May 25, 2011
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Sorry for the length of this post, but I figured it's best to get it all out at once.:laugh:

I'm a Non-trad just starting the whole med school app/prereq process at 28. I'm a married mom. I have a 2 yr-old boy with cystic fibrosis and short bowel syndrome (who also went through multi-organ transplant eval), which as you can imagine has massively spurred my interest in the medical field. I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by some fantastic doctors who handle my son's medical care and they have inspired me in many ways to be the best mom I can be by educating myself to know every minute detail about my son's unique combination of medical conditions.

I've always had an interest in the medical field but for various stupid reasons I kept putting aside my disposition towards it until it practically slapped me in the face. Now I know where I should be, and probably where I should have been all along.

After spending my college career mostly aimless, I graduated with a non-science major and a GPA of 3.07. Majorly sucky... I know, but considering I have ALL but one of my science prereqs to finish, I think I might have a shot at rehabbing my GPA. I calculated and if I push hard and make mostly a's on everything (retaking some low grade classes from a semester I should have withdrawn from due to med issues) I will be able to pull my GPA up to the 3.5 to 3.7 range. If I aim for a 30 or higher on the MCAT will this put me in contention for allopathic? I have spent a lot of time at University of Nebraska Med Center with my son and would actually love to go to med school there. I'm not aiming for ivy-league schools... Other schools I might consider are schools on the west coast, or in my current area: OU or OSU-COM if I had to. Thoughts?

I know that's a lot of 'IF's' but I am more committed to this route than ever before and I'm getting a lot of encouragement from doc friends to go for it, and my husband's on board too.

I'm also fortunate to have a lot of friends who are doctors, or have become friends through my son's care, so I have lots of shadowing options. Here's what I'm looking at for shadowing- pediatric surgeon, gastroenterologist, primary care, perinatology, pediatrician, dr. w/ emphasis in rural medicine. Hoping to complete ~100 hours of shadowing by the end of this year.

As for EC's past and present: (more detail)

~50 hours community disaster relief (also may add to this soon by spending some time in Joplin, MO.)

~140 hours community rehabilitation (Habitat for Humanity and similar programs that revitalize neighborhoods)

~200 hours tutoring/mentoring of underprivileged children

Long distance runner currently aiming for half-marathon.

Artist (both through commission and sold original pieces) Portraiture, Murals, Still life.

Worked as a freelance graphic designer as well as working as a graphic artist for a major corporation in the aerospace industry for 2 years.

Worked in Real Estate Management and marketing for nearly 3 years. (Managed 2 office buildings and 30 residential properties)

I will be getting CNA in the fall and anticipate finding a job at a local hospital as a tech in ER or general surgery floor. Plan is to have 1800 hours in by the end of next year.

Is this a good plan? Do I have a shot? Am I crazy?
 
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Dec 16, 2010
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Although the specifics are different, I was in a similar position a few years ago. I think the GPA rehab is the biggest hurdle. I've been taking 18 credit semesters while working fulltime and have pulled my cumulative GPA up by about 4/10 of an AMCAS point, enough to be in contention at (just barely) allo- and (solidly) osteo-. I'm submitting my applications this month.

You write that your goal is to raise your GPA by 5/10 of a point. Just as a point of clarification, only DO schools replace your grades. If you're planning on applying to MD schools you'll have to take enough credit hours to average out the lower grades if you want that significant of an overall GPA increase. You'll need to take more than a hundred credit hours at a 4.0 to increase your GPA by half a point.

It can be done. I've done it. I've taken an incredible amount of credit hours during a relatively short period of time. It's been exhausting. Of course the fulltime job concurrent with 18 credit hours is a little insane and not applicable to your plan. It might be easier for you in that regard, if you're not planning to work during the next couple of years.

Who knows, perhaps after a year of coursework you may develop more of an interest in cell signaling and end up in a PhD program instead. I think, given your background, you'll find your studies both fulfilling and healing. It has been for me. Good luck!
 
May 25, 2011
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Thanks for the reply. I would assume then that if I took 50 hours of classes at a 4.0 I could raise it to almost a 3.3 then in AMCAS standards.

I'm a stay-at-home mom right now but have plans to work 3 shifts a week as a CNA while I fulfilled my prereqs so I could take care of clinical experience as well as save some money for school tuition.

Since I am a non-trad... if I could show an upward trend in my grades with a 30 or higher on the MCAT, do you think the low GPA would slide? Or should I just forget it and go for only DO?

I have a big interest in research and I've heard it's harder to get research funding as a DO. Is this true?
 
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Dec 16, 2010
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To figure out what your AMCAS (MD) GPA would be use:
cGPA = ((hoursTaken * currentGPA) + (futureHours * futureGPA)) / (hoursTaken + futureHours)

So, if you currently have a 3.07 for a total of 120 credit hours and plan to take 50 more credit hours at a 4.0 the formula would be:
cGPA = 3.34 = ((120 * 3.07) + (50 * 4.00)) / (120+50)

I think if you do 50 hours of science coursework at a local University with a 4.0 and get a 30+ on the MCAT, you'll have a shot at both MD and DO - but remember I'm just a premed myself. No matter what I think you should apply to both MD and DO. That's what I'm doing.

I was initially concerned with the DO option because I have an interest in research as well - for similar reasons. If you do a few searches in the PubMed database you'll find many published DO's. You can do the research you're interested in whether you're MD or DO.

Once you enroll in school, consider putting in some volunteer/shadowing hours in at the lab of one of the Bio prof's. There's amazing ongoing research in cell signaling that you may find relevant to your own interests.

I wish you didn't have to go the CNA route. From what I understand it's grueling work at minimum wage. I bet your University could find you a better gig as a paid Teaching or Lab assistant.

Oh and one more thought: focus more on the coursework than on the shadowing and volunteering. Your GPA and MCAT score are the most important factors right not. You don't need thousands or even hundreds of hours of shadowing and volunteering but you do need the GPA rehab. Don't overextend yourself at the risk of your PostBacc GPA.
 
Feb 16, 2011
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I have a 2 yr-old boy with cystic fibrosis and short bowel syndrome (who also went through multi-organ transplant eval), which as you can imagine has massively spurred my interest in the medical field.

Hi Med Mommy

I hope that my post does not offend you, but were I in your shoes I would be cautious about committing to med school given that you have a two year old with health issues. I say this as a mother of a special needs child. When I hope to matriculate my youngest son will be in college. I probably was a bit over the top in waiting for my kids to 'be ready', but....they grow up so fast.

Maybe you can get an RN degree and work as a nurse PT? That way you would still be there for your son, but you will be getting valuable medical experience in the meantime. then maybe when he's a bit older (maybe not as old as 18), you can start med school?

I'm sorry if I've over stepped my boundaries. But as a mom of a special needs child I felt compelled to say something.
 

Law2Doc

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Hi Med Mommy

I hope that my post does not offend you, but were I in your shoes I would be cautious about committing to med school given that you have a two year old with health issues. I say this as a mother of a special needs child. When I hope to matriculate my youngest son will be in college. I probably was a bit over the top in waiting for my kids to 'be ready', but....they grow up so fast.

Maybe you can get an RN degree and work as a nurse PT? That way you would still be there for your son, but you will be getting valuable medical experience in the meantime. then maybe when he's a bit older (maybe not as old as 18), you can start med school?

I'm sorry if I've over stepped my boundaries. But as a mom of a special needs child I felt compelled to say something.

Agree with this. With good grades in the sciences and on the MCAT, your numbers will be fine for med school. But I think you need some perspective of what kind of time commitment is involved in 3rd year med school and beyond. You will be doing overnight call and not having many weekends off on many med school rotations and much of residency. After med school in intern year, you may be working 80 hours a week and up to 16 hour overnight shifts (admittedly an improvement over the 30 hour shifts many of us did, but compliance with duty hours will continue to be spotty and you are more likely to have your 80 hour weeks maxed out now than before). There will probably be days that will go by when between sleeping and call you won't even see your child. On a night float month, for instance, you might go to the hospital in the early evening when your kid is asleep, not come home until late morning the next day 16 hours later, go right to bed for your 5+ hours of sleep you need to function, wake up just in time to clean up, jump into clothes and go back to the hospital, with your kid possibly already asleep in bed again. And when this ends up being your life for a lot of days in a row, it's hard on a child.

That might be doable if you have a good support system at home, but I think people always underestimate what med school and residency involves. It's not like a continuation of college. Even the first two years of med school are going to involve an increased time commitment some people don't contemplate. But from 3rd year on, all bets are off. So you really need to get in touch with someone in the thick of internship and get some perspective. Shadowing some pediatrician 10 years out of residency who is involved in your child's care won't give you the perspective you need. You need someone who is doing a residency right now who you can pick their brain about what was involved in med school and residency, in terms of time commitment. Again, I'm not saying you can't do it. I'm just saying you'd better think it through because it's going to have a much bigger impact on your kid than on you, and if your child's condition is actually the motivator of going to med school, you may want to consider whether helping other kids but not seeing your own during the early years is actually worth it.
 
May 25, 2011
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Thank you for the honest replies. I had considered becoming a PA for now and then pursuing med school at a later date. I think that might be my best option with regard to family. I guess maybe I should think about that more. I could pursue being med school once my son is older and in college (hopefully).

I am aware of the craziness of the demands on med students (thanks to many doctor friends- some who are just out of fellowship) and that had been a huge concern for me, but I do have a great support system. My husband is very supportive of me going to med school if it's what I really want. It's a possibility that my mother-in-law might even move in with us and take care of our son while I'm in school (she's a special ed teacher and has also dealt with a child with medical issues- my husband's sister passed away from medulloblastoma) So she'd be a huge help.

But I do see your points... my biggest worry is that I wouldn't be happy as a PA because of the lack of autonomy and the chances of doing research and getting much recognition for it are slim to none. Someone had also brought up the idea of getting my Phd and going into research that way, but I also think I would miss the patient contact. It's a catch 22. Ugh.

Being a doctor has been my dream since I was 12 years old, but my parents didn't think it was a good route at the time because of changes in healthcare and they had a friend sit down with me (a pediatrician) and try to convince me not to go through med school. I never believed her but ended up putting aside my feelings to make my parents happy in practically every aspect of my life and thus ended up a miserable person for many years, pursuing a degree I really didn't want all that much and letting people walk all over me and bending me to their ideas and expectations. I graduated from high school with a 3.96... then when my dad basically forced me to pursue a business degree, my GPA plummeted. Health problems relating to a car accident injury set me back a year and a half and my grades plummeted even more until I got back my drive and pushed through. I made the highest grade in my program (and supposedly highest score in the previous 4 years of the program) on my senior practicum and impressed the dean enough that he told me he would write me a letter of recommendation if I planned on going to grad school. I was so glad to be done with a degree I didn't want that I graduated school and never looked back until my son's health issues brought me back to the idea of going into the medical field. And now I have all this drive to do something and don't know what to do with it.
 
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Law2Doc

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...

I am aware of the craziness of the demands on med students and that had been a huge concern for me, but I do have a great support system. My husband is very supportive of me going to med school if it's what I really want. It's a possibility that my mother-in-law might even move in with us and take care of our son while I'm in school (she's a special ed teacher and has also dealt with a child with medical issues- my husband's sister passed away from medulloblastoma) So she'd be a huge help....

When I said you need a good support system, I don't mean having someone be "supportive". I meant having someone who could stay home with the kid 24/7 during the rotation/years you won't be around. Someone who can step in and by the mommy during all the times that you cannot be. Plus help out with the housework/shopping you won't have as much time for. And be okay with the fact that you may have no more weekends starting during the clinical years, etc. It's actually a bigger undertaking for the folks around you than for you. For you, the days blend into one big one and fly by fast.

The mother in law possibility should help, but she had better be aware of what the time commitment is, because if she is contemplating a few hours of baby sitting a day "while you are in school" and in fact during 3rd year surgery rotation you may be leaving the house before 5 am and not coming home until some time the next day (med students aren't protected by the intern duty hour rules) at which point you are going to climb right into bed and not be able to assume care of your kid until late in the day, then she had better be okay with this concept going in. Because the hours don't get better for a lot of years.
 
May 25, 2011
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I didn't mean just being 'supportive'. This is the man who drove two states (9 hours each way) every weekend for three months just to spend two days with us while I was in Nebraska with my son for transplant eval and subsequent treatment and surgeries. He's an amazing father who consistently goes above and beyond for my son and I. He will not just be 'supportive' but supportive in every aspect... money, time, understanding, and care for my son. I just talked with him and showed him the posts on this thread and he still is insistent that if I should go for med school if it's what I want and that he will do as much as he possibly can to facilitate it. As for my MIL thinking watching him a few hours a day would be sufficient... that's my mother's attitude. My MIL is the furthest thing from it. Anyway. I've said my piece.

I will probably look more seriously at going the PA route for now.
 

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If you don't want to be a PA, don't be a PA... There's a thread in the Pre-Osteo section right now that is about PA schools being tougher to get into than DO/MD schools... Sooo, they are very picky, if they think you REALLY want to be a doc, you won't get in... If you really want to be a physician, and you think you can make it work with your son's conditions, then do it. We aren't you, we're not in your shoes, and you need to make the decision. If you currently work, consider the fact that the income reduction could qualify you for some fed-asst in the disabled child area... Either way, if you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen...
 
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I don't work. We live on my husband's income and do just fine. At least I have that going for me. LOL
 

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I commend you for wanting to follow your medical school dreams and for having so much passion for medicine. I don't think anyone can dissuade you if this is what you really want, and there are lots of mothers who go to medical school and then on to residency who can advise you better - I'm sure you know all the pros and have read about many of the cons on this site, or will find those threads eventually. So with that said, I don't see any harm in taking the prereqs and seeing how you do. If you're not getting As or if you find the schoolwork too overwhelming with your current support system, you will be well informed that medical school is going to be even more difficult for you in that regard.

I started out originally pursuing a pre-PA school program and the prereqs are very similar. The main difference is the amount of practical experience required of future PA students (which you will be getting as a CNA) and a few classes (for example: anatomy and physiology, which will help you with the MCAT, and micriobiology). You won't need physics I or II at most PA grad programs or organic chem II, as you do for medical school.

Both paths are extremely competitive, and PA school is certainly no easy feat. They value slightly different things and for me, my professors pointed out that with my lack of practical experience, if I do well on the MCAT, I actually have a better shot at med school than PA school. :xf:

Good luck to you, and welcome to the non-trad board.
 
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Many good points have been raised. I do want to add that whichever path you take, the first steps are very similar. You don't have to decide yet. Taking Bio I and Chem I at the local University will get you started and give you an idea of what's in store for you. Test it out and remember that most paths aren't straight.

Take care.
 
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Many good points have been raised. I do want to add that whichever path you take, the first steps are very similar. You don't have to decide yet. Taking Bio I and Chem I at the local University will get you started and give you an idea of what's in store for you. Test it out and remember that most paths aren't straight.

Take care.

:thumbup:

Feel it out over the course of the next year. Spend time with various types of docs and PAs over that time period. You'll figure it out before the two paths diverge.
 
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Hi there~

I am not in your shoes by any means, but I do want to offer a word of encouragement. I feel like you should go for it. You would, at the end of this ridiculously tumultuous journey, be an incredible doctor. I am a Non-trad as well, and a mother. I do think it would be wise for you to consider the dramatic way in which this career choice could effect your time with your son. I take, on average, 17 semester hours and still feel like I get to spend quality time with my daughter. However, I have been prepping her, and my husband, for the years to come in which this will be a rare opportunity. If you are willing to sacrifice for this goal DO NOT let anything stop you!
 
May 25, 2011
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Thank you, LaJollaLady. I'm not going to make an ultimate decision right now, but I do know I'm going to go ahead and act like I'm going to apply to med school... so I'll do all of the prereqs and take the MCAT. If all of it falls together and I make it through that (which is about 3 years away right now) then I think it's really meant to be and I'll apply to med schools, both MD and DO.
 
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I might consider are schools on the west coast, or in my current area: OU or OSU-COM if I had to. Thoughts?

"if you had to'? both great schools, and are you aiming for overachiever?? that is way above and beyond what you need as far as volunteer/shadowing plans that you have. Just go for it! a 3.0 isn't as horrible as you think especially if you increase it and really put all your energy into the MCAT. My kids don't have any medical complications but I do have two of them and my husband is also in college so it can get stressful, you learn to balance it all out.

Good luck! dont give up!!!
 
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