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.

The Question: 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 This Question

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. For example, you could say that Medicine offers a larger scope for specialisation than Nursing. Perhaps you want to have the opportunity to perform surgery?

The education system is also very different. Doctors are formally trained in Medicine and spend years studying how diseases work and how they are managed. By contrast, Nurses are trained in providing holistic care. When working together, Doctors will ultimately take full responsibility.

Whatever you say, make sure you back it up with examples which explain why you are more suited to becoming a Doctor and not a Nurse.

Get more tips: Background & Motivation For Medicine Questions


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