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DPT to MD. Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by fickstar, May 17, 2014.

  1. fickstar

    fickstar 5+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2010
    Need some validation or encouragement. I’ve been on SDN for about 3 years, so I think it’s time I finally make my first post.

    I’m 27 years old male, single with no kids, graduated from a doctor of physical therapy school last September and I’m currently working as a physical therapist. During my clinical rotations in PT school, I developed an interest in medicine, the passion and desire just continued to grow and I am now at a stage where I’m seriously considering going back to school to become a medical doctor. I was so intrigued with various aspects of medicine and I got to observe some orthopedic surgeries while I was a PT student and it blew my mind! I’ve done a ton of research and I know the road to medicine is tough; I just get so overwhelmed when I think about the financial sacrifices and the thought of having to go back to school to do it all over again.

    PT school was very challenging but I really applied myself and graduated with almost a 3.9 GPA. I know it’s all about your undergrad grades when it comes to medical school, my undergrad GPA is around 3.3, with my science GPA just at a little over 3.0. I attended University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign for undergrad and I honestly just wasn’t a good student back then (I lacked direction and focus). I have most of my prereqs completed for medical school because I needed the same classes to apply to PT school. However, I still need to take organic chem 1/chem 2 and one or two higher level science courses to bring up my science GPA. If I get my mind right, I’m planning on taking orgo 1 this august.

    My biggest barrier right now is my current financial situation (aka school loans). From undergrad and DPT school, I have about 180k in student loans and making those monthly payments suck! I’ve been working as a PT for over 5 months now, on pace to make decent money working 50-60 hrs a wk, so I have little to no financial motive for pursuing medicine. I don’t dislike or hate physical therapy, I think it’s a great profession but man; my heart is just not in it! I really don’t see myself in the field for more than 5-10 years. When I decided to become a physical therapist, I chose the road with the least resistance, it’s sad to admit but I was mainly attracted to the doctorate degree. Right now, I just think I have a lot more to offer and there are so many limitations within the scope of physical therapy practice.

    So I guess my question is do I have a legit chance at medicine? Or am I crazy for even thinking about this with the amount I have in school loans already? I feel like I would be giving up so much to pursue this dream and I've spoken to a few doctors that have advised me to not go into medicine. I’m also an URM.

    Any advice or comments are appreciated, sorry for the long post!
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  3. Drrrrrr. Celty

    Drrrrrr. Celty Osteo Dullahan 7+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    Why do you see yourself in medicine? What do you see yourself doing in medicine?
  4. fickstar

    fickstar 5+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2010
    Good question serenade, my answer is a little unorthodox because I’m not necessary interested in medicine just to help patients get better or because I simply like helping people. I love the problem solving aspect of it. Medicine keeps you on thinking and forces you to rationalize every step. Yea, you’re going to have your routine patients that are not challenging and they respond to the general treatment approach but you’ll also see patients in which you have no idea what’s going on and have to analyze and problem solve. I’m also fascinated by how things can go wrong physiological and how this is manifested within the individual. I think medicine is an art and the more knowledge you have the better you appreciate it.

    As a PT, I do see patients that are medically complex but I’m limited to just managing the physical manifestations of their condition. And depending on the condition, I don’t always have a role in treating the actual cause of the problem. As an outsider, I appreciate the responsibility and the burden that comes with being involved with nearly every aspect of care for your patient. I think medicine is the only profession that gives the unique opportunity to do so.

    As for what I see myself doing in medicine, I’m generally staying open minded at the moment. I do like internal medicine because you get to treat everyone and deal with multiple systems. I also like orthopedics because of my PT background and knowledge in musculoskeletal system and I like to see that I’m having an immediate impact while treating a patient. Plus with technology, the array of surgical procedures performed nowadays is just amazing.
  5. Drrrrrr. Celty

    Drrrrrr. Celty Osteo Dullahan 7+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    So basically you want to be House?

    On a more serious note if you're interested in complicated cases, maybe you want to consider supplementing your work with medical research or maybe work in a more different setting. I.e go work in a clinic that deals with rehabilitation of recovering cancer patients or idk.

    I think that just wanting to go into medicine just because you want to be wowed by the complexity of the body and how crap can go wrong may not work out well for you especially once you figure out that your interest is supplemented by likely an enormous amount of suffering, indignity, and potentially death. I mean if you want to take a more active role in the treatment process, that's a more valid reason in my opinion.
    WhippleWhileWeWork likes this.
  6. kavorca

    kavorca 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2008
    I think the amount of problem solving done in medicine is overestimated, but I think endocrine and nephro might be the most problem-solvy specialties.
  7. DocWinter

    DocWinter 2+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2014
    Sweet Home Alabama
    I'd take care of one thing at a time, if it was me. Enjoy your new career and pay down that debt. There is nothing wrong with exploring the idea of medicine, but you juuuust got your doctorate in PT. It's a huge negative pull if you are going to try and go back to get an MD/DO while holding 6 figure debt. Compounding interest is not your friend.
  8. TheWeeIceMan

    TheWeeIceMan And like that... *poof*... he's gone. 7+ Year Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    PA school may be a better (and less expensive) option.
  9. Plecopotamus

    Plecopotamus 2+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    If OP is attracted to medicine for a love of complex problem solving or orthopedic surgery, I would suspect PA would probably offer little more satisfaction than PT.

    You have a legit chance with some postbacc work and/or grade repair. My first inclination would be to recommend that you continue to work while slowly doing postbacc work for your missing courses and then attempt any GPA repair for courses you have below a B in (for DO applications). Only 5 months into a career, I think it's a bad idea (for yourself and any future grad/professional school apps) to call it quits. Between continuing to work in PT and doing your classes, I think it might become more clear to you where your heart and motivation is. A fair number of people go to postbacc and even med school with significant debt accumulated from private colleges, unfortunately, so I wouldn't consider it something that should crush your goals.

    My other question for you would be whether you've examined all your career options as a PT? Is there possibly a different type of PT practice that would be more satisfying to you? I don't know too much about PT, but obviously there's a big difference between inpatient and outpatient or stroke rehab vs sports rehab, and so I have to suggest that there might be a better niche for you somewhere within PT?

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