Kaustikos

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Hey,
So as I've made it to my third year of medical student, I figured I owed it to this site and you guys to offer advice/help coming from a non-traditional student who's now 30 and past halfway with Med School. I have a blog which I've been kind of absent in posting but I feel it has given a lot of perspective not only from a non-trad but basically someone like myself. I'm sarcastic, direct and sometimes a complete jerk when I'm studying.

Here's the first post I made:

Well, just who the hell am I?

By standard definition of studentdoctor.net, I'm practically considered a non-tradional aspiring physician. Recently being accepted to Medical School, I figured it only obvious to do the next logically sound thing every other medical student does - create a blog.

After graduating from college almost 5 years ago, I applied to Medical School (or made a kind donation of over $3,000) and didn't get in (save for waitlists). I wasn't really deterred/panicked/depressed or any other emotional adjective people would use to describe how some people felt after being rejected from the medical community (Though family and friends would argue otherwise by my lack of communication during the process). I decided I'd spend my time exploring other possible options I hadn't initially thought of pursuing. If medicine was quite possibly not the career for me, then what was? Obviously pharmaceuticals! Landing a job as a Toxicologist at a "Big 5" pharmaceutical company after graduation, I decided I'd try with no bias to see if research was my calling. But just to keep my future prospects in healthcare in check, I also worked as a pharmacy technician at a local retail pharmacy. So, there I was, about to start a journey deciphering what the hell I would do with my future.

Pharmaceuticals is interesting, to say the least, and I can't think of any other words to describe the experience. For the timebeing, I'll keep the description short as this isn't a decription of the jobs I worked, but who I am and how I landed in my current situation. I enjoyed the critical thinking a lotand also the science involved in the signal transduction pathways of the molecules in question. What I didn't enjoy was the monotonous/repetitive farming and the fact that science wasn't a big factor in decision making. There was also the diminishing future prospects because I lacked a title following my name. After spending 2 years there, I decided it was time to hightail it out of here. Those weren't the only reasons; there was also the depressing factor of not having much communication/interaction with people. Do science, give results, go back to lab. Scientists enjoy the almost agoraphobic career, but this isn't something that would be completely rewarding for me (.and working as a pharmacy technician further proved that point.)
Pharmacy Technician? What the hell, Kaustikos? You're doing it wrong! Was it a bad decision? Absolutely not! I'd recommend this job to anyone aspiring to become a physician/pharmacist because it does deal with one of the most important determinants of whether or not you can cut it in healthcare - customer service in healthcare. Elaboration is necessary but not for now. However, there's one thing I'll say about this job; no matter how bad patients were, I really enjoyed the job. The reason wasn't the absolutely nauseating answer of "I love to help people" that so many aspiring pre-meds tend to say. I just enjoyed the gratitude of some patients and the laughably ignorant patients insulting my knowledge/skills while also insinuating the idea that I'm here to make them miserable.

Well, I knew research wasn't fulfilling. So what; you just applied to Medical School? No, I played my cards right and figured out what I'd have to do. Meeting with an Admissions Committee member basically made me realize being out of school actually hurt me. In addition, I'd have to retake my MCAT. Some people would be dejected, but I was motivated. I applied to a local university masters program affiliated with that Medical School. I retook my MCAT and definitely scored high enough to matriculate and waited in anticipation to start the masters. By now, I had told the Tox department I was leaving and pursuing this masters. Some people (the ex*) weren't thrilled with me leaving a career and doing a masters and then applying to Medical School. The choice was already made and nothing would make me change my mind. But the stipulation was that I got a part-time job while doing this program. I ended up getting a full-time job instead. Things looked promising and I stood there awaiting the challenge like King Leonidus.

Okay, let's be clear at this point. I wasn't doing a thesis masters which included research. I was doing full-time research while doing 15 graduate credit hours/semester in the masters. There is a descrepancy and a severely negative effect on your lifestyle that showed while doing this. Family/friends/the ex* will definitely agree to how I changed doing this for a year. Would I do it again? If I had to, yes, because I could do it. The only thing is the drain it has that leads you to be emotionally absent and void of patience. However, graduating from this program with an amazing GPA (that I'm almost certain could have been higher if I wasn't doing research) I was confident this showed just how competent I was in being able to deal with Medical School. A stellar MCAT and great personal statement/interview/phone call/post-interview interview and I'm finally going to start Medical School.

So, who am I? I'm a scientist by experience who enjoys the interactions with patients. All my research has been medicinally relevant which sort of lends an influence into why I not only want to practice medicine but also conduct research relevant to my field of study. I'm confident that what I learned and will learn will not only give me a fulfilling career but give me the ability to contribute greatly to science/healthcare.

All of this leads to where I am now. Years of research, healthcare experience and a masters in hand, I was finally able to figure out what I wanted with my life. Medicine really is what I want to do with my life. This might feel like a personal statement for medical school, but this is more a description of how I got to where I am to sort of get an idea of where I am. I might post my personal statement...I might not. I might tell you to go **** yourself or cleverly create one that mocks the pre-med community. For the time being, enjoy seeing the preparation and waiting for medical school to begin and what insight/wisdom I can offer. I'm not your typical gunner pre-med who jumped to Medical School after graduating. I'm Kaustikos - Cynical Pharmacologist.
I've made a lot of sacrifices. Had losses/successes. I'm not perfect despite my facetious attitude that people misinterpret. I've had plenty of pitfalls/speed bumps throughout my career so far. But the point stands that I did make it and I'm still here (through the skin of my teeth). Do I have regrets? No, absolutely not. These moments have made me who I am and taught me a lot. Here are some points/things I've learned that I think can help a lot of you in this journey:

DON'T RUSH IT. Trust me. You might think you have to finish all pre-req's/take mcat/etc in 20 minutes and then apply. Don't. Careful planning is a must and you need to not only reaffirm your knowledge base but also work on selling yourself with your past experiences. Once you've established yourself as a non-trad, you need to realize you're putting yourself at an advantage over the competition. How? Because you're taking time to sit in the real world with a job/career/family. This lends a huge amount of experience/wisdom that adcom's appreciate and want from students. You've been in the real world and have an understanding of how life works. Especially how people work. Take that time to strengthen that attribute. Don't feel like a failure or like you have a disadvantage. You'll prove yourself academically AND your experiences. People in UG have the unfortunate issue of having to try to excel academically while only getting a glimpse of the real world. Volunteering only gives you a minute amount of detail about how you talk/interact with people. Being in the workplace means you HAVE to learn how to deal with people correctly. You learn what to say and when to say it. You learn when you need to shut your mouth and when you have every right to speak up. These conversation skills are a HUGE benefit with patients. My experiences in the past have taught me how to handle a patient interview. I don't even have to hesitate/think about what to say with a patient. The conversation flows. This is especially helpful when you forget WHAT question to ask next in your H&P. It also makes the patient way more comfortable talking to you. When you have a candid attitude, the patient feels more comfortable talking with you.

Academically: It sucks, honestly. I've learned that I really can't keep up 100% with my classmates in terms of studying. I sometimes have to spend hours studying material because it's "been a while". It may be different for some of you, but some will experience this as well. You may not get honors. But trust me when I say this - it doesn't matter ONE BIT. The only grade they care for is Step 1. Don't waste your time trying to get the highest grades in MS1/MS2. Focus on understanding the material for Step 1. I had my pitfall last summer that unfortunately caused me to fall even further back in class ranks for Clinical Medicine. That makes my story different. The consequences of my detriment meant having worse time studying/focusing. There are days where I study and the material just doesn't connect. I had to push through that. I hope no one ever experiences what I experienced because it unfortunately did impact me. But the point remains - whatever your intelligence/aptitude, don't feel like a loser if you can't do as great as others. It only matters what you remember/take with you for boards.

Ask away. I'll get notifications so I'll respond if/when I can.
 

NikkiWat

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Sep 25, 2013
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Hello,

I graduated last May with a BSN. I recently got a nursing job but being a doctor has always been a goal of mine. My biggest concern is just getting into a medical school. I am not rushing my pre-reqs, I am planning to take the MCAT a year from now-ish. My biggest concern is getting research position or physician shadow experience. I have read a lot about that being a huge part in writing your personal statement and also important for interviews. What advice do you have for a nurse who is planning to take the MCAT a year from now and apply for 2015? I know I can do well once I get accepted to a medical school, but being accepted is what concerns me the most...

~Nicole
 
Jun 21, 2012
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My biggest concern is getting research position or physician shadow experience. I have read a lot about that being a huge part in writing your personal statement and also important for interviews.
I think for a former nurse, using an example of a patient experience that made you realize you wanted to be involved in a different way in the patient's care would be far more likely to be compelling than anything you're going to see by shadowing.
 
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Amygdarya

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I second this: shadowing is a joke compared to the clinical experience you get as a nurse.
Research is helpful, but only really necessary for research-oriented schools.
 
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My biggest concern is getting research position or physician shadow experience.
Do you work in the hospital as a nurse? You should have no problem asking a couple of physicians if you could shadow them. As a nurse, you probably see them working and communicate with them all the time, so you could decide which ones would be easier to approach.
Moreover, this shadow experience may not be as necessary for you as it is for others, since you already have a pretty good idea about the work doctors do on a daily basis. So, don't stress too much about it :)
 
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Kaustikos

Kaustikos

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Hello,

I graduated last May with a BSN. I recently got a nursing job but being a doctor has always been a goal of mine. My biggest concern is just getting into a medical school. I am not rushing my pre-reqs, I am planning to take the MCAT a year from now-ish. My biggest concern is getting research position or physician shadow experience. I have read a lot about that being a huge part in writing your personal statement and also important for interviews. What advice do you have for a nurse who is planning to take the MCAT a year from now and apply for 2015? I know I can do well once I get accepted to a medical school, but being accepted is what concerns me the most...

~Nicole
Truth be told? When I was interviewed, the adcom's hated that I worked in research... but it was mainly because of the fact that I worked in pharmaceuticals. I've never believed research to be that important in applying, especially if you have a solid background in clinicals/working at a hospital. I know that at least DO schools (which are not to be scoffed at, honestly) take a lot of nurses/healthcare professionals into their program. And I know of SEVERAL people with backgrounds in nursing/pharmacy who went to Med School. They had a leg up with their prior experience.

Research, imo, is just a way to flaunt your "science" background, when the reality is that a minor amount actually give two ****s about what they researched and only used it to pad their resumes. If you were to do that, I'd try to do clinical research and not the hardcore research. It lends a hand towards translation research which is more applicable to medicine. The people interviewing you are more comfortable with that aspect of research than how you cultured cells to see the outcome of a mutation in a certain gene for rats.

Personal Statement - Believe me when I say this; I know a lot about WHAT you should put into it and HOW. Feel free to pm me and I can send you my email. I did this before starting med school to help pre-meds/etc get a leg up on their personal statements. I love to write, obviously, and have gotten a lot of lessons from professionals/etc on what you do.
Pro-tip - Don't just regurgitate what you did. I know some people say "well duh" but then they do exactly that. It's not about what you did. It's about how those things impacted your decision to go into Med School. My personal statement talked about research and how it strengthened certain things but then I spoke about why I didn't want to pursue research and how medicine was more appealing.
#2 - Focus on how these experiences made you stronger and what you learned. And I don't mean the assays/etc, but the qualities you got which would help you in medicine.
#3 - I'd STRONGLY recommend talking about your nursing background. Nurses have a lot of weight in this game because they learn how to deal with people. You have some knowledge of medicine/pharm, yes, but you deal with the aspects of medicine we don't; dealing with patients in a significantly higher degree. Push that. Sell that. Talk about your communication skills/interactions. Don't just say you did this but, again, focus on selling how it makes you way better than the competition. The only thing/concern I'd have is selling why you don't want to do nursing. I agree with you that nursing doesn't employ the tasks/responsibilities that physicians have. But I'd be prepared to answer why you didn't get a Nurse Practitioner's degree. I'd imagine that question would come up during that interview so having some sort of answer for that would also help.

I'd skip on shadowing. You don't need it. You're a nurse and have essentially shadowed doctors already. You talk to them on a regular basis and (from what I've seen) are in the room a lot of times when the doctors are there rounding. We rely on you heavily for the info/scoop on what's going on with the patient when we're not there. And you also develop an idea of the protocol/plan of action in caring for the patients.
 

MDforMee

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Aug 29, 2012
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I second this: shadowing is a joke compared to the clinical experience you get as a nurse.
Research is helpful, but only really necessary for research-oriented schools.
I worked in healthcare for a while (and attended nursing school, as well) and think that shadowing is a waste of time, but shadowing isn't strictly for gaining clinical experience. Also, if you're applying to osteopathic medical schools, you'll need a letter of recommendation from an osteopathic physician; unless you can hustle up a LOR from a DO you work with or know, you'll have to do some shadowing. I believe that many allopathic schools require a letter from an MD or DO, as well.

Here's my recent thread that asked if a DO LOR is required, or not:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/is-a-letter-from-a-do-required.1046652/
 
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Amygdarya

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I worked in healthcare for a while (and attended nursing school, as well) and think that shadowing is a waste of time, but shadowing isn't strictly for gaining clinical experience. Also, if you're applying to osteopathic medical schools, you'll need a letter of recommendation from an osteopathic physician; unless you can hustle up a LOR from a DO you work with or know, you'll have to do some shadowing. I believe that many allopathic schools require a letter from an MD or DO, as well.

Here's my recent thread that asked if a DO LOR is required, or not:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/is-a-letter-from-a-do-required.1046652/
I didn't apply to DO schools*, so I don't know much about them, but I did hear that many (most? all? check that with individual schools) DO schools require a letter from a DO. I guess part of the reason is for DO schools to ascertain that you have interacted with a DO, know what DOs do and that you're actually interested in going to a DO school rather than applying to it as a plan B in case you don't get into an MD school**.
As for MD schools, strictly speaking - you can and, in fact, should check schools' own web sites for the specifics of the letters they require - MD schools require letters from your *professors* to ascertain your academic ability. In theory, a letter from an MD could be a good idea because, after all, who else but not an MD is qualified to evaluate you as a future doctor? - however, I don't know of a single MD school that requires a letter from an MD. In fact, I think the reason MD schools don't require letters from MDs is because if they did they would be swamped with meaningless statements like "this guys is kinda nice, he dresses neatly and shows up on time" from MDs medical school hopefuls shadowed. Now, if you have a doctor you actually did something meaningful with (like worked with in a clinical setting as you did - I'm writing this post for a broader audience rather than responding to you personally) and who can give you a good letter, this letter will be great - but is *not a requirement for MD schools by any means, and you will still need letters from your professors*.

To summarize: while DO letters are pretty much required for DO schools, neither MD nor DO letters are required for MD schools; letters from professors is what the vast majority of MD schools require (which may create a problem for non-trads) - these are facts, the rest are my opinions which you can take or leave.

(* - because I'm strongly research-oriented, so MD schools are more appropriate for my purpose)
(** - I don't mean to denigrate DO schools by saying this - in fact, DO schools are great for people interested in primary care, and I also know people who chose DO schools over MD schools because of their holistic philosophy - however, it's an unfortunate truth that DO schools are often a backup option for some of the less successful MD hopefuls)
 
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acceptmeplease

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My interviewers loved that I was a nurse.

If you have any questions or want to check out my personal statement and how I tied nursing into it PM me.

The question I received most often was not why medicine and not nursing, but why not advanced practice nursing.

Shadowing is dumb in your case, and research really is overrated. I think not having research hurts less than having research helps for a lot of schools..if that makes sense.
 

Amygdarya

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I believe nurses make awesome doctors :) (not a nurse myself, I come from kind of the "opposite" medicine related background - research). Just think of all the experience you have of working with actual patients. At the clinic I work (as a researcher), the non-trad doctor who used to be a nurse is the nicest and the most loved by patients :)

The only caveat of applying to medical schools as a nurse I can see is that *some* adcoms may not like it that some nurses want to go to medical school when there is a shortage of nurses. But they are a minority and you may not even encounter them in your application cycle. Either way, prepare a strong case of why you want to be a doctor and not a nurse and how you can contribute more as a doctor than a nurse.

I agree with acceptmeplease about research. Research is not a requirement at the vast majority of medical school; "research-oriented" medical schools are a minority, and you probably won't apply there anyway if you're not interested in doing research. ("Research-oriented" schools tend to gravitate to the top, but not all the top schools require research: schools like UofChicago, Columbia, Mount Sinai highly value community involvement.) For the vast majority of medical schools, your clinical experience as a nurse beats any kind of superficial "research" a traditional applicant does just to put that on his or her application.
 
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Kaustikos

Kaustikos

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I worked in healthcare for a while (and attended nursing school, as well) and think that shadowing is a waste of time, but shadowing isn't strictly for gaining clinical experience. Also, if you're applying to osteopathic medical schools, you'll need a letter of recommendation from an osteopathic physician; unless you can hustle up a LOR from a DO you work with or know, you'll have to do some shadowing. I believe that many allopathic schools require a letter from an MD or DO, as well.
Getting a LOR from a physician (MD or DO) is a lot easier when you work in a hospital. Especially if you work in an academic setting. Most physicians there have a template already drawn up and ready for you because they write so many. If you're looking for an OMG AMAZING LOR, then you might need to do some work. Otherwise, it's not difficult to get one. My point is; you don't need to shadow.
My mildly humorous breakdown:
1) Look at the staff/physician list at your hospital
2) Ask your team/staff how much they know about X Physician who's a DO
3) Ask how you can talk to him/her
4) Talk to him/her
5) Done
Shadowing is only required for people who don't know how things work. If you work in a hospital, then a simple cup of coffee/interaction for a couple hours will suffice because your staff and THEIR staff talk. They'll pretty much fill in the gaps on how awesome you are. These physicians are used to dealing with evals/LOR's for med students applying to residency/etc so they actually have an idea of how to write a LOR that will help you. My only advice is to find out how strongly that DO physician feels about the DO philosophy. A lot of DO's nowadays see now discerning difference between MD/DO and only look for you to have an interest in medicine. Others might think differently.

I believe nurses make awesome doctors :) (not a nurse myself, I come from kind of the "opposite" medicine related background - research). Just think of all the experience you have of working with actual patients. At the clinic I work (as a researcher), the non-trad doctor who used to be a nurse is the nicest and the most loved by patients :)

The only caveat of applying to medical schools as a nurse I can see is that *some* adcoms may not like it that some nurses want to go to medical school when there is a shortage of nurses. But they are a minority and you may not even encounter them in your application cycle. Either way, prepare a strong case of why you want to be a doctor and not a nurse and how you can contribute more as a doctor than a nurse.

I agree with acceptmeplease about research. Research is not a requirement at the vast majority of medical school; "research-oriented" medical schools are a minority, and you probably won't apply there anyway if you're not interested in doing research. ("Research-oriented" schools tend to gravitate to the top, but not all the top schools require research: schools like UofChicago, Columbia, Mount Sinai highly value community involvement.) For the vast majority of medical schools, your clinical experience as a nurse beats any kind of superficial "research" a traditional applicant does just to put that on his or her application.
Med Schools are all the same in the end if you want to be a doctor. They just have pretty names attached at the end. :lol: But honestly - the top schools I respect for their contributions to research. But the reality is completely different in pushing out clinically-talented physicians. My school barely scrapes the top 30 in research-based schools but makes top 5 in primary care. And I can see why/how. In the end; you should be thankful where ever you get accepted because all that matters is your step 1/shelf/LOR during rotations. No one gives a damn if you went to John's Hopkin's if you failed your step 1.

And it's funny you mention the "shortage of nurses" caveat because my school/hospital has a 50/50 view on that. One group/hospital setting fired 700 staff (400ish nurses) while the other one is hiring them on a daily basis. And both hospital groups/programs fund/teach my school. So some days I wonder what is going on. It's true in a way that they'll ask you why nurse to doctor, but I don't think it's about the shortage specifically.
 

prettyNURSEtoMD

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Jun 17, 2009
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Hello,

I graduated last May with a BSN. I recently got a nursing job but being a doctor has always been a goal of mine. My biggest concern is just getting into a medical school. I am not rushing my pre-reqs, I am planning to take the MCAT a year from now-ish. My biggest concern is getting research position or physician shadow experience. I have read a lot about that being a huge part in writing your personal statement and also important for interviews. What advice do you have for a nurse who is planning to take the MCAT a year from now and apply for 2015? I know I can do well once I get accepted to a medical school, but being accepted is what concerns me the most...

~Nicole
I am a BSN as well. I will be applying 2015. I've gone through a lot. You can ask me any specifics you want!!
 

prettyNURSEtoMD

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My interviewers loved that I was a nurse.

If you have any questions or want to check out my personal statement and how I tied nursing into it PM me.

The question I received most often was not why medicine and not nursing, but why not advanced practice nursing.

Shadowing is dumb in your case, and research really is overrated. I think not having research hurts less than having research helps for a lot of schools..if that makes sense.
Would be okay if I PM you as well to check out your personal statement? I have one written now but I'm not sure how it flows!
 

Mad Jack

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I second this: shadowing is a joke compared to the clinical experience you get as a nurse.
Research is helpful, but only really necessary for research-oriented schools.
Thirded. I'd shadow a doc that seems to think you're alright to get a decent LoR though. Unless they already know you pretty well personally, shadowing makes writing a decent personal letter much easier. You wont need more than probably 3 days of shadowing to get a decent letter. The worst part is actually asking to do it. "Look, I know we work together all the time. But, can I like, watch you for a day. You know. Just sort of lurk behind you for 8 hours in the shadows. It won't be weird, I promise!"

And a definite +1 on the research not being a big deal for most schools.

One thing you should really work on is getting your LoRs ASAP. They were the worst part of the application process for me because I had zero control over them. Your life is totally in the hands of others.

Btw, nice thread!
 

Amygdarya

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Med Schools are all the same in the end if you want to be a doctor. They just have pretty names attached at the end. :lol: But honestly - the top schools I respect for their contributions to research. But the reality is completely different in pushing out clinically-talented physicians. My school barely scrapes the top 30 in research-based schools but makes top 5 in primary care. And I can see why/how. In the end; you should be thankful where ever you get accepted because all that matters is your step 1/shelf/LOR during rotations. No one gives a damn if you went to John's Hopkin's if you failed your step 1.

And it's funny you mention the "shortage of nurses" caveat because my school/hospital has a 50/50 view on that. One group/hospital setting fired 700 staff (400ish nurses) while the other one is hiring them on a daily basis. And both hospital groups/programs fund/teach my school. So some days I wonder what is going on. It's true in a way that they'll ask you why nurse to doctor, but I don't think it's about the shortage specifically.
I agree with your general point that graduates of pretty much any US medical school (MD or DO) can become good docs, and that this is, for the most part, in the student's own hands. I also agree that top/research-oriented schools tend to be weaker on primary care (with notable exceptions of schools like UofWashington) - but I hope we won't take this to the extreme of saying that top/research-oriented schools produce bad clinicians ;) Because the things is, while producing good primary care docs is not a top priority for these schools, it doesn't mean that they don't strive to produce good clinicians - it's just that they tend to produce more specialists and subspecialists. Primary care is tremendously important, but it doesn't mean that good specialists are not needed - after all, while there may be great primary care docs in the community, patients with rare and/or complicated conditions get referred to tertiary and quaternary care providers at the top academic medical centers, which are also major research hubs. Say, patients with complicated conditions in Western Pennsylvania get referred to UPMC not because this academic research-heavy medical center has bad clinicians ;)
Basically, my point is, to each his or her own. Primary care docs are necessary, but so are specialists and subspecialists. And being a specialist or a subspecialist doesn't equal being a bad clinician, just as being a primary care doc doesn't always equal being a great clinician. So I don't really understand why, say, Harvard or Johns Hopkins get bashed for not producing more primary care docs (I'm not even talking about your post, I've seen some articles about this online), where they have different priorities, which are still beneficial to the society.

As for the nursing issue, I have actually heard a couple of docs complaining about some nurses quitting nursing and going to medical school (which is actually none of their business anyway). I'm not saying this opinion is prevalent, just that it exists.
 
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Kaustikos

Kaustikos

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I agree with your general point that graduates of pretty much any US medical school (MD or DO) can become good docs, and that this is, for the most part, in the student's own hands. I also agree that top/research-oriented schools tend to be weaker on primary care (with notable exceptions of schools like UofWashington) - but I hope we won't take this to the extreme of saying that top/research-oriented schools produce bad clinicians ;) Because the things is, while producing good primary care docs is not a top priority for these schools, it doesn't mean that they don't strive to produce good clinicians - it's just that they tend to produce more specialists and subspecialists. Primary care is tremendously important, but it doesn't mean that good specialists are not needed - after all, while there may be great primary care docs in the community, patients with rare and/or complicated conditions get referred to tertiary and quaternary care providers at the top academic medical centers, which are also major research hubs. Say, patients with complicated conditions in Western Pennsylvania get referred to UPMC not because this academic research-heavy medical center has bad clinicians ;)
Basically, my point is, to each his or her own. Primary care docs are necessary, but so are specialists and subspecialists. And being a specialist or a subspecialist doesn't equal being a bad clinician, just as being a primary care doc doesn't always equal being a great clinician. So I don't really understand why, say, Harvard or Johns Hopkins get bashed for not producing more primary care docs (I'm not even talking about your post, I've seen some articles about this online), where they have different priorities, which are still beneficial to the society.

As for the nursing issue, I have actually heard a couple of docs complaining about some nurses quitting nursing and going to medical school (which is actually none of their business anyway). I'm not saying this opinion is prevalent, just that it exists.

Yeah,
Research-oriented schools produce lots of great clinicians. That's an understatement imo. It's just seeing so many people on here and real life freak out that they didn't go to these schools and think their chances at doing X/Y/Z residency is shot... when it isn't. The factors that drive residency are placed solely on your own performance on Step 1 and shelf exams. Evaluations/letters play a factor, too, but it's almost ridiculous to assume that because the faculty at your hospital/school isn't at John's Hopkins then you won't get the residency you want. Specialties also fall under this spectrum, imo, because majority of them are not based on the school you went to, but the strides you took during 3rd/4th year to get INTO these rotations/electives for that specialty. Saying you're interested in Radiology is not the same as saying it with electives in such. And electives are sometimes lenient to allow you to do them at other hospitals in other states.
Research-oriented play a huge role in many factors, but they're the ones pushing their hand on research/clinician research. If that's what you want, then go for it. But it's also true that schools not in the top 5 don't have their own research agenda/powerhouse.

And there's also one other thing I've learned - being in a remote/non-top5 school is HUGELY beneficial if you want to develop skills in certain specialties. My school's surgery rotation is a blessing in disguise because you're not just standing there doing nothing. Majority of procedures have one medical student scrubbed in and assisting at all times. Things get greatly better if you do this rotation at a remote/satellite campus because guess what? There are NO residents/interns at these hospitals! Guess who's there with the attending being primary assist? You are. Scary for some, but others would be jealous of that opportunity. I wish I had done my gen surg at the satellite campus because I know I'd be doing more. I did plenty here, but come on. And then I hear about how other schools sometimes only let you watch. I hear stories from the old docs days where they were the only one doing deliveries at hospitals as third years and this still exists. You just need to know which schools/hospitals have that opportunity.
 
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Darth Doc

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Any tips on getting the brain into study gear again as a non-trad heading into MS1?
 

mommy2three

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Any tips on getting the brain into study gear again as a non-trad heading into MS1?
I can honestly say nothing

I came right from a masters program and still finishing research and I was still not fully ready

Enjoy time with your family/support network and get whatever supplies you need to get ready
Then just buckle up and enjoy the ride
 
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Amygdarya

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And there's also one other thing I've learned - being in a remote/non-top5 school is HUGELY beneficial if you want to develop skills in certain specialties. My school's surgery rotation is a blessing in disguise because you're not just standing there doing nothing. Majority of procedures have one medical student scrubbed in and assisting at all times. Things get greatly better if you do this rotation at a remote/satellite campus because guess what? There are NO residents/interns at these hospitals! Guess who's there with the attending being primary assist? You are. Scary for some, but others would be jealous of that opportunity. I wish I had done my gen surg at the satellite campus because I know I'd be doing more. I did plenty here, but come on. And then I hear about how other schools sometimes only let you watch. I hear stories from the old docs days where they were the only one doing deliveries at hospitals as third years and this still exists. You just need to know which schools/hospitals have that opportunity.
Thank you, this is a really good point.
 
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Kaustikos

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Any tips on getting the brain into study gear again as a non-trad heading into MS1?
Honestly...
It does take SOME getting used to, but it won't take long to get back into it. I'd recommend overstudying for the first block of tests. I had never taken anatomy so I had to put in A LOT of effort for that class to pass. It was frustrating/depressing, but it was required. There were moments I'd have to be at the library for hours on end because of it, but I didn't give up.

Don't try to pre-study. It's stupid and meaningless. Wait until things start and go from there. If anything, I'd recommend buying all the "Made Ridiculously Simple" books for most courses. I didn't do it for anatomy but I wish I did. I did it later for micro and neuro and it helped out A LOT. Why? Because it gives you a broad overview of everything for the course which helps me a lot. Some topics I'm not familiar with and I need a refresher/review and these books do just that. The one for neuro was beyond helpful/awesome because it simplified VERY complex concepts. I'm the type of person that sometimes needs to be able to step back and look at the basic picture and go from there - this helps in clinic and on exams. To put it in perspective - you can memorize all the causes of abdominal pain and their signs/symptoms, but it only gets you so far. If you have a way to break it down/simplify it, then you'll have a leg up on exams. The Step-Up to medicine book does that by diagrams; which I love. They're simple things like - Is it acute or chronic? Acute? Great, do they have peritoneal signs? and so on. You then get to the bottom and have 3 things over the 25000 other things.
 
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Kaustikos

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I need to apologize as I promised something I couldn't deliver. I told some of you I'd be willing/able to help with personal statements and I can't at this present moment. I'm currently in the worst of binds at the moment and in a mood that doesn't warrant any advice/suggestions. I wish I could say that this will change; but I only see myself/attitude becoming either the same or worse.

To put it bluntly - I've been broken. The idea/belief I held in the first two years has changed and I no longer feel the compassion/desire. I've become jaded/cynical to point of not caring anymore.
 

OutRun

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I need to apologize as I promised something I couldn't deliver. I told some of you I'd be willing/able to help with personal statements and I can't at this present moment. I'm currently in the worst of binds at the moment and in a mood that doesn't warrant any advice/suggestions. I wish I could say that this will change; but I only see myself/attitude becoming either the same or worse.

To put it bluntly - I've been broken. The idea/belief I held in the first two years has changed and I no longer feel the compassion/desire. I've become jaded/cynical to point of not caring anymore.
Keep pushing, Kaustikos! I may be in dental school but I'm a fellow non-trad with a previous career in an academic hospital setting so I've seen my fair share of burned out MS2/MS3s. You definitely sound like you need a break to recharge but I'm 99.99% sure your current schedule / curriculum makes that an impossibility.
 
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Kaustikos

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Keep pushing, Kaustikos! I may be in dental school but I'm a fellow non-trad with a previous career in an academic hospital setting so I've seen my fair share of burned out MS2/MS3s. You definitely sound like you need a break to recharge but I'm 99.99% sure your current schedule / curriculum makes that an impossibility.
It's not burn out, really. I've been fine with being in clinic/OR and studying on my own. But I'm tired of all these petty things they want/expect from me when its stressful enough studying for this. Every little nuance just wastes my time or interrupts my time in clinic.
The hours of stupid lecture with mandatory attendance
the stupid assignments
the sign offs
The constant threats of "unprofessionalism" because I want to be in clinic and study on my own.
I've just gotten the impression that they don't care about my being in the hospital. They don't care that it takes me twice as long to study for exams so time is precious.
They ask me why I didn't spend 8 hours watching videos on diseases and I want to respond; I don't care.

I just hate it. When the time comes that I fail a shelf exam they'll just point their finger at me.
 

miss x

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Hello,

I graduated last May with a BSN. I recently got a nursing job but being a doctor has always been a goal of mine. My biggest concern is just getting into a medical school. I am not rushing my pre-reqs, I am planning to take the MCAT a year from now-ish. My biggest concern is getting research position or physician shadow experience. I have read a lot about that being a huge part in writing your personal statement and also important for interviews. What advice do you have for a nurse who is planning to take the MCAT a year from now and apply for 2015? I know I can do well once I get accepted to a medical school, but being accepted is what concerns me the most...

~Nicole
Question: Can a nurse with an associate's get accepted into medical school? I am thinking not, but what about if the non-trad has completed the pre-req's?
 

acceptmeplease

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Question: Can a nurse with an associate's get accepted into medical school? I am thinking not, but what about if the non-trad has completed the pre-req's?
I have an ADN, but before that I had a bachelors in biology. So, yes.
 

Amygdarya

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For people who don't have Bachelor's degree: technically, most medical schools schools don't *require* one, as long as you complete at least 3 years worth of college classes, including all prereqs. (Some schools do explicitly require a Bachelor's degree for matriculation though, but they are a minority.) But in reality, even if a school doesn't *require* a Bachelor's degree, people applying without one are still at a disadvantage.

Also, for people with nursing degrees: make sure your Bio classes are for *science majors*, not for health professions. There are quite a few schools (TMDSAS schools for sure) that will only accept Bio classes for science majors as prereqs.
 
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acceptmeplease

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Annnnnnd basically becoming a physician is a marathon and you have a thousand hoops to jump through. If your only reason for not finishing a degree is a year or two, that's not really a good reason.

If 99% of applicants have a bachelors degree, 100% of matriculants will.
 

Amygdarya

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Annnnnnd basically becoming a physician is a marathon and you have a thousand hoops to jump through. If your only reason for not finishing a degree is a year or two, that's not really a good reason.
Totally agree with this...
If 99% of applicants have a bachelors degree, 100% of matriculants will.
... but not with this. There are cases of people matriculating without a Bachelor's degree (this kind of statistics can be found on AAMC website, but I'm too lazy to look for a supporting link :)), though of course they are huge exceptions and all the other parts of their applications must be in great shape.
Plus, considering how many traditional students apply to medical schools from their last year of college, I think the percentage of people applying without a Bachelor's must be lower than 99% :)
 

acceptmeplease

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Totally agree with this...

... but not with this. There are cases of people matriculating without a Bachelor's degree (this kind of statistics can be found on AAMC website, but I'm too lazy to look for a supporting link :)), though of course they are huge exceptions and all the other parts of their applications must be in great shape.
Plus, considering how many traditional students apply to medical schools from their last year of college, I think the percentage of people applying without a Bachelor's must be lower than 99% :)
Haha I was exaggerating.

Some schools literally look at hours only and do not see degrees; however, IMHO, If I were on an admissions committee, I would prefer a degree candidate over someone who merely had the hours requirement.
 

Amygdarya

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however, IMHO, If I were on an admissions committee, I would prefer a degree candidate over someone who merely had the hours requirement.
I agree with this. Even if a school doesn't require Bachelor's degree, an applicant without one still has fewer chances of getting accepted than a comparable applicant with one.
 
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miss x

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Annnnnnd basically becoming a physician is a marathon and you have a thousand hoops to jump through. If your only reason for not finishing a degree is a year or two, that's not really a good reason.

If 99% of applicants have a bachelors degree, 100% of matriculants will.
Needing to get to work in two years instead of 4 is a good reason. I would plan on working as an RN while finishing up the bachelor's, then. And then consider applying to med school. The need to get this done becomes a factor when you are over the age of 40.

MANY jobs 'have a million hoops to jump through', and you're not a doctor when you come out. You are making $30k a year, if that. I used to work in the public sector. That's hoop-jumping. As is truck driving, and truck drivers continue to jump through those hoops on a daily basis, after they are hired.

My cousin-in-law is a doctor, so I am a bit aware. The question was are 'just' associate's degrees accepted in med school.

Figuring out how to live while not working in med school full time when you are not married and don't live 'at home', another big thing to consider. Thanks for the science course info and the other info, everyone.
 
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acceptmeplease

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Needing to get to work in two years instead of 4 is a good reason. I would plan on working as an RN while finishing up the bachelor's, then. And then consider applying to med school. The need to get this done becomes a factor when you are over the age of 40.

MANY jobs 'have a million hoops to jump through', and you're not a doctor when you come out. You are making $30k a year, if that. I used to work in the public sector. That's hoop-jumping. As is truck driving, and truck drivers continue to jump through those hoops on a daily basis, after they are hired.

My cousin-in-law is a doctor, so I am a bit aware. The question was are 'just' associate's degrees accepted in med school.

Figuring out how to live while not working in med school full time when you are not married and don't live 'at home', another big thing to consider. Thanks for the science course info and the other info, everyone.
You asked a question, and I answered it as honestly as possible. You don't live "at home"? Big deal. That's the case with many people. I was married and working 3 jobs to put myself through nursing school.

In medical school, you live off of loans. Each school's financial aid package has a cost of attendance portion set aside for living expenses. You may have to scale down a bit, but it's doable.

Are you in nursing school now? Have you started clinical?

Your original question may have been intended to say "just" an associates, but it didn't.

There are quite a few proverbial hoops to jump through between now and becoming a physician. LORs, committees, interviews, volunteering/ECs, etc. Comparing this to being a trucker is like apples and oranges. I'm sure being a trucker is not an easy profession, but becoming/working as a trucker is less difficult than getting into medical school.

If time is such a factor, have you considered advanced practice nursing? You can become a semi-autonomous provider in a much shorter time period.