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I'm an old lady with a family. Is there any hope?

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stayathomemom

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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?
 

PastorDoc

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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?
Definitely a tough journey. The new mcat is no joke (took the old one and the new one, different animals) and the playing field seems more competitive than ever. But dreams are dreams, and I admire non-trads/career-changers who are crazy enough like me to reach for medical school. I’m single and mobile so I took the plunge, was accepted this past October. Happiness (yours vs SO) will be an issue if you pursue. Your biggest obstacle is bolded above.

Btw, have you considered PA?
 
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stayathomemom

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Definitely a tough journey. The new mcat is no joke (took the old one and the new one, different animals) and the playing field seems more competitive than ever. But dreams are dreams, and I admire non-trads/career-changers who are crazy enough like me to reach for medical school. I’m single and mobile so I took the plunge, was accepted this past October. Happiness (yours vs SO) will be an issue if you pursue. Your biggest obstacle is bolded above.

Btw, have you considered PA?
Thank you for your reply. I agree the bolded statement is by far the biggest hurdle.

I have considered PA, but I currently don't have any medical experience to apply to PA school. My backup plan is to apply to go to nursing school (18 month program to get a bachelor's of science in nursing = RN) and then work in an ICU until I get enough experience (1-3 years) to go to CRNA school, which will be a doctorate program and three more years of school. After doing all the math, I wondered why I wasn't following my original dream and going to med school anyway.
 

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With kids, a spouse with an entrenched, non-mobile career, and no financial incentive I think medical school is not an optimal plan even if everything works out perfectly and you stay in your home town the entire time. Personally, I think the RN plan is a better option. It’s too bad that more PA programs don’t allow applicants with less clinical experience.

This situation reminds me of I Corinthians 10:23-basically anything is permissible, but not everything is advisable.
 
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Would there be anywhere in commuting distance for residency? I don't think it's reasonable to ask your spouse to leave, but make sure you explore all of the reasonable options. Otherwise I vote RN (which is still way less school to get CRNA vs be a practicing MD).
 

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Would there be anywhere in commuting distance for residency? I don't think it's reasonable to ask your spouse to leave, but make sure you explore all of the reasonable options. Otherwise I vote RN (which is still way less school to get CRNA vs be a practicing MD).
I live in a medium-sized city. I've talked to someone who has just graduated the medical school in our city, and he said that many of his cohort actually ended up in the same city for residency. If it's true that if I am committed to staying in the area and can be a competitive candidate for residency, then it would be entirely possible for me to stay in the area the whole time. But if I don't get matched here...would I be ok taking another year to two to wait for a local match? I don't know enough about that process or the implications of doing so to make an advanced, educated decision.

I was hoping to find someone who has gone through that process in a similar situation, so I can ask.
 

Mt Kilimanjaro

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I live in a medium-sized city. I've talked to someone who has just graduated the medical school in our city, and he said that many of his cohort actually ended up in the same city for residency. If it's true that if I am committed to staying in the area and can be a competitive candidate for residency, then it would be entirely possible for me to stay in the area the whole time. But if I don't get matched here...would I be ok taking another year to two to wait for a local match? I don't know enough about that process or the implications of doing so to make an advanced, educated decision.

I was hoping to find someone who has gone through that process in a similar situation, so I can ask.

Without knowing the city/programs available, it's hard to comment on your specific situation. It's theoretically possible to "suicide match" by only applying to one program or applying to several different residency programs but only in one city. I don't think anyone would recommend this approach, as it sets you up for an even more difficult time if you fail to match the first year and have to reapply the year after you graduate. The number of residency applications varies widely by specialty goal, but most people apply to 30-60+ programs and interview at 10-20 depending on how competitive the applicant is and the specialty. Obviously if you only interview at 1-2 programs, you're at a tremendous disadvantage.

An example where your plan might make sense is if there's a 1-2 not very competitive family medicine or internal medicine programs in your city and you're certain before starting medical school that you want to attend residency in one of those programs, even if they're not that strong. Potential downside is if you decide during third year of medical school that you really want, say, pediatrics, but there's no pediatrics program in your city or the one that's there is out of reach, etc. There's a lot of scenarios you can game out, but in general, you 1) definitely want to match during your MS-4 year and 2) need to entertain several viable residency program options (unless you're targeting fairly non-competitive primary care residencies). Even in this last scenario, there is still a chance of ending up unmatched or matching in a geographically distant program.
 
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Lawpy

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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?

Personally, I think it's much harder to get accepted into your only medical school than matching into a residency program in your city. Medical school admissions is a seller's market and you need to make a really compelling case to your school as to why they should accept you. Unlike most applicants, you are pretty much only applying to one school hoping that you get in, so your success rate goal is 100% despite the average success rate being 40%.

Matching into residency programs in your city is easier because there are more options available, and you can improve your matching success by aiming for less competitive specialties (like primary care, psychiatry etc.). Making solid connections with program directors at your school and getting solid letters will further improve your matching prospects.
 

stayathomemom

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Thank you Mt Kilo and Lawper for your replies. The city is Portland, the college is OHSU which favors in-state.
The nice things about being non-trad and already waiting over a decade is that I feel like it won't be the end of the world if I don't get accepted. I have to accept what is available to me, even if the answer at that point is "no" after I've tried my best after a few years. That won't endanger my marriage, which is much more paramount to my joy than my chosen career (though if I could have both, why not?). Like I've said previous, the scariest thing for me is getting to the match and having very very difficult decisions to make which pit my family against the completion of my hard-earned education.
 
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Mt Kilimanjaro

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Thank you Mt Kilo and Lawper for your replies. The city is Portland, the college is OHSU which favors in-state.
The nice things about being non-trad and already waiting over a decade is that I feel like it won't be the end of the world if I don't get accepted. I have to accept what is available to me, even if the answer at that point is "no" after I've tried my best after a few years. That won't endanger my marriage, which is much more paramount to my joy than my chosen career (though if I could have both, why not?). Like I've said previous, the scariest thing for me is getting to the match and having very very difficult decisions to make which pit my family against the completion of my hard-earned education.

This is a good perspective to have throughout the process. Portland is actually a much more favorable place than I imagined when I read your earlier response.

Looking at ACGME's website, it looks like there's a family medicine program in Portland, 4 internal medicine programs in Portland, and one family medicine program in Vancouver, WA. In addition to all the other one-off specialties in Portlandia (pediatrics, emergency medicine, anesthesia, neurology, neurosurgery, etc). https://apps.acgme.org/ads/Public/Programs/Search

With all of those options, I agree that your biggest hurdle will be getting accepted to medical school. Once you get in, matching into a program near home seems fairly doable as long as you're somewhat flexible and start networking early.

Your husband needs to be 100% on board with your decision and with cooking, cleaning, child rearing, etc or you're gonna have a rough time. Also true if you pursue nursing.

Best of luck!

I would also add: Since you're essentially targeting a single medical school (OHSU), if possible, I'd arrange a meeting (phone or in person) with their admission office early in your process to discuss your situation and how to best position yourself for a successful application (i.e. talk about GPA/MCAT, pre-req courses, shadowing/volunteering expectations, etc) I called/met with a couple schools when I applied since I also had an unusual academic background and family situation and found the admissions folks were generally quite helpful and specific.
 
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AlbinoHawk DO

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I think there are some key things stacked against you:

1. If your husband has a very successful career that he won't abandon, it sounds like nobody will be around to pick up the slack at home.
2. Your children are school age, but at that age they need both a father and a mother to be around.
3. You have a geographical limitation that only allows you to do one medical school and a residency in the area. I think it is too much gamble. Even if you were to get into this medical school, there are no promises for residency. Are you willing to go unmatched to try again in this city? Would you abandon medicine? If you match somewhere not remotely close to this place, how will this affect your family?

Aside from these, I don't think your age is a limitation. I also think your church volunteer work is acceptable to medical school.

I think going the NP route would be the safest way to do get as close to the career you want without perturbing your current life. I know the compromise is not entirely palatable, but at this age you've already learned life is a compromise.

Good luck.
 

stayathomemom

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I think there are some key things stacked against you:

1. If your husband has a very successful career that he won't abandon, it sounds like nobody will be around to pick up the slack at home.
2. Your children are school age, but at that age they need both a father and a mother to be around.
3. You have a geographical limitation that only allows you to do one medical school and a residency in the area. I think it is too much gamble. Even if you were to get into this medical school, there are no promises for residency. Are you willing to go unmatched to try again in this city? Would you abandon medicine? If you match somewhere not remotely close to this place, how will this affect your family?

Aside from these, I don't think your age is a limitation. I also think your church volunteer work is acceptable to medical school.

I think going the NP route would be the safest way to do get as close to the career you want without perturbing your current life. I know the compromise is not entirely palatable, but at this age you've already learned life is a compromise.

Good luck.
Thank you for your reply! As far as #1 and 2, I didn't mention it earlier since I wasn't as concerned, but my parents live next door. My mom is a nurse and works three days a week, and my dad is a full-time grandpa now. They are VERY supportive. My kids even have a bedroom over there.

But yes, #3. This is where it all lies. I will have to think long and hard about this, and have a very frank discussion with hubby. On a different forum I was encouraged by a recent graduate of this college, who said many MD grads stayed inside our city as residents, but I know that's not a guarantee.
 

stayathomemom

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This is a good perspective to have throughout the process. Portland is actually a much more favorable place than I imagined when I read your earlier response.

Looking at ACGME's website, it looks like there's a family medicine program in Portland, 4 internal medicine programs in Portland, and one family medicine program in Vancouver, WA. In addition to all the other one-off specialties in Portlandia (pediatrics, emergency medicine, anesthesia, neurology, neurosurgery, etc).

With all of those options, I agree that your biggest hurdle will be getting accepted to medical school. Once you get in, matching into a program near home seems fairly doable as long as you're somewhat flexible and start networking early.

Your husband needs to be 100% on board with your decision and with cooking, cleaning, child rearing, etc or you're gonna have a rough time. Also true if you pursue nursing.

Best of luck!

I would also add: Since you're essentially targeting a single medical school (OHSU), if possible, I'd arrange a meeting (phone or in person) with their admission office early in your process to discuss your situation and how to best position yourself for a successful application (i.e. talk about GPA/MCAT, pre-req courses, shadowing/volunteering expectations, etc) I called/met with a couple schools when I applied since I also had an unusual academic background and family situation and found the admissions folks were generally quite helpful and specific.
Thank you. I always try to keep vague and anonymous as possible on forums, but that info was really helpful, huh? :)
Yes, hubby would have to be 100% on board. All of your replies have given me a lot to think about, and helps to clarify a lot of things that were mysterious to me. This will help us be able to navigate these issues when we talk, so I thank you.
 
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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?

No. you are not too old and it is yours for the asking if you want it badly enough. Consider Reverend, Pastor, Mother of 4, Doctor Suzanne Watson, MD

54-year-old medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine is living her dream
 
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stayathomemom

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No. you are not too old and it is yours for the asking if you want it badly enough. Consider Reverend, Pastor, Mother of 4, Doctor Suzanne Watson, MD

54-year-old medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine is living her dream
Wow, that is really cool! I would love to have that lady in my class!
 
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AlbinoHawk DO

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Thank you for your reply! As far as #1 and 2, I didn't mention it earlier since I wasn't as concerned, but my parents live next door. My mom is a nurse and works three days a week, and my dad is a full-time grandpa now. They are VERY supportive. My kids even have a bedroom over there.

But yes, #3. This is where it all lies. I will have to think long and hard about this, and have a very frank discussion with hubby. On a different forum I was encouraged by a recent graduate of this college, who said many MD grads stayed inside our city as residents, but I know that's not a guarantee.
Well, if #1 and #2 are not concerns, then I say it is more realistic to apply to medical school. I would also say if you are comfortable with pathology, pediatrics, family medicine or maybe even IM, then I think as an OHSU grad the possibility of staying in the area is large. I would recommend applying to more than one specialty when the time comes (e.g. IM with backup FM).

Age again is not that big of a concern. The doing residency in your 40s can be tough, but if it were pathology, it might just be like a vacation. I don't know how family friendly other specialties are in that region, but usually PMR, FM and Peds tend to have more family friendly programs.
 
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stayathomemom

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Well, if #1 and #2 are not concerns, then I say it is more realistic to apply to medical school. I would also say if you are comfortable with pathology, pediatrics, family medicine or maybe even IM, then I think as an OHSU grad the possibility of staying in the area is large. I would recommend applying to more than one specialty when the time comes (e.g. IM with backup FM).

Age again is not that big of a concern. The doing residency in your 40s can be tough, but if it were pathology, it might just be like a vacation. I don't know how family friendly other specialties are in that region, but usually PMR, FM and Peds tend to have more family friendly programs.
Thanks for your reply. At this point I'd be grateful to become a physician at all, and any specialty sounds interesting to me.
 
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theSmurfette

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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?

I did it! I’m currently a 4th year medical student and will match in EM this Spring, hopefully at my home institution. I’m your age, just did all this a few years earlier. I matriculated at 31, after deciding that I wanted to do medical school at 27. I’m married with 3 kids (youngest is 3, born 2 weeks into MS1).

If you want to do it, it’s possible! Have you talked to the dean of admissions at the medical school you want to go to? It can be very enlightening.


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Mt Kilimanjaro

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Thank you for your reply! As far as #1 and 2, I didn't mention it earlier since I wasn't as concerned, but my parents live next door. My mom is a nurse and works three days a week, and my dad is a full-time grandpa now. They are VERY supportive. My kids even have a bedroom over there.

But yes, #3. This is where it all lies. I will have to think long and hard about this, and have a very frank discussion with hubby. On a different forum I was encouraged by a recent graduate of this college, who said many MD grads stayed inside our city as residents, but I know that's not a guarantee.

Whoa. The bolded part makes this situation so much better. You have the perfect setup for midlife medical school with kids if there ever was one. I actually think multi-generational/clan style child rearing is superior to our modern American model, but that's for another day...

With your history of pre-reqs and having taken MCAT followed by full time parenting, you have a very organic "why medicine" story that will resonate. "I always wanted to go to med school. Then I met this dreamer. Had kids. Life got in the way. Now the time is right. I've seen medicine from the other side of the exam table. I've been the worried mom. Now I want to heal the sick. I have the family support literally next door to make it happen. I bring maturity and strategic patience that will balance out the youthful angst of my classmates."

Once you get husband's buy in, here's what I'd do:

1) Meet with/talk to school's admissions office. Take a copy of your undergraduate transcript. Ask them which (if any) pre-reqs need to be retaken or if you should take other science courses instead to prove that you still got it. Ask them what sort of clinical experience they recommend (you're probably not going to be a scribe, so is just shadowing OK?, free clinics in town?, etc). It's Portland, so ride a bike and wear Birkenstocks FTW.
2) Take said courses and crush them.
3) Prepare for MCAT. Crush MCAT. Probably looking at taking MCAT spring/early summer 2019 and applying June 2019 for fall 2020 matriculation.
4) Make sure you get sufficient clinical exposure along the way to prove you know what you're getting yourself into.
 
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stayathomemom

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I did it! I’m currently a 4th year medical student and will match in EM this Spring, hopefully at my home institution. I’m your age, just did all this a few years earlier. I matriculated at 31, after deciding that I wanted to do medical school at 27. I’m married with 3 kids (youngest is 3, born 2 weeks into MS1).

If you want to do it, it’s possible! Have you talked to the dean of admissions at the medical school you want to go to? It can be very enlightening.


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Cool! A baby born in med school?! WOW! That must have been a crazy first year!

If you have a spouse, how did they react and handle it? How are your kids doing? Do you feel like med school is as crazy hard as it's portrayed by everyone? (Like, "hard but doable" vs. "so hard I want to take a long walk off a short pier")

Good luck in school! :)
 
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stayathomemom

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Whoa. The bolded part makes this situation so much better. You have the perfect setup for midlife medical school with kids if there ever was one. I actually think multi-generational/clan style child rearing is superior to our modern American model, but that's for another day...
YES, me too. Even though I hated my parents when I was a teenager, so much has changed in all three of us.

With your history of pre-reqs and having taken MCAT followed by full time parenting, you have a very organic "why medicine" story that will resonate. "I always wanted to go to med school. Then I met this dreamer. Had kids. Life got in the way. Now the time is right. I've seen medicine from the other side of the exam table. I've been the worried mom. Now I want to heal the sick. I have the family support literally next door to make it happen. I bring maturity and strategic patience that will balance out the youthful angst of my classmates."
I may have cried a little reading that!

Once you get husband's buy in, here's what I'd do:

1) Meet with/talk to school's admissions office. Take a copy of your undergraduate transcript. Ask them which (if any) pre-reqs need to be retaken or if you should take other science courses instead to prove that you still got it. Ask them what sort of clinical experience they recommend (you're probably not going to be a scribe, so is just shadowing OK?, free clinics in town?, etc). It's Portland, so ride a bike and wear Birkenstocks FTW.
2) Take said courses and crush them.
3) Prepare for MCAT. Crush MCAT. Probably looking at taking MCAT spring/early summer 2019 and applying June 2019 for fall 2020 matriculation.
4) Make sure you get sufficient clinical exposure along the way to prove you know what you're getting yourself into.
I will do this. Just to clear up my confusion, is there a reason why you recommend me taking the MCAT in 2019 instead of 2018 and apply in that cycle? Is it that it would probably be too difficult to cram for it in such a short amount of time, plus volunteer/shadow hours? (Which is, of course, probably true, as I'm really rusty.) I actually took a human development course last quarter at my community college and am registered for A&P plus the lab for this next quarter...is that along the lines you're thinking of? I'm not sure if they'll poo-poo a community college.
 

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YES, me too. Even though I hated my parents when I was a teenager, so much has changed in all three of us.


I may have cried a little reading that!


I will do this. Just to clear up my confusion, is there a reason why you recommend me taking the MCAT in 2019 instead of 2018 and apply in that cycle? Is it that it would probably be too difficult to cram for it in such a short amount of time, plus volunteer/shadow hours? (Which is, of course, probably true, as I'm really rusty.) I actually took a human development course last quarter at my community college and am registered for A&P plus the lab for this next quarter...is that along the lines you're thinking of? I'm not sure if they'll poo-poo a community college.

RE: this part. What I proposed is probably the safest timeline. If the admissions office says you don't need any further coursework, just an MCAT score, I think you definitely could study for MCAT this winter/spring and take it in 2018 for a 2018 application cycle. It's an ambitious study cycle, especially since they apparently added some sociology/psychology stuff on there in the last few years. Other people could comment more on the new MCAT.

With a good review course and question bank (I think UWorld has an MCAT Q bank now), I'm sure you could do it. My thought was shoving all that studying PLUS enough clinical experience to prove you are making an informed decision seems ambitious between now and June 2018. You could always give it a shot, try out some practice tests and if things aren't going as planned push the test back. Your main goal is to post up your best possible score so you have the best chance of getting admitted the first time around. The 3.9 GPA obviously helps you though. Just need something recent (science courses + MCAT) to prove you can hack the academic rigors of medical school.

Yes, those courses are what I'm talking about, and what I'm sure they would like to see (recent science courses with good grades). I honestly don't know about the community college thing. I would specifically ask them when you meet with them. They might say it doesn't matter or they'd prefer you take a tough class or two at the Major University. You could make the argument that you took the hard classes a decade ago at University X and crushed them, but they might still prefer these recent ones to not be at a comm college. They'll let you know.

Edit: Khan Academy has an MCAT review course that probably gets you 90% of the way there. I'd think Khan Academy + UWorld question bank + official practice exams = success, but I'd look on this forum for more advice on that.
 
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gabbMD

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Thank you Mt Kilo and Lawper for your replies. The city is Portland, the college is OHSU which favors in-state.
The nice things about being non-trad and already waiting over a decade is that I feel like it won't be the end of the world if I don't get accepted. I have to accept what is available to me, even if the answer at that point is "no" after I've tried my best after a few years. That won't endanger my marriage, which is much more paramount to my joy than my chosen career (though if I could have both, why not?). Like I've said previous, the scariest thing for me is getting to the match and having very very difficult decisions to make which pit my family against the completion of my hard-earned education.

Hello fellow Portlander! currently taking pre-reqs here in the city.

For whatever it's worth, i knew a guy who only applied to OHSU (yes, ONLY) and got in. I also know of one person who recently graduated from there and was accepted to a residency in the city. A long shot to be sure, but possible. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
 
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Cool! A baby born in med school?! WOW! That must have been a crazy first year!

If you have a spouse, how did they react and handle it?

He has always been very supportive! Even the year I had to move 3 hours away to do an SMP (only home on the weekends). I think he knows the end game is worth it.

He is my rockstar. I could not have done it without him. He grounds me so much. Just celebrated our 16 wedding anniversary. :)


How are your kids doing?

My kids are great! The other 2 are older (12 & 9) so they’re a big help with the smaller one and helping around the house.

Do you feel like med school is as crazy hard as it's portrayed by everyone? (Like, "hard but doable" vs. "so hard I want to take a long walk off a short pier")

Mes school is the HARDEST thing I have EVER done. I honestly don’t know how I survived first semester MS1 with a newborn.

In some ways, I feel like I’m coming out of this fog right now that I’m in coast mode and interviews are over. There are so many things that I was there for but not fully engaged. I’m finally getting to enjoy my family again. It’s awesome. And I know I will be able to give my kids things that I never would have been able to without the trip.


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I actually took a human development course last quarter at my community college and am registered for A&P plus the lab for this next quarter...is that along the lines you're thinking of? I'm not sure if they'll poo-poo a community college.

CC won’t show that you’re capable of medical school. And CC A&P is nothing compared to medical school anatomy. Honestly, it’s a waste of your time and money. They want to see upper level biology, biochemistry, etc. If it’s been a few years since you’ve taken hard science, the refresher in those courses would be nice.


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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?
Because you have such a narrow window for a successful career (your local med school, plus local residencies), I can't recommend pursuing this.
 

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Alright, maybe not that old, but I ain't no spring chicken anymore. I worked in day care taking care of this year's round of med school applicants.

I'm 35, married to a man who is in the prime of a successful professional (non-medical) career, and a stay at home mom to three kids, all school age now. I earned my BS in biological sciences in 2004 with a 3.90 gpa and all my med school prereqs taken. I took the MCAT but that was so long ago I'd have to retake it. My (maiden) name is on one published research paper, and I do have hospital volunteer hours, but they are as old as my college career. I have a ton of recent volunteer hours, but I don't think they'd care much about church volunteering. I'm currently taking pre-req's to apply to an accelerated BSN program, but I always wanted to be a doctor, not necessarily a nurse.

There is only medical school I could apply to, the one in the city I live in. So it'd be a long shot. But even IF I get into that one medical school and IF I survive four years of medical school, I must face the Match. And as much as my husband loves me (and he loves me very much), he refuses to leave his very successful career he's worked very hard for the last 16 years, and I don't blame him. That means I'd have to find a match in my medium-sized city. I don't hold much hope for that. I know it's so far into the journey that it's like putting the cart before the horse (as it were) but I'm not working so hard to give it up then, or breaking up my otherwise excellent marriage for the sake of my own career.

Anybody been there? What did you do?
"Old"

Hahahahahahahahahaha
 
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And yeah, this doesn't sound like the right route for you, as geographic flexibility is pretty key to the whole process. Could go for PA school or another alternative route.
 
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How about you hedge your bets? Take a few refresher upper-division science courses, do some more medical shadowing/volunteering and if you still think it's the right path, study for the MCAT and take a few practice tests. Since you know the one school and that school has a certain type of student they prefer, tailor your activities, volunteering and mission statement to that school and plan on giving it your very best shot when you are fully ready. At the same time, work on your backup Plan B -- PA school, RN program, etc. There will be many over-lapping requirements and you can make pretty good progress on your 'Plan B' life while building your ultimate application for Plan A. Apply when your application is strong and solid.
 
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Hi, I'm an internal medicine resident and came here to say that if you truly don't care about specialty, and specifically if you are fine with primary care internal medicine, then your plan is not unreasonable. There are four internal medicine residency programs in the Portland area, OHSU and three community programs. The three community programs are not particularly selective. If you can make it into OHSU for med school and have no red flags on your record (USMLE failure, class failure, interpersonal/professionalism issues, etc.), your chances of matching at one of the community programs, if not OHSU, are very good. Four is lower than the usual minimum number of residency programs that internal medicine candidates are recommended to apply to (which is around 10), but I think that applying to only the four Portland internal medicine programs is reasonable if you are an OHSU medical student with no red flags.

That said, there are caveats to be aware of and that's what you came here for, so I'll outline some of them.

(1) Applying to residency and not matching is a big red flag that is significantly detrimental to your chances of matching in the future, so applying to residency if you don't think you have an excellent chance of matching is a poor strategy (unlike med school, where many people get in as reapplicants).

(2) Many med students change their specialty preference during med school, and if you decided to apply into another specialty, this plan is much riskier.

(3) It's not uncommon for internal medicine residents to decide they want to subspecialize (in cardiology, GI, etc.) instead of doing primary care and your chances of being able to do that may be limited because the only subspecialty fellowship programs in Portland are at OHSU and you would need to match at OHSU for residency to have a realistic chance of staying there for fellowship.

(4) The worse case outcome is going through medical school and not being able to match, in which case you have spent a lot of money for a largely useless degree. Now, OHSU is a great med school and this almost never happens to their students, but there was a well publicized case a few years ago of a nontraditional OHSU student with kids who had some academic red flags and was not able to match on multiple attempts. Her story is an interesting read:
- Blog post: NOT A DOCTOR, JUST AN M.D.
- SDN comments: Oregon Med Student $400,000 In Debt and No Match!!!
- Reddit comments:

Summary - your plan is not unreasonable, but be aware of the above. Good luck and happy new year!
 
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Pretty much everyone will tell you that it's not reasonable. Because really, it's not a 'reasonable' thing to do - but that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it. The first thing you need to do is decide how bad you want it. After that, it's just taking one step at a time, and honestly, maybe in 6-7 years by the time you finish prereqs/MCAT and apply to and graduate from your local medical school, your husband will be ready for a move within his career to a different company or location, etc. You can't blame them for being gun-shy, but maybe once you have taken a few successful steps and their world hasn't imploded, they'll start to catch the vision and want you to go for your dreams. Or maybe you'll all decide to chuck the idea, but at least you explored it to see if you really wanted it or not.
Maybe you'll decide to take your MD and do consulting, or do a one year commuting internship and then have a limited practice based on that. There are options - it all depends on what you really want. You can hire help - what you really need is for your spouse and kids to be emotionally/mentally on board. But nothing's stopping you from jumping into some shadowing and a course or two this year. If you have to bail at some point, then yeah you'll have debt and have to get some other job and pay it off. It's up to you if you'd rather try and risk that consequence or not.

Feel free to PM me. I'm basically you but with more kids and a few years farther along in the process (I graduated in 2001, retook MCAT in 2017, applied this year and have had some great results so far).
 
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(4) The worse case outcome is going through medical school and not being able to match, in which case you have spent a lot of money for a largely useless degree. Now, OHSU is a great med school and this almost never happens to their students, but there was a well publicized case a few years ago of a nontraditional OHSU student with kids who had some academic red flags and was not able to match on multiple attempts. Her story is an interesting read:
- Blog post: NOT A DOCTOR, JUST AN M.D.
- SDN comments: Oregon Med Student $400,000 In Debt and No Match!!!
- Reddit comments:


This is such an odd story. I’d love to hear her school advisors take. It’s nearly impossible to imagine she couldn’t have scrambled into a FM or community IM program even with some academic and personality defects.
 

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CC won’t show that you’re capable of medical school. And CC A&P is nothing compared to medical school anatomy. Honestly, it’s a waste of your time and money. They want to see upper level biology, biochemistry, etc. If it’s been a few years since you’ve taken hard science, the refresher in those courses would be nice.


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Thank you for your reply. I had a feeling that CC wasn't going to impress anyone in MD admissions. :meh: I'm actually taking it as a prereq for a different program...long story. I wonder if I rock the MCAT, if that will show them that I still "have it." Hmm.
 
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Because you have such a narrow window for a successful career (your local med school, plus local residencies), I can't recommend pursuing this.
Thank you for your honesty.
 

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How about you hedge your bets? Take a few refresher upper-division science courses, do some more medical shadowing/volunteering and if you still think it's the right path, study for the MCAT and take a few practice tests. Since you know the one school and that school has a certain type of student they prefer, tailor your activities, volunteering and mission statement to that school and plan on giving it your very best shot when you are fully ready. At the same time, work on your backup Plan B -- PA school, RN program, etc. There will be many over-lapping requirements and you can make pretty good progress on your 'Plan B' life while building your ultimate application for Plan A. Apply when your application is strong and solid.
This sounds like a good plan. I was planning on doing some clinical volunteering anyway to up my chances of getting into an ABSN program (which are also very competitive to get into, interestingly enough).
 

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Hi, I'm an internal medicine resident and came here to say that if you truly don't care about specialty, and specifically if you are fine with primary care internal medicine, then your plan is not unreasonable. There are four internal medicine residency programs in the Portland area, OHSU and three community programs. The three community programs are not particularly selective. If you can make it into OHSU for med school and have no red flags on your record (USMLE failure, class failure, interpersonal/professionalism issues, etc.), your chances of matching at one of the community programs, if not OHSU, are very good. Four is lower than the usual minimum number of residency programs that internal medicine candidates are recommended to apply to (which is around 10), but I think that applying to only the four Portland internal medicine programs is reasonable if you are an OHSU medical student with no red flags.

That said, there are caveats to be aware of and that's what you came here for, so I'll outline some of them.

(1) Applying to residency and not matching is a big red flag that is significantly detrimental to your chances of matching in the future, so applying to residency if you don't think you have an excellent chance of matching is a poor strategy (unlike med school, where many people get in as reapplicants).

(2) Many med students change their specialty preference during med school, and if you decided to apply into another specialty, this plan is much riskier.

(3) It's not uncommon for internal medicine residents to decide they want to subspecialize (in cardiology, GI, etc.) instead of doing primary care and your chances of being able to do that may be limited because the only subspecialty fellowship programs in Portland are at OHSU and you would need to match at OHSU for residency to have a realistic chance of staying there for fellowship.

(4) The worse case outcome is going through medical school and not being able to match, in which case you have spent a lot of money for a largely useless degree. Now, OHSU is a great med school and this almost never happens to their students, but there was a well publicized case a few years ago of a nontraditional OHSU student with kids who had some academic red flags and was not able to match on multiple attempts. Her story is an interesting read:
- Blog post: (Link redacted-posting rules)
- SDN comments: (Link redacted-posting rules)
- Reddit comments: (Link redacted-posting rules)

Summary - your plan is not unreasonable, but be aware of the above. Good luck and happy new year!
Thank you for your in-depth reply. They are all good points.

That story was a wild read. She made a good point that unfortunately there aren't quite enough residencies to go around, and that's quite a tragedy to those who are unmatched, emotionally and financially. However I also have the sense that she is a very self-unaware person, and perhaps this showed through during her interviews. Regardless, a tragedy for all unmatched MD's.
 

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Pretty much everyone will tell you that it's not reasonable. Because really, it's not a 'reasonable' thing to do - but that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it. The first thing you need to do is decide how bad you want it. After that, it's just taking one step at a time, and honestly, maybe in 6-7 years by the time you finish prereqs/MCAT and apply to and graduate from your local medical school, your husband will be ready for a move within his career to a different company or location, etc. You can't blame them for being gun-shy, but maybe once you have taken a few successful steps and their world hasn't imploded, they'll start to catch the vision and want you to go for your dreams. Or maybe you'll all decide to chuck the idea, but at least you explored it to see if you really wanted it or not.
Maybe you'll decide to take your MD and do consulting, or do a one year commuting internship and then have a limited practice based on that. There are options - it all depends on what you really want. You can hire help - what you really need is for your spouse and kids to be emotionally/mentally on board. But nothing's stopping you from jumping into some shadowing and a course or two this year. If you have to bail at some point, then yeah you'll have debt and have to get some other job and pay it off. It's up to you if you'd rather try and risk that consequence or not.

Feel free to PM me. I'm basically you but with more kids and a few years farther along in the process (I graduated in 2001, retook MCAT in 2017, applied this year and have had some great results so far).
Thank you for your reply. Good points. There are other health care occupations that I could do...but will I regret not going for it when I had the chance? And perhaps my husband will feel like a change could be in order by then. Seattle is not that far away, either, in case I want to apply for residencies there as well.

Hmmmmm.......
 

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Thank you for your reply. Good points. There are other health care occupations that I could do...but will I regret not going for it when I had the chance? And perhaps my husband will feel like a change could be in order by then. Seattle is not that far away, either, in case I want to apply for residencies there as well.

Hmmmmm.......
I vote yes, do it. Go for what you want. You have a lot of stars aligned right now, plus other doors might open over the next 5-6 years: more residency positions in Portland/Seattle/in between, more job options for your husband, more options for non-residency MDs (lots of biotech in the Northwest!). Also, I'm maybe making assumptions, but it sounds like you're in a good financial position too? Meaning you'd come out with less debt? I've read all your posts and I do think you'd regret not taking the chance, so - do your research, don't rush into it, use that nontrad advantage of knowing more about how life works and start working your plan. No guarantees, except that you definitely won't succeed if you don't try. :)
 
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I vote yes, do it. Go for what you want. You have a lot of stars aligned right now, plus other doors might open over the next 5-6 years: more residency positions in Portland/Seattle/in between, more job options for your husband, more options for non-residency MDs (lots of biotech in the Northwest!). Also, I'm maybe making assumptions, but it sounds like you're in a good financial position too? Meaning you'd come out with less debt? I've read all your posts and I do think you'd regret not taking the chance, so - do your research, don't rush into it, use that nontrad advantage of knowing more about how life works and start working your plan. No guarantees, except that you definitely won't succeed if you don't try. :)
We had the chance to talk this evening, since my kids are having a sleepover next door with their grandma and grandpa...well, he listened/talked, and I bawled and tried to eek out words :rolleyes: I don't do well with laying out my emotions and dreams on the table for someone to dash...but he didn't. He listened, held me, and told me that while we still need to look at all the options and facts, he supported me if I wanted to be a doctor. He said that he would be willing to look for a different job (or ask his boss to telecommute if possible) if absolutely necessary. He is the greatest man in this history of men. I mean, maybe I'm a little biased. But he's a keeper. ;)

You are right, so much could change. We are in a great financial position, we live within our means and we are comfortable. I mean, I couldn't pay for med school out of pocket, but we wouldn't incur any additional financial impacts other than tuition and any travel costs. It's a great position to be in, and one that not many are. I guess my only trepidation is failing in some way after incurring medical school debt and having a mountain of debt to figure out how to pay off without being a doctor...but that's a pretty dumb reason to not go for it, because I could still work in some kind of capacity, even if not in medicine.

I still have some thinking to do, because I'm still a bit ambivalent about MD vs. RN/CRNA, but the only thing holding me back now is myself.

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement!
 
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Haha, does your husband have a brother? ;)
I'm honored to be the first to congratulate you on your first step to becoming a doctor!!! (If you decide that's the route you want to take.) And by the way, I have a good number of years on you and I'm trying for an MD. So I'll revise my first question: does your husband have an *older* brother? lol
 

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Would you consider applying to WesternU-NW? It's in lebanon OR. It is about an hour and a half from portland. It's not ideal, but if you watch most classes from home, I'd say you'd be at home for 5 of 7 days of the week. You can always drive back in case of emergency. This would only be for 2 years as your 3rd/4th year you can set up near portland. The match will be a lot tougher, but it's not unreasonable to get FM in that area.
 
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Congratulations! Sounds like you DO have a great partner and a relationship well worth nurturing.

Two points -- In your last post, you mentioned MD and RN/CRNA but omitted PA. Any particular reason? Because PA can be a great career with much of the same day-to-day activities as a primary care physician and a much shorter, more flexible and more life-friendly career path. Do investigate it thoroughly before discarding.

And second -- Your hypothetical residency match is at least 5 years away, so your kids will be older and more independent. This might expand your search radius some.
 
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In your last post, you mentioned MD and RN/CRNA but omitted PA. Any particular reason? Because PA can be a great career with much of the same day-to-day activities as a primary care physician and a much shorter, more flexible and more life-friendly career path. Do investigate it thoroughly before discarding.
I have a friend looking at MD/DO vs. PA. Sounds like there's a big hurdle just to apply to PA - beyond almost the same prereq courses as for MD/DO, you have to have about 2000 clinical hours to be competitive. Not hard if you're working in the field, but a big hurdle for a career changer, I'd think. My friend predicted it would take him about the same amount of time to qualify for each {EDIT: meaning earn each degree, not qualify for admissions - longer lead time to get into PA school, faster to get out}, with more $$$ for the MD/DO route in the end, but he's still looking at both given that PA would involve less debt. He's in his 40s with two daughters and college tuition to think about at the same time as he would be in school. Anyway, for OP, seems like it might delay the time when she could apply, compared to MD/DO. On the other hand, should could get a job in the field now and probably get those hours taken care of over the next 12-18 months...
 
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Two points -- In your last post, you mentioned MD and RN/CRNA but omitted PA. Any particular reason? Because PA can be a great career with much of the same day-to-day activities as a primary care physician and a much shorter, more flexible and more life-friendly career path. Do investigate it thoroughly before discarding.

Yeah, as jazzmetal said, you need 2000+ hours of clinical work (and not volunteering, either) to even apply to PA school. Not worth the effort for me, as I'm not in the medical field and would need to jump over hurdles to even get into it--even working in the hospital as a CNA in my state requires $2500 worth of certification and two courses. And for PA school apps, RNs, paramedics, and others are favored over CNAs.

If I want to practice family medicine (which I haven't ruled out), I think I'd rather apply to the OHSU's ABSN>FNP program. The ABSN is more for career changers than those who are already working in healthcare (though both can apply). It transitions you right from BSN into the nurse practitioner program. AFAIK, NPs and PAs have about the same abilities, but correct me if I'm wrong. Although, at that point, if I'm already going for a BSN, I'd rather go into CRNA than NP, and I can't transition directly into that but would need to work 1-3 years in ICU. (At that point, I'd still be spending 4 years in school and 3 years for experience...the same amount of time as med school [albeit easier programs, I'm sure].) I dunno yet, still working this out.

The appeal of medicine to me is being able to utilize the science behind the art of healthcare, and research possibilities.
 

stayathomemom

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Would you consider applying to WesternU-NW? It's in lebanon OR. It is about an hour and a half from portland. It's not ideal, but if you watch most classes from home, I'd say you'd be at home for 5 of 7 days of the week. You can always drive back in case of emergency. This would only be for 2 years as your 3rd/4th year you can set up near portland. The match will be a lot tougher, but it's not unreasonable to get FM in that area.
I didn't know that one could do a commuting thing like that there; I'd already written it off as too far away. I may look into it. My kids' doctor is actually a DO and she's amazing. Thanks for the info, if I decide on FM I'll keep this in mind.
 

stayathomemom

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Haha, does your husband have a brother? ;)
I'm honored to be the first to congratulate you on your first step to becoming a doctor!!! (If you decide that's the route you want to take.) And by the way, I have a good number of years on you and I'm trying for an MD. So I'll revise my first question: does your husband have an *older* brother? lol
(Belated) Thank you! :soexcited:

Incidentally, he does have two older brothers, but even if they weren't already spoken for, they are kind of pain in the butts anyway, so you wouldn't want them ;):laugh:
 
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Look into scribing if you haven't already. It's a no-hurdle way to rake in clinical hours. With a 40/hr per week schedule, you'd have the required 2000 clinical hours for PA school in a year.
As far as MD goes, if you get "stuck" at any one of those hurdles you mentioned (#1 not getting into the local med school and #2 not matching to your local program), what would your plan be at that point? Would you regret having taken the risk and making the sacrifice?
 
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