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First Post, Need Input!

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by TwimMommy, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. TwimMommy

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    Hello Everyone,

    I am brand new to this forum and am seeking your advice. I consider myself a non-trad having graduated from college with a Biology degree in 2009. I was married during my junior year of college and recently had twin girls this winter.

    Before I had my girls, I was on the path to medical school. I have extensive volunteer and shadowing hours and have also conducted some research. When I graduated college, I actually worked as a research assistant at a local hospital. I began studying for the MCAT when I was pregnant but postponed it due to some complications that arose, ending with bedrest for several months. Now that my girls are a few months old, I am beginning to think of returning to the path of medical school. Now that I am a mom, I am also looking into the PA route. I have done many google and SDN searches to feel out the differences, and I have mainly found that it seems to be a personal decision. I also plan to shadow a PA, but do not have any connections at the moment. Some of my thoughts...

    I am afraid of having regrets if I do not pursue the MD route.

    I am also afraid of having regrets on the other end, if I do pursue the MD route and have to be away from my family for such an extensive amount of time. We are lucky that both our families live locally (we are about an hour outside of Boston), so childcare will not be an issue. It is just guilt and wanting to be a big part of my girls' lives.

    As far as autonomy, it does not bother me that PAs are under a MD. I think collaboration is a big part of healthcare, and my personality type is not one that needs to be the "head honcho."

    Finances. I am looking for a six figure income. My husband and I want to be able to afford to travel, send the girls and any future children to Montessori school, etc.

    Like I said, this has probably been beaten to death, and I know that I am the one who ultimately has to decide which road to take. I just happened to stumble upon this forum in my search and would love some advice and insight from other non-trads!
     
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  3. isoquin

    isoquin Allopathetic
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    Congratulations on your girls. I'm going to be blunt with you though. The message you give above is conflicting, and not consistent with what med school admissions are seeking. Your focus appears to be on spending time with your children, getting a lot of money, and then spending it on your children. The ideas of MD vs PA seem to be an afterthought as to how to accomplish those goals, and suggests an inflexibility and misunderstanding of what it means to actually embark on a career in medicine. Reading the above, I can't help but wonder why you actually want to go into medicine? I think that's something you really need to expand upon, both in your explanation to this forum, and to yourself. I'm also unsure of why bedrest during pregnancy precluded you from studying for the MCAT.

    Medical school will involve sacrifice, but not so much so that you somehow never see your children. You would not be the first woman to go through med school with children, or even have children during med school.

    In the end, as you suggested, you need to decide this for yourself. But I assure you that heading into medicine with the tone of the above post is a bad move with respect to admissions and your own sanity/happiness during med school. Perhaps I am mistaken as to your true motivations, or they simply haven't been stated.
     
  4. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    :laugh::laugh::laugh:She had a baby a few months ago, so that's just damn funny.:laugh::laugh::laugh:

    The ability to present goals/objectives without an obsessive family focus is neither a capability nor a requirement at this point.
     
  5. ejw5075

    ejw5075 Smile.
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    Welcome! Congrats on the twins, so exciting!

    I also considered the PA route and spent some time shadowing (actually more than my physician shadowing) and although you may not have direct connections do you have connections to physicians who may work in settings with PAs? That is how I went about asking to shadow. You can read all you want about the differences between MD/DO and PA or even NP but the only way you are going to truly know is if you experience them for yourself. Please do not let anyone tell you to go PA/NP simply because you are a mom, if that is what you want it is obviously more family friendly but you can definitely shoot for medical school if that is your dream.

    No one can tell you whether you will have regrets either way but a personally/professionally fulfilled mom is usually a happier mom than one who isn’t doing what they want. Having family close by is WONDERFUL and a great resource for you while studying for MCAT, etc and you are lucky to have BU, Tufts, Harvard, and UMass close by but this process is a crapshoot and you may end up across the country, just a thought. PA schools are often selective and have extensive requirements but (from my personal experience-friend’s applying) if you meet those it is much more likely that you will be accepted so chances of staying local are much better with the PA route.

    As for the autonomy, it may not be a huge part of the physician role in the future. Google the Harvard Commencement speech by Atul Gawande, “Cowboys and Pit Crews,” great read!

    You will live a comfortable life as either a PA or MD/DO, obviously certain specialties make more than others but those are also either highly competitive or longer, erratic hours which would take away from your home life.

    I actually spent last week with many physicians who are mothers to multiple children, extremely present in their lives. Do what you want to do and you’ll find a way to make it work.

    In my class of 19 there are two parents, one to multiple children and multiple planning to start families during medical school.
     
  6. loveboatdoc

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    Google Mom MD.
    (forums for women in medicine)
     
  7. TwimMommy

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    Thank you for the responses! I appreciate others taking the time to help me with this.

    Isoquin - I did not state my intentions to pursue medicine. I decided I wanted to pursue medical school before I entered college after having volunteered at a local health center during high school. I volunteered and shadowed throughout college, so I know it is something that is of great interest to me. As a new mom, I am just beginning to consider the PA route instead. I am thinking it might be a better fit for my family, but I also do not want to regret this decision later on down the road. I can assure you that I know what I am getting myself into. As for studying during bedrest, I did not want the added stress. I wasn't nearly as prepared as I needed to be for the MCAT, so studying so often and then taking a break when the girls were born would have been counterproductive. I would have forgotten everything I studied. Not to mention, I was VERY uncomfortable!

    EJW - I do have some connections to physicians so I am in the process of trying to see if they know of any PAs who will allow me to shadow. My husband is also encouraging me to go this route because he is afraid of how long I will be away from our family. We both come from large families (I have six siblings, he has five) and wish to also have a large family. Relocating is also something that would be an issue for us because both our families are here. I would be open to it, but we think having both of our parents so close by is really great. I have a strong GPA from my college years (3.9 overall, 3.75 science), I would just need an equally strong MCAT to be competitive for some of the Boston schools (or so I have been told). Thank you for the encouragement, it is nice to hear opinions from others about mothers in medicine.

    Loveboat - I will check out that site, thanks!
     
  8. seminolepremed

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    While I was taking the Examkrackers MCAT prep course, one of the students had just recently given birth. She went to two/three classes and decided she would go to the PA route instead. Eventually, she just stopped coming to class. I bet you she will regret it one day, if not right now. I am a woman too, but I do not have children, so my perspective is dissimilar, although it may still help. You have a great GPA, and assuming you do well on the MCAT, it would be a shame not to pursue an MD degree. Don't settle. You CAN participate in your children's life (it's not like you stop living in medical school... entirely). You might just wonder "what if" if you pick the PA route.... I highly doubt you will wonder "what if" if you actually pursue the MD degree you have been wanting since high school. BEST OF LUCK ;)
     
  9. princekc

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    As per your comment above, you'll regret if you pursue the PA route! With good support system, which it appears you have, pursuing an MD route is doable if you plan well.
     
    #8 princekc, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  10. princekc

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    Absolutely! seminolepremed, you sum it up very well.
     
  11. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Membership Revoked
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    You're a woman? Aren't you the person that's barely out of your teens? You're just a girl. Can't even drink legally. You don't know about families and regret.

    OP - It sounds like what you want to be is super mom with an awesome career and a million bucks in the bank. If you're going to do medicine, be ready to spend less time with your family and accept the reality that you won't be earning for 4 years and then barely making enough to buy a meal a day at Taco Bell during your residency. Once you are an attending, you will be living the luxurious life of paying off 200k in debt.

    If you want an easier life, with family time, reasonable income, are not bothered working under an MD/DO, go the PA route. The only possible "regret" is if your ego gets in the way of not having an MD/DO or if you kid yourself into thinking you would be one of the chosen few that could go into Dermatology and earn easy 350k.
     
  12. SisterDisco08

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    (snap!)

    In the end, you will have to sit down with yourself and choose, but just something I have noticed from my shadowing:

    The neurosurgeon I shadow's PAs do most of his clinical work (I can let you know about their role in the OR after next monday :) ). So it *seems* that the "higher" the physician's specialty, the greater autonomy/responsibility you would have as a PA (and probably greater paycheck too). Just more to consider.
     
  13. seminolepremed

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  14. seminolepremed

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    No, I can't drink legally. Is that what constitutes adulthood, old wise one? I live on my own and I pay my own bills. I was engaged for a year to a US Soldier and it failed... primarily to pursue my career goals.

    Why don't you give me a chance and stop refuting everything I say. I respect your opinions, at least let me have a voice to express mine without going through an entire explanation to confirm the validity of my opinion.

    You say PA, I say MD. The loans, the hard work .... IT'S GOING TO BE WELL WORTH IT.
     
  15. NCOldie

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    Eh...No, it's not. I don't like it when people equate adulthood with legally being able to consume alcohol.
    :-/

    Anyway, I will say that you don't know what it would be like to put your family aside somewhat to pursue MD.
    I appreciate your support, though! (Unless, of course, you do have a child or children that I am not aware of...)

    Anyway, to the OP:
    My best advice is to shadow MDs and PAs and interview them. Not just one MD and not just one PA, but at least a few so you can get the general idea. And, I second going to mommd!
    I go there...although, under a different name. lol

    I am a single mom and am shooting for MD, if that helps you any. haha
    It honestly depends on your personality. Some people can feel close and connected to family without much time with them and others can't. *shrugs*

    I don't know how badly you would want MD.
    You're really going to have to do your research and a lot of soul searching for this one.
    Best of luck to you! :)
     

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