cherenuff

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Hello all!

After reading some of the threads on this forum, I am relieved to see some folks starting out in their 30's+.

I'm sure my situation isn't that "unique", but still have to ask away. Here's the story.

I am 36 with 4 children ages 4-18. My 5 year old is severely mentally and physically handicapped with a rare genetic syndrome. I earned my GED due to my being pregnant at an early age and attended a few college courses with 4.0 average when I was 22. Figuring I enjoyed the Mommy track, I continued to breed (;) ) and worked part time as a secretary and then eventually became a Stay At Home Mom.

After my ill daughter was born and the MANY numerous times being in the hospital, my long-suppressed desire to go into medicine re-emerged. Of course, my family advised me to forget the MD/DO route and try nursing.

My plan is/was to do my pre-reqs, attend nursing school and while working finished up my bachelors/masters for nursing. I would then decide if I wanted to go the PA, NP or CRNA route and quit while going to one of those schools. I've always been interested in surgery and/or pulmonology.

NOW...after reading some on this forum and talking to one of my daughter's homecare nurses (who is in her fourth year of MD school), I wonder if I should just go for my pre-reqs for MD/DO school and just go for it.

I know that all people have different situations but just thought I'd get some feedback. My husband makes enough for us to survive (barely) and I have nursing and special care for my disabled daughter (for awhile, at least).

Any thoughts or sage advice?
 

awk

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Your post does not really ask anything we can answer. It sounds like you are trying to decide whether or not to pursue medicine. Perhaps when you make up you mind you can ask for advice on the route to medical school admission.

If you are looking for someone to tell you if you can or can't do it....you can. But it is not easy. Its very hard for single twenty-somethings but for you it would be even tougher.

I would suggest that you start taking pre-med classes and start towards a BA or BS and see how that goes. This will help you determine whether or not your time and money constraints will become a problem.
 

Tired Pigeon

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If medicine is truly your calling (only you can answer this), you might as well get started on it because nothing else is going to bring you the same satisfaction. Don't dwell too much about how long it's going to take, how hard it's going to be, and how many sacrifices you'll have to make. Just get started and take it one week (one day? one hour?) at a time. Enjoy the journey and you'll end up at the destination.
 
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Krisss17

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Just as Tired Pigeon stated, this is only a call that you can make. Having a family and a child with special needs, it will be difficult for you at times.

You need to research between nursing and medicine...they have two totally different models of care. The medical model deals with diagnosis and treatment related to that diagnosis and any co-morbidities that exist, while nursing relates the the patients' responses to their illness and treatments. At times I think that it is harder to be a nurse than a physician...not that it is harder to become one than a doctor, but when you are dealing with patients, you need to both develop a thick skin and yet be sensitive towards your patients. A nurse will spend a lot more time, especially compared to a physician, with their patients. Now this is not because a physician doesn't want to spend time with them, but due to time and the amountof patients they will be caring for, it is not possible for them a lot of time with them.

Best of luck!
 

MomTo2Boys

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You and I are a lot alike!!

I am also a "Stay at Home Mom" except that I toss onto there "Stay at Home HOMESCHOOLING Mom" to my 13 and 8 year old sons. I worked for many years and have only been a SAHM for maybe four years or so.

Now that my sons are getting older (you too, with having an 18 year old) I'm starting to be able to breathe a little more (now that they're out of diapers/can feed themselves/ can bathe themselves) and I'm looking around and thinking... whoa... a few years more down the road and they're grown and gone (*sniff*) and then what? I plant a garden and scrapbook all the pictures I didn't have time to scrapbook earlier?? Or I try to have a career?

I'm 32 and I have a B.S. (thankfully, I did well and got good grades) and I don't want to cheat my children but I also want to look down the road and say, okay, the time is coming when I'll have an "empty nest"... what then?

What I can say for you is that you won't have to overcome any bad grades like other non-trads sometimes have to do. And I'm hoping (crossing fingers) that you and I and those like us have been through so much in our lives that we will have a ton of interesting things to discuss in our interviews and essays. I hope that counts for a lot, but being a SAHM just seems SO undervalued in our society. I'm lower than the garbage collector. At least the garbage collector's yearly Medicare statement says that he or she is accruing credits toward Medicare!! What insane world do we live in that a SAHM sacrificing herself and raising her children isn't going to qualify for Medicare when she's elderly because she "didn't contribute"???? But don't get me started... but it's all the same thing: I'm terrified that since I'm "JUST" a SAHM that I'm going to be sneered at/ looked down on/ what have you.

You know what we have? We have our children. We have our families. And I am totally ready to look an interviewer in the eye and say... Listen ~ you may not let me in/ Nobody may let me in/ But I had my children and I raised them and if I died today I would feel like my life was happy and fulfilled. And as I age I will have children and grandchildren and a husband who adores me and that counts (for me) for a whole lot more than a career.

But wouln't it be nice to have both the wonderful family AND the career? Because if you and I (and those like us) can pull it off, I'm convinced that this way (having children young/raising them/ THEN starting a career) is much easier than doing it in reverse: having the career and trying to fit in the children. I know that I would have abandoned the career in order to stay home for I did that already and feel strongly that it was the right decision for me. So instead of trying to insert the children into the career, can we please just start the career after the children??

Talk about less guilt that way....

Here's hoping that we can start a new trend. :) Please, scholarly world, PLEASE tell me that those of us patiently raising our children will still have a shot at the career on the other side of childbearing. :) Nothing says "patience" and "self-sacrifice" like being a SAHM. :) That's gotta count for something...

Right?
 

ExtremeUnderdog

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Echoing TiredPigeon and Kriss, I would also suggest finding your true passion first. There are two possibilities I see:

a. You have seen medicine through the lens of your child's experiences and it has appealed to you on a cerebral and/or visceral level. However, the practice of medicine, through the lens of the practitioner, is quite different. Once you see it from this vantage point, you may become entirely disenchanted or simply not interested enough to invest the next decade of your life (plus a hefty sum) into its pursuit. In this case, nursing may quite possibly be a supremely gratifying career choice.

b. Medicine is your true passion, the practice of medicine fits your character and personality, the reality of medicine is something you are built to embrace (even if you have not yet realized all of this). However, you are intimidated by the number and magnitude of obstacles you must overcome and the commitment you must make in order to practice medicine, so you decide to choose nursing as a reasonable alternative. In this case, nursing will always seem second best and the yearning for that MD/DO will likely only grow stronger with time (anecdotal evidence gathered from real-life friends/family/acquaintances and cyber-people). If you were in your (early) twenties, this would not be entirely terrible (albeit, you might later feel like you wasted time) as you have a very reasonable chance to change careers and become and MD/DO in your 30s. Since you are older, it will be much less realistic to expect that such a change will be possible... while I know that people in their 40s and even 50s go to medical school, it is much more likely that whatever choice you make now will define the rest of your professional career.

It may be helpful for you to spend some time shadowing different doctors in your area and gaining exposure to them not as a patient but as an observer of their professional world(s). This could serve as the first step in deciding whether or not you want to practice medicine. Similarly, you could talk to nurses about their professional lives and find out their perspectives. Best of luck... :luck:
 

Kateb4

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MomTo2Boys....

OMG, you just about made me cry. Say those words to any adcom, and if they don't let you in I don't want to go to that school. In fact, can I use some of your sentiments in my personal statement, lol!
 

Nasrudin

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Go straight ahead for medicine.

My logic. What's the difference between 25 years as a nurse and 20 years as a nurse. You can always do nursing if medical school doesn't work out.

However given the herculean task of getting accepted, completing medical school, and residency...it's probably best for someone in their 30's to get started with it. There are some nursing pathways that you could make some use of a biology degree to accelerate an NP pursuit as well.

I am not a family man yet but as someone your age who has worked for some years in healthcare...I personally think if you have the impulse to become a physician then nursing is not for you, but you could ask your child's nurse about that if you haven't already. Healthcare is strange in that each profession in rigidly entrenched in some program of education and process of licensure. If your a curious person like I am and learning things and trying to master things gives you deep satisfaction your personality will pit you against the mountainous immovability of dogmatic professional turfing. There are very few paths to any creativity and analytical thinking in clinical medicine. It could be argued that there is only one--being a physician. This is something most people outside of healthcare are not so keenly aware of and its difficult to describe until your on the inside and you see something you want to learn about or even help in the doing of but you quickly realize that wandering off the well-beaten path of your particular job title mean that your subject to being crushed by the immense weight of medical bureaucracy. This has caused in me the realization that its physician or bust. Bust meaning something else entirely.
 

cherenuff

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Thank you all for the wonderful responses!

It all comes down to one thing...what is my passion? I wanted to be a doctor when I was 6, then again at 12 and by 16 started a plan that would take me into the Air Force in order to train to be a doctor and have my education paid for.

Unfortunately, parents, bad decisions and the lack of counseling/information deterred me from that path until my daughter's illness exposed me again to the medical world and lit a little fire under the arse.

Friends and family have told me that I'm too old at 36 to start over and that I have responsibilities to my children and being around as they grow up. Or God forbid (and was actually told this), "what if my daughter dies...wouldn't I want to be around for her as much as possible?"

Sooo, suggestions abounded and Nursing seemed to be the answer. Unfortunately, I don't want to be a bedside nurse. I want to be the one finding the problems and then finding the answers. I have hell of a lot of respect for nurses but can't see myself doing that for very long. Thus, my solution...get my nursing degree, do my time, and start the PA or CRNA route ASAP. AT least I could get close to my dream (and would like to make a decent income so that my husband can stop working 15 hour days, 6 days a week!)

As stated on previous posts...I just need to decide how powerful my need to become a doctor is and make that jump. Of course, the decision making got a bit easier knowing that there are 30 somethings starting anew as well.

Thanks sooo much for the responses!
 

Nasrudin

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cherenuff,

Good luck with everything. I understand how the demands on your life modulate your ability to take on everything. I certainly don't have anywhere near the demands that you do with your children, so I don't think my opinion counts for too much but just a thought for keeping your options open: My mother went back to school to get her NP after 15-20 years in nursing and loves the clinical side of healthcare. Her advice to me when I was thinking of paramedic school or PA or nursing was to go PA. It's the most clinically-based educational model for mid-level providers. It tends to favor specialties (pulmonology = you working with a pulmonologist) rather than family practice although this is merely a generalization it does bear out in the numbers. The one's with more degree-packing punch are the master's programs that contain a clinical training component You could also execute the requirements for this path while keeping half-an eye cocked on medical school. As the two could potentially have some overlap.

To be honest I really biased by my peripheral experience with the nursing field. I would go back to school to get a phd in history at age 50 before I would be caught dead in a nursing curriculum. But its a such a personal choice...I'm sure with your experience you'll be the type to bring and receive wonderful things from any career choice.

Take care and good luck.

P.S. The person who brought up your daughter's death however well-meaning or close to you is the type of person who will hold you back from doing anything. I'm surrounded by those types. I keep my mouth shut about my plans around most folks. The sad thing is a lot of people don't want to see others striving and succeeding.
 
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