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foxsocks

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Hey guys!

I'm just starting out in my quest to pursue medical school and I'm looking for advice/WAMC, hoping you all might be able to point out some things I'm overlooking or not aware that I need. Encouragement is also welcome!

Let it be known that I've thought/prayed/labored/sweated long and hard over this decision and I'm 100% sure I'm going to go for it - so we're beyond the "why not just do an NP program?" stage :)

About me:
  • Single, no kids, 24 years old.
  • Graduated from a BSN program in 2015 and have been working as an RN full time in a major women's hospital since then. Never planned on medicine, wasn't thinking of RN as a "bridge to MD" or a fallback. Graduated w/ 3.7 GPA and around a 3.45 science GPA (Nursing students don't take that many science classes and most of them were as a freshman - I have much better study habits now!)
  • I've worked on a postpartum unit for the past 2+ years and am scheduled to cross train to GYN/SURG in the coming months. (Side note: I've read many RN to MD posts on here and never seen another PP nurse. I am well aware that PP has a reputation for being, shall I say... lame, but I am happy to elaborate on how I ended up there and why it's been great clinical/leadership experience for me).
  • Currently taking Cell Bio at a local state school, the first pre-med class I've taken. I have the rest of the pre-reqs mapped out and I'm estimating it will take 2-3 years for me to complete them. I wanted to ease my way in by taking 1 class first because I have to keep working full-time the entire time I take my pre-reqs.
  • "Extra-curriculars" - I'm involved at work in several committees (Education Committee, Nursing Practice Congress, Mentorship Committee). I serve as a deacon in my church which involves a lot of volunteering. My biggest investment is in a community development initiative in an impoverished village in the Dominican Republic which I have worked with for the past 5 years in various capacities. I'm also in the beginning stages of conducting a (non-medical) research study in that village, which is purely a passion project designed to help pinpoint the educational needs of the community.

Most of what I'm doing are things that I'm wholly passionate about, but I'm acutely aware that they are not in the same vein as what many med schools are looking for/what traditional pre-meds do. I guess I'm just wondering if I'm missing something critical that will make or break my application?

Thanks for your help!
 

operaman

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I think your app will be strong assuming you get good grades and do well on the MCAT. As above, I think the key thing to articulate will be why exactly you want to pursue medicine as a physician. Keep everything same but change your age to 34 and it's almost easier to explain, but at 24 it's hard to see what's different now that wasn't there 2-3 years ago when going pre-med would have been as simple as filling out a change of major form. Obviously this is all personal and no need to share unless you feel so inclined, but I think it's something you will be asked. Even if you're older when you apply, it will be obvious when you started doing the pre-reqs.

My other thought would be consider finding a way to compress the whole post-bacc and application thing. Dragging it out doesn't really help you and you've already said you're basically only supporting yourself with your income. You could knock them all out in a year if you took some time off. If you take 2-3 years to do the pre-reqs, then you add 1-2 more for applying depending on when you do your MCAT and where you land in the cycle when it's all said and done.

Your app doesn't seem to have any glaring holes in it. You'll obviously need to shadow some docs but there's plenty of time to do that and you don't need to go crazy with it. Just spend enough time to convince others and yourself that you know what you're getting in to. I've known a few nurses who made the transition to MD and some others who gave it up partway through med school after realizing it wasn't what they had hoped it would be. There's definitely a lot of bulls--t to wade through. I know you've considered the NP thing and decided against it; I sincerely hope that's because you intend to pursue a field within medicine that you cannot do as an NP. If your ultimate goal is a primary care field, then I would strongly urge you reconsider the NP route as it would essentially get you the same thing.

On a personal note, you sound like someone with the kind of heart we desperately need more of in medicine, so I hope you do end up making the journey.
 
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foxsocks

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Thanks for saying that, it really means a lot! Happy to share because other than telling a couple MDs I work with, I haven't really gotten much feedback on how to communicate an answer to "why MD" so that it comes off right in an interview/personal statement.

Essentially, becoming a nurse is how I realized that I want to be a doctor. When High School Me was deciding what to do with my life, I had ZERO exposure to healthcare. I think I had set foot in a hospital maybe twice. I chose nursing because of what I knew of it conceptually, not experientially. I went into college thinking, 'if I'm not good at this, I'll become a Spanish teacher.' The reason I never switched to pre-med or anything else was because I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I loved nursing school. Coming from a starting place of no hospital exposure and no knowledge of A&P, I was just thrilled to be there, thrilled to be learning, feeling challenged and excited to actually interact with real-life patients. The few times that "what about MD" popped into my head (and it did), I talked myself out of it.

Being a nurse has been wonderful in so, so many ways. The experiences I've had as a nurse have led me to conclude, however, that the things I love about being a nurse aren't exclusive to the nursing profession. I love educating patients, critically thinking and problem-solving, understanding the entire clinical picture of a patient and learning new things when I don't understand. Nurses, NPs, PAs, PTs, RTs, and MDs all do these things. What draws me to the MD/DO route is the depth of their understanding and the rigor of their preparation. I am constantly amazed by the OBs I work with, what they are able to do, and how much they know. And I just have a sneaking suspicion that that might have something to do with 8+ years of working ridiculously hard to know it. I have breathed many a sigh of relief when my patient was hemorrhaging or suddenly emergent and I was managing it myself until the doctor walked into the room. I think my ultimate hope is to be the person who takes that on when they walk in the room- not because I am some kind of egomaniac, but because I have a genuine desire to learn what they know and do what they do.

I actually was accepted to two Midwifery/WHNP programs because I, too was convinced of the practicality and sensibility of that route. The whole time I was in the commitment/scheduling process I just had this sinking feeling that it wasn't right. I could go on about a myriad of reasons why that could be the case, but at the end of the day I think it's because I know deep down what I really want. And if I totally tank in the pre-reqs or the MCAT, that route will still be there, just two short years away from completion.

I have gone back and forth with myself about how long it will take to even be ready to take the MCAT and apply. By my estimation, it would take two years minimum for me because I still have to take two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of organic consecutively. I doubt that timeline would change even if I quit my job, but I am open to insight if you know of others who have done it more quickly.

Really appreciate your help!
 

operaman

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Thanks for saying that, it really means a lot! Happy to share because other than telling a couple MDs I work with, I haven't really gotten much feedback on how to communicate an answer to "why MD" so that it comes off right in an interview/personal statement.

Essentially, becoming a nurse is how I realized that I want to be a doctor. When High School Me was deciding what to do with my life, I had ZERO exposure to healthcare. I think I had set foot in a hospital maybe twice. I chose nursing because of what I knew of it conceptually, not experientially. I went into college thinking, 'if I'm not good at this, I'll become a Spanish teacher.' The reason I never switched to pre-med or anything else was because I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I loved nursing school. Coming from a starting place of no hospital exposure and no knowledge of A&P, I was just thrilled to be there, thrilled to be learning, feeling challenged and excited to actually interact with real-life patients. The few times that "what about MD" popped into my head (and it did), I talked myself out of it.

Being a nurse has been wonderful in so, so many ways. The experiences I've had as a nurse have led me to conclude, however, that the things I love about being a nurse aren't exclusive to the nursing profession. I love educating patients, critically thinking and problem-solving, understanding the entire clinical picture of a patient and learning new things when I don't understand. Nurses, NPs, PAs, PTs, RTs, and MDs all do these things. What draws me to the MD/DO route is the depth of their understanding and the rigor of their preparation. I am constantly amazed by the OBs I work with, what they are able to do, and how much they know. And I just have a sneaking suspicion that that might have something to do with 8+ years of working ridiculously hard to know it. I have breathed many a sigh of relief when my patient was hemorrhaging or suddenly emergent and I was managing it myself until the doctor walked into the room. I think my ultimate hope is to be the person who takes that on when they walk in the room- not because I am some kind of egomaniac, but because I have a genuine desire to learn what they know and do what they do.

I actually was accepted to two Midwifery/WHNP programs because I, too was convinced of the practicality and sensibility of that route. The whole time I was in the commitment/scheduling process I just had this sinking feeling that it wasn't right. I could go on about a myriad of reasons why that could be the case, but at the end of the day I think it's because I know deep down what I really want. And if I totally tank in the pre-reqs or the MCAT, that route will still be there, just two short years away from completion.

I have gone back and forth with myself about how long it will take to even be ready to take the MCAT and apply. By my estimation, it would take two years minimum for me because I still have to take two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of organic consecutively. I doubt that timeline would change even if I quit my job, but I am open to insight if you know of others who have done it more quickly.

Really appreciate your help!

Well I would say you’ve got the narrative part all set. That was a beautifully articulated story and would need very few adjustments to become a good PS. I’ll be honest: I’m very skeptical of the very early career changers, but your story flows and I can see how your perspective has evolved over a few short years.

You’re right that the chemistry sequence is the limiting factor in getting the pre reqs done. I did manage to do it all in under a year but it was a stretch and I wouldn’t recommend it. I basically started off with only a 10th grade science background but somehow convinced the chemistry dept to let me jump right in to a biochem class and I signed up for the MCAT at the same time. I studied my arse off and did really well and decided to throw in some applications just to see what happened. I also started taking the pre reqs that summer and essentially crammed in as much as I could, figuring that if I were ready for medical school, I could handle a load of science and math classes. I basically went from never setting foot in a college math or science class in May to holding an acceptance to Med school in early March. I think that’s about as fast as one could do it and I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s doable.

I’ve seen too many people make big far off plans for things like medical school and life inevitably gets in the way. Adulthood - especially young adulthood -is such a dynamic time period that it’s easy to find yourself 2 years down the road and no closer to your original goal. Or maybe that’s just been my life! It’s somewhat easier once you actually step on the medical training treadmill because the path is so regimented.

All that said, do whatever it takes to make As and keep moving forward. I did my crazy approach because at heart I knew I could do it, but if I had been wrong and tanked my gpa, I wouldn’t have ever had a chance. You write like someone who knows themself, so be as aggressive as you can safely be. You could theoretically use the rest of the fall semester to teach yourself all the MCAT material, start chem1, bio1, phys1 etc in the spring. Take MCAT and apply in June. Chem 2 and Orgo1 over the summer plus whatever else you can fit. Orgo 2 and whatever is left next fall, get accepted, start MS1 fall of 2019. You can also do more of the slow and steady method that works well consistently for people. I would avoid too much piecemeal like a random cell bio class that does nothing to advance you through the pre reqs. A gen chem class would have enabled you to finish the pre reqs by summer 2018.

Keep focused on the ultimate goal. You’ve got a good story and solid grades. No reason you shouldn’t be able to do this.
 
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Melchizedek

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Hey, I'm kind of in the same RN to MD boat!

(going to admit, I have a short attention span and only read the OP so if this was covered my bad.)
After asking around and meeting a few that have made the transition successfully, one of the things that apparently comes up is being able to justify the years you spent in school, and then again the time/effort/resources spent on you by your school/hospital to train you to become a nurse, only for you to take on a different role. This kinda thing wasn't even on my mind so I'm glad someone mentioned it might be an interview question (or question similiar to this) so I figured I'd pass it on.
 

A88DO

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I went the same path when I was 24, just recieved my acceptance at my #1 pick last week!
 
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