Nov 18, 2010
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I would like to pursue a career as a family physician, but I'm not exactly sure what I have to do. I didn't do well in high school, so I guess I'm going to have to start with community college and transfer to a university. But what classes should I take at my community college? And what comes after that? Should I begin volunteering now? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 
Jan 5, 2010
884
3
Status
Pre-Medical
I would like to pursue a career as a family physician, but I'm not exactly sure what I have to do. I didn't do well in high school, so I guess I'm going to have to start with community college and transfer to a university. But what classes should I take at my community college? And what comes after that? Should I begin volunteering now? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
You can major in anything, however you just have to make sure you take the pre-reqs found here http://tinyurl.com/3aj3twt. You need to keep a GPA over 3.7. Maybe take a semester or 2 to make sure you have mended your bad study habits in high school before you start volunteering. After getting your BS/BA, you will have to go to 4 years of medical school, followed by 3 years of FP residency. Best of luck!
 
OP
J
Nov 18, 2010
5
0
Status
Non-Student
You can major in anything, however you just have to make sure you take the pre-reqs found here http://tinyurl.com/3aj3twt. You need to keep a GPA over 3.7. Maybe take a semester or 2 to make sure you have mended your bad study habits in high school before you start volunteering. After getting your BS/BA, you will have to go to 4 years of medical school, followed by 3 years of FP residency. Best of luck!
This may be a dumb question, but where do students live during their residency and how do they pay their expenses? Is it possible to get grants for college or student loans?

Thanks!
 

emedpa

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This may be a dumb question, but where do students live during their residency and how do they pay their expenses? Thanks!
residents are paid a salary, typically 40-50k/yr or so and generally rent an apt or house close to their primary hospital.
 

ButImLETired

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This may be a dumb question, but where do students live during their residency and how do they pay their expenses? Is it possible to get grants for college or student loans?

Thanks!
You may be confusing a few things. Let me try and clarify it for you.

As the first poster who responded to you pointed out, first you would go to college, then med school, then residency. For college, there are tons of financial aid options- anything from merit scholarships to need-based grants to student loans. The Obama administration has also done a great job of increasing college financing options so even if you do take out a bunch of loans, my understanding is that the interest rates are fairly low. So yay for that. In college, you could commute from home, live on campus, etc.

In med school, things are a little different. If you get into a US med school, you're essentially guaranteed loans up to the school's cost of attendance (coa). This isn't 100% true all the time forever and ever, but for the vast majority of people, it is. Cost of attendance includes both tuition (what you're paying to the school for your education), fees (health insurance, student activity fees, etc) and cost of living. Cost of living is estimated by the school every year (my school sends us a survey asking how much we spend on various things, but I'm guessing every school is different). That includes an estimated average rent you might pay, average amount you might spend on food, transportation, etc. This number, once the school has estimated it, is set in stone- you can take out loans for less than that, but never more.

Some med schools do have housing- especially in places like New York City where trying to get an apartment downtown is prohibitively expensive. Those places are heavily subsidized so you don't have to pay a ton to live there and they're usually right by the school which is super convenient, but you also don't have the luxury of your own apartment. That's just one of the things you consider when picking a place to go to. Anyway, throughout med school you're given cost of living as a big fat loan check in the beginning of each semester and you manage your own money after that.

Once med school is over, you enter a residency. As another poster has pointed out, those are paid (when divided by hours worked, it's below minimum wage, but 40-50 sounds like a lot when it's your first real paycheck). Most residents rent their own apartments by the hospital in which they work- again, some places in NYC and such do have somewhat subsidized housing.

Hope this helps!
 
OP
J
Nov 18, 2010
5
0
Status
Non-Student
You may be confusing a few things. Let me try and clarify it for you.

As the first poster who responded to you pointed out, first you would go to college, then med school, then residency. For college, there are tons of financial aid options- anything from merit scholarships to need-based grants to student loans. The Obama administration has also done a great job of increasing college financing options so even if you do take out a bunch of loans, my understanding is that the interest rates are fairly low. So yay for that. In college, you could commute from home, live on campus, etc.

In med school, things are a little different. If you get into a US med school, you're essentially guaranteed loans up to the school's cost of attendance (coa). This isn't 100% true all the time forever and ever, but for the vast majority of people, it is. Cost of attendance includes both tuition (what you're paying to the school for your education), fees (health insurance, student activity fees, etc) and cost of living. Cost of living is estimated by the school every year (my school sends us a survey asking how much we spend on various things, but I'm guessing every school is different). That includes an estimated average rent you might pay, average amount you might spend on food, transportation, etc. This number, once the school has estimated it, is set in stone- you can take out loans for less than that, but never more.

Some med schools do have housing- especially in places like New York City where trying to get an apartment downtown is prohibitively expensive. Those places are heavily subsidized so you don't have to pay a ton to live there and they're usually right by the school which is super convenient, but you also don't have the luxury of your own apartment. That's just one of the things you consider when picking a place to go to. Anyway, throughout med school you're given cost of living as a big fat loan check in the beginning of each semester and you manage your own money after that.

Once med school is over, you enter a residency. As another poster has pointed out, those are paid (when divided by hours worked, it's below minimum wage, but 40-50 sounds like a lot when it's your first real paycheck). Most residents rent their own apartments by the hospital in which they work- again, some places in NYC and such do have somewhat subsidized housing.

Hope this helps!
Do you get to choose where your residency is? Or does the school pick? Also, if you're not accepted the first time into med school, how long before you can apply again?
 
Jan 5, 2010
884
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Pre-Medical
Do you get to choose where your residency is? Or does the school pick? Also, if you're not accepted the first time into med school, how long before you can apply again?
You can apply keep applying every year until you die, though its rather expensive so wait until you feel you have a decant shot at getting in to apply. Residency is completely different than med school. You apply to various residencies, have interviews and then create a list of your top choices. Your list is compared against schools lists, to figure out where you go. ( basically you go to your highest choice program that accepts you).
 

rph3664

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John, you might want to do some volunteer work to find out if this really is what you want to do. Being a hospital volunteer, especially in the ER, is something you can do pretty much anywhere, but if there is a free or low-cost clinic in your town, they always need help. Do keep in mind that you are NOT allowed to talk about what goes on there with the patients; it's called patient confidentiality and there's a law called HIPAA that concerns this.

Starting off at a community college is a great way to get your first 2 years of school, and will drastically reduce your student loan expenses.

You could also do pretty much the same thing by becoming a physician's assistant (PA-C) or nurse practitioner. You wouldn't make as much money, but the hours are better and you don't have the malpractice issues.
 

vasca

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This may be a dumb question, but where do students live during their residency and how do they pay their expenses?

Thanks!
Call me biased because I studied medicine in a country where you can actually work as a GP so residency isn't something you HAVE to do, but while they are "students" of a sort, residents are already doctors that can prescribe meds, get sued, etc... In the US once you pass the Step 3 exam after you finish your internship year and do all of the paperwork you can get a medical license. So calling residents students the way university students are may not be fully correct in my opinion.

Residents get paid, in the end they are employees and considering the amount of work it would be beyond illegal to not pay them anything for another 4-7 years of their lives (remember that in the US most people graduate med school at around age 26-27 and a lot of people already have children and/or are married). In Mexico the resident salary varies hugely depending on the hospital, the average monthly paycheck for a first year resident is about 8000 pesos a month (800 US dollars) which is a modest barely middle class salary but still survivable. The check goes up a few thousand pesos with each passing year of a resident where your knowledge is ever greater and therefore you are more valuable to the hospital you work for.

The Red Cross pays absurdly horribly. I was shocked to hear 4th year Ortho residents being only paid 3000 pesos a month, not even remotely enough to survive in a metropolitan city. Some residency slots don't pay anything at all citing the value of the knowledge you get at the end makes it worth it or some excuse like that somehow dodging the mexican IRS by stating their residents are students and therefore can't be paid. Luckily they tell you this little tidbit of information when you are interviewing them to know what you're going to get into. The hospital I'm referring to is a top notch hospital in it's specialty which guarantees you will finish with a good knowledge base and it doesn't seem to be malignant.

Most residents I know rent a small apartment relatively near their hospital and to save costs they usually are roommates with another resident. Since they have to work all night in the hospital every 3rd day or so the cohabitation issue isn't a bad deal even if you don't like your roommate that much. I know some residents that live in the hospital. Hospitals that pay very poorly rent out near free lodging to their residents in communal rooms which has it's cons and pros:

Pros:
Won't worry about traffic to get to your job on time
No bills to pay, free hot showers, cafeteria always nearby with free food
You'll save your cash to buy stuff and go on vacations

Cons:
Could get paged anytime when you're not working because you're the only guy that's reachable in the building
Little if any privacy
No conjugal visits if you know what I mean (unless you know nobody will be around that day and lock the door real well and be quick)
Living in the hospital for so long will probably have a huge effect on your sanity
I can't imagine being caught by my superior in my underwear with cheetos and beer on the floor playing X-box at 3 am in the morning if I lived in the hospital

I know 1 resident that still lived with her parents during her first year of residency until everyone got transferred to another hospital in another city and she had to move out. Having your parents do your laundry and cook your meals after a bad day sure isn't a bad deal. I know because I did that when I was an intern.

As for how do residents get around, even if their salary is still "liveable" some residents get a side job. While you have to do your Q-3 call as a first and second year, the higher up the ladder you go the more flexible the job hours are and you can have side jobs to get more cash. A lot of residents do moonlighting where they cover evening shifts in their or another hospital. Since many hospitals have little work after 10 pm they show up, review the patients, write a few orders and go to bed at around 11 or midnight and get decent cash doing it because not a lot of doctors want to cover those shifts.

My situation is kind of different and it's something you won't ever live because you don't do a social service year if you go to med school in the US. I live at my clinic (no rent, no bills, w00t), work only around 6 hours and go play Age of Empires all afternoon but get paid miserably poorly. Villagers give me free food and most of my income comes from tips instead of my official income which isn't enough to survive, much less actually save real cash. My parents rarely if ever pitch in any cash which I don't mind because they paid my university intuition. The other day I was pretty much begging for food because I ran out and didn't have any cash. Being poor can be really lame sometimes. :confused: Luckily my streak of poverty is about to end which is nice. :thumbup: