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Qualified nontrad doctors practicing

sengineer

Full Member
Apr 15, 2011
69
3
  1. Pre-Dental
    I have a couple of questions for anyone who has completed this arduious path to becoming a doctor. I have already started & still need to improve grades & just would like to get perspective of doctors who are either residents or newly qualified and over the age of 35. I got into a discussion with someone who did get accepted and is having personal difficulties that is conflicting with his studies. My questions:
    Do you face unfair disadvantages, discrimination or lack of credibility from others in the work environment who know your age?
    What is the biggest setback or 'unexpected realization' you encountered on this endeavour?

    I think having realistic stories helps prepare one in the long run rather than discourage so please feel free to speak freely.
     

    QofQuimica

    Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Moderator Emeritus
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    1. Fellow [Any Field]
    2. Attending Physician
      I'm a 40-year-old first year attending.

      To answer your first question in a word, no.

      My answer to the second question would be that if I had known ahead of time what medical training (intern year in particular) would be like, I would not have gone to medical school. But it has nothing to do with my age.
       

      sengineer

      Full Member
      Apr 15, 2011
      69
      3
      1. Pre-Dental
        I'm a 40-year-old first year attending.

        To answer your first question in a word, no.

        My answer to the second question would be that if I had known ahead of time what medical training (intern year in particular) would be like, I would not have gone to medical school. But it has nothing to do with my age.

        Thanks so much for your response.
         
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        Darth Doc

        Full Member
        7+ Year Member
        Jun 22, 2013
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        1. Resident [Any Field]
          What is the biggest setback or 'unexpected realization' you encountered on this endeavour?

          As a nontrad, I've been told that I've been singled out as a top candidate for opportunities (prior to interviews that went well) due to my background. In my case I believe I've had some advantages that outweigh the difficulties. (But I'm only first year. I have a long way to go.)
           

          chooks

          Full Member
          5+ Year Member
          Oct 3, 2014
          122
          105
          1. Attending Physician
            I am a final year resident at 41. No problems with discrimination, lack of credibility, and some such. On the contrary, as Darth alluded to, I think that the experiences and background that non-trads bring to medical training helps them rise above the run-of-the-mill 22 year old M1.

            As to biggest setback - the hardest part has been accepting that my physical fitness has had to take a back seat to the rest of my responsibilities. Med school is relatively easy to stay in shape in, but residency (and new fatherhood, home ownership, etc...) is essentially impossible. (at least for long distance endurance type sports).

            - chooks
             
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            cabinbuilder

            Urgent Care Physician
            15+ Year Member
            Nov 21, 2005
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            Texas
            1. Attending Physician
              I graduated residency at 40. I did face some snide comments from older attendings. "Aren't you a little old to be an intern?", etc. I found it hard to bite my tongue in certain situations when the attending was younger than me and was being a bully. Like the IM guy who told me I was to be "at his beck and call 24/7 for his rotation." I told him NO, wasn't gonna happen as I had a husband who worked and day care to schedule, etc. He passed me with a 72.

              Anyhow, I found that my energy wasn't the same and my dream of becoming a surgeon got put by the wayside when I hit residency and decided, "I am not doing this for 5-6 years, 3 years is long enough."

              Other than that, I was Chief Resident. I actually had a good time in residency and was at a very laid back program that as family oriented.
               
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              efex101

              attending
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                I am soon to be 49 and have been an attending now for four years...I have NOT been discriminated upon and nobody will let you slack off because you are older either. Medical school was hard but residency is brutal. Most folks do not care how old you are but you do need to keep up with the younger ones and that can be tough with night call and incessant rotations that are tough. I at times found that some non trads expected preferential treatment for childcare/spousal/husband duties and that rubbed ME a fellow non trad the wrong way. IF you work like the rest of your cohort you will be fine but this is no walk in the park.
                 
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                neurologist

                En garde
                Moderator Emeritus
                15+ Year Member
                Aug 26, 2003
                5,251
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                1. Attending Physician
                  Do you face unfair disadvantages, discrimination or lack of credibility from others in the work environment who know your age?

                  Nope, never been an issue. Medicine is full of non-trads nowadays.

                  What is the biggest setback or 'unexpected realization' you encountered on this endeavour?

                  No real setbacks or surprises, it was all pretty much what I expected.
                  But the most important advice that I would give to a non-trad would be that if you have a family, make damn sure your partner is 101% behind you with this, because their lives will probably change more than yours will during school and residency.
                   

                  Gfliptastic

                  Internist who started med school at 33
                  7+ Year Member
                  Jul 14, 2010
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                  1. Attending Physician
                    I will continue to reinforce what is being posted. Being older is viewed mostly positive. We are viewed w/ maturity, responsibility, dependability.

                    The only prejudice I've encountered is that some perceptions that I won't have as much energy as my younger counterparts. Age-ism. But age is nothing but a number. In med school I partied w/ my younger classmates. But I can do MORE w/ less sleep. Anyone who has lived a life outside of medical school, who has real world living experience probably can do the same.

                    I worked the floors w/ the younger kids and ran circles around them. Yet it has to be proven. Prima fasciae most people believe we may not be able to keep up w/ the grueling demands of an intern. Because it is grueling.

                    Still I've had PD's on the interview trail tell me that they seek out non-traditional students because of the positive prejudice I listed. It's up to you to shatter the "can't keep up" negative prejudice. I MIGHT drink more coffee than some of the younger folks. But I'm an old man, don't we always drink our coffee! ;)
                     
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