spacegun

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Hi All i was hoping to talk with a few current Med students and/or current residents. Long story short I’m an older non trad student. I would be 38 when I would potentially start med school. I’m married with three kids. We would have to move for school so we would not have any family help. I’m looking at prob 500k in debt before interest or so. Since I’m older I’m thinking of doing IM or family practice. Would this be a terrible idea? I’m starting to think the debt isn’t worth it. I have shadowed several docs and a few have mentioned the crna and PA route. One mentioned Dental but cautioned of similar debt. However, my passion lies more with being a physician. Any real world insight I would greatly appreciate. Thanks!
I haven't read all the replies, but here are my thoughts:

Ask. Don't just ask med students, but ask residents and especially attendings too (though residents might be the ones who are most likely to say it's not worth it since they're working crazy hours, not making much money, sometimes getting yelled at, often feeling underappreciated, etc.). Also ask new attendings and mid-career attendings. And ask attendings in different specialties. This will give you a fuller picture.

Family. This is the most important factor. If your family is on board, then med school and residency are do-able. If they are not on board, then it's not worth potentially breaking up your family just to become a doctor. No career is worth potentially destroying your family.

Age. I'm not near your age, but I did work a couple of years after undergrad, and I have friends near your age, and 38 isn't that old. You'll be 42 when you finish med school and 45 if you do a 3 year residency. That gives you 20+ years as a practicing physician. I have met med students who are 50+. At worst, maaaaybe specialties that are heavily procedural or physically demanding aren't worth it (since they require things like good manual dexterity and stamina), but there are many other specialties to choose from.

Health. I have seen 40+ year olds who run marathons and do triathlons and I have seen 40+ year olds who are morbidly obese. If you stay fit and healthy, then that can only help you get through med school and residency.

Locale. Where do you live? Where do you want to end up practicing? It might be a harder sell to do medicine if you want to live in an expensive state like California or New York. But if you are willing to live in a more affordable state like in the Midwest or South, then even if you have $500k in debt, and you end up in a lower compensated specialty like FM, you could pay it back in a few years.

Money. MGMA is the gold standard (or at least it is considered one of the most reliable) for physician compensation. Here is MGMA 2019 (but based on 2018 data). It is "median" salaries. Anecdotally, I've had several attendings in different specialties tell me that they think MGMA median salaries are actually much lower than they make.

However, even going with median salaries, you can make about $250k as a primary care physician, which is a 3 year residency (usually FM but sometimes general IM or IM with a primary care track). From what I've seen on the FM forum, the standard expectation is 36 hours per week (so 4-4.5 days per week), no nights, no weekends, no holidays, minimal call. That's a great lifestyle. And I mention PCP because it's one of the easiest specialties to match into. And many PCP groups will offer you loan repayment, a sign-on bonus, and other things that can help you repay your loans. Search or ask the FM forum for more information.

According to MGMA, PAs make from around low $100k to $150k per year. CRNAs make around $175k per year.

Again, remember that these are all median salaries that are reported in MGMA, so potentially you could make more as a physician if you work more, get better RVUs, work in a community with good payor mix, pick up side gigs (e.g. telemedicine, pick up extra locums shifts), etc. I don't know if PAs and CRNAs can make more too, like doctors, but I assume they can if they work more hours. But my point is doctors can make more money not only by just working more hours.

Conclusion. If your family is not on board, then something else like PA or CRNA might be better. If your family is on board, then I would do it. Medicine is awesome. It's worth the sacrifices. If you become an anesthesiologist (which I mention only because you mentioned CRNA), then making $400k per year is very attainable and many anesthesiologists make a lot more than that. But even if you end up "only" a primary care physician, I still think that's worth it, because you can make around $300k per year for a fairly cush lifestyle, all things considered, and it's fulfilling being able to help people as well as to have the knowledge and skills of a physician. I also think people who are older have a better perspective on life and don't think they're missing out as much as people who went straight to med school. The latter seem to complain more than the former, but maybe this is just what I have seen where I am. Just my opinion, but I think it's worth it if your family is on board.
 
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3rd year resident and soon to be cardiology fellow here.

Financially, the best decision would be to go the mid-level provider route. PA school will get you out and practicing the fastest with a decent salary. Becoming a CRNP will take longer from what I’ve heard from the nurses in the procedure suites, sounds like the job market might not be as good in the future either.

That being said, if you truly are passionate about becoming a physician, I say go for it. My dad did residency when he was 40, finished fellowship at the age of 45 and is now leading his own pathology group at the age of 50. He’s still planning to go 10-20 more years. The medical training is definitely tough and will take dedication but it is doable if you have the strength and willpower. But make sure to think deeply about how much you’re willing to sacrifice to get there. I have missed many important events and memories with my friends/family due to the requirements of med school and residency. You won’t truly know hell until you get to residency either because med school is a joke. It would be a huge mistake to finish medical school and realize this isn’t for you.
How was/is your relationship with your dad? I think it would add value to this conversation since many posters here have eluded to medschool and residency being difficult for family relationships. How were finances and family life when he was in school. Did you guys have any other income besides loans during school/resident salary later? I realize this may be personal so no worries if you would rather not talk about that.
 

Keep2r

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How was/is your relationship with your dad? I think it would add value to this conversation since many posters here have eluded to medschool and residency being difficult for family relationships. How were finances and family life when he was in school. Did you guys have any other income besides loans during school/resident salary later? I realize this may be personal so no worries if you would rather not talk about that.
It was pretty hard to see my dad when he was in residency, he commuted 2 hrs every day in order to continue living with us in our house outside the city. He woke up at 4:30AM to get to work and got home around 9PM, ate, and went to sleep right away (and keep in mind this is for pathology.. one of the most chill specialties for residency). I was in college when he was doing fellowship, but for that he had to move down south and we basically only saw him on major holidays and when I was on summer break. Fortunately, my mom made a good amount and they had saved a lot before he started school so we never had financial issues. The budget was still pretty tight though with his med school loans, but in a way it taught me how to live frugally and spend wisely.
 
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Straight from the resident's mouth - she gave the breakdown of her contract in front of her PD (I think it was 170K with 100K forgiveness with predicted productivity bonuses/signing bonus going up to 220K). She did counter. 220K in NYC/LI isn't that low. Average tends to be 230K if working 40 hours a week as IM/FM or as a hospitalist (one of my parents is a doctor and been told this, a doctor in practice for 30+ years).
Loan forgiveness with most hospital systems is usually about 25k a year. They may say you get "100k" but when you really get into the details you get 100k if you stay for 3,4 years. Thinking about it logically, why would a hospital system or clinic offer 100k in the first year? It doesn't make sense. They're not going to offer 270k for the first year with a 32 hour work week.

The resident may have gotten 100k in the first year for loan repayment/signing bonus which has a 3 or 4 year pay pack or clawback period.

Same concept applies with signing bonuses. You'll see "175k signing bonus" offered by recruiters but when you ask further, it's 175k over 7 years.

Have you signed contracts with these attractive loan repayment terms?

Edit: the absolute most I've ever seen is about 50 to 60k a year for loan repayment and that's with some underserved positions. I have actually done these jobs and received this 50-60k a year of loan repayment.

I'm sure many people would be pleasantly surprised if they could find 100k a year in loan repayment! A few state loan repayment programs I've applied to pay about 20k a year.

One other thing: one of your parents may be a physician but they may not be apprised of current job offers. I'm a youngish attending and in residency some of my older attendings with 25-30 years experience didn't have a clue what the job market was like since they hadn't looked for a job in 10 years.
 
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TrailRun

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Started med school in my early 30's, am EM resident presently. To be completely honest, no it's not worth it. Can get much of the 'benefits' by being PA/NP etc, without the sacrifice. Best of luck!
 
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zedrexvsyrex

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OP, I'm going to present to you a perspective that you haven't really seen before on here.

You have to know why you actually want this. Do you have a real reason, or is it just something you think you want because of society glamorizing and sensationalizing it? For most, it's the latter and they aren't even aware of it. Based on your comments in this thread, it's unlikely you're different. You aren't actually in love with being a doctor, you're simply in love with the image of it. If being doctor truly was your passion, you would have started on it before getting married and having kids. Chances are you're only convincing yourself that this is your passion, rather than it really being one.

Let's go further.

Why are you here? Do you like helping people? Is medicine simply interesting to you? Are you in it for the money? What if this is just a midlife crisis? Are you lying to yourself when you answer these? Most people would be, since they aren't aware of their subconscious influence. Allow me to disillusion you:

"Do you like helping people?"
  • Most people who claim to like helping others don't ACTUALLY like helping others, they simply like feeling as if they are a good person, i.e. making themselves feel better. In other words, ego. It isn't about doing what is right, it's about the status associated with it. They don't care for others out of genuine altruism, they do so to virtue signal to themselves in order to feel a sense of moral superiority. People who truly like helping others don't ever say "I like helping others", they simply don't verbalize it that way because they don't feel satisfaction from helping others, they feel satisfaction from seeing people recover and improve themselves and their lives after what happened to them, whatever that may be, and seeing the joy and happiness they get from finally getting said situation fixed.
"Is medicine simply interesting to you?"
  • If this is the case, then going into medicine will most definitely ruin that for you. You don't make your passion your job unless you're prepared for it to become one. That means that medical school will grind out all love for science that you have because of how hard it is and how much effort you need to put in. Sleepless nights, caffeine pills, hunched over for hours on end, etc. and all so that you can learn things that you will never ever use as a doctor (yes, you heard that right; most of what you learn in medical school isn't actually used by practicing doctors).
"Are you in it for the money?"
  • If this is the case, then it's not worth it. Not because "you shouldn't do it for the money, you should do it because you love it!" type garbage, but because, you won't get to enjoy the wealth you do create, especially at your age.
What if this is just a midlife crisis?
  • It is, unfortunately. Textbook case, even if you don't really feel it.
_____________________________________________________________

You're 38, married, and have 2 kids. Bad logistics. Let's say you do follow through though—what's the prognosis going to look like? Let's break it down:

- You'll be 39 by the time you first enter med school (considering you didn't finish all your classes yet). 4 years of med school = 43 when you graduate and $500,000 in debt. After is 3 years of residency, where you work ~80 hrs/wk at ages 44–47, while making only 45k a year. Less than an Uber driver. By the time you are finally "free", you will be ~47 years old. Don't forget about the debt. You'll probably be in your 60s by the time that is paid off, unless you want to continue working mad hours and not see your family for another several years. This doesn't even consider that you will likely want to move to a nicer house, which will only enslave you to debt even more. Unless of course, you don't move, in which case all your hard work would literally be for nothing but a title...

- Like others have vaguely described, your family will be strained. But how strained? Well as it currently stands, over 50% of marriages in the US fail. You are already more likely to get divorced than not, but by being absent for a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of ∞, I can guarantee you that your chances are much higher than the national average. Your family will be split and your kids destroyed. If you are in school or residency when this happens, the mental strife may cause you to fail out. The judge is going to side with your spouse over you because you are so busy so you will have no custody of your kids and might not ever see them ever again. If/once you are finally practicing and are starting to make good money, well then you now have to pay half your income in spousal support and child support for arguably the rest of your life. All your hard work and your wife takes half of the money you earned, while he/she ****s other people. You still don't see your kids, and have debt to pay. Would you regret your decision at this point?

In the end, it's just another job. Medicine is a business more than it is a service. If you don't become one, so what? Nothing really happens. Is it really being a doctor that would make you happy? Or is there some underlying psychological phenomenon that's causing you to see being a doctor as making you happy? My assessment is that it's the latter.
 
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OP, I'm going to present to you a perspective that you haven't really seen before on here.

You have to know why you actually want this. Do you have a real reason, or is it just something you think you want because of society glamorizing and sensationalizing it? For most, it's the latter and they aren't even aware of it. Based on your comments in this thread, it's unlikely you're different. You aren't actually in love with being a doctor, you're simply in love with the image of it. If being doctor truly was your passion, you would have started on it before getting married and having kids. Chances are you're only convincing yourself that this is your passion, rather than it really being one.

Let's go further.

Why are you here? Do you like helping people? Is medicine simply interesting to you? Are you in it for the money? What if this is just a midlife crisis? Are you lying to yourself when you answer these? Most people would be, since they aren't aware of their subconscious influence. Allow me to disillusion you:

"Do you like helping people?"
  • Most people who claim to like helping others don't ACTUALLY like helping others, they simply like feeling as if they are a good person, i.e. making themselves feel better. In other words, ego. It isn't about doing what is right, it's about the status associated with it. They don't care for others out of genuine altruism, they do so to virtue signal to themselves in order to feel a sense of moral superiority. People who truly like helping others don't ever say "I like helping others", they simply don't verbalize it that way because they don't feel satisfaction from helping others, they feel satisfaction from seeing people recover and improve themselves and their lives after what happened to them, whatever that may be, and seeing the joy and happiness they get from finally getting said situation fixed.
"Is medicine simply interesting to you?"
  • If this is the case, then going into medicine will most definitely ruin that for you. You don't make your passion your job unless you're prepared for it to become one. That means that medical school will grind out all love for science that you have because of how hard it is and how much effort you need to put in. Sleepless nights, caffeine pills, hunched over for hours on end, etc. and all so that you can learn things that you will never ever use as a doctor (yes, you heard that right; most of what you learn in medical school isn't actually used by practicing doctors).
"Are you in it for the money?"
  • If this is the case, then it's not worth it. Not because "you shouldn't do it for the money, you should do it because you love it!" type garbage, but because, you won't get to enjoy the wealth you do create, especially at your age.
What if this is just a midlife crisis?
  • It is, unfortunately. Textbook case, even if you don't really feel it.
_____________________________________________________________

You're 38, married, and have 2 kids. Bad logistics. Let's say you do follow through though—what's the prognosis going to look like? Let's break it down:

- You'll be 39 by the time you first enter med school (considering you didn't finish all your classes yet). 4 years of med school = 43 when you graduate and $500,000 in debt. After is 3 years of residency, where you work ~80 hrs/wk at ages 44–47, while making only 45k a year. Less than an Uber driver. By the time you are finally "free", you will be ~47 years old. Don't forget about the debt. You'll probably be in your 60s by the time that is paid off, unless you want to continue working mad hours and not see your family for another several years. This doesn't even consider that you will likely want to move to a nicer house, which will only enslave you to debt even more. Unless of course, you don't move, in which case all your hard work would literally be for nothing but a title...

- Like others have vaguely described, your family will be strained. But how strained? Well as it currently stands, over 50% of marriages in the US fail. You are already more likely to get divorced than not, but by being absent for a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of ∞, I can guarantee you that your chances are much higher than the national average. Your family will be split and your kids destroyed. If you are in school or residency when this happens, the mental strife may cause you to fail out. The judge is going to side with your spouse over you because you are so busy so you will have no custody of your kids and might not ever see them ever again. If/once you are finally practicing and are starting to make good money, well then you now have to pay half your income in spousal support and child support for arguably the rest of your life. All your hard work and your wife takes half of the money you earned, while he/she ****s other people. You still don't see your kids, and have debt to pay. Would you regret your decision at this point?

In the end, it's just another job. Medicine is a business more than it is a service. If you don't become one, so what? Nothing really happens. Is it really being a doctor that would make you happy? Or is there some underlying psychological phenomenon that's causing you to see being a doctor as making you happy? My assessment is that it's the latter.
You’re pretty spot on. I appreciate the honesty.
 
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Hawk Eye Pierce

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Okay. A lot of people have some wild opinions here and most of them start out by saying they did med school without a family. Don't listen to the noise! I'm a 37 year old M3 with two kids and one on the way. I gave up a well paying corporate job to be here. I love it! Medicine has been the right change for me. Do I miss some family time? Absolutely! Will I miss more during residency? I'm expecting it. Before this I was working 60 hours a week doing something I hated and traveling a ton. Yes medicine is time consuming. So are most other well paying jobs. Find something you love and do it! Before you venture out, get your finances in order. There are definitely ways to do med school for less than $500K. I finance all tuition and fees. We live off of my wife's salary and we expect to be in debt for about $150K with instate tuition at a state school. I also have a few scholarships and grants. I would recommend applying for anything you can get. I recommend going in with an open mind with respect to specialty. While time in residency does matter, what's another year or two in the grand scheme of things. I have several classmates in their 30s and 40s. You won't be alone and you likely won't be the only student with a family...Oh, and for those who say you won't have time with your family. I just went snow shoeing with my daughter then ate dinner with the family. You prioritize your time and make time for the things that are important. Maybe I'm home super late tomorrow, but I'm going to make the most out of today!
 
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spacegun

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OP seems to be (mostly) liking the posts that are telling him/her NOT to go to med school and (mostly) thanking the people who say it's not worth it. Maybe OP doesn't really want to do it and is just looking for reasons not to do it.
 
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zedrexvsyrex

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I haven't even touch on the issue of the very BAD medicine that is practiced - in terms of the science - for example high cholesterol being nonsense but you are trained to give mitochondrial toxins to lower cholesterol that has NOTHING to do with CV disease, ex being trained to spend 99.9% of your time with DB patients (supposedly having a chronic progressive disease) adjusting meds and monitoring glucose and A1c levels etc when what you are SUPPOSED to be doing - medical science-wise and ethically - is to TREAT the DB until they are no longer with diab BY TEACHING how to eat and NOT be needing further insulin (keto and animal based low carb diets) etc etc I can name a few examples in internal med that will NEGATE what IM is doing and show how medicine in the US is really the disease management business as pharma thinks its best 9for their bottom line). And as far as psychiatry? ALL repeat *ALL* psych "meds" are outright neurotoxins and VERY DANGEROUS and you are reading a response from a person who resigned at the END of residency related to the degree of bs and fraud in psych.
Ah yes, the dark side of the medical and research industry. Big Pharma, as they're called, funding research for drugs saying that they're fine when they aren't, but then threatening to pull funding and sue the absolute crap out of anyone who dares publish the research showing how it's dangerous. Reminds me of nutritional research lol

This is the downfall of Western medicine and one of the (many) reasons why I decided not to do it. Got high blood pressure? Well let's lower it with statins because we think that cholesterol is bad, despite research showing no difference in mortality rate between people who have high cholesterol and didn't take statins vs those who did; but let's just make sure we use manipulative statistic techniques to make the data state statins increase longevity (despite not being the case) and hide it behind droves of verbal jargon to ensure no one understands it. Let's completely disregard the fact that statins disrupt the ability of your body to produce electron transporters in the electron transport chain (which no doctor even remembers past med school) and that causes your body to lose energy/cramp up, as are the symptoms. Let's completely overlook the fact that vitamin K2, a quinone, can completely mitigate all of this and how there is no overdose limit on it and how it prevents any and all arterial calcification. Let's also completely disregard that megadosing vitamin C increases HDL and lowers LDL by great amounts and how it might even be possible to reverse atherosclerosis by doing this whilst supplementing with lysine, and a little bit of proline (Linus Pauling was a genius). Let's also completely ignore John D. Rockefeller essentially bribing medical councils groups (most notably the AMA) to label all alternative medicines that worked previously as quackery, simply because oil can be used to produce drugs, which allowed him to have more money. Let's ignore all of that and look up to doctors who only see us as a list of symptoms since that's what we are trained to do! But of course, they'll call this a conspiracy theory, or as the government calls it, "covert operations".

RIP mankind.
You’re pretty spot on. I appreciate the honesty.
No problem bro. Like the other dude, I just got this email and decided to comment even though I never come on here. I saw too many people spewing out the same old drivel of "just follow your dreams" or "find your passion" but with it always being in regards to an occupation, and this irritates me. Phrases like that were meant to create willful slaves. Working like a dog the rest of your life for some greedy corporation that hardly pays you because "the money doesn't matter" sounds like slavery if you ask me. And you have mindless drones repeating the same old recycled garbage over and over again but repackaged with different words. Few people here said more than "it's up to you", the most vague and generic response you can possibly give. Like I could've sworn this was a psyop.
OP seems to be (mostly) liking the posts that are telling him/her NOT to go to med school and (mostly) thanking the people who say it's not worth it. Maybe OP doesn't really want to do it and is just looking for reasons not to do it.
Everyone knows why to do it. No one talks about why not to. And OP liked nearly every post in this thread, not just the ones that were negative. Lay off.
 
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spacegun

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Ah yes, the dark side of the medical and research industry. Big Pharma, as they're called, funding research for drugs saying that they're fine when they aren't, but then threatening to pull funding and sue the absolute crap out of anyone who dares publish the research showing how it's dangerous. Reminds me of nutritional research lol

This is the downfall of Western medicine and one of the (many) reasons why I decided not to do it. Got high blood pressure? Well let's lower it with statins because we think that cholesterol is bad, despite research showing no difference in mortality rate between people who have high cholesterol and didn't take statins vs those who did; but let's just make sure we use manipulative statistic techniques to make the data state statins increase longevity (despite not being the case) and hide it behind droves of verbal jargon to ensure no one understands it. Let's completely disregard the fact that statins disrupt the ability of your body to produce electron transporters in the electron transport chain (which no doctor even remembers past med school) and that causes your body to lose energy/cramp up, as are the symptoms. Let's completely overlook the fact that vitamin K2, a quinone, can completely mitigate all of this and how there is no overdose limit on it and how it prevents any and all arterial calcification. Let's also completely disregard that megadosing vitamin C increases HDL and lowers LDL by great amounts and how it might even be possible to reverse atherosclerosis by doing this whilst supplementing with lysine, and a little bit of proline (Linus Pauling was a genius). Let's also completely ignore John D. Rockefeller essentially bribing medical councils groups (most notably the AMA) to label all alternative medicines that worked previously as quackery, simply because oil can be used to produce drugs, which allowed him to have more money. Let's ignore all of that and look up to doctors who only see us as a list of symptoms since that's what we are trained to do! But of course, they'll call this a conspiracy theory, or as the government calls it, "covert operations".

RIP mankind.

No problem bro. Like the other dude, I just got this email and decided to comment even though I never come on here. I saw too many people spewing out the same old drivel of "just follow your dreams" or "find your passion" but with it always being in regards to an occupation, and this irritates me. Phrases like that were meant to create willful slaves. Working like a dog the rest of your life for some greedy corporation that hardly pays you because "the money doesn't matter" sounds like slavery if you ask me. And you have mindless drones repeating the same old recycled garbage over and over again but repackaged with different words. Few people here said more than "it's up to you", the most vague and generic response you can possibly give. Like I could've sworn this was a psyop.

Everyone knows why to do it. No one talks about why not to. And OP liked nearly every post in this thread, not just the ones that were negative. Lay off.
Your profile says you're pre-dental, not a med student? I don't have a problem with OP. I didn't judge OP. My point is that it's good to hear both the pros/cons, but if OP is just limiting himself/herself to the cons, then that's only half the story. And there's a lot more to medicine than just money and prestige if that's what you're alluding to.
 
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PerioDont

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My dad finished fellowship at 45 in nephrology with three kids. I was 10 when he finished, now I am 24 and about to finish up dental school myself.

This is a horrible decision for your family and kids. This will have real ramifications on your marriage. If your wife works, she likely will have to give up her career to take care of things and the kids, esp if you have to move for residency, fellowship, and med school. There will likely be a lot of pent up resentment for that and frankly your marriage will become extremely taxed and may frazzle. You will have no money. You will have minimal vacation time and money for said vacations.

You will not see your kids. You will miss birthdays, sporting events, PTA meetings, and all sorts of other things. I have very little memories of my dad for the first decade. He pretty much never came to anything ever. and honestly it doesn't get that much better when you are done. There is still call in the middle of family dinner. There is still emergencies. If you miss the early years of your kids lives I think its much harder to build a relationship with them later on. Additionally, once you get out with 500k hanging over you, you can't stop working. If you want to live an average American middle class life, you will have many more additional costs with houses, cars etc esp if you start living a 'doctor' life. You will delay retirement by a lot.

The one thing I learned from this experience is to get out of school as early as possible and preferably with no kids, so in that way it was super helpful and motivating for me personally. Also my dad did not have any sort of reliable career like you OP before hand, so it was kinda this or nothing. There is definitely no way my dad would do this again.

Try posting on white coat investor, they are a forum of attendings as well and you can see their opinions too.
 
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I_Cant_tell_you

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I'm in my mid 30s, married with kids and just matched into fellowship. I would not do it again. I could write a novel about the stressful and bad things about medicine and probably very little about the good things. Money is good and it's a stable job (for now).
 
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I'm in my mid 30s, married with kids and just matched into fellowship. I would not do it again. I could write a novel about the stressful and bad things about medicine and probably very little about the good things. Money is good and it's a stable job (for now).
Would you mind sharing your career before medicine and why you made the switch? Do you think you would have been happier if you had stayed in your previous career?
 
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All this means is that you are a selfish mom who can't put her kids above her own self-indulgence. If you never went to med school, you're kids shouldn't have to pay for it. You're likely doing something else that's negatively affecting them without realizing and don't want to admit it to yourself since you are already admit to being this way. Yes, I am judging you. Feel ashamed, internet stranger, because you should be.

I don't see you judging fathers who are also medical students the way you have this mom, who might have chosen to go into medicine to give her kids a better life & opportunities in the future. Do you have children? I know you're not in medical school, so I question your authority to judge medical student parents.
 
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My dad finished fellowship at 45 in nephrology with three kids. I was 10 when he finished, now I am 24 and about to finish up dental school myself.

This is a horrible decision for your family and kids. This will have real ramifications on your marriage. If your wife works, she likely will have to give up her career to take care of things and the kids, esp if you have to move for residency, fellowship, and med school. There will likely be a lot of pent up resentment for that and frankly your marriage will become extremely taxed and may frazzle. You will have no money. You will have minimal vacation time and money for said vacations.

You will not see your kids. You will miss birthdays, sporting events, PTA meetings, and all sorts of other things. I have very little memories of my dad for the first decade. He pretty much never came to anything ever. and honestly it doesn't get that much better when you are done. There is still call in the middle of family dinner. There is still emergencies. If you miss the early years of your kids lives I think its much harder to build a relationship with them later on. Additionally, once you get out with 500k hanging over you, you can't stop working. If you want to live an average American middle class life, you will have many more additional costs with houses, cars etc esp if you start living a 'doctor' life. You will delay retirement by a lot.

The one thing I learned from this experience is to get out of school as early as possible and preferably with no kids, so in that way it was super helpful and motivating for me personally. Also my dad did not have any sort of reliable career like you OP before hand, so it was kinda this or nothing. There is definitely no way my dad would do this again.

Try posting on white coat investor, they are a forum of attendings as well and you can see their opinions too.
White coat investor is filled with physicians whose priority is to save/make as much money as possible. If one goes to med school at 38, while finances should be important, it can absolutely not be the top priority. If op decides to go to become a physician at 38, he has to be okay with the fact that he will make “enough”, but not maximize lifetime earning....this is probably against the philosophy of white coat investor. So, not sure if white coat investor is the best place to get advice in this matter....but that’s just my opinion....
 
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I'm in my mid 30s, married with kids and just matched into fellowship. I would not do it again. I could write a novel about the stressful and bad things about medicine and probably very little about the good things. Money is good and it's a stable job (for now).
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Just a curiosity, what would be the best age to start medical school? If you’re in early and mid 20s, you’ll be missing “prime” time and if you’re in late 20s and older than 30s, it’s too late . What would be the sweet spot?
 

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Just a curiosity, what would be the best age to start medical school? If you’re in early and mid 20s, you’ll be missing “prime” time and if you’re in late 20s and older than 30s, it’s too late . What would be the sweet spot?
Ideally, graduate college and have a real job for like 5 years. The benefits you get from that are priceless during this journey. Having a real job made it low stress when you realize your new job is to sit in AC and press the space bar a million times to learn science. Your classmates will lack this perspective and whine/act dramatic all the time. You get out all the energy on going out 4 days a week and being wild earlier in your twenties while you have your job. You traveled and lived your life. Then you are in the right mindset to take on the challenge without regret or feeling as left out as younger people do during the process. Graduating early 30's isn't too late, especially for most people who choose 3-4 year residencies. Still plenty of time in the middle of that to have kids or to wait depending on your spouse situation.

I would have gone earlier than I did but not changed anything else really.
 
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Ideally, graduate college and have a real job for like 5 years. The benefits you get from that are priceless during this journey. Having a real job made it low stress when you realize your new job is to sit in AC and press the space bar a million times to learn science. Your classmates will lack this perspective and whine/act dramatic all the time. You get out all the energy on going out 4 days a week and being wild earlier in your twenties while you have your job. You traveled and lived your life. Then you are in the right mindset to take on the challenge without regret or feeling as left out as younger people do during the process. Graduating early 30's isn't too late, especially for most people who choose 3-4 year residencies. Still plenty of time in the middle of that to have kids or to wait depending on your spouse situation.

I would have gone earlier than I did but not changed anything else really.
Do you think differently for people that choose or plan to choose long training programs esp. surgery?
 

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Do you think differently for people that choose or plan to choose long training programs esp. surgery?
Personally, no, but the main factor is children in that situation. Only you know your spousal situation, support, and views on childcare.
 
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It would be helpful to understand what you THINK the pros and cons would be for yourself and then people with experience can tell you whether or not you are correct in your assumptions and that could help you figure out if it would truly be worth it.

In your post you mention age, debt, your family, and having to move.

Age? Who cares?! I see it as starting another life again! Starting medical school this year at 39, I feel as though I've already lived a few different "lifetimes", and now this is a new life and boatload of knowledge and skills I was ready for and super stoked to start. We are still so young with at least another 2 "lifetimes" left to live after we become attendings.

500k in debt is quite significant and I wonder if you'd really need to take out that much, but that's your business. However, you can truly live well at a very frugal price during training and afterwards and pay off that debt in a few years, probably with some help of bonuses or state/federal programs, particularly if you are looking at doing primary care. Then you can put what you were putting into debt into your retirement savings if you haven't been building that up to know. And at 50 you can start putting away even more tax advantaged money than before! Debt is only scary if (1) you don't know how to live well inexpensively so you can pay it off quickly with that crazy salary (2) you get hurt and can't work anymore to pay off that debt.

Your family. How are they feeling about it and how much do they know what they are getting into? If they are supportive and informed, go for it!

Moving can be adventurous and exciting as much as it can be scary and disruptive. It all depends on attitude and organization.
This easily might be the most realistic answer out of this thread. Your Pros and Cons are really important to consider before anything.

First of all, I am 42 right now. Medicine is hella challenging, and let's face it we're not getting any younger. I was in the military 10 years before going back to knock out my premed requirements. I did make some family decisions to minimize my financial burden. I have heard all the explanations of looking for a better, more efficient route....

So, I decided to go to Medical school anyway. My wife was supportive, but that changed once she was faced with the reality of seeing me a LOT LESS. I got personal counseling to see where my head was at. I think I set up enough parameters to make my point...

Simply put, I cannot see myself outside of becoming a doctor. That viewpoint is always subject to circumstances, but I can speak with the factor of being in medicine and thinking... no, BELIEVING in the ideal for many years before. In the military, I traveled the world, and got to see many exotic places, interacted with different cultures, and somehow STILL thought about going to medical school. I could have retired in the Navy. Simply put, I wanted more...

Medical School is a selfish venture. The job itself is selfless, but the sacrifice needs to be put in a human context. When you eat sweets/dessert/something delicious, do you think about the future cavities or health ik implications? You should, but you don't. When you get those cavities, you regret eating all that food, dont you? Did you enjoy it though? Did you remember some good times then?
To be brutally honest, there is nothing smart or strategic in becoming a doctor... at any age. But, with the right viewpoint, you just MIGHT see the "magic/beauty/passion." Dont mind the kids, man. They haven't had the same experiences us older folks have had. Having a family is still a future milestone, but you are seeing Beyond that. You feel as if you are ready to do more. My dad was an OB/GYN. My mom found her profession later in life. She is way past retirement, but she couldn't imagine slowing down.

So, the answer is: what do you want to do? What will make you fulfilled? Some people have that itch to see more when they have plenty on their plate already. What are you willing to make due with less on that plate? If the answer is not enough, then maybe my words do not apply to you. I know I like medicine, but I love the idea of being a physician. I hope you find an answer that works for you. Best wishes, my friend!
 
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Just a curiosity, what would be the best age to start medical school? If you’re in early and mid 20s, you’ll be missing “prime” time and if you’re in late 20s and older than 30s, it’s too late . What would be the sweet spot?
Age isn’t the measurement.

Take this with a major grain of salt since I am only a lowly incoming med student, but I am 39 and already sacrificed and saved to build a funded retirement account for someone who lives comfortably on very little, I have traveled to 24 countries, been successful in another field, have a great partner, and sown my wild oats a’plenty. This is what I want to do with that freedom.

Because of starting with financial freedom, I have zero need for a big salary or prestige, which makes me more free to become the type of doctor practicing closer to how I would like because I won’t be as beholden or as much of a slave to the system.

Seems like a great time to start to me and supposedly I’m “too old”.
 
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Hi All i was hoping to talk with a few current Med students and/or current residents. Long story short I’m an older non trad student. I would be 38 when I would potentially start med school. I’m married with three kids. We would have to move for school so we would not have any family help. I’m looking at prob 500k in debt before interest or so. Since I’m older I’m thinking of doing IM or family practice. Would this be a terrible idea? I’m starting to think the debt isn’t worth it. I have shadowed several docs and a few have mentioned the crna and PA route. One mentioned Dental but cautioned of similar debt. However, my passion lies more with being a physician. Any real world insight I would greatly appreciate. Thanks!
I started med school in 1973 at the age of 27, and I was not the oldest in my class. I ended up doing a residency in anesthesiology and I think I enjoyed a wonderful career. I retired at age 68. I know some people elect to practice longer than I did. I had done graduate work in electrical engineering before medical school and also done my military service. I think other life experiences make one a better medical student. By a fluke, I ended up doing engineering work in a head trauma research project immediately after graduation from medical school. I did that for two years and the chairman offered me a residency in neurosurgery that I did not accept because of the issues you are working through. I think often that I made a mistake. I think you should allow yourself to follow your passions as they emerge and not worry about your age. Regardless your career will prove long enough for you to benefit society and you will do that best in a specialty that you love.
 
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Hi All i was hoping to talk with a few current Med students and/or current residents. Long story short I’m an older non trad student. I would be 38 when I would potentially start med school. I’m married with three kids. We would have to move for school so we would not have any family help. I’m looking at prob 500k in debt before interest or so. Since I’m older I’m thinking of doing IM or family practice. Would this be a terrible idea? I’m starting to think the debt isn’t worth it. I have shadowed several docs and a few have mentioned the crna and PA route. One mentioned Dental but cautioned of similar debt. However, my passion lies more with being a physician. Any real world insight I would greatly appreciate. Thanks!
I'm 53, just finished my 2nd year. About to take the board exam (step 1) and I'd say yes it's worth it. Technically it's probably not but since I decided to go, I've never felt more alive in my entire life. I started, then quit after my first semester because I thought, "what the hell are you doing at your age?" but I couldn't let it go and the thought of getting a PA or NP degree didn't get me as excited as an MD does, so I begged my school to let me back in. The regret I would have lived with, I'm sure would be worse than the student debt I'll accumulate. Yolo... I say do it. So glad I did
 
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I'm 53, just finished my 2nd year. About to take the board exam (step 1) and I'd say yes it's worth it. Technically it's probably not but since I decided to go, I've never felt more alive in my entire life. I started, then quit after my first semester because I thought, "what the hell are you doing at your age?" but I couldn't let it go and the thought of getting a PA or NP degree didn't get me as excited as an MD does, so I begged my school to let me back in. The regret I would have lived with, I'm sure would be worse than the student debt I'll accumulate. Yolo... I say do it. So glad I did
That’s awesome good for you!
 
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This easily might be the most realistic answer out of this thread. Your Pros and Cons are really important to consider before anything.

First of all, I am 42 right now. Medicine is hella challenging, and let's face it we're not getting any younger. I was in the military 10 years before going back to knock out my premed requirements. I did make some family decisions to minimize my financial burden. I have heard all the explanations of looking for a better, more efficient route....

So, I decided to go to Medical school anyway. My wife was supportive, but that changed once she was faced with the reality of seeing me a LOT LESS. I got personal counseling to see where my head was at. I think I set up enough parameters to make my point...

Simply put, I cannot see myself outside of becoming a doctor. That viewpoint is always subject to circumstances, but I can speak with the factor of being in medicine and thinking... no, BELIEVING in the ideal for many years before. In the military, I traveled the world, and got to see many exotic places, interacted with different cultures, and somehow STILL thought about going to medical school. I could have retired in the Navy. Simply put, I wanted more...

Medical School is a selfish venture. The job itself is selfless, but the sacrifice needs to be put in a human context. When you eat sweets/dessert/something delicious, do you think about the future cavities or health ik implications? You should, but you don't. When you get those cavities, you regret eating all that food, dont you? Did you enjoy it though? Did you remember some good times then?
To be brutally honest, there is nothing smart or strategic in becoming a doctor... at any age. But, with the right viewpoint, you just MIGHT see the "magic/beauty/passion." Dont mind the kids, man. They haven't had the same experiences us older folks have had. Having a family is still a future milestone, but you are seeing Beyond that. You feel as if you are ready to do more. My dad was an OB/GYN. My mom found her profession later in life. She is way past retirement, but she couldn't imagine slowing down.

So, the answer is: what do you want to do? What will make you fulfilled? Some people have that itch to see more when they have plenty on their plate already. What are you willing to make due with less on that plate? If the answer is not enough, then maybe my words do not apply to you. I know I like medicine, but I love the idea of being a physician. I hope you find an answer that works for you. Best wishes, my friend!
Thank you I really appreciate the insight.
 
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Ah yes, the dark side of the medical and research industry. Big Pharma, as they're called, funding research for drugs saying that they're fine when they aren't, but then threatening to pull funding and sue the absolute crap out of anyone who dares publish the research showing how it's dangerous. Reminds me of nutritional research lol

This is the downfall of Western medicine and one of the (many) reasons why I decided not to do it. Got high blood pressure? Well let's lower it with statins because we think that cholesterol is bad, despite research showing no difference in mortality rate between people who have high cholesterol and didn't take statins vs those who did; but let's just make sure we use manipulative statistic techniques to make the data state statins increase longevity (despite not being the case) and hide it behind droves of verbal jargon to ensure no one understands it. Let's completely disregard the fact that statins disrupt the ability of your body to produce electron transporters in the electron transport chain (which no doctor even remembers past med school) and that causes your body to lose energy/cramp up, as are the symptoms. Let's completely overlook the fact that vitamin K2, a quinone, can completely mitigate all of this and how there is no overdose limit on it and how it prevents any and all arterial calcification. Let's also completely disregard that megadosing vitamin C increases HDL and lowers LDL by great amounts and how it might even be possible to reverse atherosclerosis by doing this whilst supplementing with lysine, and a little bit of proline (Linus Pauling was a genius). Let's also completely ignore John D. Rockefeller essentially bribing medical councils groups (most notably the AMA) to label all alternative medicines that worked previously as quackery, simply because oil can be used to produce drugs, which allowed him to have more money. Let's ignore all of that and look up to doctors who only see us as a list of symptoms since that's what we are trained to do! But of course, they'll call this a conspiracy theory, or as the government calls it, "covert operations".

RIP mankind.

No problem bro. Like the other dude, I just got this email and decided to comment even though I never come on here. I saw too many people spewing out the same old drivel of "just follow your dreams" or "find your passion" but with it always being in regards to an occupation, and this irritates me. Phrases like that were meant to create willful slaves. Working like a dog the rest of your life for some greedy corporation that hardly pays you because "the money doesn't matter" sounds like slavery if you ask me. And you have mindless drones repeating the same old recycled garbage over and over again but repackaged with different words. Few people here said more than "it's up to you", the most vague and generic response you can possibly give. Like I could've sworn this was a psyop.

Everyone knows why to do it. No one talks about why not to. And OP liked nearly every post in this thread, not just the ones that were negative. Lay off.
Not to derail this thread....but dude.....you have no idea what you're talking about. 1) you don't treat hypertension with a statin. You use anithipertension medications. 2) There's tons of high quality outcomes data going back to the mid 1990s that statins decrease mortality. The evidence is strongest for secondary prevention, but high-powered studies have also shown benefit in primary prevention.
 
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White coat investor is filled with physicians whose priority is to save/make as much money as possible. If one goes to med school at 38, while finances should be important, it can absolutely not be the top priority. If op decides to go to become a physician at 38, he has to be okay with the fact that he will make “enough”, but not maximize lifetime earning....this is probably against the philosophy of white coat investor. So, not sure if white coat investor is the best place to get advice in this matter....but that’s just my opinion....
IMO I think that is precisely why OP should post on White Coat Investor, so they can understand the full financial ramifications of this decision.
 
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IMO I think that is precisely why OP should post on White Coat Investor, so they can understand the full financial ramifications of this decision.
I appreciate it. I would def be open to other areas other then primary care. However, I would be going the DO route which seems to close a lot of doors unfortunately.
 

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I wouldn't do it honestly. The stress, the lost time of my children's youth. No. Residency is rough. Med school is manageable if you go to the right place. If my kids were older I wouldn't do it, but that's me. You have to figure out what's important to you.

If you're going to do it, I would aim to come out working after a 3-4 year residency and go to a school that gives you some flexibility and is cheap (think in-state public or LECOM with DSP or PBL). Even in that situation though, you're still talking about 5 years (M3-PGY3) at least of having very little control over your schedule or life. It's manageable with a Saint of a spouse, but it's still rough.
 
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OP, I'm going to present to you a perspective that you haven't really seen before on here.

You have to know why you actually want this. Do you have a real reason, or is it just something you think you want because of society glamorizing and sensationalizing it? For most, it's the latter and they aren't even aware of it. Based on your comments in this thread, it's unlikely you're different. You aren't actually in love with being a doctor, you're simply in love with the image of it. If being doctor truly was your passion, you would have started on it before getting married and having kids. Chances are you're only convincing yourself that this is your passion, rather than it really being one.

Let's go further.

Why are you here? Do you like helping people? Is medicine simply interesting to you? Are you in it for the money? What if this is just a midlife crisis? Are you lying to yourself when you answer these? Most people would be, since they aren't aware of their subconscious influence. Allow me to disillusion you:

"Do you like helping people?"
  • Most people who claim to like helping others don't ACTUALLY like helping others, they simply like feeling as if they are a good person, i.e. making themselves feel better. In other words, ego. It isn't about doing what is right, it's about the status associated with it. They don't care for others out of genuine altruism, they do so to virtue signal to themselves in order to feel a sense of moral superiority. People who truly like helping others don't ever say "I like helping others", they simply don't verbalize it that way because they don't feel satisfaction from helping others, they feel satisfaction from seeing people recover and improve themselves and their lives after what happened to them, whatever that may be, and seeing the joy and happiness they get from finally getting said situation fixed.
"Is medicine simply interesting to you?"
  • If this is the case, then going into medicine will most definitely ruin that for you. You don't make your passion your job unless you're prepared for it to become one. That means that medical school will grind out all love for science that you have because of how hard it is and how much effort you need to put in. Sleepless nights, caffeine pills, hunched over for hours on end, etc. and all so that you can learn things that you will never ever use as a doctor (yes, you heard that right; most of what you learn in medical school isn't actually used by practicing doctors).
"Are you in it for the money?"
  • If this is the case, then it's not worth it. Not because "you shouldn't do it for the money, you should do it because you love it!" type garbage, but because, you won't get to enjoy the wealth you do create, especially at your age.
What if this is just a midlife crisis?
  • It is, unfortunately. Textbook case, even if you don't really feel it.
_____________________________________________________________

You're 38, married, and have 2 kids. Bad logistics. Let's say you do follow through though—what's the prognosis going to look like? Let's break it down:

- You'll be 39 by the time you first enter med school (considering you didn't finish all your classes yet). 4 years of med school = 43 when you graduate and $500,000 in debt. After is 3 years of residency, where you work ~80 hrs/wk at ages 44–47, while making only 45k a year. Less than an Uber driver. By the time you are finally "free", you will be ~47 years old. Don't forget about the debt. You'll probably be in your 60s by the time that is paid off, unless you want to continue working mad hours and not see your family for another several years. This doesn't even consider that you will likely want to move to a nicer house, which will only enslave you to debt even more. Unless of course, you don't move, in which case all your hard work would literally be for nothing but a title...

- Like others have vaguely described, your family will be strained. But how strained? Well as it currently stands, over 50% of marriages in the US fail. You are already more likely to get divorced than not, but by being absent for a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of ∞, I can guarantee you that your chances are much higher than the national average. Your family will be split and your kids destroyed. If you are in school or residency when this happens, the mental strife may cause you to fail out. The judge is going to side with your spouse over you because you are so busy so you will have no custody of your kids and might not ever see them ever again. If/once you are finally practicing and are starting to make good money, well then you now have to pay half your income in spousal support and child support for arguably the rest of your life. All your hard work and your wife takes half of the money you earned, while he/she ****s other people. You still don't see your kids, and have debt to pay. Would you regret your decision at this point?

In the end, it's just another job. Medicine is a business more than it is a service. If you don't become one, so what? Nothing really happens. Is it really being a doctor that would make you happy? Or is there some underlying psychological phenomenon that's causing you to see being a doctor as making you happy? My assessment is that it's the latter.
Thank you for saying this. I’m the same age as OP and taking pre-reqs now. I didn’t doubt it before but this definitely solidified how right I am in pursuing medicine, even at 38. I’ve read every post in this thread and the struggles outlined don’t make me question my passion or desire one bit. I’m really enjoying the insight so thank you for posing the question OP!
 
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If you don't mind me asking did you work part-time after residency or did you choose to spend more money on living expenses? I'm going to possibly owe more than double what you owed and I have heard people say it's possible to aggressively pay it off within 2-3 years as an attending living like a broke college kid.
I have never worked part time out of residency. i worked as much as I could to pay down my debts and do stuff with my kids. I wanted to be able to take them on trips and do things before they got out of high school. Never really had money in the bank until 10 yrs after residency.
 
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My mother was in a similar situation as you and completed medical school + residency with virtually none of the problems mentioned in this thread. Not saying that those concerns aren't valid, but it is still definitely doable, especially if you aren't planning on grinding for a competitive specialty.
 
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My mother was in a similar situation as you and completed medical school + residency with virtually none of the problems mentioned in this thread. Not saying that those concerns aren't valid, but it is still definitely doable, especially if you aren't planning on grinding for a competitive specialty.

Thanks for chiming in. Since she was your mom, did you ever feel resentful that she wasn’t always “there”? If not, how did your mom balance everything? I assume your family was very supportive?
 
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Thanks for chiming in. Since she was your mom, did you ever feel resentful that she wasn’t always “there”? If not, how did your mom balance everything? I assume your family was very supportive?
I never remember feeling like she wasn't there enough, to be honest. She was always present for important events as far as I can remember. But yes, my family was very supportive, including extended family who could help out at times.
 
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Hi All i was hoping to talk with a few current Med students and/or current residents. Long story short I’m an older non trad student. I would be 38 when I would potentially start med school. I’m married with three kids. We would have to move for school so we would not have any family help. I’m looking at prob 500k in debt before interest or so. Since I’m older I’m thinking of doing IM or family practice. Would this be a terrible idea? I’m starting to think the debt isn’t worth it. I have shadowed several docs and a few have mentioned the crna and PA route. One mentioned Dental but cautioned of similar debt. However, my passion lies more with being a physician. Any real world insight I would greatly appreciate. Thanks!

Hello,

Thank you for sharing.

I can somewhat relate to your current situation, as I am in very similar circumstances, minus the kids. I am going to be 30 years old when I start podiatry school. I was pursing PA for a very long time, and was shut down every-time I tried. Even though I had a 4.0 in grad-school, and graduated with honors with a masters in biological sciences. When I finally got the courage, I applied to countless schools MD/DO/DPM schools and got multiple interviews.

I ended up choosing podiatry because it fit what I want my future practice to be (Surgery guaranteed), and the lifestyle I want to lead after residency. I am just like you, my love/Passion is medicine and I never wanted to settle for less. I am not saying that PA/CRNA/NP is less, because God only know where the already broken medical system would be without them, I am saying that it was not for me. I want to perform surgery for the rest of my life, and with podiatry I am guaranteed a 3 year surgical residency in multiple specialties, with primary focus on the lower extremities.

If you are truly passionate, go for it. The debt is a lot I am not going to lie, but I think for the sake of your mental/emotional wellbeing, go for it. Because you may never be happy unless you try. Sorry if this is a little ranty, but pursue all options that fit what you want out of your future practice/lifestyle.

Podiatry is an amazing field and has a tremendous potential for further growth. That being said, there are currently only 9 schools in the country, so you may still have to relocate unless you are in a state with a school already there. And it is still medical school, Highly competitive, and tough as hell.

Good luck, and I hope that this helps you.
 
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Damson

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To piggyback on the above, pod school is medical school, but your scope of practice is limited to lower extremities. Pod school is easier to get into by a long shot so it could be an option.
 
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Hello,

Thank you for sharing.

I can somewhat relate to your current situation, as I am in very similar circumstances, minus the kids. I am going to be 30 years old when I start podiatry school. I was pursing PA for a very long time, and was shut down every-time I tried. Even though I had a 4.0 in grad-school, and graduated with honors with a masters in biological sciences. When I finally got the courage, I applied to countless schools MD/DO/DPM schools and got multiple interviews.

I ended up choosing podiatry because it fit what I want my future practice to be (Surgery guaranteed), and the lifestyle I want to lead after residency. I am just like you, my love/Passion is medicine and I never wanted to settle for less. I am not saying that PA/CRNA/NP is less, because God only know where the already broken medical system would be without them, I am saying that it was not for me. I want to perform surgery for the rest of my life, and with podiatry I am guaranteed a 3 year surgical residency in multiple specialties, with primary focus on the lower extremities.

If you are truly passionate, go for it. The debt is a lot I am not going to lie, but I think for the sake of your mental/emotional wellbeing, go for it. Because you may never be happy unless you try. Sorry if this is a little ranty, but pursue all options that fit what you want out of your future practice/lifestyle.

Podiatry is an amazing field and has a tremendous potential for further growth. That being said, there are currently only 9 schools in the country, so you may still have to relocate unless you are in a state with a school already there. And it is still medical school, Highly competitive, and tough as hell.

Good luck, and I hope that this helps you.
I really appreciate it. Funny thing is I live right by a pod school haha. TBH the pod attending forum on here kind of scared me off from it. It seems that low pay and poor job outlook in private practice is common. Is that true at all?
 
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I really appreciate it. Funny thing is I live right by a pod school haha. TBH the pod attending forum on here kind of scared me off from it. It seems that low pay and poor job outlook in private practice is common. Is that true at all?

that’s awesome to hear, so the relocation problem is solved.

What I have been experiencing is that both private practice and hospital jobs are very very common. I used to live in MN and worked with DPMs all the time. I shadowed multiple DPMs in private practice where I live now, and they were awesome! They even let me scrub in and assist in surgery. Nothing fancy just holding a retractor haha. My Cousin is a DPM attending and he loves it. Life style is great for DPMs

Don’t let forums discourage you, I was scared by them too. The average annual salary verries from state to state. Where I am average starts at about 150-200k according to salary.com,zip recruiter, etc. Yes job outlook is neutral according to BBB, but I don’t think they are factoring in the growing interest in the field. They have started producing shows about podiatry on TV, and it seems to be gaining a lot of traction of social media (YouTube especially) as well. Also as the older population continues to grow, more and more DPMs will be needed.
Again I chose podiatry because of the future lifestyle I want to lead, and practice I want to build as a Foot and Ankle surgeon.
 
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Damson

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No matter the identity of the poster on SDN, take all opinions on here with a grain of salt. Shadowing a/multiple podiatrist(s) for a few sessions can give you a more reliable and accurate idea of what DPM life is like
 
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No matter the identity of the poster on SDN, take all opinions on here with a grain of salt. Shadowing a/multiple podiatrist(s) for a few sessions can give you a more reliable and accurate idea of what DPM life is like
Defiantly agree, we all have unconscious bias, different situations, and experiences. Shadowing Any kind of physician near you will give a way more accurate indication of what to expect after. And they all are super forthcoming and will to help, just email them and ask.
 

N2B8TR

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I want to better understand what people mean by the “misery” of the training years. Is it true misery no matter what or does mindset/perspective or specialty help?
Misery for me is working 6-7 days a week, with 30 hour call sprinkled in, all while missing most/all of the things my kids do outside of school. Medical school doesn’t prepare you for residency, so the learning curve is steep, the hours are long, and most of the time the food sucks. In most specialities you have rounding and clinic on top of your daily workload and on your days off you either want to sleep or veg out which is hard because as a parent you have responsibilities that don’t always allow for this. Now there are rotations that are “lighter” and allow for more breathing room but at times it feels like they don’t come often enough. With that being said it’s still great work but not always what it’s built up to be.
 
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sylvanthus

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I honestly don't think medicine will be worth it for the next generation of doctors. There are a multitude of forces at work making being a physician a poor life choice. Ill touch on a few:

1) Midlevel enroachment- This is a huge huge deal that too many people are ignoring. NPs are getting full practice rights, practicing at "the top of their license", basically allowed to be independent, and likely will be independent in multiple specialities, in most if not all states in the next decade. The reason? They are cheaper to employ. PAs are jumping on the bandwagon as well in order to compete with NPs, the days of PAs working directly under a physician are numbered. To add to this, some states are working on passing (washington state), or have already passed (oregon) laws, allowing NPs to bill at the same level as physicians. This wont help either NPs or physicians. It WILL help hospitals. There will be a huge incentive for hospitals to hire NPs, pay them 100k ish, bill at the same level as physicians, and not hire physicians. This will lower physician salaries in the future as we now compete with NPs for jobs. NPs are being churned out from online (yes, online) schools with a paltry 500 patient care hours, and oversupply is bound to happen. Eventually, midlevels will shoot for some of the more procedural specialities, but this will take time, so surgical subspecialties will likely be safe for awhile.

2) Student loan debt/medical school is becoming more and more expensive, salaries will not keep up to make it worth it in the end from a financial aspect. I know some people here will say "but its my passion" or " I cant see myself doing anything else" Well time to get an imagination dudes. I guarantee the vast majority of you will be singing a different tune after a decade of training and sacrifice, if medicine continues to go downhill. The sacrifice is not worth it , ts not only a financial mistake but everyone and their mother is a "doctor" and went to "medical school" i.e. NP, PA, AA, school. The public, in general, doesnt know the difference in education, and/or doesnt really care. The sacrifice and knowledge required of physicians is not nearly as well respected as it used to be.

3) Things are moving more toward customer service and not patient care. Especially true of EM and IM. The massive amount of nonsense we now have to deal with is daunting. Press ganey scores, HCAHPS, etc. Add to this BS quality metrics especially in EM (door to doc time, dispo time, patients per hour, etc) as well as increased documentation requirements and its a recipe for early burnout and frustration.

So, in a nutshell, becoming a doctor is likely going to become a financial mistake, being a physician is not nearly as respected or needed as it used to be, everyone and their mom is going to become a "doctor" and practicing independently, hospitals only care about money and are a business out to make a profit which could lead to finding a job as a physician difficult. Imagine training for a decade and having a hard time finding a job. Some recent EM grads are experiencing this as we speak.


Sorry to be a downer, but its important to keep things in perspective and be aware of the changes coming about in medicine. If youre cool with all the above, by all means go for it, just be aware of what you are getting yourself into.
 
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Dochopeful13

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Sorry if this was already said. I’m not a nontraditional student, but if you want IM or FM then there’s several schools that offer a year off of medical school and so you graduate in 3 years instead of 4. Something to think about. CRNA - maybe less debt but unless you’re an RN already you’ll have to go through nursing school first then an additional depending on program 3ish years I think it is CRNA school. IMO just do med school at that point. I would definitely recommend PA at your age however.

I would also add do what makes you happy. You only have one life. If you want to be a doctor... BE A DOCTOR!!
Would you really recommend PA? I keep seeing the market is tough and they are starting at 90k. I know money isn’t everything but that’s pretty low. I know several RN’s that make more. I’m also told the PA market is getting saturated. I’m I missing something? I know a lot of people on this thread have told OP to go to PA school.
 

asa0009

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Would you really recommend PA? I keep seeing the market is tough and they are starting at 90k. I know money isn’t everything but that’s pretty low. I know several RN’s that make more. I’m also told the PA market is getting saturated. I’m I missing something? I know a lot of people on this thread have told OP to go to PA school.
I mean yes it is going to become a bit saturated because it’s the ideal route for a lot of people who are 1. Older 2. Want a better family life 3. Don’t want to go to school for a million years. However I don’t think we’re at that point yet. A lot of people want to higher PAs because they can pay them less and hire two of them instead of a doctor and push more patients through and have them under one doctor. I live in an extremely poor economic area and the PAs here make more than some of the primary care docs. So I think you have to gauge where you want to end up in the long run and what the market is there. But also you’re going to have very minimal debt compared to medical school so you can’t expect to be making LOADS of money but a lot probably make maybe 90 starting out but grow as they get more experience. Think how residents make 45-55k for 3-7 years depending on how long their residency is before making anything of substance after being in debt 300k and interest grows over those 3-7 years like another 100k. Where PA route is prob less than 100k debt and you come out making that after 2 years of school. Definitely have to weigh out what you really want imo.
 

thepoopologist

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Hi All i was hoping to talk with a few current Med students and/or current residents. Long story short I’m an older non trad student. I would be 38 when I would potentially start med school. I’m married with three kids. We would have to move for school so we would not have any family help. I’m looking at prob 500k in debt before interest or so. Since I’m older I’m thinking of doing IM or family practice. Would this be a terrible idea? I’m starting to think the debt isn’t worth it. I have shadowed several docs and a few have mentioned the crna and PA route. One mentioned Dental but cautioned of similar debt. However, my passion lies more with being a physician. Any real world insight I would greatly appreciate. Thanks!

I don't recommend it, and I generally like what I do, I am paid well, I can manage my debt. It would be foolish to think that this was the only thing that could satisfy me, or the only thing that I'm capable of doing.

There are other currencies to consider.
1. Your youth.
2. Your health.
3. Your social relationships.

The people I encountered in med school were either dismissed outright after 1-2 years six figures in debt, or on the other end of the spectrum straight up geniuses who ate well, stayed in good shape, carved out time for fun, and did well skipping class with 6 hours studying each day. Clinicals varied in their time commitment depending on the rotation. But the big thing is, you have less control than you think until you reach the very end of the educational process. In some instances, even as an attending you have less control than you think, however the money makes it more tolerable.

Medical school and residency
"Please be professional" = Be quiet and conform, or we're going to kick you out
"It's like drinking from a firehose!" = We know you're struggling but we don't have any resources for you, this is just the way it is.
"Yes tuition has increased but its well within the norm" = We need money because everyone in administration is a VP or Director.
"So the rotation has no didactics, be a self starter, you're in med school" = We begged the hospital to accept you for free. We told them that med students would be free help, we told you that it was a great learning environment.

Attending jobs
"We're a family" = We're a cult
"It's a fast paced environment" = We're dumping all the work on you so you don't have a home life.
"It's a boiler plate contract" = Don't read it, trust us so we screw you later.
"You'll only have to supervise 1-2 NPs" = You'll be supervising everyone and we'll give you a crappy stipend to absorb the legal liability.
"We're making you medical director" = We can point the finger at you if something goes wrong.
 
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thepoopologist

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Oh, I forgot my favorite one. "It gets better" = I'm going to ignore my misery now in the hopes that some indeterminate time in the future things will improve. I said this one to myself a lot.
 
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Roxas

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Oh, I forgot my favorite one. "It gets better" = I'm going to ignore my misery now in the hopes that some indeterminate time in the future things will improve. I said this one to myself a lot.
To be fair, it does get substantially better. M1/2 is teh suck. M3 is better, M4 is awesome. Residency so far is even better than that. I'd encourage those struggling in pre-clinical to realize that what they are doing is not their career.


Some of your attending job comments have me concerned, however. It's tough when you have no familiarity with that landscape.
 
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