16th February 2023
You might be prepared to answer the question ‘Why Medicine?’ – but are you ready to answer ‘Why Medicine and not Nursing?’ in your Medical School interview? Follow this guide to give a good answer and avoid making some common mistakes.

Why Medicine And Not Nursing?

This is a commonly asked question in Medical School interviews.

It isn’t supposed to be a trick question – it’s an opportunity to prove that you’re truly motivated to study Medicine and understand what being a doctor (and also what being a Nurse) involves.

Why This Question Is Difficult

If you are interested in healthcare and want a career where you will be helping people, why wouldn’t you consider Nursing?

When answering this question, some candidates fall into the trap of saying something derogatory or belittling about Nurses. This will be a red flag for interviewers.

You shouldn’t say anything which suggests that you think doctors are more important than Nurses – because it isn’t true! Doctors and nurses are both vital members of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and provide essential patient care in their own way.

Some candidates also answer this question insufficiently because they demonstrate a poor understanding of what nurses do.

If you want to work in Medicine, it’s important that you know what other members of the MDT do and what their responsibilities are. For example, Nurse Practitioners can take on leadership roles, diagnose patients, prescribe and participate in medical research, so you shouldn’t mention any of these as something that only doctors can do.


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How To Answer: ‘Why Medicine And Not Nursing?’

Firstly, as part of your interview prep, do some research and find out exactly what Nurses do.

In your answer, demonstrate that you know this and acknowledge their role within the medical team. Then explain what is different about the role of a doctor and why this is the right path for you.

Consider the following structure:

  • Highlight the Scope of Practice

Emphasize the broader scope of practice that comes with being a doctor. Explain that while nurses provide essential care and support, doctors have the opportunity to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of medical conditions. Discuss how this aligns with your desire to have a more comprehensive understanding of Medicine and the ability to make critical decisions in patient care.

  • Emphasize Specialization Opportunities

Discuss the potential for specialization within the medical field. Explain that becoming a doctor allows for further specialization in areas such as surgery, cardiology, neurology, or any other field that aligns with your interests and passions. Highlight your desire to pursue a specific area of medicine and how it aligns with your long-term career goals.

  • Address the Education and Training

Highlight the rigorous education and training that doctors undergo. Explain that doctors spend years studying the intricacies of diseases, medical treatments, and patient management. Contrast this with nursing education, which focuses on providing holistic care and support. Emphasize your enthusiasm for the in-depth scientific knowledge and clinical skills that come with a medical education.

  • Demonstrate Leadership and Responsibility

Discuss the level of responsibility that doctors hold within the medical team. Explain that doctors ultimately take full responsibility for patient care and decision-making. Highlight your desire to take on this level of responsibility and your confidence in your ability to handle the challenges that come with it.

  • Provide Personal Examples

Back up your statements with personal examples that illustrate why you are more suited to becoming a doctor. Share experiences that have solidified your passion for medicine, such as shadowing doctors, volunteering in healthcare settings, or participating in research projects. These examples will demonstrate your commitment and dedication to pursuing a career in medicine.

Get more tips: Background & Motivation For Medicine Questions


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