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Hello- I am a 40 year old mother of two young kids, and have desperately wanted to go to medical school for a very long time, but circumstances have worked against me. I now finally have the chance to get started on pre-reqs (2 yrs FT ), with a view to enter med school in 3-4 years time. I am not concerned about debt, eventual pay, residency hours etc., as in my mind it will absolutely be worth it. I also have a supportive spouse. My concerns are that a) I will spend time and money doing pre-reqs, only to be rejected by med schools due to my age b) I don't have the luxury of applying to schools/residencies outside of my current geographic region (luckily NYC so plenty of schools around). Does anyone have any thoughts? I have only found a few schools that explicitly state that they do not discriminate on the basis of age, so I wonder if I should do pre-reqs at an ivy school (obviously way more expensive) just to get a competitive edge? My only other alternative would be to do an "entry to practice" type accelerated NP program. After setting my ego aside, a NP/nurse anesthesia position could be somewhat satisfactory, but I would always be sad that I did not go the MD route. Also with most NP programs now requiring a doctorate, I would be in school for 4 years either way. I am not interested in a PA position as there is limited room for growth and I know I would get bored in the long run. Thank you in advance for your advice! Should I just go for it?? I am scared.
 

Ad2b

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Hi Wannabe,

First things first: welcome!

Second, I like that you are thinking 2 years, not 1 year and then MCAT at the end of that.

Third, you are not too old. I know of a 54 year old that just got her white coat at an allopathic, another 53 year old MS2 at Tulane and ... I will be 51 when I take the MCAT in 5 weeks (also allopathic).

I know of others in their mid-50s that graduated from osteopathic schools and are excellent physicians finishing up residencies OF THEIR CHOICE.

So you? You're kind of young :)

There will be some - perhaps many - that will say you're too old, you're taking a seat for someone younger, the naysayers, the dream killers, the ... ignore them.

Take each semester as it stands and do the best you can. Try to get straight A's (I do not have that, I have a "B"). Don't let the naysayers get into your head. There will be schools that will auto-reject due to "age" without saying it's age. It's okay. MSAR will help guide you when you're at that point.

Yes, you can do this. Yes, you can be a doc. Yes, you too can be here in 2 years whining about the MCAT and it's biochem and twisted CARS sections.

Welcome!
 

Cyberdyne 101

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Paging @DrMidlife

Not sure if doing your pre-reqs at an ivy is necessary. Regardless, you should go for the MD if your heart is set on it!

Best of luck!!
 

Ad2b

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oh, and my pre-reqs are not from Ivy ... they are from a very, very excellent university but not Ivy... not needed unless you want to get into pediatric neuroendocrinology
 

Crayola227

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Ah geez, you said you don't care about debt, hrs, pay, etc etc

But I have no way of knowing if you know exactly why/what you hope to get out of medicine, and if it's realistic.

Check out my posts to read about the downfalls. I'm not trying to ruin people's dreams, just that I didn't get it back when, and I don't know that the realities were explained to me.

To get back to your actual post,
I know plenty of people that went back at your age. F*ck the idea that you're taking someone young's spot. Your practice due to your experience will offer things a younger doc can't, and you will help patients in a way others couldn't. That's why I firmly believe in doc diversity to treat diverse patients. And even a doc at 50 can still have at least 15 yrs of practice ahead, and 15 working years, well, that's too long to hate your job, and a long time to do what you love (but I'm not sure medicine can live up to your expectations).

What is hard, is that you have a lot of work to do, and it is true learning is harder as you get older (in terms of speed and volume, obviously you could be learning smarter now). I didn't have the same memorization skills at 10 as at 20 as at 30. Also, you really do have less energy for the 80 hr work weeks and the all nighters. I can't drink like I used to LOL.

You have to work as hard, and learn as well as younger people, at the same rag tag speed.

I know people that have done it, but they will agree hands down they are more tired from the same work. Fact of biology.

Will it all be worth it? Take in the worst case scenarios, listen to the bitterest complaints, be really ho est with yourself, know yourself, what you're getting into.

The issue ultimately will not be age, but how hard and well you bust ass, get scores, juggle, and application strategy. That will determine getting in.

As far as liking it coming out the other side/was it worth it.....
 
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DrMidlife

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Prereqs 2 years, applying, med school 4 years, residency 3-7 years. So that's more than a decade before you are a practicing physician.

Look back at your life and consider what would have happened if you'd decided to be a competitive marathoner, or similar, in your 20's or 30's, training 5+ hours per day, where you can take a day off here and there but running is what you do, at the expense of all else, whether you like it today or not, whether it's raining or not, whether your knees feel strong or not, on vacation, on Christmas, up at 3 am pretty often, and the only people who understand it are also training to be competitive marathoners, and over the course of a decade your motivation to compete as a marathoner changes under you at least once, and then after the decade of training you find yourself in a pack of other competitive marathoners running marathons, which is great, and you roll your eyes at what you thought that would mean a decade ago. And if sometime during that decade your husband wants to pursue his big goal like building a boat or playing ice hockey, or if your kids want to get serious about ballet or the cello, your support of those pursuits can't distract you from being a competitive marathoner more than once in a while. Every time you let it go for more than a day or two, you get yourself in big trouble with your goals, and you have damage to repair: this happens regularly. After a few years of working towards being a competitive marathoner you can't quit without it being as big a deal as having your leg amputated at the hip. You still have to spend several hours a day keeping your life together around the 5+ training hours. And all that time training 5+ hours a day? You are alone in your head. Working.

That's about the best I can do to describe what it's like being a 49 year old 4th year med student. Almost halfway done. No longer delusional that I'll be winning any of those future races. Working every day so I can just get a bib number in 5 years.

If you think working as a PA would be boring, you should understand that the decade of training to be a physician and the subsequent work as a physician is probably 70% boring.

My very very strong suggestion: starting this week, 4 hours per week, volunteer in a clinical environment such as a hospital. Pay attention. Get a 3 dimensional emotionless view of the job you are considering. Be very very willing to see reasons not to do medicine in favor of something else you see that looks interesting. As soon as possible, be able to describe the daily duties and responsibilities of the job you want in detail without using the job title.

Best of luck to you.
 

Ad2b

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1.What is hard, is that you have a lot of work to do, and it is true learning is harder as you get older (in terms of speed and volume, obviously you could be learning smarter now). I didn't have the same memorization skills at 10 as at 20 as at 30. Also, you really do have less energy for the 80 hr work weeks and the all nighters.

2. You have to work as hard, and learn as well as younger people, at the same rag tag speed.

3. I know people that have done it, but they will agree hands down they are more tired from the same work. Fact of biology.
1. I don't know that I agree with the first statement. For some, that is probably true for others, not so much. Depends on innate ability and motivation. I learn differently than my younger brethren but I also retain it ;) and I have yet to pull an all-nighter or an all-dayer (except for now for MCAT studying - I might do 6 hour shots with a 2 hour break and then another 2 or 3) But maybe what Cray was saying was with residency?

2. Again, I can't speak for med school but I find that I get better grades than many of my younger peers. If I were their age, I might be more competitive for that 100% in physics rather than my 97%. We both got "A"s and they will end up as cardio thoracic endocrinologist surgeons and I'll hopefully "just" be an IM. Many, most, of the other students ask me for help in how I get the grades I do. Hard work. Time with a pencil and paper; lots of paper and good erasers.

Someone on another forum for non-trads stated this (and it is printed, laminated and taped to my bathroom mirror):

Our ability and capacity to learn has not decreased as we age, only our methods of learning have changed.

3. This is only my perspective, obviously, but I am not more tired, however, I do require more recovery time. I can't do a string of 8 days with 4 hours of sleep; can do 8 days with 6, or 4 days with 3 or 2 days with 3 but eventually, I do need to sleep.

Is this worth it? [email protected]# yeah. I may very well get rejected from the 35 schools I applied to; I may very well get an acceptance as well. Either way, this entire thing and my choices to do this at "my" age is something I will never regret.

Last, as for practicing? The rest of my life with a decrease in my mid-70s. I do expect to practice for at least 20 years, unless my early demise says otherwise.

As DrMidlife suggested, get some clinical shadowing in. See what actually happens from the physician side of the exam room. When I did my very first shadowing, I was with a rural family doc (what I really want to do) and the first day was AMAHAZAING!!!! (typo for inflection)

1st patient was pregnant and had previously encountered some difficulties
last patient was told she was terminal... while I was in the room.

pre-birth to terminal in the span of 8 hours. I loved it. I got to see the new parents hear the first heartbeats of their child and held a woman's hand as she was told the test results were not good.

Several months later, I went back.

31 cases of H1N1 (swine flu). 32 patients. 31 cases of H1N1... the last few, the doc asked me to diagnose and asked what I would order for tests. Can we say boring? oh yea.,

Loved it anyway (despite that I also ended up with swine flu and was forbidden to come to school; university expelled any students who came to class with symptoms)

Since those opportunities, I've done other types of shadowing: IM, ID, onc, rad, path, anes...

So, path?

As DrMidlife said: shadow, take a few classes, and then decide for the next semester... rinse repeat.
 
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DrMidlife

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Some corrections to assumptions in the first post:
1. Age discrimination is illegal whether a med school explicitly states it or not.
2. Most med schools have students over 30, and many med schools have students over 40. My class has 3 over 40, out of 150.
3. Whether things are illegal or not, in a subjective admissions process, doesn't have much to do with anything, and protesting a rejection on the basis of age discrimination will take many years, thus rendering the point of the protest moot.
4. Without exception, over the past ~9 years on SDN, when a poster has claimed that they didn't get into med school because of age discrimination, 100% (ONE HUNDRED PERCENT) of the time the poster has a massive gaping eye-gouging problem with their application such as low GPA or a crap MCAT or 13 kids (remember that guy?).
5. Getting into med school over 40 is the same as getting in normally: high GPA, high MCAT, solid experiences, solid recommendations, solid essays, solid interview, apply early, apply broadly.
6. PA school is 2 to 3 years. No residency.

I should mention that in many specialties, in many facilities, you can't perform procedures over 65, or you are required to stop doing other things like inpatient admissions over 65, or you have to go get evaluated for fitness over 65. If you start med school at 44, that means you are interviewing for residency at 47 (often higher stakes and tougher competition than med school admissions), and you are in practice at most 15 years before your age is a real barrier to practice. Train for 10, practice for 15, at best.
 

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@DrMidlife - not sure if that was aimed at me but if I don't get in, I won't blame my age, I will blame #4 and a late application.

I do believe, and have been told, that age is an issue but that medical schools will never say that it is (by an adcom that is a family friend). Like you said, they have a plethora of other reasons to reject me primarily, there are other candidates more qualified.

100% agree that anyone trying to sue for ADEA is going to have an uphill and lengthy battle... years and likely, would not make it past the EEOC in the first place.

Good to know re: age 65. Guess that's when I'll head to the Philippines or Ecuador or Nepal to practice, teach and serve.
 

DrMidlife

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by "first post" I meant the first post in this thread.
 
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Goro

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Some of my all time best students have been in their 30s and 40s. I graduated one last year at 50. If they can do it, so can you.


Hello- I am a 40 year old mother of two young kids, and have desperately wanted to go to medical school for a very long time, but circumstances have worked against me. I now finally have the chance to get started on pre-reqs (2 yrs FT ), with a view to enter med school in 3-4 years time. I am not concerned about debt, eventual pay, residency hours etc., as in my mind it will absolutely be worth it. I also have a supportive spouse. My concerns are that a) I will spend time and money doing pre-reqs, only to be rejected by med schools due to my age b) I don't have the luxury of applying to schools/residencies outside of my current geographic region (luckily NYC so plenty of schools around). Does anyone have any thoughts? I have only found a few schools that explicitly state that they do not discriminate on the basis of age, so I wonder if I should do pre-reqs at an ivy school (obviously way more expensive) just to get a competitive edge? My only other alternative would be to do an "entry to practice" type accelerated NP program. After setting my ego aside, a NP/nurse anesthesia position could be somewhat satisfactory, but I would always be sad that I did not go the MD route. Also with most NP programs now requiring a doctorate, I would be in school for 4 years either way. I am not interested in a PA position as there is limited room for growth and I know I would get bored in the long run. Thank you in advance for your advice! Should I just go for it?? I am scared.
 

jl lin

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Some corrections to assumptions in the first post:
1. Age discrimination is illegal whether a med school explicitly states it or not.
2. Most med schools have students over 30, and many med schools have students over 40. My class has 3 over 40, out of 150.
3. Whether things are illegal or not, in a subjective admissions process, doesn't have much to do with anything, and protesting a rejection on the basis of age discrimination will take many years, thus rendering the point of the protest moot.
4. Without exception, over the past ~9 years on SDN, when a poster has claimed that they didn't get into med school because of age discrimination, 100% (ONE HUNDRED PERCENT) of the time the poster has a massive gaping eye-gouging problem with their application such as low GPA or a crap MCAT or 13 kids (remember that guy?).
5. Getting into med school over 40 is the same as getting in normally: high GPA, high MCAT, solid experiences, solid recommendations, solid essays, solid interview, apply early, apply broadly.
6. PA school is 2 to 3 years. No residency.

I should mention that in many specialties, in many facilities, you can't perform procedures over 65, or you are required to stop doing other things like inpatient admissions over 65, or you have to go get evaluated for fitness over 65. If you start med school at 44, that means you are interviewing for residency at 47 (often higher stakes and tougher competition than med school admissions), and you are in practice at most 15 years before your age is a real barrier to practice. Train for 10, practice for 15, at best.

For those at that point of 65, well, if it were me, I wouldn't have a problem doing this. Many nursing jobs require that you have to have yearly physicals and so forth. You have to be an example and stay well and keep your visits with your docs anyway; so that's no big thing--unless you have a serious problem develop that can be said to affect your performance. Surely a number of people in good shape will be able to continue working to 75 or so--if they want, depending upon what kind of area of medicine.

As I say at least for me, I have 0 desire to become a surgeon or go through the extreme rigors of such training. Same thing for OB.

Bottom line is primary care is fine for those over 40, so long as they are in decent general health and take care of themselves.
 

jl lin

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Physicians w/ an Active License to Practice Medicine in the US and DC, 2012 and 2014: 70+ years old. For 2012, the numbers are as follows--> Counts: 78,794. Percentages: 9.0%

For 2014, the numbers as as follows-->Counts: 99,554. Percentages: 10.9%

Makes no sense to keep one's license active if one is NOT using it. I am sure there are those that may do this; but in general, it makes more sense to put it on inactive status.

http://www.fsmb.org/Media/Default/PDF/Census/2014census.pdf


Another interesting note is that

Although
there are substantially fewer physicians with a DO
degree compared to those with an MD degree, the
osteopathic medical profession is growing at a
faster rate. The number of actively licensed physicians
with a DO degree increased by 16% compared to a
4% increase in the number of licensed physicians
with an MD degree.
 
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Zoro9

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I should mention that in many specialties, in many facilities, you can't perform procedures over 65, or you are required to stop doing other things like inpatient admissions over 65, or you have to go get evaluated for fitness over 65.
I know surgery is one of those specialties, but what other specialties require evaluation at certain age?.
 

Bru

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I am not sure where that 65 age figure is coming from? It is not something I've encountered in my hospital system.

"Citation needed."
 

DrMidlife

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I am not sure where that 65 age figure is coming from? It is not something I've encountered in my hospital system.

"Citation needed."
There are more than 5000 US hospitals and maybe 1000 hospital systems: http://www.aha.org/research/rc/stat-studies/fast-facts.shtml

There are a lot of states. California tends to do things early: http://cppph.org/

On my 3rd year rotations I asked a lot of questions about who is still working after 65 and I got a lot of anecdotal info. Then as if by magic NPR reported on it, quoting one of my preceptors.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/18/414912417/when-should-surgeons-stop-operating
http://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Citation/2014/08000/The_Aging_Surgeon.1.aspx
http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/ama-wire/post/comment-draft-guidelines-assessing-late-career-practitioners
 
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Bru

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Yes there are a lot of hospitals which I why I don't understand how you can be such broad-sweeping statements.

Looking at the articles, I still don't see where you are getting your numbers from. The most I've read about is UVa requiring a evaluation @ 70.

When you say "in many specialties, in many facilities, you can't perform procedures over 65, or you are required to stop doing other things like inpatient admissions over 65, or you have to go get evaluated for fitness over 65."...I just don't see or have encountered what you are talking about.
 

DrMidlife

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Here's another one: http://khn.org/news/aging-doctors-face-greater-scrutiny/

I'm looking at forces in business and how they will affect my very very very late medical career, based on lessons learned in my 20 years working in an industry that makes decisions around stockholder value. That inquiry is not a peer-reviewed journal article. I am not rounding 64.7 to 65. There's no IRB for physician subjects.

Say you're a 7 figure hospital CEO. Your 400+ affiliated IM docs are pissed to the gills about how much MOC (maintenance of certification) time and money they're required to spend.

The CFO comes and tells you what you paid for malpractice last year. You choke on your salted caramel macchiato. The CFO says she is looking for bargaining chips to cut those costs, so she can go negotiate for lower rates. You're not buying car insurance, there's no over 25 discount, everything is negotiated, everybody is in an expensive suit.

You have no idea how old your physician work force is, because you just acquired 47 group practices last year and you're still dealing with mergers & acquisitions over who stayed and who left.

You pay your senior physicians much more than your junior physicians, and your senior physicians may have equity.

On the CFO's short list of "things we can maybe say to make our premiums go down" is "our docs can still see, and they aren't having lawsuit-bait tremors in the OR very much". You ponder what would be some confidence-inspiring collateral for that claim.

You pick a number. 65 is the retirement age. It doesn't need explaining. 99% of adult conversation over the age of 45 is about retirement planning.

Do you:
1. spend the time to negotiate with your senior equity-bearing staff physicians, to agree to pay for their own close-to-retirement-maybe-that's-age-65 certification process, along with all the MOC they hate, so that there's an evidence-based protocol to demonstrate continued capability in your physician census, which you can then say you require for your underwriter?
or do you:
2. do a quick count on how many docs you actually have practicing over 65, quick valuation on their collective cost/benefit, quick estimate of retirement payouts, and go to your staff physicians with a retirement payout and policy change announcement?
or do you:
3. pick an easier problem until you absolutely have to deal with this (just as DrMidlife arrives on staff)

Say you're getting out of residency at 54. Do you see how this isn't an intellectual exercise?
 
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Gfliptastic

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Me, I'd like to say there's about 65-80 reasons to figure out how badly you want to do this. As in, that is the average number of hours you will spend EVERY WEEK. For at least 3 years. Away from your family.

Don't ask me, I'm single (and younger) but most of the people in my program are married w/ small children. And we are only a month and change into our residencies. And for the most part, they all feel pangs of being away from their kids. At the same time, in the rare moments they can be involved, they've expressed how it is a drain on their experience. For example, my co-intern has two small children, she puts them to bed after spending time w/ them. By 9 o'clock she is wiped out. As much as she tries to do some studying/reading, she can't. And that is w/ her supportive husband and family who watch the kids all day.

It gets a little old. I've seen my fair share of divorces during medical school and that is by no means a time obligation compared to residency. At least in medical school there is some flexibility. You can sacrifice studying for your children. You think you are going to call in or take a "personal day" during residency???? A) you are required to show up a very specific number of days for ACGME/residency rules. B) There is no such thing as a "personal day". Of course, you can call in sick, but by sick, the chiefs and attendings mean, you better be in a stretcher in the ED if you are using jeopardy call on your fellow residents.

Not to mention, it just plain sucks! Yes, I can keep up w/ the interns and residents in their 20's. But just from my standpoint, being 37 years old and a PGY-1. Blows! And PGY-2 is no picnic either. Cuz then I spend a whole year doing almost the same thing, but also supervising the fresh class of numbskull interns who were where I am now.

That goes w/o saying, that unless you are doing it, you don't know anything about it. Do you know how much time we spend documenting? Acting as a liaison? Performing "customer service" since medicine is more a consumer business than it used to be?

I haven't read any of Crayola's posts, but I do know that I feel a bit hornswoggled myself. I'm a non-trad (otherwise I probably wouldn't post here) and despite my previous career I knew being a doctor is all I wanted to really do w/ my life. And now that patients/staff call me Dr. I think about how much of a gyp it is. I find myself thinking, for all that effort, why didn't I think about PA school or something else!? I mean, I got a surgical hand-off today from an APRN! She assisted in a balloon AVR. Pretty cool considering she went to school a bunch of years less than me and makes a ton of $$ more than me. I did a GI elective. Most of my time was spent w/ the two PA consultants. I had face time w/ the GI attending probably 50% of that whole rotation.

Read all of this, read some of this, don't read it. Just know, the best piece of advice I've seen in this thread is BOLDED. Find a bunch of reasons to NOT do this. It's so NOT what it is supposed to be!
 
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jl lin

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Yes there are a lot of hospitals which I why I don't understand how you can be such broad-sweeping statements.

Looking at the articles, I still don't see where you are getting your numbers from. The most I've read about is UVa requiring a evaluation @ 70.

When you say "in many specialties, in many facilities, you can't perform procedures over 65, or you are required to stop doing other things like inpatient admissions over 65, or you have to go get evaluated for fitness over 65."...I just don't see or have encountered what you are talking about.

Ey, I don't see a lot 65+ having issues with admitting privileges. I worked with a CT surgeon that was > 70. It's rare for that I think, but his M&Ms stayed pretty good, so. . .
 

jl lin

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Yea, but being a 65-70 y.o. ICU RN is no picnic either--people do it though--so long as they can. It depends on the person.

People don't see the importance of incorporating sound wellness practices at an early age. The benefits for quality of life and fx will benefit you many times over--even if you do decide you are calling quits to medicine at 65 or 67. You can still do a lot of living IF you are in good shape. Thing is, you can't start a serious wellness program at 75 and think you will get the overall, same benefits. I mean, it may not hurt you to start the kind of wellness stuff I am talking about at age 75, but a lot the preventive effects will obviously be limited as compared to say, starting and staying consistent in 20s and onward.
Yes, I know people that practice strong wellness can get sick anyway. They recover better and have more autonomy if they do get better--in general.

So, I think it depends a lot too on how committed you are to taking care of you for the long haul.
 
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Ad2b

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@jl lin - you nailed it on the head with wellness. As we age, one thing that slows everyone down is excess weight, poor eating habits, and worse exercise. The more we can do earlier in life, the better our overall health is.

We feel better, SLEEP better, do better.
 
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JRRSEhope

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Hello- I am a 40 year old mother of two young kids, and have desperately wanted to go to medical school for a very long time, but circumstances have worked against me. I now finally have the chance to get started on pre-reqs (2 yrs FT ), with a view to enter med school in 3-4 years time. I am not concerned about debt, eventual pay, residency hours etc., as in my mind it will absolutely be worth it. I also have a supportive spouse. My concerns are that a) I will spend time and money doing pre-reqs, only to be rejected by med schools due to my age b) I don't have the luxury of applying to schools/residencies outside of my current geographic region (luckily NYC so plenty of schools around). Does anyone have any thoughts? I have only found a few schools that explicitly state that they do not discriminate on the basis of age, so I wonder if I should do pre-reqs at an ivy school (obviously way more expensive) just to get a competitive edge? My only other alternative would be to do an "entry to practice" type accelerated NP program. After setting my ego aside, a NP/nurse anesthesia position could be somewhat satisfactory, but I would always be sad that I did not go the MD route. Also with most NP programs now requiring a doctorate, I would be in school for 4 years either way. I am not interested in a PA position as there is limited room for growth and I know I would get bored in the long run. Thank you in advance for your advice! Should I just go for it?? I am scared.
I'm lovin those who are "older" (that's so subjective), and just can't get rid of the passion for medicine.

I'm one of those who is doing it.... not a pretty picture sometimes, pulled my hair out, encountered discrimination and misunderstanding (who cares?!) along the way, and with a whole heap of folks determined to convince me out of my chosen path. But it was ALL worth it. Overwhelmingly so.
 

jl lin

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I'm lovin those who are "older" (that's so subjective), and just can't get rid of the passion for medicine.

I'm one of those who is doing it.... not a pretty picture sometimes, pulled my hair out, encountered discrimination and misunderstanding (who cares?!) along the way, and with a whole heap of folks determined to convince me out of my chosen path. But it was ALL worth it. Overwhelmingly so.
@JRRSEhope, can you expound upon what you mean when you say that you "encountered discrimination and misunderstanding?"
I mean are you are saying this is specifically r/t your age or being a woman?
 

May143

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I am going to be 40 end of this year and I am applying to medical school. I am about to take the MCAT this 22nd Aug and I know I am going to nail it.

If becoming a medical doctor is what you want then go for it. Take the action and start to do. It will worth it.

Good luck.
 
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squat

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Can it happen? Of course!
What are the reasons to go? What are the reasons not to? No one on here can answer that for you. I'm a 41-year-old MS3 and have not once regretted my decision to go to medical school. Sure, it's exhausting, but I suspect you already know that. :)
 
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Crayola227

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Me, I'd like to say there's about 65-80 reasons to figure out how badly you want to do this. As in, that is the average number of hours you will spend EVERY WEEK. For at least 3 years. Away from your family.

Don't ask me, I'm single (and younger) but most of the people in my program are married w/ small children. And we are only a month and change into our residencies. And for the most part, they all feel pangs of being away from their kids. At the same time, in the rare moments they can be involved, they've expressed how it is a drain on their experience. For example, my co-intern has two small children, she puts them to bed after spending time w/ them. By 9 o'clock she is wiped out. As much as she tries to do some studying/reading, she can't. And that is w/ her supportive husband and family who watch the kids all day.

It gets a little old. I've seen my fair share of divorces during medical school and that is by no means a time obligation compared to residency. At least in medical school there is some flexibility. You can sacrifice studying for your children. You think you are going to call in or take a "personal day" during residency???? A) you are required to show up a very specific number of days for ACGME/residency rules. B) There is no such thing as a "personal day". Of course, you can call in sick, but by sick, the chiefs and attendings mean, you better be in a stretcher in the ED if you are using jeopardy call on your fellow residents.

Not to mention, it just plain sucks! Yes, I can keep up w/ the interns and residents in their 20's. But just from my standpoint, being 37 years old and a PGY-1. Blows! And PGY-2 is no picnic either. Cuz then I spend a whole year doing almost the same thing, but also supervising the fresh class of numbskull interns who were where I am now.

That goes w/o saying, that unless you are doing it, you don't know anything about it. Do you know how much time we spend documenting? Acting as a liaison? Performing "customer service" since medicine is more a consumer business than it used to be?

I haven't read any of Crayola's posts, but I do know that I feel a bit hornswoggled myself. I'm a non-trad (otherwise I probably wouldn't post here) and despite my previous career I knew being a doctor is all I wanted to really do w/ my life. And now that patients/staff call me Dr. I think about how much of a gyp it is. I find myself thinking, for all that effort, why didn't I think about PA school or something else!? I mean, I got a surgical hand-off today from an APRN! She assisted in a balloon AVR. Pretty cool considering she went to school a bunch of years less than me and makes a ton of $$ more than me. I did a GI elective. Most of my time was spent w/ the two PA consultants. I had face time w/ the GI attending probably 50% of that whole rotation.

Read all of this, read some of this, don't read it. Just know, the best piece of advice I've seen in this thread is BOLDED. Find a bunch of reasons to NOT do this. It's so NOT what it is supposed to be!
I will just stop writing posts and just use this one from @Gfliptastic
Just kidding, you wish. But really, I second this PGY-1's experience

I'm lovin those who are "older" (that's so subjective), and just can't get rid of the passion for medicine.

I'm one of those who is doing it.... not a pretty picture sometimes, pulled my hair out, encountered discrimination and misunderstanding (who cares?!) along the way, and with a whole heap of folks determined to convince me out of my chosen path. But it was ALL worth it. Overwhelmingly so.
I'm glad for everyone who still has a taste for it 1 year in. Living the dream. Live in the moment.
I hope y'all make it to moment BE/BC feeling so good

I know someone very well who did TWO back to back residencies and chief years (READ: 7 years of residency instead of a 3 for either specialty) to end up as full time faculty at 40, did a fellowship at that point, married to someone who started med school at 40 around then, the decades of training they are doing simultaneously is starting to blur for me while I have followed behind
Proven to exist: yes
Exhausted: yes
You can do AND will be happy? Interesting. Let us know.

Researchers have been trying to do various longitudinal studies from med school to residency on such stuff. Please help if you're up for it.

Godspeed.
 

Crayola227

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Can it happen? Of course!
What are the reasons to go? What are the reasons not to? No one on here can answer that for you. I'm a 41-year-old MS3 and have not once regretted my decision to go to medical school. Sure, it's exhausting, but I suspect you already know that. :)
I read your first blog about your first month as an MS3 on the floors. You have entered the arena. Good luck.
 

May143

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I am going to be 40 but I look 25. Lots patients in ER thought I am a high school student.

Age is just the number but your spirit is your life.

If you really want to do and then go for it.

Life is short and people die. So why you do not die while doing some thing that make you happy.
 
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jl lin

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I am going to be 40 but I look 25. Lots patients in ER thought I am a high school student.

Age is just the number but your spirit is your life.

If you really want to do and then go for it.

Life is short and people die. So why you do not die while doing some thing that make you happy.

B/c the truth is that it is indeed a grind at any age. But nothing in life is ever that easy--as they say--if it is worth it. I think many get fried and end up wondering if it was worth it.

I also think you have to have a strong feel for the general arena. Healthcare is a real no joke area with loads of demands and pressures. I mean if you screw up, it could cost someone their life or well-being. Every day as an RN this is before me. Certain things are fixable, and certain things are not. The weight of that can get to people.
 
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TheTao

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It's seems to me that many if not most, of the folks over 40 who are interested in med school are the ones who take care of themselves, eat well, exercise regularly, and thus don't look their age. Brains seem to work real well too!

However because so many younger people aren't in shape at all (highest obesity level in the history of the US), it's hard for them to imagine being older and in med school. Thus this is the last place a question about age in med school should be asked.
 

DrMidlife

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Thus this is the last place a question about age in med school should be asked.
Not sure what "this" refers to, but the SDN nontrad forum is the only place I know of where you can ask a question about med school over 40 and have a half dozen med students over 40 show up to the conversation. The kiddoes who join these discussions are just mosquitoes.
 

jl lin

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Not sure what "this" refers to, but the SDN nontrad forum is the only place I know of where you can ask a question about med school over 40 and have a half dozen med students over 40 show up to the conversation. The kiddoes who join these discussions are just mosquitoes.

LOL So true.
 

jl lin

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It's seems to me that many if not most, of the folks over 40 who are interested in med school are the ones who take care of themselves, eat well, exercise regularly, and thus don't look their age. Brains seem to work real well too!

However because so many younger people aren't in shape at all (highest obesity level in the history of the US), it's hard for them to imagine being older and in med school. Thus this is the last place a question about age in med school should be asked.
Beware Tao: Wall of Text:

Many of the "kiddos" just can't seem to get that they will be middle age sooner then they thought. Will they be starting out on this path, if they started sooner? No. But something will always be coming up. Life doesn't stop until it, well, stops. Do people really believe mid-age folks just sit around sipping wine and counting how much their retirement portfolio is growing? Yea, life is that Easy Street.:rolleyes:

The responses are relative. All stages of life can be tough. Tao, you just have to get to be a bit more like me and just not give a crap. People make choices about what they will do in life about all sorts of things. My mom just opted for a radical surgical approach to a life-threatening disease. She looked at her history and used her nursing knowledge and made a very sound choice IMO. Other people disagree with her choice. But she is moving right on ahead like this amazing trooper, doing her thing. She's not spending one second worrying about other people's opinions on it.

I mean that is life. Constantly making choices, hopefully well-informed ones, and then living with whatever comes. Every day people are making critical decisions about things that could go one way or another. Ultimately who has to live with those choices? Those people and their families/loved ones.

So I personally find opinions re: my age and desire to apply to MS irrelevant to my life. I mean especially as you get older, what other people think matters less and less; b/c you realize you don't have the luxury of giving them your time, as you work toward your goals. I only wish I had more of this mentality when I was 18, 19, or 20.

I mean, I have always been independent minded, but when I was younger, I still let others have too much weight in some of my decisions. When I was very much younger, I let a middle school guidance counselor give me some undermining advice. What does a middle school kid know about what they can and should do--especially when they have some issue of dysfunction within the home/life? Just goes to show that even well-intentioned people can be clueless about how to guide others.

I will rise and fall my own choices and actions. If there are schools that don't want an older non-trad, I will have to live with that. And this is why I am leaning toward some DO schools; b/c if indeed there is a more holistic view of the applicants, then this is to my benefit. With hard work and a good school, it will be to benefit of those I serve as a physician--regardless of my age. I have my alma mater as a possibility as well; but many of those that sit on allopathic adcoms may be younger than I am. I have to be realistic. How do you really think this is gonna fly w/ some of those kiddos? I mean there are some folks that could see you running 5 miles a day, in good health, sharp, etc, and they are still going to be biased and discriminate based on age. There are those that think if you are older than your class seniors and such, you will have a hard time taking orders from them. LOL. I have been taking orders from docs and administrators that are younger than me for years. Please. I am not shaken by it. If it happens, it happens. I can't change every person's bias in the world.

Once I am in MS, the other demands on my life will have to change--meaning, I won't be able to give everyone around me all the attention they desire--I am not just talking family. I am talking friends, parish support cases, etc. I know there are friends that will feel slighted, and some of them have already commented that it is a waste of my time; b/c I am not 20 something. They think I should just kick back and enjoy life with them. And while I enjoy doing that from time to time, this is not the calling on my life. So, I am sure some of them will feel slighted, even if they try to resist the feeling. I have to accept the reality, and I have to accept any negative talk that may flow as a consequence. We make choices all the time, and we have to live with those choices.

Read this somewhere: "Don't waste your season." Regardless of what season you are in, make the most of it in the fullest way.
 
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TheTao

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Not sure what "this" refers to, but the SDN nontrad forum is the only place I know of where you can ask a question about med school over 40 and have a half dozen med students over 40 show up to the conversation. The kiddoes who join these discussions are just mosquitoes.
I meant SDN in general, not the nontrad forum so I see your point. But maybe it's time for a good mosquito repellent, LOL!!
 
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May143

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B/c the truth is that it is indeed a grind at any age. But nothing in life is ever that easy--as they say--if it is worth it. I think many get fried and end up wondering if it was worth it.

I also think you have to have a strong feel for the general arena. Healthcare is a real no joke area with loads of demands and pressures. I mean if you screw up, it could cost someone their life or well-being. Every day as an RN this is before me. Certain things are fixable, and certain things are not. The weight of that can get to people.

Amen!!!
 

jl lin

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Go for it if you really want to do.

You are only one who can create your life.

Ignore the negative if your deep down of your heart love it.

No one born to be perfect but you can make yourself perfect at every age.

Your would gain more real life experience and it will be the strongest point of you at this age.

I believe you know your answer already but you just want to hear from others

Remember!! others have not run your life for you.

So If you really passion to becoming a doctor, just go for it.

GO FOR IT!!!

I hear you. It's just my way to try to balance things out. Regardless of age discrimination laws, guess what? It still doesn't mean it won't happen, regardless of how young you look. I've always looked considerably younger than my age. My application and info will reveal my age quickly enough. My resume re: work and schools will reveal that quickly enough. When applying to MS, they pretty much have a huge piece of your whole story; so, it will be impossible to hide your age or think it will go unnoticed. This is especially so where you have folks that feel that their priority is to give the kiddies a seat before a mid-ager. They feel they might get more long-term work out of them, which may or may not be so. You'd be surprised at how strong such a bias may be. And they feel logically justified; but they are looking at, once again, mere statistics, not the individual. You're probably not gonna change that bias. Personally, I see it as wrong of a bias as say not hiring someone b/c they are 40 or so. It's silly that people think you can narrow down people's lives to a post-pubescent range of "optimal time and functioning." I mean, heck, we should all just line for cyanide after 25 then.

So, I am just saying, go in with the understanding that age discrimination may be at play, even though you'd probably never be able to prove it. You can't fixate on it. You're probably not gonna change those that are OK with such discrimination--and it's really hard to bypass that is what's going--even if there is other pre-text for a "no go." All you can do is make your best app and move forward. Personally I think a women that is mid-age and no longer is focused on childbearing/rearing is a statistical asset; b/c such women are more likely to work FT+ hours and want to do so. At least part of the reasons some female physicians make less than their male counterparts is b/c of childrearing issues and the desire to go down to PT hours. Nothing against that. I am for moms or dads making more time with their kids if they want to do so. I am just saying that when you get to the mid-age females, they are close to or done with that, if they have had kids, and the reproductive/childrearing factor is taken out of the equation. Mid-age females can be major workhorses.
 
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Dral

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Another interesting note is that

Although
there are substantially fewer physicians with a DO
degree compared to those with an MD degree, the
osteopathic medical profession is growing at a
faster rate. The number of actively licensed physicians
with a DO degree increased by 16% compared to a
4% increase in the number of licensed physicians
with an MD degree.

While I'm sure there is more to this, let's look at an example. Out of beginning with 1100 active physicians:

There are one hundred DOs. Next year there are 116. There was a 16% increase in DOs.

There are 1000 MDs. Next year there are 1040. There was a 4% increase in MDs

The net number of DOs added was 16, but the net MDs was 40. So more MDs are being added.

Is it that the PERCENT RATE of increase from a year to next (instead as stated number of physicians) has increased by those percents? Like one year to next DOs numbers increased by 1%, then for the following year the numbers increased by 17%. Meaning over three years, or two cycles of comparison, there was a 16% increase in RATE of increase, opposed to just speaking in terms of NUMBERS of physicians as in my example above.

Is that correct? My mathematical thinking could be wrong...definitely wouldn't be the first time.
 
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TheTao

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Personally I think a women that is mid-age and no longer is focused on childbearing/rearing is a statistical asset; b/c such women are more likely to work FT+ hours and want to do so.......Mid-age females can be major workhorses.
I lack the words to properly communicate how LIBERATING it is to be a "family woman" with grown kids!!! And I'm going to sell this point like no one's business, when they come at me with this (THIS time) with "why should we admit you when we can admit student X who graduated a few years ago" (yeah one east coast DC school DID that 'ish), I'm going to quickly retort that "fried eggs" + grown kids = BRING IT ON, BABY!!!!
 

jl lin

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While I'm sure there is more to this, let's look at an example. Out of beginning with 1100 active physicians:

There are one hundred DOs. Next year there are 116. There was a 16% increase in DOs.

There are 1000 MDs. Next year there are 1040. There was a 4% increase in MDs

The net number of DOs added was 16, but the net MDs was 40. So more MDs are being added.

Is it that the PERCENT RATE of increase from a year to next (instead as stated number of physicians) has increased by those percents? Like one year to next DOs numbers increased by 1%, then for the following year the numbers increased by 17%. Meaning over three years, or two cycles of comparison, there was a 16% increase in RATE of increase, opposed to just speaking in terms of NUMBERS of physicians as in my example above.

Is that correct? My mathematical thinking could be wrong...definitely wouldn't be the first time.

Is that a quote of a quote from me above? Don't remember posting it; but eh, it's possible.
 

jl lin

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I lack the words to properly communicate how LIBERATING it is to be a "family woman" with grown kids!!! And I'm going to sell this point like no one's business, when they come at me with this (THIS time) with "why should we admit you when we can admit student X who graduated a few years ago" (yeah one east coast DC school DID that 'ish), I'm going to quickly retort that "fried eggs" + grown kids = BRING IT ON, BABY!!!!
See, even such a question as that is ageistic. You have to flip and share the benefits of admitting a competitive applicant with serious experience and growth. At the end of the day, it should come down to whether you can do the work and that you are not just having some kind of midlife whim--but that you are a lifer for this role.

Yea. Some will see your point. Others will probably blow it off. Who knows?

You can make excellent points and communicate them; but individual biases are never changed easily or immediately but with blood, sweat, and tears, over time.

I think it is realistic to anticipate "Nos."

You can't get to our point in life and not have learned how to handle "No.s" This is what youngsters don't understand. "No" is a fair part of life. "Can I get away with not paying my taxes?" "NO!" "This pregnancy isn't gonna make either?" "I'm sorry. No. It isn't." "You mean this professor isn't gonna cut us some slack on this exam?" "NO." "There is no chance of survival for my loved one?" "We can't take such extreme positions, but the probability and severity of the disease indicates NOT more than 6 mo.s"
"Any chance we'll get a solid 2 hours of sleep tonight with all the kids vomiting their lungs up?" "Nope!" "Is there anyway I can get everyone at work to like me?" "LOL. Is that a real question? No." "Is it cool if I brood about your 'No' for the rest of the clinical rotation?" "No. It's not. Get over it."

We have been kicked in the behind and our saddles are tough. We get that you can bitch, piss, and moan when life doesn't give you every thing you want or think you deserve or that you can be grateful for the experience and continue to move onward. It's the exceptional 20 or even 30 year old that gets that in our current culture.

We're like, "Your NOs don't phase me. I'll keep moving forward; but thank you for the strong, forward-moving kick in the pants." ;)
No time for resentment. No time for grudges. No time for whining.
 

Crayola227

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I popped in here with 2 cents, because I know people who are older who went for med school, and I've spent my entire adult life in service to it

Pray that between 40-47+ while you are "living your dream" nothing physical happens to you to keep you from getting to BC/BE
Because before BC/BE, you have exactly 0% control of your time for at least the last 2 years of med school and the at least 3 years of residency, and I'm not counting how strapped for time you'll be the first 2 years
I thought I would drive home 2 hrs one weekend a month those first two years but I was too tired
if you don't get to BC/BE, then you're stuck with debt
and that MD alone doesn't open as many doors as you think it would

My dad died during med school. I wish I had spent more time with him.
More time with my little sibling who is growing up.
More time with my ailing mother.
More time with sibling and nieces that are growing, who when they are teenagers will hardly know me, or think fondly of me

And like you, I wouldn't have minded the sacrifices, but I made them
And I stood proudly that day I got MD with those who were left to celebrate with me
It was like finally I could start the dream career, it was all in front of me, at 30

But the dream can easily turn to ashes in your mouth
Just please consider that the majority of docs wouldn't do it again
The majority wouldn't want their kids to do it either

I wouldn't do it in my 40s because I would be even more tired of the whole thing then I already am
And I would hope in my 40s I would have a family to be spending time with

Honestly, my number one concern for the people starting at 40 is fatigue, not having sufficient time for family,
And 40 is a good time for a number of health-related conditions to start popping up,
the ones you can't control for just with the healthy lifestyle you've been living to this point
medicine is very intolerant of any personal illness you may develop, or any family conflicts you may have pop up

So do your thing, and realize the hard part isn't med school, but the whole career beyond
"Medicine is a cruel and jealous mistress"
 

Gfliptastic

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Crayola and me and other serve as "gatekeepers" to the real world of medicine. Residency. Med school.

I read the OP's post about how "awesome" it is to be in medicine, but y'all have NO IDEA how much we "insulate" you from the real, hard, practical, unchanging in any time soon face of medicine. If you are a medical student and still luv medicine, wait. If you are shadowing a physician, SERIOUSLY wait. You have ZERO IDEA what is happening in the background once you deliver that baby or treat that sick patient or make that chemo patient be able to get closer to baseline

I implore y'all to get a real feel of what it's like to do a dictation. Do a proper note under meaningful use. Reconcile medications. Do a full discharge. It's all a part of modern medicine, and I'm certain it's not going anywhere any time soon.

As a med student I felt the way a lot of you feel. Oh man, it was awesome to be in the ICU. Do procedures (when permissible). Feel like a part of the team. But you just f***ing wait. Till you are an intern. And all your s*** really hits the fan. All the documentation. EMR. Medication reconciliation. All of that. And you realize at the end of any given day you might spend 10 minutes w/ a patient and an hour making sure the "paperwork" is copesthetic. You are SO insulated from all of that!

Yeah, medicine is awesome, if you've always known you wanted to be a doctor. GREAT! But seriously, if you don't think you can live w/ yourself being a PA, APRN, DNP, mid-level, at an advanced age no less, seriously. Get a real feel for what it's like to get to where you hope to be.

Don't just go through the motions shadowing. Ask the physician about documentation. Billing. Ask any resident about what we go through for 3 years AFTER the s***show of med school just to get to that point of being an attending. You realize how much this s*** cost just to have an MD or DO after your name. And be near colleagues (sometimes actual) w/ a PA or APRN who did far less schooling and owes far less to Uncle Sam.

I reiterate my previous post. Had I known NOW what I knew before, I'd be nuts if I didn't just go to PA school (some sort of mid-level training) as opposed to med school.
 

Crayola227

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I've seen too many colleagues my age or younger have illness in themselves or family and then just being tossed aside before they got through the 7 year sprint that is getting to BC/BE so they could pay debts and pursue the kind of attending position that would accomodate "weakness"

There's a tale here on SDN of someone developing rheumatoid arthritis and taking methotrexate needing some time off residency and when they came back conveniently someone else had been hired and they found reasons to fire them

I've known some people who had some issues with Crohn's popping up, unexpected cancer diagnoses in themselves, dying parents, even just managing type 1 diabetes on the job, and let's just say it's a ****show
And starting at 44, well like I said if you don't make the 7 year stretch with minimal hiccups physically....

No one in medicine will argue with me being in your 20s and 30s in perfect health in med school/residency is a marathon that can break you
And that if something healthwise goes wrong for you or your closest loved ones, well, that could be the end of your career (as it could in other careers, except other careers usually don't have the same debt burden or difficulty finishing training/coming back to SOMETHING as medicine does) or you're just physically not there while your parent battles cancer and you're not there bedside

Taking care of yourself in a healthy state is a gargantuan effort in medicine, add any ailment to that and good luck
 

jl lin

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Been there Crayola and done that and more. I have not been totally insulated. I do not plan on doing a grossly demanding specialty. I do know working in a ICU/ED can be incredibly demanding. I had more health problems in my 20s than I do now. I've lost a parent at a relatively young age, and went through all of what that whole year of hell involved. Had a mom having major surgery at the same time while running to yet another one of my father's many acute AML admissions, for which, working or not, scrubs or not, I was always there. I had small children at the time, and a beloved GM w/ demential I was helping my mother take care of in the home. There is so much more, I don't have time to go into detail.

I have no less energy now than I had at 2o and am actually more able to tolerate things compared to being a youngster with an inflammatory condition. Flipping constantly from days to nights for 13 + hour shifts was not easy street. Pretty much every place I have worked has been at least 1 hour from my home.

Life is an ongoing challenge. When it is at all possible, it's up to the individual person to have themselves ready for the challenges. I was not expecting
a lot of the hardship I encountered in life; but I have made it through and then some. I can't tell you fully what everyone's life was/is like from childhood forward. But I can tell you that there are a number of folks that learn to become stronger and adapt to the challenges as they come.

You cannot anticipate everything. You ready yourself as best as you can; but you also have to be a problem-solver and an adaptable person.

None of us has a crystal ball. I am not an addict; but in my adult life, I have tried and try to live my life by The Serenity Prayer. The wisdom to know the difference part is key. I must follow the calling set before me. Life was never intended to be w/o numerous upon numerous challenges.
I'm not a Buddhist, but there is a profound and eloquent reality in this quote: "To live is to suffer." Doesn't mean we won't have happiness and joy. It's just that when we are indoctrinated with this strange concept that we should be entitled to alway feel happy and free of some sort of suffering it is in complete opposition with the reality of life.

Maybe I am a bit different from some, b/c I do not feel all happy fuzzy feelings about working in healthcare and medicine. I know healthcare can be hard. I have worked in it under very stressful situations for many years. Was it exactly the same as residency? No. Although I did have a bird's eye view of what some of that entails. But I also had many demands and stresses on my life that sucked me as dry if not more so than being in MS or residency--b/c I was giving of me fro work, family demands and other stressors. Sleep deprivation is not something with which I am unfamiliar. But it is foolish to go into this line of work in particular w/o embracing the reality of suffering--especially given the ultimate demands and responsibilities of a physician--and the often times ridiculous administrative demands of our healthcare system. For me, this is, well, more of a calling. Some people laugh at that. That's fine. They simply see being a physician as another form of employment, and it is that also. But for me, it's not merely about that.

Now what may come, to me, only God can say. I am at peace with doing my best each day--controlling the things I can and accepting the things I can't and seeking guidance/wisdom in discerning, daily, the difference. I have bushwhacked my way enough through this life to realize the importance of accepting this world--and those things in it, like medicine, for example, as it is/they are. I've never been one to believe I would change the whole world. As I have helped and changed one or two critically ill patients at a time, I hope to help and when possible, change for the better, many patients, one person at a time.

But personally I do like to hear the harsh realities from those that have walked or are walking the path. I hope many that have chosen it and stuck with it do see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though beyond that, there is another tunnel through which to pass and then other fields of sunshine and then other tunnels and valleys after that. This is life as it really is. Even the best vacations are not daily, amazing, wonderful experiences. I have had many great trips from childhood. None of them were w/o ups and downs. And any person in a very long-term relationship will tell that there is no such things as life without ups and downs. Same thing with being a parent. This is life--the undulating of highs and lows, and those mezza-mezza states in-between.

Another difference for me is that my identity and joy is not founded in a particular career path. It may be or become a part of me; but it is not ME. It is not the mainstay of my joy and meaning in life. That's an intrinsic essence that I have known, even through tragedy, from early childhood.

My life will never be perfect or free of suffering; but I must live well the path set before me as best as I can--and that for me means pouring my life into others, while also providing a sane amount of sound, self-care.

Good luck on your path.
 
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TheTao

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I think the previous comments by Crayola or Gfliptastic bring up some very valid points. But as has been stated before, it's hard to know from the outside who will cut it best as a med student after the age of 40.

Working as a volunteer for Komen for years showed me that cancer can strike at ANY age, especially if you're a minority. Observing health disparities in various volunteer positions has also shown me the same thing, diabetes under age 50, check, heart disease under age 50, double check! Yet I STILL LIVE AND THRIVE and keep pushing myself forward!

Bottom line is that life, ie relatives getting ill and dying, divorce, personal illness, bankruptcy, ect ect, life is going to happen no matter what I do. And if my past "challenges" are any indication, I'll deal with it head on the best way I know how. And that's what I'd do if I went to med school or not.

The point seems to be that fitness plays a significant role in how smoothly the transition to med school/resident/attending will be for the person over age 40. Also having experience dealing with ****ty work environments (as most of us over 40 do especially if we've also worked in medical environments) seems like the cherry on top!

Personally, I'm shooting for being a Locums Physician (IM/PEDS?) in rural and urban environments 3-6 months out of the year while also teaching/consulting in Health Information Technology/ Health Informatics on the side. I leaned from being a Scientist (primarily in clinical academic settings) that the day in day out, grind of working for someone else (usually some bureaucratic a$$hole) for years on end is for the birds!
 
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Crayola227

The Oncoming Storm
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Oct 22, 2013
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I appreciate the last few responses.

The last one, all I can say is that there is certainly a BC/BE attending pathway that can work for anyone. The problem is getting there, you have a 7 year stretch that is unforgiving.

As far jl lin, you sound like you've thought it through. You sound like you are pretty well informed. Good for you.

I know plenty in medicine that are totally cut out for being a cardiothoracic surgeon 120 hrs a week into their 80s. Good on them.

And what you said jl lin about bankruptcy, divorce, illness, etc and making it through it all, certainly. As long as people understand what they're getting into.

Anything is possible.

The one illusion I see sometimes shattered is that people think that medicine, by its nature, would be compassionate and tolerant of human biological weakness, and it's not. There is no HR worker I have encountered who had experience in and out of the field who didn't say the same thing, which is that there is no other field that pisses on employee well-being more than healthcare.

We divorce, have mental illness, suicide, drug addictions, and every other sort of health/personal problem more than the general population (despite matching the general population in most respects before med school) because the 7 years you do to get to BC/BE are some of the most unhealthy and abusive you will ever encounter.

The "business" of medicine has ruined for many what was most certainly not just a job, but a calling.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, (or they accept you) is to survive the gauntlet physically and mentally intact, AND still feel like it's worth it and the "business" hasn't backed you into a corner where they've made your dreams a mockery.

Treat 'em and street 'em.

I'll abide by the axiom. So I've treated you all to a view of the worst, now as I would on the wards, I'll kick you to the curb and hope you don't come back, or if you do, that I'm on another rotation and the hospital doesn't take it in the ass or stick it to you.