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Is 49 years too old for med school?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by RichardM, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. RichardM

    RichardM New Member

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    I am a 48 year old considering applying at Ross next year. It is a 40 month program. I would appreciate comments on:

    Will I be able to find a residency at that age?

    If accepted for a residency, will I be employable?

    Are there specialties that I should not even consider due to age?

    Thanks for your comments!
     
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  3. careerchanger

    careerchanger Member
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    good for you. i am 39 and will be entering school this fall at the age of 40.
     
  4. quaileggs

    quaileggs Senior Member
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    Richard M and Careerchanger:
    I interviewed at U of Vermont on 11/8 (and have since been accepted). Age 32. My interviewer there told me that several years ago he interviewed and accepted a 56 year old woman who subsequently graduated from UVM. Thought this might be of interest!
     
  5. med student

    med student Senior Member
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    I am just curious. If you are 48 now the earliest you could be finished with residency is 56 (1+4+3) so are you planning to practice medicine until you are 70 because even if you practiced until then it would still be a pretty short career. But hey if you want to do more power to you.
     
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I think it certainly depends on you, the field you choose and the programs you choose. It is NOT unheard of for people in their 40s and 50s (and even older) to matriculate into medical school and even into residency. However, I imagine you will meet more resistance than earlier posters led you to believe, particularly in surgical fields where it is believed that us "oldies" haven't the stamina to withstand a surgical residency - take that for what its worth.

    The decision to attend a Caribbean school AND be in your 50s when you apply for residency is a double whammy - obviously being younger and attending a US school bodes in your favor; the reverse does not.

    Rather than gathering speculation here, or going ahead with your dreams only to find yourself unable to obtain the employment you desire, I suggest making appointments - either in person or via phone, to talk with some residency program directors and get the truth from the horse's mouth. They should be able to give you a fairly realistic picture of what you can expect.

    In the meantime, best of luck to you and I hope you find good news out there.
     
  7. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member
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    My situation is similar. I'm actually a podiatrist, already spent 4 years plus a one year residency and I'm 40 years old. AGE IS TOTALLY IRRELEVANT!!! I had several careers before I decided on medicine. I didn't start podiatry until I was 32 and now want to be trained as a complete physician. All that matters is that you do not give up on your dream. I've wanted to be a physician since 1984 and I'm determined to see it through!

    I do think, however, that you will face discrimination, but you WILL ultimately prevail. Unless you end up at the top of your class at Ross it's doubtful that you'll match with a very competitive residency. But, frankly, for both of us, it may be a more intelligent and expeditious route to choose something that only requires 3 years post grad. I believe, at minimum, you will find a family practice or pediatrics residency which tend to be less competitive. And, as far as the other comment on practicing until your 70?? Personally, I think I want to practice until I'm gone. Retirement sucks.

    GO FOR IT!
     
  8. med student

    med student Senior Member
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    My point about practicing when you are older than 70 is have you ever seen a doctor older than 70 who is still practicing and I think that as you get older (>70) you are likely to face age discrimination by patients.
     
  9. DesperatelySeekingMD

    DesperatelySeekingMD Senior Member
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    I work with a doctor with is over 70 and still world-renown in his field. He has patients waiting for years to see him.
    If it is your dream go for it, but just be a hard road to travel and you will have to overcome a lot of obstacles.
     
  10. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I've also seen and worked with physicians older than 70 - medicine is certainly a field in which you can practice until the worms are crawling around on ya...

    I'm certainly glad that drmoon has succeeded in fulfilling her dream but I probably needn't point out that there is a GREAT deal of difference in starting when you are 32 and when you are nearly 50. Heck, I was over 30 when I started medical school myself, so I'm hardly one to discourage people from chasing their dreams just because they are slightly older than the average. But let's not forget that GME receives a great deal of its funding from Medicare which in turn receives its funding from your tax dollars. Teaching a resident costs more than what they receive from the government, thus residency programs often say that they feel a commitment to train individuals who will be in practice ("giving back") for a number of years.

    Yes, we all know people who have matriculated much later than average and I'm sure the original poster will find a residency position, somewhere. But just because we've seen one purple-eyed people eater doesn't mean that they're a common entity. Same argument people use when they say they know IMGs who are Chiefs of Neurosurg - sure it happens but how many have gone before and failed? Many many more, I can assure you.

    Again, not to toot my own horn, but the best advise it to talk to residency directors - only they can tell you what PDs REALLY think about hiring a resident in his 50s.
     
  11. Goofy

    Goofy Senior Member
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  12. Goofy

    Goofy Senior Member
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  13. Goofy

    Goofy Senior Member
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  14. Goofy

    Goofy Senior Member
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  15. tonem

    tonem Senior Member
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    Hey Richard check out this webpage...

    <a href="http://www.northern-town.com/opm" target="_blank">www.northern-town.com/opm</a>

    Its a wepage/forum for older premeds
     
  16. Goofy

    Goofy Senior Member
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  17. yawn

    yawn Junior Member

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    There is an interesting book you might want to check out. Becoming a Doctor -A Journey of Initiation in Medical School by Melvin Konner MD.
    He was an older student and writes about some of the particular challenges this presented. The book is mostly about the 3rd year rotations but I think it might give you a general idea of what you're headed for - at least during medical school
     
  18. riverweb

    riverweb Member
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    I entered Downstate at age 44. I also have a LONG story about age discrimination with another medical school (that my lawyer has advised me not to talk about.) Suffice it to say, there is discrimination out there.

    The best thing to do is find programs that actually have older students enrolled. The schools with no one over 35? I guarantee you it is because they don't want the older student. (I find it impossible to believe that they didn't have any qualified, older applicants.)

    I bet the same thing will go for residency. As mentioned in this thread, talk to some residency directors and find out what they think.
     
  19. med student

    med student Senior Member
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  20. riverweb

    riverweb Member
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    Hmmm. I know of a young man who is getting his MD to please his parents. He does not intend on doing a residency, or practicing medicine in any manner. How many others will drop out before they graduate, or leave the profession after 20 years of practice? Not me, that's for sure.

    We older students are a strange breed. We REALLY have to want to do this to make the life changes necessary for the training. I bet our dropout rate is much lower than the younger students.
     
  21. Voxel

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I know of several physicians in different specialities who worked beyond the age of 70 because they loved medicine, not because they had to. You will face discrimination along the way, but if it's your dream and you have the support of your family and fully understand the committment that being a physician entail then go for it and do not look back.
     
  22. Yet Another MS-I

    Yet Another MS-I Junior Member

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    I say go for it. My only caveat is this: medical school is physically exhausting (I recently turned 40 and I really, really feel spent); be physically prepared to spend long periods of time trying to master large volumes of information in short periods of time. If you have excellent focus and time management skills, you will probably fare better than I have (physically and grade wise). In the end it will be worth it if I can land a residency in my specialty of choice. But right now I fear that with my age and my poor class rank that I am screwed. Keep that in mind if you decide to attend Ross. I would investigate US medical schools. Look at both allopathic and osteopathic!!
     
  23. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member
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    My great-grandfather practiced medicine until he was 92. He was 94 when he died. Also, there is a guy at Tulane who started when he was 45, I think he's an MS2 there now. He was a photographer (like me) before he made the switch.
    People always say, "You'll be such-and-such age when you finish." But, you'll be that age anyway. You might as well be that age and happy with your MD. It'll be a hard road, but if you're committed, you can do it. Good luck! :D
     

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