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nursing as pragmatic stepping stone to medicine, engineering and pure research

Can someone pursue nursing and yet still feasibly have professional ambitions outside nursing, where that nursing experience can give perspective into both the social and physical sciences? From pure logic, it seems to me, "Yeah, why the hell not?" but then of course it is hard to find Nobel Prize winners or other prominent (well-cited) researchers who started off as nurses or something.

For that matter, how feasible is it to be a member of the three "applied science" groups (medicine, engineering, nursing) and still pursue pure research? It strikes me that in neurosurgery for example, each operation is still an experiment in itself, and not merely because it is risky, but because each time neurosurgeons often individually have to map out patient brains with a series of tests (such as electric shocks) to determine whether diseased tissue can be removed without loss of function. It seems to me that combining applied and theoretical professions should actually be more widespread, since you can actually be both "at the forefront" without being "stuck in the ivory tower of the theoretical" (by being engaged in an applied profession).

Plus, it seems that the applied fields would make up for the lower incomes that pure researchers usually have. It strikes me that since nurses often have such great starting salaries, nursing could be used not only as a knowledge base but also a way to pay for postgraduate education.

Why doesn't the media showcase nurses who become scientists?
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