Nursing grad jumps right into med school

At 20 years old, Rylee Mose is the youngest student in her class, and likely one of the youngest NOSM students ever. (PHOTO Supplied)

Learning how a nursing degree will benefit med school training

There was no doubt in Rylee Mose’s mind that she was going to stay in Northwestern Ontario to practise medicine. The only real question was how she was going to make it happen. Mose developed a number of contingency plans, but ultimately her first plan worked out: get her nursing degree from Lakehead University as her undergrad and apply to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) in Thunder Bay. Mose started classes at NOSM this past September.
At 20 years old, she is the youngest in her class, and likely one of the youngest ever to attend NOSM.
“I would have gone to Sudbury, but I’m happy I got Thunder Bay,” Mose said. She added that if NOSM didn’t exist, she would have looked other programs.
“It would have changed my approach and the route I took to get there. Here at NOSM, you don’t have to take your MCAT so that would have changed my undergrad options. To take the MCAT you need a bit more of a foundation in the chemistry and biology and population health.”
However, Mose feels being able to take her nursing degree instead will be an advantage for her. She took the compressed nursing program at Lakehead University and accepted a position at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) in the Cardiovascular Unit after graduation earlier this year. The nursing program also helped solidify her commitment to medicine as a career choice.
“When I went into nursing, I found out that I really enjoyed health care – and I enjoyed my role as a nurse,” she said. “A lot of the skills I learned in nursing school have already been helping me as a medical student.”
Training and working in health care already also provided Mose with insights she wouldn’t have gotten with a biology undergrad, for example.
Understanding the various roles in health care is crucial to effective interprofessional care. Mose said that her nursing experience also gave her a solid background on the health care challenges in Northern Ontario, and the services available to overcome them. The dynamics between physician and nurse is one of the most important ones.
“Going into the (NOSM) program, I already understand the role of the nurse and the physician,” Mose said. “I also feel like I already have a comfort level talking with patients and taking histories.”
“I can advocate for nurses and understand that everything a physician asks a nurse to do is not as simple as it seems.”
Mose said that taking nursing as an undergrad is not as unique as it maybe once was.
“It’s becoming a lot more common,” she said. “In our class of 28, we have nine who either are nurses or were in the nursing program when they were accepted (into NOSM). That’s almost a third of us.”
Mose is not sure if she will continue on in Family Medicine or go on to another specialty. “I learn what I like by seeing it and experiencing it,” she said. “At NOSM, you get to see all the different opportunities we have in the north.”
But whichever path she chooses, it will likely keep her in Northwestern Ontario.
“I would like to stay in the North because I like the small community aspect,” she said. Part of that is the commute – currently, she lives just 16 minutes from the TBRHSC. Then, there’s the lifestyle. “I like the outdoors we have in Northern Ontario. I have a camp, one set of grandparents is in Fort Frances, one set of grandparents is in Dorion, so we spent a lot of time in smaller communities.”
Practising outside of large cities also gives physicians more opportunity, she said. “You get a wider scope of practices. What you see is what you treat,” she said. “That’s how it is as a student, too. You get a lot of one-on-one time with the physicians, even in first year. At other medical schools, there is more of a lineup.”
That has a huge impact not just on what you learn, but what you become.
“You learn how to be a well-rounded health care provider because you play many roles in a health care team. It’s a lot more personable to me.”
But perhaps the biggest reason Mose wants to practise in the North is the simplest:
“It’s home for me.”

Filed in: Education, Featured, News

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