• Please review the updated member agreement. Included is a new statement supporting the scientific method and evidence-based medicine. Claims or statements about disease processes should reference widely accepted scientific resources. Theoretical medical speculation is encouraged as part of the overall scientific process. However, unscientific statements that promote unfounded ideological positions or agendas may be removed.
Apr 19, 2020
Hi there,

I’m a 41 year old NP who is taking prerequisites and will be ready to apply in Spring 2022. I have been a full-time nurse/NP for 11 years and really always wanted to be a doctor, but didn’t have guidance as a youngster, went to a poorly performing high school in a rural area, and for many years, I simply didn‘t believe in myself or my abilities.

My question is this: 20 years ago as a college senior, I plagiarized on a paper. It was obvious, I was immediately caught, and in the meeting with the professor and the dean, I admitted it and was assigned what I believe was a fair and just punishment, which was an F in the class and a one-year hold on my diploma. They allowed me to walk in the graduation with my fellow students, but I didn’t officially graduate until the following June.

I can honestly say that this was a singular episode. I had never plagiarized before and I never have since. This episode haunted me for a long time and I did a lot of soul-searching to figure out how I got to that extreme point of desperation/panic. I now think there were a lot of reasons, but they don’t really matter. What matters is that I learned A LOT about myself from it and though I will always feel terrible about how I hurt myself and the other students in the class by violating my school’s honor code, I do think I eventually emerged from the episode a better person somehow. I developed more empathy for people who screw up, have remorse for it, and need a second chance.

I have gone on to get 3 more degrees, including a master’s in literature and a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing. I have never had any other academic issues. I maintained a 4.0 GPA in the nursing programs and currently have a 4.0 in my pre-requisite classes (I am taking them at a top 20 public university).

I have received post-secondary 3 degrees since the IA and have had to explain the IA on each application, so I’m familiar with that process. My question for all of you is—given this history, should I continue on this journey? Or will this sink any chance I have at successfully realizing my dream of becoming a physician? I am 41 as I mentioned and an NP—I know I might already look like a less favorable choice because of age and occupation.

Thanks very much for any guidance.


Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
Somewhere west of St. Louis
20 years ago, Bill Clinton was president, the NY Yankees won the World Series and most SDNers were either not even born or were in diapers.

That was a different world and your IA will be viewed more as an artifact from a different time and person.


5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2015
i think you should apply! 2 decade old IA is not the same as a 1 year old IA. It seems like you have had time to reflect on your actions and a long track record of honest behavior since then. Some schools might see your age as a downside, but other programs would probably love the experience and diversity you could add to the class. On one of my interview days (at a Top-10 medical school) there was a current first year medical student who was a former NP and was around your age.
About the Ads


2+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2017
Former NP and Current M1. It sounds weird to put former NP because I only recently stopped working. I am 34! Go for your dream. I had many poor grades in my transcript from 15 years ago. I didn’t have IA but I did have to overcome my low gpa from 15 years ago. Good luck!
  • Like
Reactions: Sn00pygrrl
Jul 5, 2020
Resident [Any Field]
I don't see a reason why anyone would hold that IA against you. It sounds like you take responsibility for your actions and have 11 years as a licensed nurse/NP without violations to prove that you've grown from it. Just be honest about it on your applications
  • Like
Reactions: Goro
About the Ads