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Non-traditional students

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Nav, Nov 27, 1999.

  1. Nav

    Nav Member

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    What do you all think about DO schools favoring students who are older but have much lower averages?
    On one hand, you can see that older students bring a more diverse background to a class. With their extra life experiences they will definitely have an advantage to dealing with patients than the student who has just finished their BSc in biology.
    But on the other hand, shouldn't medical schools accept the students that they know can meet the academic challenges of the curriculum? Working as an EMT or as a Physician's assistant for 5 years will not help much while learning biochemistry or anatomy. Why not give the space to a younger student who performs well in school and has alot of volunteer and other health care related experience?
    I'm not saying that older students are automatically poorer students. Anybody who works hard can do well. But should they be favored during the admissions process?
     
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  3. Kevin3Ford

    Kevin3Ford Junior Member

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    I believe it depends on the person. I spent three years in the Army, then came back to school part-time.

    Maturity plays a big role in deciding something as big as your future career. If you've only experienced certain areas in your life...you might be missing something that fits better.

    I agree that traditional students may have an initial advantage when it comes to course work. Because they are familiar with the dedication in study hours. However, generally the non-traditional students have a great focus and drive once they really know what they want in life.
     
  4. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    To begin with, DO schools don't favor older students with lower GPAs over younger students with higher GPAs. They are more willing to accept older students within the same GPA range as the younger students, while many allopathic schools don't seriously consider older students unless their qualifications are above those of the younger students.

    The nurses, medics and PAs I know who are in med school are doing very well academically, not to mention the fact that they are leaving their 23 year old classmates, just- finished-BSc types, to eat dust when it comes to the more clinically oriented classes. Everyone who has made into med school can sit down and learn their anatomy or biochem, but it makes the "older students" with medical experience want to roll on the floor laughing when the poor 23 year olds who have seen nothing but the inside of their text books go to their rotations and can not tell if their patient is in CHF to save their own life much less the patient's...

    While the resp terrorists on this board will be dropping a tube like there is nothing to it, the "young kids" they should have steped aside for, are going to look like deer in front of headlights when the upper airway anatomy doesn't look just exactly what they expected to see.

    Most of the volunteer health related experiences of some of the "kids" out there are usefull just to show how commited they are to getting into med school. Although some adm. com. look benevolently at working in the transportation dept. of a hospital as "health care" related, I don't think pushing weelchairs and stretchers around all day will qualify you for academic excellance in medicine.

    I am an older student with an advanced degree. I think I proved that I can "handle" academic work when I finished grad school. There are plenty of people who have advanced degrees and who are applying to med school. If we follow your logic we should be given preference because:
    we HAVE proven we can do well in school, at even a higher level than just someone with an undergrad degree
    and
    we certainly have more experience in the sciences (volunteer and otherwise).

    Well, thankfully it doesn't work that way and everyone has a chance to compete on his own achievements and merits.

    The only other comment I could possibly make about such a post as yours is that it had to come from a pre-med who is looking for anything in the world to give him some extra edge to be accepted, even if it is just his birthday...
     
  5. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member

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    Nav,
    What are you thinking. First of all if you tell me that an EMT with several years experience doesn't have an edge in anatomy you are full of it. An EMT may not know every nerve and blood vessel that goes to each muscle or organ but that is not everything.
    I agree with the previous poster saying how older students are somtimes more mature and handle situations better than the "kids" who have spent their whole life in a book.
    As an older student I have enjoyed watching these "kids" stress out over little things that are very easy if you would just relax, take a step back and then attack the problem.
    Has being a paramedic and EMT helped me with Biochemistry? No, but it has helped me in almost all of my other classes. More than anything working for several years before coming back to school and then to medschool has taught me that not being the best in a class isn't what is important.
    Don't get me wrong, for all of the people who go straight through undergrad and know that being a DO is what they want that is great. That is just not the path that everyone chooses so while one student should be evaluated for admission based only on academic marks another student should be evaluated based on characteristics that would make them a good physician such as work and life experience. Isn't that what this is all about, being the best DO you can be?

    ------------------
    Carrie
    KCOM '03
     
  6. Mayqswet

    Mayqswet Senior Member

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    Nav,

    I'm not sure where you get your information about GPAs and MCAT scores of DO matriculants, but I certainly would not classify them as "much" lower than those accepted at MD programs. You might see 3.3 instead of 3.5, or an average cumulative of 27 instead of 29. These differences are hardly significant (statistically speaking of course).

    Yes, DO schools, just like many MD schools, like to round out their incoming class. This means that they want some people straight out of undergrad and some people with prior experience. However, I'm trying to figure out what is the purpose of your post.

    It sounds to me like you might be a little miffed because you or someone else is having difficult time getting in. If that is the case, you should focus your energy on how to improve your strategy instead of how you've been wronged.

    Phillip Snider, MS, RD
    UNECOM '04
     
  7. Nav

    Nav Member

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    Didn't mean to offend anyone, just trying to stimulate some discussion.
    No, I am not "miffed" because I didn't get in, actually I have already been accepted to a school. I was talking to a friend who is in first year and he told me that alot of his class is doing very poorly, and it tends to be the older students who have been out of school for awhile who are having trouble. (Just the opinion of one 1st year student, those of you in med schools have said different).
    If you read my first post, I recognize the points you all are making, that more life experiences give you an advantage. But how long will that advantage last? Eventually even the "kids" will learn everything they need to know about being a good doctor. So that is not a good reason for the bias.
    Personally, I think it is great when a person has taken a few years to decide that medicine is definitly what they want to do. Coming from a large university, I can tell you that there are many people for whom the competition of getting into medicine is their primary motivation. Some haven't even decided they want to be doctors. I think that it is important for admissions committees to weed out these types of people, maybe that is why they prefer non-traditional students.
    You have to excuse the ignorance. I have never met any non-traditional students. Thanks for the input.
     
  8. Paul's Boutique

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    By the way, Nav, what are your GPA and MCATs?... (being the spring chicken that you are, I'm expecting at least a 3.8 and 36+...)
    Don't let me down, Junior!
     
  9. Mayqswet

    Mayqswet Senior Member

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    Nav,

    Looking back at your first and last post, it is evident that your intention is to stimulate discussion. However, you should do your homework before you make such an inflammatory statement.

    I can't understand your logic when you assume that older students have lower averages. Sure, they may currently be out of the flow of school, but they were in school "back then" and at that time scored well enough to give them the grades needed to get accepted.

    Perhaps this particular school has chosen a group of applicants who are having a difficult time with the curriculum. And, perhaps a majority of these people have been out of school a while. However, it is also erroneous to assume that ALL DO schools "lower" their academic standards just to let those "older" students, so they can turn around and fail out.

    Before this post goes any further, you should rethink your question, ask someone else's opinion at another school and consider a course in tactful writing.
     
  10. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    So, Nav, where are you going?

    You are going to have to keep us "old farts" updated next year as if your theory is being proven...

    I don't know where your friend is going to school, but all the "elders" in my class are doing quite well. We had more youngsters who had trouble last year than the "geriatric crowd". Actually, I am amazed that your friend is already "on the know" as to his classmates performance, since the school year is not even half way through and people are usually tight lipped about grades. It takes a while to know who is doing well and who isn't and it is usually known just towards the end of the year, or when you come back as an MS2 and some of your classmates are not there...

    Also, you will find out that a BSc is of little help once you are in med school, as the pace is brutal. You will cover a semester work as an undergrad in a 2-3 weeks in med school and then it is on to new stuff. Take it from me, sonny...
     
  11. Nav

    Nav Member

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    Now that I am standing here with my foot planted firmly in my mouth. I have a couple of questions for you all.
    1) What is a spring chicken?
    2) Having gone the non-traditional route, if you could go back would you choose the traditional route to med school?
    3) Are some of you not wearing your bifocals? Read my first post, I said that succeeding in medical school has more to do with how much work you put into it than your age. I have no theory that intelligence decreases with age.
     
  12. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member

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    Hey Nav,
    Maybe inteligence does decrease with age. I feel like it right now. I quit my job making good money to come to medschool and endure this torture. What was I thinking?

    Just kidding. I think

    ------------------
    Carrie
    KCOM '03
     
  13. OldManDave

    OldManDave Fossil Bouncer Emeritus
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    Nav, Nav, Nav...did you open a can'O'worms or what? LMAO!!

    First, you are WAY off base to imply that ANY med school favors any demographic group with lower grades...gimme a break! However, as a general rule, DO schools [and some MD schools] are more interested in the ENTIRE package. They simply ask the question "What can this person bring to the class that can't be read in some textbook?"

    Non-trads, esp those with REAL medical experience bring real world experiences to the classroom. With 10 years plus a resp terrorist and another 4+ as a cardiac monitor technician, I KNOW a lot about the clinical stuff.

    OTOH, I have to keep my nose to the grinder for the basic sciences. That's where the "kids" come in handy. My study group benefits from my clinical experience and that of a couple of paramedic/EMT types. But, we also benefit from the more recent & polished knowledge of the youngsters in my group who just finished MSs.

    The biggest asset my professional experiences have yielded for me...WORK ETHIC! Another huge pint you have overlooked is that being a physician is a team thing. Competition is unavoidable amongst a group of overachievers such as med students. But, you might as well begin adapting to the team concept. You will find that your greatest asset as a Doc are the healthcare professionals who work with you!!

    Best of luck and success to you!

    ------------------
    'Old Man Dave'
    KCOM, Class of '03

    Nothing Risked, Nothing Gained!!


     
  14. DOPhD student

    DOPhD student Senior Member

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    To OldManDave, have you considered the following quotable quotes?
    1) Nothing risked, nothing lost.
    2) Winners don't quit, but quitters don't lose.
    3) All pain, no gain.
    4) Don't put off today's tasks until tomorrow when you can put them off forever.
    5) Quit, quit, quit...

    BTW, this is meant as a joke. Please don't spam me with hate mails.

    [This message has been edited by DOPhD student (edited 11-29-1999).]
     
  15. Nav

    Nav Member

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    OldManDave,
    That was a good point, it is nice to know that some people like to use their life experiences to help the younger students. Unlike, UHS2002 who "rolls around with laughter" when a younger student has difficulties.
     
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  17. OldManDave

    OldManDave Fossil Bouncer Emeritus
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    DOPhD...ROFLMAO!! yeah, I used to live by those creedos...that's why I am a 33 year old MS-1. I played WAY WAY too much my first trip thru Ugrad world! I would never spam ya' w/ hate mails...you've made far too many positive contributions to this board!

    Nav,

    UHS2002 is a good fella. He's made many posts to the benefit to all pre-meds and med students alike. I doubt he intended to come across as insensitive or unsupportive.

    ------------------
    'Old Man Dave'
    KCOM, Class of '03

    Nothing Risked, Nothing Gained!!


     
  18. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the compliment OMD :)

    Nav,

    as a matter of fact, I absolutely have no problem with the younger students in my class, nor with those older than me either. But you fail to realize that it is a matter of approach, and this I must generously attribute to your "youthfull immaturity" and the fact that you haven't begun med school yet (actually, you haven't even told us where you are going yet). Med school is tough for everybody, no matter their age, and once you get going you realize that you need to help and be helped a whole lot through these four years, by students and faculty alike. It is just that the attitude "move aside, grandpa, here I come" is not going to get you many friends,nor much help, and you really came across that way in your original post. You don't think you were offensive?! Well, shall we do a little experiment and replace your references to "older students" for a minority group of your preference?! I think you will find out fast enough how "better than you" your original post sounded. Here, allow me to try and paraphrase:
    "I am not saying that women (or choose another one such as African-Americans, Jews, Asian-Americans, etc) are automatically poorer students. Anybody who works hard can do well. But should they be favored during the admissions process?"

    (no intent to be disparaging to any of the above groups, prejudice is always ugly, I am afraid, against any group. And a sense of entitlement goes together with prejudice)

    'nough said?!
     
  19. Paul's Boutique

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    OMD's a respiratory terrorist? Whoa! Gotta watch my lungs!
     
  20. OldManDave

    OldManDave Fossil Bouncer Emeritus
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    Yes, I am and damned proud of it! I have bailed out more than resident's @$$ when the poo-poo hit the fan!



    ------------------
    'Old Man Dave'
    KCOM, Class of '03

    Nothing Risked, Nothing Gained!!


     
  21. DoctorK

    DoctorK Member

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    Nav,
    I think that my success as a non-traditional student comes from my ability to manage my time wisely. I'm a 29 year old mother of a four year old, have had two jobs since last summer plus volunteer work, and have now interviewed at 4 schools. What I can do that I know my younger counterparts struggle with is budgeting time properly. I spend much less time studying than the spring chickens, but my grades are dramatically higher. That is why the older students will outperform the younger ones in med school. Plus, as many others have stated, the real-life experiences (whether medically-related or just dealing with people up-close and personal) give the older student more polished clinical skills. Any other questions?

    ------------------
    We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.

    --Willy Wonka
     
  22. Nav

    Nav Member

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    UHS2002, obviously reading comprehension is not tested on in medical school, maybe you should review that section of your MCAT preparation guide. I have no "move aside, grandpa, here I come" attitude either. Maybe my first post was not worded right, but I was more careful in the ones I wrote after, so noone could misunderstand.
    At the time of my first post, I did think that older students were favored during the admission process, but I soon realized that is not true after reading the replies to my statement.
    I realize that you are probably offended because I took some of your words ("rolling around with laughter") out of context. (Don't you hate it when people do that???), someone could read your last post and think that I am bigoted, and I do not appreciate that.
     
  23. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    I am so sorry I thought you were bigotted. It was obviously ignorance and not bigotry and I missed that point.

    Since you have started this trend, you have been less than respectfull of others but have expected to be treated with respect. That goes for the "reading comprehension" jab too, doesn't it?!

    I don't think there is anything wrong with my reading comprehension, but there is plenty wrong with your attitude.

    I am still overly curious as to WHERE you have been accepted to med school.
     
  24. IDAHO

    IDAHO Member

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    I'm curious too. Where are you going Nav?

    ------------------
    RYAN
    UHS, Class of 2004
     
  25. Thalamus

    Thalamus Member

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    Me too, Nav!!
    I've been watching all of this from the sidelines, but can't resist any longer.
    I am a 41 yr. old female with undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Broadcast Journalism. I have two daughters in college whom I support 100% financially by working full time--and oh, yes,in the last 24 months I have been doing post bacc work to meet all of my science prereqs, took the MCAT, have been volunteering as a forensic pathology autopsy tech and as a research assistant for a Chief of Trauma-- all at the same time. I was just named to the 1999 National Dean's List. I have one acceptance, two wait-lists and four more schools to hear from.

    NAV--I am proud to be that older student you speak of, and hope to see you in class next year. No doubt we can help each other succeed!
    p.s.--I aced anatomy I&II and physiology I & II (yep,took them all the same semester)so, Alzheimer's hasn't set in yet!!
     
  26. Thalamus

    Thalamus Member

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    NAV,
    To your 11/29 post I'd like to respond:
    Yes, if I had it to do over again, I probably would take what we are assigning the 'traditional' route if I wasn't married, had no children or other obligations.
    However, I married at age 18 (Freshman year--blind date--true love--still married) and had my first child a year later. I chose to wait until our youngest child was in college before taking on the rigors of med school. Having said that, I fully anticipate med school to be less demanding than what I have been doing the past 24 months (we won't count raising teenagers, o.k.?)
    Best of luck to you!
     
  27. Nav

    Nav Member

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    I will be the first to admit that I was ignorant when I wrote that first post, and I admitted as much in my second post.
    How come you all are so curious to where I am going to go to med school? Planning on giving me a hard time? I will be attending AZCOM, and look forward to spending many years studying next to my older, but well- qualified medical school classmates.
    UHS2002, that reading comprehension comment was just a joke. (At least I thought it was funny) But I have to defend myself when you keep making assumptions about me that aren't true. I honestly never meant to disrespect you or anybody else on this form, sorry that you took it that way. Can we put this ugliness behind us? (Olive branch being offered.)
    Thalamus, my hat is off to you, I have no doubt that you will be a great doctor. Do you mind if I ask: why after all these years you have decided to go to medical school?
     
  28. OMD 2

    OMD 2 Member

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    Nav,

    Thanks for making the conciliatory gesture...I hope all parties will be gracious enough to accept it and put this fray behind us.

    Thanks,

    ------------------
    Old Man Dave
    KCOM, Class of 2003

    Nothing Risked, Nothing Gained!!

     
  29. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    Nav,

    obviously we are all planning to give you a hard time as to where you are going to school, we all think our own school is superlative, when compared to all others! Ok guys, don't kill me, this last comments is meant as a joke :)

    Olive branch taken and no hard feelings. Best of luck at AZCOM!
     
  30. Nav

    Nav Member

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    Now that things are fine again, could someone please tell me what a spring chicken is???
     
  31. Poet

    Poet Member

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    ROFLMFAO.. DAMN IM ONLY 27 AND I KNOW WHAT A SRING CHICKEN IS!!!!!!!!!! PLEASEEEEE TELL ME IM NOT THAT OLD!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  32. Thalamus

    Thalamus Member

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    A spring chicken is the 20th century slang term for young and/or inexperienced. It's history lies in the chronological birthing time of farm chickens, kind of like spring/fall romances... you know, young woman, old man.
    It simply implies ignorant youthfulness.
     
  33. Kent Ray

    Kent Ray Member

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    You people need to spend your time studing! An older student has no better of a chance of making it through medical school and clinical rotations than a younger student. Being an EMT or PA will help in the first few months of rotations but the by then you should be even. I notice many of you are 2002, or 2003 students. You shouldn't presume things to be true until you are out their with experience on your hands.

    [This message has been edited by Kent Ray (edited 12-11-1999).]
     
  34. Nav

    Nav Member

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    Poet, 27! You are old. Have you ever called someone a "whipper snapper"? :)

    I am not a spring chicken.

    I think earlier I said the same thing that Kent Ray did. (But in a much nicer way). It sounds like the main advantage EMTs and Respiratory terrorists will have is in the ER setting. Most med school applicants have worked closely with patients, so won't we be even in the other areas?
     
  35. Poet

    Poet Member

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    Hi Nav you little whipper snapper [​IMG]

    I've been a nurse for 8 years so I have a lot of experience in doing many clinical things such as caths, injections, bedside diagnoses (nurses often make a preliminary diagnosis and report it to the MD), treatments, etc etc.
    I think I might know a bit about how a lot of things are standardly treated as well, just from seeing it ordered/prescribed a million times.

    I don't think that would necessarily give me an "advantage" over other med students, it would just make me more familiar with certain things than others. Everyone will have to learn to do all those things eventually. As for me, if there is information I can share with fellow class mates I would be more than willing to offer help or guidance. [​IMG]

    Although I have a lot of medical experience, I also know that there are two different sets of diagnoses.. one that nurses make and one that doctors make. This is where a HUGE difference is that can sometimes be a disadvantaged to those not going into medicine with an open mind.

    Good luck with all your endeavors [​IMG]

    poet
     
  36. Thalamus

    Thalamus Member

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    Poet,
    You started nursing at age 19?
     
  37. Poet

    Poet Member

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    I started nursing at 18 after getting my GED at 15 [​IMG]
     
  38. OMD 2

    OMD 2 Member

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    Nope,

    Being an RRT does give me an advantage over my fellow students; but only in certain aspects of school. Your being younger copnveys advantages in other ways. My life and professional experiences do, however, make me much more familiar with dealing with patients, doctors and other healthcare professionals. I always do my best to ensure my skills and exeriences are used to my betterment, and to the betterment of my fellow students. And, these skills apply to a much much broader scale than 'just in the ER/ICU'.

    Furthermore, in no way can you compare real, hands-on patient care with volunteering in the ER or clinical lab. Yes, most applicants aren't fortunate enough to have real experience and I strongly advocate the volunteerism displayed by doing such work. But, in now way could you ever compare passing out cookies in the ER or following a Doc around on rounds or watching a procedure or two to many years of actual patient care. Sorry, you're comparing apples to oranges...it doesn't wash!

    I'm afraid your naivity is again rearing its head. However, no offense taken or intended as you will learn the reality of it all once you guys get into school. There will be several clinical people in your class, like myself, who will prove invaluable in helping you learn how to deal with patients, other professionals and to whone your assessment skills. And you young people, so fresh out of school, will be wonderful in helping those of us who are chronologically challenged to survive those basic sciences!

    It is a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship!!

    ------------------
    Old Man Dave
    KCOM, Class of 2003

    Nothing Risked, Nothing Gained!!

     
  39. Nav

    Nav Member

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    I agree with you, OMD, it is important to learn from your classmates as well.
    I wouldn't say that my clinical experience come close to yours or most people on this forum. I feel that I am typical of most of the younger applicants. I have all the hospital volunteer experiences, special olympics, first aid at events, etc. I do know how to interact well with patients and their families, and how to think along medical lines: i.e. how to splint a broken arm, how to encourage a person to follow their doctor prescribed diet, etc. Isn't this the level of knowledge they expect from someone who is entering medical school?
    True, going from being a nurse, a PA or an EMT to a DO will be a much easier process because you've been involved with many more medical processes and have alot more experience working with patients.
    I guess I will just have to see once I start school. We should continue this discussion in a few years, and we will see what this "spring chicken" finds out.
     

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