubs. One of the joyful moments is that, community are admiring us more of anyother health personnels. I love what I found my hand to do.
    Proudly a Nurse πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ
    Thank you

  6. Thomas

    Sorry sir/Ma. I want to know how it is when it comes to DE into Medicine….
    What are the necessary things to Hold onto.
    I’m a First class student with Btech in Microbiology. How should I go with it.

  7. Ayorinde Damilola

    Wow……. thanks for sharing this thought, it’s really helpful

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