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How Old Is Too Old to Go to Medical School?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by QofQuimica, 03.02.12.

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How Old Is Too Old to Go to Medical School?

  1. 26-30

    16 vote(s)
    3.7%
  2. 31-35

    25 vote(s)
    5.8%
  3. 36-40

    62 vote(s)
    14.5%
  4. 41-45

    73 vote(s)
    17.0%
  5. 46-50

    73 vote(s)
    17.0%
  6. 51-55

    54 vote(s)
    12.6%
  7. 56-60

    26 vote(s)
    6.1%
  8. 61+

    23 vote(s)
    5.4%
  9. No Age Limit

    60 vote(s)
    14.0%
  10. Other/It Depends (post below)

    17 vote(s)
    4.0%
  1. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    First, some ground rules: those of us who are nontrads like to take pride in the fact that we are mature adults. If you are going to participate in this controversial thread, please keep the fact that you are a mature adult in mind, and do not attack other users or otherwise violate the SDN TOS while posting here.

    Second, some rationales: I'm making this poll because the subject of maximum age for medical school comes up over and over. I think it would be interesting and maybe even helpful to some folks who are contemplating a switch to have a semi-organized discussion of the topic. Also, although I generally try to make our polls applicable to people in all health fields, this month is going to be specifically discussing age-related issues concerning medical school and physicians. The reason is that the required length of training is so much longer for physicians compared with other health fields, and this adds additional age-related angst for older nontrads who are considering whether to make this career change.

    Finally, my thoughts on the subject: I would say that early 50s is the oldest age that an incoming medical student should be. In the best case scenario, it takes approximately ten years to train a new physician if you start counting from the time they begin their pre-reqs until the time when they can practice independently. Considering that the retirement age in this country is in the mid to late 60s, it doesn't make sense to me to be graduating people who start practicing when they are already in that age range. While it is true that some people continue working into their 70s or even their 80s, I don't feel that the return on educating them is enough to make it worth our while as a society to do this. Therefore, I am voting for 51-55 as the point at which people become "too old" for medical school.

    That being said, I do think there is some value to having more senior people in the class, and some people who are retired or semi-retired might want to learn medicine out of sheer interest. One compromise that we might consider is to allow people who are older than their early 50s to take medical school classes without going through the entire training process or ever actually practicing.
     
  2. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    I think it depends on what your goal is. If you're 50 wishing to go into Neurosurgery, chances are that won't happen, but if you want to do psychiatry, it's possible. I would think around 60 your body won't be able to perform the essential functions to survive rotations and residency, but I've been wrong many times!
     
  3. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    I voted for 46-50 but I will explain. I think at 40ish you move into diminishing returns. Why go to med school? By the time everything is over, the practice time is minor and retirement needs to be solidly prepared for. At 46-50, I feel like you've missed your chance.

    Now I really want to qualify that. This is completely general. If someone truly wants something, one is never too old. Basically, if you are 46-50 or older, if you can say, "this is the dumbest thing I could do, but I have to it anyway" then its never too late. It is kind of like love. Generally marriage is about compromise for 99% of people, but for that 1%, the couple is so in tune, that there isn't any compromise (as it seems), just acting as a single person. It sounds cliche and stupid I know.

    So generally, at 46-50, if you say, "I've always thought it would be cool to be a doctor," you've basically missed your chance and you need to find happiness in what you are doing.
     
  4. lpmuhammad

    lpmuhammad

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    I think it is highly dependent on the individual. I voted for other/it depends, because I am in my early 40s, and I have met contemporaries who act older than my father, who is 79. At the same time I have met others who are youthful even for someone in their 20s. Also, I believe that someone in their 60s considering entrance into medical school will most likely have a more practical and realistic view of the type of specialty they would pursue.
     
  5. Summa637

    Summa637 I'm here for comic relief

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    I voted for 41-45. Given the generally accepted rule that from start to finish is around 10 years to school/train, I think 50 is the ceiling for new physicians, perhaps is just seems like a even number to me. Although, I do think people can be capable at any age.
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    agreed. The majority of folks I have known who bailed on this path after starting med school have been very young. I think the odds of seeing it through to the bitter end probably increase with the older folks, because for them the grass isn't greener. But health plays a role. I've known Premed asthmatic obese smokers at 20 who wouldn't survive Running to a code, let alone a residency, And I've seen fit 60+ year old attendings spending 40+ hours in a row in the hospital like it was no biggee.

    As for the poll, I have to wonder how much ones own age taints t he results. Meaning, at 20, a lot if us thought 30 was old. At 30 you think 40 is old. And so on. I have to wonder how many of us at 50 will still think that 50 is too old. Thus the optimum survey probably should be completed when all of us are over 90 and contemplating retirement in the near future.:)
     
  7. drgioiadds

    drgioiadds DDS c/o 2002; DO c/o 2016

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    I think there are a lot of other variables that you have to consider along with age. A single 40 year old vs. a married 40 year old with kids (that may have to move their family) would also be an issue. Also, financial situation of that individual. Someone in their mid 40's who can pay for it without loans would be in a much better position to go back to school. Lastly, career goals/speciality. IMO, surgery is a better fit for the younger med student (hours, dexterity, length of time in residency).

    I'm 36 and I almost feel too old, not physically, culturally. I voted 40's for the various reasons I stated. I should be 43 at the time I finished FM, and I almost feel that is pushing it.
     
  8. notbobtrustme

    notbobtrustme Crux Terminatus

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    I feel that 35 is about the upper limit for an incoming MS1. That means that person would be between 42 and 45 when he/she could practice independently, which amounts to a solid 20-25 years of practice.

    By 35, you should have plenty of extra life experience to outweigh your age.
     
  9. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor

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    I couldn't tell if the question was asking when it's too old to think about medical school i.e. pre-post-bacc or too old to matriculate med school. I'm assuming the latter. I also didn't consider other factors like family situation or finances because this question only asks how old is too old, based purely on age. I chose 56-60 because 56+4+3=63, and it seems odd to me to be an attending at the same time one is eligible for social security.

    Lol at the plurality that thinks I am 'too old' though. I lolled at lot more in the pre-allo forum when some 22yo (who is going to be a reapplicant) complained that society wasn't getting enough return from 40yo applicants so they shouldn't be allowed to matriculate. My response was 'well kid, you should have come up with a more compelling application than mine then'. It got me several thumbs up. :)
     
  10. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    I'm sad someone thinks I'm too old to go to med school! Hope they're not in my class!
     
  11. dmf2682

    dmf2682

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    I voted for 36-40 not because I don't think others cant handle it, but because the time spent in practice will be less than someone 15 years younger. If there are only so many seats in medical school and a national shortage of physicians it doesn't make sense to train short timers.
     
  12. MIAYO

    MIAYO

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    Do you think the fact that non-trads are more likely to enter primary care outweighs this at all? I understand the shortage applies to almost every specialty, but primary care is specifically hurting.
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes but the handful of 21-5 year olds who take the seat and drop out (because they think the grass is greener) cost the system more than the essentially equivalent number of seats taken by the 40 + crowd, so I'm not sure your logic is sound.
     
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Residency slots will dictate where people go. If not enough US folks go into primary care, they fill those seats with IMGs. There really won't be more people in any particular residency based on med school admissions, just more Americans. So the shortage argument is irrelevant.
     
  15. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    That's a good point, and not one that's easy to control for; most people in their 90s don't use the internet, let alone join SDN. ;)

    All kidding aside, part of the problem is also that we're trying to hit a moving target here. I would expect that the realities of training and practice will be different 50-100 years from now in ways we can't predict, and our expectations will likely change right along with it. Today's 90-yr-olds would likely not have found it acceptable for people in their 40s to go to med school; that just wasn't done 50 yrs ago. But we're a lot more open to the idea in the 2010s. Also, the decision tools we use now are primitive, but they won't always be. If we're at a Star Trek level of using a tricorder to do surgery in the 2060s (when I'll be in my 90s), what suddenly starts to matter is how good someone can be with interfacing with a computer, not whether they can run up flights of stairs. Some people even think that eventually all of our doctors will be computers. Age obviously becomes irrelevant entirely at that point.
     
  16. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    And then there's this: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/11/mouse-aging-reversal/
    What if by the time we're 90 we can choose to age, or not, or choose stay 65 forever, etc... I think there is too much we don't know, and I have met people in their 60s who will live another 20yrs and people in their 40s who may not live another 5...
     
  17. hopeful22213

    hopeful22213

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    I'm surprised so many people chose ages <45. Granted, the same poll in the pre-allo forum might have drawn an average response 15+ years younger.

    I'm curious about something Law2Doc's comment about traditional applicants dropping out hurting society more than older first-time practitioners. Is there data that suggests older med students drop out/fail out less often than younger ones? I could think of reasonable arguments why that would or would not happen and am curious if there is actually evidence one way or the other.
     
  18. digitlnoize

    digitlnoize Rock God

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    Did you guys know that air traffic controllers, who also have a high stress job with many lives in their hands, are required to begin training prior to age 30, and to retire in the mid-late 50's?

    Interesting, huh?
     
  19. dmf2682

    dmf2682

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    Sounds like age discrimination to me. I smell a lawsuit
     
  20. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor

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    That could be for a variety of reasons, especially in such a heavily unionized profession as air traffic control.

    Montana state law prohibits me from joining the fire department because I'm too old. Because I can't handle the stress or the physical demands? No, actually my local fire department would be glad to have me. But in order to join the FD I would also have to join the Firefighter's Pension, and this state-run pension program has strict age limits so people don't join at 55 and retire at 65 on the taxpayer's dime.
     
  21. PostHaste

    PostHaste Eye Roller

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    That sounded totally bogus, so I looked it up. No ****.

    I've only got 5 months to apply, I guess. Seems weird.
     
  22. digitlnoize

    digitlnoize Rock God

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    Wikipedia never lies, lol. Most air traffic controllers also get a 1/2 hr break every 2 hours and have 8 hour shifts to prevent sleep deprivation and keep them performing at optimal levels.

    We could learn a thing or two.
     
  23. Helen Wheels

    Helen Wheels

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    I personally feel that much older than 40 is problematic just from a purely financial point of view. When training takes 7+ years and you have $250K of student loan debt to pay off, it probably doesn't make sense for someone to enter this profession when you get beyond 40. That being said, I would never want to say never or not make exceptions for certain qualified persons. I started med school at 40 this year and I am doing okay for now but I am really glad I started now and not in ten years, especially from a physical point of view!


    I have been curious about this, too. I haven't seen any data on this but I can tell you we lost 2 students in my class after the first semester because they didn't think med school was what they wanted to do. Both were traditional age students. I think nontrads are more likely to know that this is what they want (and we have had to make incredible sacrifices and changes in our lives to do this!) whereas younger students are just finding themselves or may be responding to parental pressure instead of their own desires. Hey, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was 22!

    Also, I had some academic issues at the start of the year (really rusty study skills and being out of practice absorbing/retaining material) but several faculty were very supportive during that time. Last week I asked one of them why he had had faith in me and he said it was because he thinks nontrads will stick it out and do what needs to be done to succeed.

    So, very anecdotal, but I do think nontrads are less likely to drop out than traditional age students. Someone needs to do research on this! I hope to work in academia and research so maybe someday I will do it. :)
     
  24. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor

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    These financial arguments usually make a pie-in-the-sky assumption about opportuniy costs, that the typical 40 year old could have otherwise had a well paying, respectable job. But we are in a recession and we have been for years. If the opportunity cost of medical school is zero or near zero, medical school remains a good investment much later in life. My opportunity cost will be about $140K. I'll have earned more than that by the time I finish my residency. Everything I make after age 51 is pure profit, and I don't plan on retiring at age 55.
     
  25. wholeheartedly

    wholeheartedly Moderator

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    I think the reason this question is so tricky to answer is because it isn't really just one question. It's actually several questions wrapped into one depending on how you interpret it.

    "How old is too old to go to medical school ...from a (personal) financial perspective?" You can talk about things like return on investment and retirement age and planning here. Still you run into trouble because some people are going into this after making a good deal of money, but have resources that this won't hurt them as much. Others are making major sacrifices, loss on home sale and giving up a very well paying job to pay high tuition. It's highly individual though and I don't think you can put a number on this as a result.


    "How old is too old to go to medical school.... from a public service standpoint?" This is the argument that the public gets a lower return on its investment for training an older non-trad based on probable years of service. Arguments are that we won't practice as long as a 22 year old. But as you already pointed out, there doesn't seem to be any data to tell us what the reality is. Are non-trads more likely to drop out or leave, or are traditional students? Does a non-trad come in with a better grasp on who they are and what they want to do, while traditional students are just finding themselves and might not really appreciate what they are getting themselves into? I'd like to think so, but I've met some pretty lost older people and some young people that are pretty insightful about themselves. What about younger docs that get lost to non-clinical jobs doing administration, consulting, pharma, etc? Again, this is highly individual and it would be interesting to see some data here.

    The other problem I have is that even if we have that data it would likely be data on years of service. However, quantity and quality are two very different things. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that the value of a physicians contribution is determined by years of service and number of patients churned through. We also run into this argument for women, who apparently are more likely to go part-time. Who gives more value to society: a burned out physician who realizes in residency that being a doctor isn't what he thought it was, or didn't match into the specialty he wanted and spends thirty years treating patients but struggles to put himself totally into it because he's jaded and winds up doing the bare minimum after a few years; or the doctor who's spent some time figuring out what he wants out of life, knows as much about what the demands of medicine will be and what they will mean to him as anyone who hasn't actually practiced can, and gives 15 years of dedicated service always striving to do the best for his patients and keep up on the literature, providing skilled mgmt of his patients issues? Can doctors with more life experience better relate to patients and thus provide higher quality of care in the time they serve?

    Finally, are non-trads more likely to go into more needed areas of medicine like family medicine or primary care thus filling a vital role and making a valuable contribution for their years. Do we determine value by speciality too, differentiating say the family med doc working at a free clinic vs. the cosmetic surgeon working on celebs? I'd argue again, we can't know this as it's highly individual and you can always switch the trad and non-trad in the above scenarios.

    Should we have this same argument about return on investment for people who major in one field and then leave it a couple years in to do something completely un-related? Should we penalize physicians who leave for pharma or research because they aren't serving the public clinically? Does service during residency at low wages and high personal sacrifice negate the subsidization from the govt?

    I agree completely with Law2docs point that what seems old now, might not when you get there. I used to think 50 was old but I'm around a lot of pretty vibrant and healthy 50 year olds right now. Young people have a high rate of accidents and other issues too and you can't predict years of service accurately and it would make for a very uncomfortable admissions process if they tried. "do you smoke? where you seatbelt? have sex with multiple partners? drive too fast down the freeway? ...."

    "How old is too old to go to medical school.... from a personal standpoint (non-financial)?" This one depends on things like what personal satisfaction are you getting out of becoming a physician and are they worth the personal costs (time, stress, family planning issues, etc). I'm not even going to attempt to address all the variable in this one.

    So I can only reflect on what my 29 yr old self thinks for me personally at this moment in time. I'd say 51-55. I'm not currently planning on having kids and if I change my mind at a point where biology disagrees with me having them, I'm comfortable adopting. Most of the fun stuff in my life is free or near free. I'll be giving up a good paying job but imagine I can live within my comfort zone when I'm finished. I'm hoping to serve as a physician scientist for quite a few years. I have an insatiable curiosity, especially about science, and love working with people. I also love teaching and so when I feel like I need to be done or wind down practicing I imagine myself shifting in to teaching. Not the retire to a Florida golf course type. I've grown up beyond the whole thinking medicine is sunshine and rainbows and curing sick people to see it as a constant challenge with lots of disappointments and failed attempts at helping people who might not even want to be helped or help themselves in a system that doesn't always put the patient first. I still think I want to tackle that challenge.
     
  26. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Age will still matter. Try doing anything useful with a 40+ year old computer. :laugh:
     
  27. dmf2682

    dmf2682

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    Got space shuttle?


    J k. They replaced those computers years ago :)
     
  28. Legally Insane

    Legally Insane

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    Tap the brakes on the 10 years to practice stat. I started medical school at 51 and am in an accelerated 6 year track for family practice. I hope to have many years of providing much need primary care before I am totally dried up and useless. For those bringing financial concerns up as a reason why an older student should steer clear of medical school, think again. I am one of the few in my class who is not going into debt to pay for school, thanks to having had a successful career already. Because I am debt free, I am free to practice where I am needed, rather than going wherever I can make the most money. I have chosen to retire from my prior profession into the practice of medicine instead of onto a golf course or onto the couch to eat bonbons and am thankful that my school supports me in my quest. .
     
  29. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee. Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    It depends. I was 39 when I started medical school... and most folks don't believe I'm almost 45 now as a resident and think I'm 10 years younger. I am exasperated by laziness/complaints of fatigue by some of my younger resident peers. I freely admit I can't run up 8 flights of stairs anymore due to a permanent joint injury, but somehow I get to the codes faster than the 20-something residents. Go figure.

    There were non-trads in my med school class both older and younger than I who had more than their share of failed classes that needed remediation. There were traditional aged students who had similar issues, so this was not a function of age alone.

    As for financial burden, it's interesting. I see most of my younger resident and younger new attending peers buying houses that are 2-3 times their signed for salaries, buying new cars, going on expensive vacations. The non-trads tend to be more cautious with finances, purchasing modest homes less than their yearly attending salary, only replacing vehicles when they are worn out (>10 years old), stay-cations rather than expensive intercontinental vacations, and socking money away like crazy. Of course, this is all personal observation over an n of about 50, so it's all generalization and exceptions certainly apply. Could also just be my locale.

    All in all, it depends. If you are a "young" 45, then go for it. If you are an "old" 30, then you shouldn't.
     
  30. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    I was told this week that a person thought I was 18. I am 35, and there was a sincere look of shock on the persons face when I said I was 35... hehehehehe

    Either way, I wish I was 10yrs younger, but I'm not, and I still will have 30yrs to practice or more... I stick with my comment that age doesn't matter... I just read something that said the oldest person in a med school class was 63....
     
  31. primadonna22274

    primadonna22274 Senior Member

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    Agree that youthful energy is more important than chronological age as a predictor of stamina in this game. I started med school at 37, just turned 38 and most of my classmates don't believe it. I do feel this last year has aged me more than I would like though. My colorist knows my secrets and I've had to step up to more expensive wrinkle cream :) all worth it I think.
     
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  32. Trismegistus4

    Trismegistus4 Survivor

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    I'm a 35-year old PGY-1 who was 30 when I started medical school, and I voted for 31-35. While I'm much happer now than I was in medical school, it remains true that, all things considered, if I could do it over I would not go to medical school. The only way I could imagine this being worth it is to do it in one's twenties. Unless you really are one of these people whose one true dream in life is to practice medicine--but how could such people reach age 30 without bothering to apply to medical school yet?
     
  33. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Never even occurred to me to pursue medicine until I was 38.
     
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  34. primadonna22274

    primadonna22274 Senior Member

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    For me, becoming a physician has been my only lifelong goal. I was afraid to be rejected when I was 24 so I applied to PA school first. Got in, so went to PA school. Knew I wanted to finish med school my first year out in practice, but got used to making money, got divorced, got remarried, tried different jobs, tried teaching, and just never settled as a PA. Once I hit 35 my tolerance for being a dependent provider went downhill fast. Happy to be here. Financially better off? Um, NO...not by a long shot, and won't be for a long while...but still the right choice for me.
     
  35. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor

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    May we ask why? I'm curious if it is a personal issue for you, or is there something universal out there that us pre-meds wouldn't know about yet.
     
  36. digitlnoize

    digitlnoize Rock God

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    Didn't really occur to me until I was 26, then I had to finish all of undergrad + med school. Am about to graduate med school at 34.

    I don't think this is too late. The later it gets, the worse it becomes financially, but despite the eternal wisdom of P-Diddy, it's not All About The Benjamins.

    Actually, for those MUCH later in life, it might be a smarter financial decision, since, if you pay your loans off very slowly, you might die before they are paid off, at which point they are erased. Depends on age at graduation vs. age at death. If you graduate med school at 50, residency at 53, then MI at 62...you'd probably have come out ok, despite your short medical career. But, who knows? If you go late and live to be 90, that might suck.

    I don't think it's ever too late, but I do think the training process should be more humane (to everyone), and there should be alternate pathways available to people from non-trad backgrounds. Like the PA above, should've been able to shortcut a couple years off, at least.
     
  37. NightOwly

    NightOwly

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    During my early years working in US hospitals I would ask MDs "if you could do it over, what would you do differently?" 90% would say to me that they would not go to medical school. I stopped asking.

    I also don't bother asking med students how much they study, because far too many claim they don't need to study. :laugh:
     
  38. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Money's only one issue. There's a great deal of public funding and public trust in med ed, and I am responsible for returning on that investment. Managing my own personal student debt load is a subset of that responsibility.

    Health is a big issue. My older relatives have good backs, necks, knees, eyes & ears. My people regularly work full time into their seventies. Life-threatening issues come after 80. I've looked really hard at my elders and I've chosen to use them as predictors of what'll happen to me. I think docs in general should practice healthy living, but in my case, in order to compensate for the public support for my medical education, I view healthy living as my duty.

    Also, interests and attitude and self-awareness matter. I like working. I've been averaging 80 hour weeks since well before undergrad. I like having a ton of responsibility. George Bernard Shaw quote: “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.”

    Best of luck to you.
     
    Anjaylah likes this.
  39. primadonna22274

    primadonna22274 Senior Member

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    I do get one year's credit...LECOM's 3-yr Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway. Saves me a year of tuition and one less year of making no money. Definitely a little less painful ;)

    QUOTELike the PA above, should've been able to shortcut a couple years off, at least.[/QUOTE]
     
  40. gonnif

    gonnif Director, OldPreMeds.org Lifetime Donor

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    Here are two tidbits on this topic of age and medicine

    Dr. Rebecca Patchin, immediate past chair of the board of trustees of the AMA, did not start medical school until the age of 35.

    SUNY Upstate Medical University FAQ
    has the following posted

     
  41. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    If all of these physicians truly feel they wouldn't go to med school if they had the chance to do it over; I am left assuming they did it for the money. Maybe it is because I am in a bad mood right now, but if you look at your career and say you wouldn't do it again, you don't love it and you went into it for the wrong reason. The three physicians I am close with have never once said they would do it over, they love their jobs, despite the downsides, and are happy to go to work everyday...
     
  42. CityLights

    CityLights Gold Donor

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    I don't think this is a fair characterization, though I suppose it is sometimes true. The truth is that people sometimes change as they age, as do their priorities, goals, interests, and general outlook on life. Additionally, the reality of training may sometimes completely collide with the expectations they brought with them coming in; someone could be completely passionate as a pre-med, but once on the other side they're in the position to examine things more thoughtfully. It doesn't mean their initial commitment was insincere.
     
    Last edited: 03.10.12
  43. NightOwly

    NightOwly

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    "The reality of training."

    Yes, considering what everyone here is putting themselves through, after residency is all said and done, and you look back over the years, many here are probably already wondering how they managed and I don't blame them for not wanting to go back and do it over again. Though I'm sure they love medicine.

    Which takes us back to the importance of age. I agree with ShyRem:

     
  44. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    I think this is fairly accurate concerning my case at least. I was a gung-ho premed and had many reasons for applying, some practical, some idealistic. Worked really hard and thought I was fortunate to get accepted somewhere. Medical school hasn't been what I've expected. It's just been time-consuming and stressful and it never left me after class and it never leaves me after the hospital. If I end up in a good place ten years down the road and someone asks me if I'd do it again, I'd tell them the truth, that I enjoy what I do now but medical school was a high price to pay for it. My personality isn't suited for the career, and it took me awhile to realize that, but I'm in a position where there's no other option but to power through with a **** eating grin on my face.

    And I did not apply solely for the money. It was for all the usual reasons premeds enter, but now I'm thinking I should maybe open a botox side business during residency and after looking at my overall debt, had the fleeting idea that prescribing tons of oxy could pay off all my loans in a month. Having this much debt with no income and being constantly on your toes all the time is not a pleasant experience, especially when one serious slip up or one conflict of personalities can sidetrack or end your career, and I guess the point of this whole rant is that any non-trad who heads into it better make sure that this career is the only one they want and the only one they see themselves in, and for good measure write it down on a piece of paper somewhere so they don't forget it.
     
  45. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    And I have to say, the negativity I encounter in some of the attendings at my hospital is ****ing annoying. Its always about the downward spiral of healthcare, and their drop in patients (drop in business), and that everything's going to hell. Then you see them in the parking garage and they're getting into a beautiful car, or in the process of talking to them about what a pain in the ass it is to deal with HMOs you realize their practice is pulling them at least $500,000 in personal income a year, despite all the headache. No one ever says a thing about how they enjoy their work, it's all money, money, money.

    Ok.

    /rant
     
  46. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Ignorance was definitely bliss in my case. If I had known ahead of time how painful the training process would be, I would not have gone to medical school. And that has nothing to do with my age or the money. It also has nothing to do with how I feel about the prospect of being a practicing physician in a few years, except that I have to get through the training part to get to the practicing physician part.
     
  47. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Nah. Most of them were just young and stupid and didn't really know what would make them happy in life at the time. Most of us career changers probably made many of our own missteps for much the same reason. Only difference is, we decided to do something about it. And empowerment is a good feeling. Someone who invested so much of their youth, tuition money and energy on medicine probably feels a bit more trapped and unempowered. And that breeds comments like "I would never do it again".
     
  48. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    You'll make it -- the training part starts out awful -- very steep learning curve with no forgiveness -- but gets a bit less painless every year from what I'm experiencing. And in retrospect you will even look back on intern year fondly (believe it or not -- I was a bit shocked myself).
     
  49. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Well, I'm getting close to the end of intern year now, which certainly helps. Though from what I've been hearing, second year is the most intense for us, especially with fellowship looming. But at least I'll be done with most of the worst off service rotations. And L2D, thanks for the words of encouragement. :)

    To get back to the topic at hand, I find it interesting that the mode of our bar graph seems to be early 40s. That's a lot younger than I would have predicted.
     
  50. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    I was in a bad mood last night, L2D, you are certainly right that there is more than one reason, I could have added them, as I know "of" people, as I am friends with several Indian parents who have nieces/nephews forced into medicine by their parents.

    As for the car comment from Poopologist, a friend of mine is an ED doc, and the director of EMS education for his hospital. He drives a 98 subaru outback, loves his job, except the way his salary is paid. He is pushed to see as many people as possible all day long, or it cuts his salary. He is basically paid the same why my FP friends are paid... more patients=more money...
     

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