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EMT-Paramedic thinking of being an MD someday

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Gatewayhoward, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    Hello everyone, I'm a 23 year old paramedic and I've just decided last week to look into finishing up my 2 year degree in a pre med program. I'm very interested in cardiology, the heart and rhythms came naturally to me durring class.

    I have a good idea about the process of getting into med school and it's something I've never felt more driven to accomplish in all my life. I'm also planning on keeping my paramedic certification forever. I also know what I'm getting into, I know medicine is not easy, it's more like hell and I'm just crazy enough to love devoting my life to it.

    The only things that are really working against me is:
    1. the inflexible hours of a revolving 911 schedule
    2. the fact that I'm a late bloomer academically. I've always had the potential to get excellent grades and but I've just began to improve my grades to a B average over the last year or two.

    Does anyone have any advice for someone in my situation?
     
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  2. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    Keep the grades up! Advice #1.

    Second, I'm working full-time, going to school full-time, and taking care of my family (feels like a full-time job). You have to find a way to make it work. Sounds like you're going to have to cut back hours with your EMT job once you get into the advanced sciences because most schools (junior colleges included) don't offer them at night.

    You'll make it work, but you have to sacrifice a bit of something to gain something else.

    PS- I'm 26, so don't feel like you're starting too late. There are pre-meds in their 40's. Welcome to the fold! Best of luck to you.
     
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  3. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    I'm a paramedic who went back to school following an injury on the job. I started over with my schooling, and have horrible (ok, REALLY horrible) grades from 20 years ago. Yes, I'm 38 years old, have two children and a husband. While I didnt go back to school while working, I was driving 300 miles each way every other week to see my doctor and going to PT for rehab 3 times a week. I took 21 credits a semester when I went back. I graduated with a 3.5+ GPA with two very difficult majors in 3 years, but with my old bad grades my GPA was still only 3.23.

    So, my advice:

    1. WORK HARD at school. It IS possible with a 911 shift (I know several folks who have done it), but you may need to get coverage. Take to your professors and let them know your situation. NEVER skip lab unless you have makeup arrangements already in place.

    2. Study HARD for the MCAT. Yeah, everyone says that. I know. Think about a prep class (wasn't offered in my area and MCAT scores in my area are lower as a result).

    3. Work at professional relationships NOW. That means relationships with science and non-science professors who will be writing LORs for you. Also, shadow a DO in case you apply to DO schools, or see if one of the DOs you see in the ER will write you a LOR for DO school. You may need an LOR from your boss, physician advisor, or EMS director as well, depending on the school.

    4. cardiology comes later (that's residency, and you'll have to do int med first anyway before cardiology). Work on med school now. It's not uncommon you want to do cardiology - I think most paramedics do.

    5. start thinking about your PS earlier than you think you'll need it. Like November or December before you apply. This gives you time to have lots of people critique it and gives you time to change it if a better idea comes to you (my best ideas for writing come to me right before I go to sleep).

    6. Save up money. Applying to med school is horrifically expensive. Not uncommon for people to be spending $5,000 or more for MCAT prep, exams, application fees, etc.

    7. Start looking into schools that you think you might want to apply to. There are some schools that really (REALLY REALLY) want research experience, and that's something you need to set up pretty early in your schooling. Also, some schools require biochem, or calculus, or genetics. Don't be caught without the right prereqs for the schools you want to apply to.

    8. You might want to set up a meeting with a nearby med school admissions director to see if they have any hints, information, or direction for you. This maybe should wait until you're about a year or two away from applying.


    Good luck. Work hard. And welcome to the rollercoaster. :)
     
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  4. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    One thing to add...BYOKY! (Bring your own KY) it's rough out there! Ouch! :eek:
     
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  5. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    I am a paramedic too. I got burnt out after 10 years of busy EMS. There are a lot of road blocks but if you are really willing you will find a way to make it happen. I went to school and started from scratch. I am married with children. Now I am an MS I in a D.O. school and am much happier. You can do it too as long as you look at your goal instead of the multiple excuses that exist out there. Make it happen.
     
  6. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    I'm a medic; I'm 31. The advice so far has been great; I don't really have anything to add. Welcome to the Brotherhood of Paramedics Getting Above Themselves, and good luck with everthing.
     
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  7. hey

    Im a paramedic who became an RN and now headed to med school. Alot of work but worth it!
     
  8. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    For the longest time I used to get defensive when someone would ask me if I wanted to become a doctor after finding out I'm a medic. I think because I wanted to be one at the time but didn't belive I could do it so I acted like I didn't want to. But here I am.
     
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  9. ericL

    ericL Member
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    I'm 24, been working as a paramedic for two years, just finished my first semester of working full time and going to school full time. Luckily I don't have any kids...that I know of...just a fiance' who just graduated college. I was able to work out a deal with my service that allows me scale back my hours there somewhat and keep all me benefits. Talk to your sups my experience has been that people are very willing to work with you and help you out if you're going to school.

    Also, Mike...sorry to see you dropped your EMT-P off your list of credentials, congrats anyhow on being headed to med school.
     
  10. .edu-MD

    .edu-MD Senior Member
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  11. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    I was just saying that I'm not naive about the medical field. I see and talk to all kinds of people on all different levels of medicine, and my mother has worked directly under physicians for years. So I was just trying to say right off in this forum that I've done my homework(still more to research) and I'm not just a kid who thinks it would be cool to be a docotor. that's all.
     
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  12. .edu-MD

    .edu-MD Senior Member
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  13. Hey Eric!

    Thanks! Funny you should mention the EMT-P part, i only left it off as i had lapsed. Im proud to have been a medic it made me a much better RN! Interestingly enough i decided to recert here in AZ :) Should be fun since i also teach the medic classes here ;P

    Have a good one!
     
  14. ericL

    ericL Member
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    Mike,

    Glad to hear you are recerting, hate to see the field lose a good person. I love seeing more people like yourself and others on this forum who are continuing their education, its really the only way to advance the profession as a whole, and put pressure on others to do the same.

    Good luck with all your endeavors!
     
  15. Lebesgue

    Lebesgue Senior Member
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    I was a paramedic for 8 years, am no longer a paramedic, am now a 3rd year med student, and am 34 y/o.

    1. Go for it.
    2. Protect your GPA
    3. Take a Kaplan course and crush the MCAT
    4. Get some solid LORs
    5. Work on your personal statement
    6. You won't be a paramedic in med school, too much studying. Don't sacrifice opportunities in med school in order to hang on to a license which won't matter in 4 years. It was hard to let go of at the time, but well worth it to get into med school.
    7. Cardiology is great for a personal statement, but it's likely you'll do something completely different when you get there.
    8. Get a bachelors in something you like, not just premed. You'll be more interesting to ad coms and you'll do better in school.
    9. Your preconceptions about med school will be wrong.
    10. Med school is lots of work, but not impossible, there's people doing it all over the country.

    Just go for it... :)

    I have no regrets.
     
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  16. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    Right now I'm not ready to let my EMTP cert go after only two or three years. Don't most med students work a part time job? Being a paramedic is a guaranteed job with flexible hours, so I figure I'll work at least some time during med school.
     
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  17. jetproppilot

    jetproppilot Turboprop Driver
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    I was a firefighter paramedic for 2 years after high school...quit to go to college.
    Ran out of money in my junior year, and went to work for a county EMS system on the 4-midnight shift as a paramedic.
    Got into 4 allopathic med schools. Picked U of Miami.
    Anesthesia residency followed.
    Now I'm Chief of Anesthesia at a southeast hospital.

    You can do it if you really want it!
     
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  18. I'm a 26y/o paramedic/medical student, so I know how you feel. I worked in EMS for 3 years before applying to med school. I also plan to keep my paramedic certification after graduation. The best advise I can give is to keep the grades up, and don't discount osteopathic schools for the simple fact that they are more forgiving to non-traditional applicants, also, they are very EMS friendly (I can't tell you the number of fellow EMS providers in my class, but I know there are quite a bit). As far as working while in school, I can't help with that one. I decided to go to an out of state school, and the state I went to (New York), does not grant reciprocity from my home state (Ohio). I would like to work, but just can't. I have quite a bit of free time on my hands, which leads me to believe that I could do both, but I guess I will not find out.
     
  19. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    VCOM loves medics. There are a number of us here, some of whom who didn't have the greatest MCAT but that was a factor which was overlooked due to the EMS experience.
     
  20. My experience in talking to DO school admissions people mirrors the comments made by static line. They loved that i was a medic, loved that i was a critical care RN and were extatic i did flight nursing. The next thing to do to get you recognized above others is research and publishing. They seem to get excited about that as well.

    Good luck all!
     
  21. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    See, I knew that already having your foot in the door as a medical professional helps. We are already familiar with the system and when we get to med school, even if we're not straight A, 4.0 students, we're ahead of everyone else. What's VCOM?
     
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  22. Emergency!

    Emergency! Senior Member
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    SOME med students work a part-time job. Most don't. It is assumed that you won't work in medical school, and so you are allowed to borrow $$$ for living expenses in addition to tuition. Working third year is pretty much out of the question.

    Good luck!
     
  23. Lebesgue

    Lebesgue Senior Member
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    If you're crushing all your classes and have loads of time to spare, then work by all means...

    This will not happen though. I don't know anyone that works in school, other than odd tutoring jobs or weekend Kaplan lectures. It's a waste of time and money to hold onto a paramedic job and sacrifice grades and board scores. You should make the most of your time in school to do the best you can and get the residency you want. It would be unfortunate if you wanted to be an ER doc, but couldn't get the grades or board scores, because you were out on an ambulance instead of studying...

    It's your choice, but working doesn't make sense to me. I'd rather spend family time or workout than go to a job. Med school is my job right now, and I suggest you approach it the same way.

    If you have a 220 IQ and photographic memory, then work all you want. :)
     
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  24. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

    You're not an automatic in just because your a medic or any type of health care professional for that matter. But after talking to many of my clasmates with health backgrounds (PAs, NPs, RNs, EMT-Ps, DCs, etc...) it seems apparent they weigh experience pretty heavy.
     
  25. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    So to pay the bills, you have to borrow the money during med school?
     
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  26. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    unless you are independantly wealthy, Yes!!

    Don't worry about that though. It is usually handled through your school financial aid office. At disbursement time (twice a year for our school) you'll get a nice fat check that you are responsible to budget. Some people are bad at that, and their suckin because there there is no more help once you use the money the school gives you. So be wise when you budget, and get yourself out of debt before you go to school. The amount of loan money will be sufficient to live off of if you have no debt.
     
  27. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Membership Revoked
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    I'll owe $200,000 in loans when I graduate from medical school, but it won't really put a dent in my lifestyle.
     
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  28. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    I have perfect credit and knowledge of investing, so I'm not worried about the money. Actually let me start over from what I originally posted. my concerns now are:
    1. taking inflexible classes on a 911 schedule having no seniority
    2. having a 2.8 or 2.9 average

    I'm also wondering how much more I'll have to take. I have 93 credit hours. about 40 of which are from paramedic school and don't really count. I have bio101, A&P I and II, and most my 100 level classes out of the way except chemistry and statistics. Could I just focus on the classes that med schools require or do I have do go for a specific degree program?
     
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  29. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    Trades, giveaways, vacation time. It's what we all have had to do. Cut back your lifestyle as much as you can, so that the giveaways don't put you in a bind.

    Bring it up with new courses -- set a 4.0 as your goal going forward. (Before post-bac., I was maybe a 3.3 average, and my post-bac credits are 3.97 cumulative; maturity and focus make a dramatic difference.)

    Also, apply to lots of schools, apply to DO schools, apply to the island schools.

    You do not need a specific degree. You do need a BA or a BS, including your pre-med courses. Pick something you like and rack up the As; don't feel you have to major in Biology or something like that.
     
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  30. planningMD

    planningMD Member
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    what do you guys think of the "island" schools?? sgu/ross/auc
     
  31. emtp6811

    emtp6811 iLurk
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    26 y/o "born-again freshman", married, no kids. EMS x 6yrs, Medic for past two. Only two classes from my A.S. Paramedic trasferred over toward pre-med, plus the pre-professional level classes. Since this is officially my last chance to ever go to college again (as mandated by my ever so patient husband), I am doing the bachelors with minors in biology and psychology. This means 20-22 credits per semester, plus ~9 credits per summer. I stopped working both of my medic jobs completely in August so that I could totally concentrate on doing really well in school, and take as many classes that interest me as I can. However, I do plan on continuing to work as a volunteer.

    1. Get a great advisor. Ask around. I found mine by looking up recommendations of med schools I was interested in.

    2. Do really well in all your classes, even the dumb ones you dont want to take but have to.

    3. Join your campus pre-med club. It's a great lifeline for physician shadowing in areas other than EM, as well as research and volunteering.

    4. If you are interested in medical direction, talk to your medical director about shadowing him through some of his meetings, etc. to get a feel for if it's really all you thought. For me, it wasn't.

    5. If you are not married, talk to your family. You need all the support you can get. If you are married, talk to your spouse about this decision IN DETAIL. Know what you both are getting into.

    6. Not from personal experience, but have been advised such by SEVERAL close MD's: If you plan to have kids, don't try to wait until your past a specific point. The sooner the better actually, because you can get the hang of it before stepping into the stress of med school, clinicals, or residency.

    7. SAVE SAVE SAVE! Get used to living on 50-75% of your budget, then SAVE the rest.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  32. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    I'm acutally planning on not having a family until atleast after my internship. Sounds crazy but the money doesn't concern me. It's getting there that does.
     
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