mafiabug

10+ Year Member
Apr 17, 2008
5
0
bay area, ca
Status
Pre-Medical
hi there. first post ever. i have been seriously considering medical school for awhile, however, have not yet fully committed. this is a major decision and will involve major sacrifices. the good news is that my girlfriend of 12 years will be supportive if i decide on medical school. i can't sit here and deliberate forever, though.

i i want to know and feel without a doubt that i am willing to sacrifice approximately ten years of my life. on top of that, and the main reason for this post, ahave done a lot of research on what is involved at both the premedical and medical student level and know that it is possible (plan on beginning a post-bacc program beginning either this fall or next summer, work as an emt for a couple of years, and volunteer at local hospital - hopefully, a low-cost clinic). i am hesitant because of the inescapable politics involved with medicine. i feel a lot of people are either getting substandard or no care at all due to the structure of our insurance system. then, there are the patients themselves. for example, those who have high blood pressure and damaged lungs but refuse to quit (an so on). i am realistic in that i know it is impossible to make everyone happy and healthy, but whatever i decide on, i want to be prepared for the issues that i may feel uncomfortable/disagree with. i tell myself at times that i can help reform the insurance system and/or work part-time/full-time at a low cost clinic when the time arrives. anyway, i am beginning to ramble.

i am curious to know if any of you went through a similar situation while thinking about medicine? if so, what are/were your thoughts to keep you marching on in the pursuit of a medical degree? thank you!
 

spazzz

10+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2008
518
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Medical Student
what kept me going is realizing how much I already invested into it. girlfriend of 12 years? whoa
 
OP
mafiabug

mafiabug

10+ Year Member
Apr 17, 2008
5
0
bay area, ca
Status
Pre-Medical
is that a whoa pacino style? pretty much married without the paper. i wanted to do a shout out to her because without her support (financially and emotionally), i would not be able to pursue a medical degree.
 

Luxian

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2006
405
1
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There are a lot of frustrations with being a doctor and you've hit the nail on the head with some of them: insurance issues, non-compliance, etc. You have to be able to enjoy saving (a few) lives even though the chance of death for humans is still 100%. All we as doctors can do is delay it a little.

However, I wanted to address one thing you mentioned.

i i want to know and feel without a doubt that i am willing to sacrifice approximately ten years of my life.
If you feel you are giving up 10 years of your life, don't do it. Part of what convinced me to pursue this route was knowing that I would actively ENJOY medical school. Sure, it's gonna be a hell of a lot of work, but I am excited about learning things every day, understanding the way the body works, working with patients, learning both a science and a craft, etc etc etc. If you feel that the 5-10 years it takes to be a doctor would be pure agony, DO NOT do it!!!

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are several jumping off points. You can do post-bacc and not go to med school. Now you're more prepared for jobs in bio-tech. You can go to med school and not do residency. Now you're eminently hireable by biotech, government policy, public health, erc. You can do one year of residency instead of 3, 5, or 7 years. Now you can do family practice.

Yes, it's a big commitment, but perhaps not as big a one as you think.
 
OP
mafiabug

mafiabug

10+ Year Member
Apr 17, 2008
5
0
bay area, ca
Status
Pre-Medical
luxian, thank you kindly for the thoughtful reply. i apologize for not being clear by what i meant by sacrifices. sacrifices that i forsee have nothing directly related to the learning process. i know i will love and appreciate the knowledge that i will learn. i am taking a non-science major biology class at a local community college and i am enjoying learning the basics. i come home after lecture and tell k (girlfriend) about what i have learned all the time (i probably look like a goof, but she tolerates it). i will be leaving my profession as an engineer so that i can take an accelerated emt-b class (approximately a month class full-time five days a week starting in the summer) (already gave the notice, wasn't tough to do to be honest), and hopefully will begin volunteering at a low-cost clinic nearby (been trying to get a hold of the contact, but tough to do). it's a long story, but there was a time earlier in my life (20's) that fields related to human care/medicine (and ems) was something that i wanted to do but did not pursue for a list of reasons. what i meant by sacrifices have to do with family obligations. k and i are going to try to have a child hopefully within a year, and if that happens, my little friend will be about 2 to 3 years old if i get accepted to medical school. i have a feeling that there will be times that i will not be able to devote as much time as i would like to spend with my child and k...and, friends. helping financially is another sacrifice, however, it will be temporarily and k would help out. sacrifices is not just for me either – as the above examples highlight. also, k and my potential child may have to relocate to a different area/state (probably not a big deal for a youngster) if i get accepted to a medical school not close to home. it's these sacrifices that i was weighing. and, after thinking about them seriously for some time now and discussing them with k, the path to medical school is still approachable. i have also done serious thinking about if there is anything else that i could do, and i keep coming back to medicine. medicine is definitely at my core. also, sdn and oldpremeds have been wonderful help in knowing that there are people in similar situations that are (or were) in med school with families and doing relatively fine.

also, good points about other avenues one could use with a post-bacc and/or medical education.
 

Osteodog

DO, DPM
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May 2, 2006
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I'm 46 years old and I just finished my 4th year of med school. Additionally, I was a DPM for 3 years before I decided to return to med school to become a fully licensed physician. And, I didn't start podiatry school until I was 32 years old. Point is, I never, ever kept my mind off of being a doc (meaning a fully licensed, full-body doctor). Even when I was going through pod school, I knew that I wasn't going to be doing it for the rest of my life. It wasn't what I imagined a doctor to be. My dreams of being a doc started way back in 1982 when I was in junior college. It took me 10 years before I could even finish the pre-reqs and, even then, the numbers just weren't good enough. I was left with only pod school (which will take pretty much anyone as long as they have a pulse). I grudgingly went to pod school, but figured that if it didn't live up to my expectations, I'd just bail. And bail I did! Thankfully, I met and married someone who supported my decision to quit my fairly lucrative practice to pursue my lifelong dream.

Aside from the ramblings, I guess my point is that NOTHING should stop you if you really, really want to be a doctor. For me, there just isn't anything else that compares. I can't tell you how fricking happy I am that I finally did it. It's like now I can focus on the rest of my life because I've reached my ultimate dream. Anyway, I'm beginning to sound kind of schmaltzy. Death should be the only impedence in your quest to be a doctor.
 

MSTPbound

student
Moderator Emeritus
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Oct 1, 2006
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Death should be the only impedence in your quest to be a doctor.
Agreed, within reason. Ten years will come to pass no matter what. The question is, would you be happy doing anything else when it does? If so, then can medical school.

If not, then welcome to SDN, and to the beginning of the rest of your life! :)

Best of :luck:.
 

Osteodog

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Ten years will pass (or, if it doesn't, then all bets are off), but my reasoning was "what else would I rather be doing than preparing myself to be a doctor"? It's a simple equation for me: If you want it badly enough, never stop trying.

The time invested is totally irrelevant because (pardon the dramatics) each day spent in pursuit of your dreams will beat out any ordinary day of your life.
 

pyschmdtobe

10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2008
8
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
thank you! thank you!
your words are imepiring!!!!!! iam 41 have 2 years of premed to go and would love to go and enjoy every minute of
med school!!!! thought 41 was feeling a bit to old.
 

rohara30

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 3, 2008
10
1
Philadelphia
Status
Non-Student
I knew I wanted to be a physician during my second bachelors degree when I worked as a student nursing assistant. I loved treating patients. And I really liked the people I work w/ in health care - the doctors, nurses, techs, etc. Medicine is a completely different vibe than what people outside the industry see. I knew from then on it's what I was going to do. In other words, it's challenging, rewarding, fit to my strengths, and lucrative. That's basically why I'm choosing medicine.

The concerns you outline in your posts are very real, and there are certain ways to address them. You can choose one of the rare specialties where the patients listen to the physician - ortho/sports medicine for instance. They'll do anything to get healthy and back on the field/track/rink/court etc, so the doctor's word is gospel. Or you could do what most physicians do and realize most of your patients don't have the willpower, discipline, or toughness to follow your medical advice to quit smoking, start being physically active, and stop eating donuts and chasing them down w/ pizza. But a few will, and when they show up for their follow up visit 15 lbs less than they were 2 months ago, you'll remember why you went to medical school in the first place. Those moments are why we're all here.
 

aiLoveJuh

ai em suh pa!
10+ Year Member
May 11, 2008
12
0
Milwaukee.
Status
Non-Student
Osteodog- "
Ten years will pass (or, if it doesn't, then all bets are off), but my reasoning was "what else would I rather be doing than preparing myself to be a doctor"? It's a simple equation for me: If you want it badly enough, never stop trying.



----Wow,I totally loved everything that you had to say! I am not a student yet but I plan on getting into pre-med this Aug, I have one child and I was weighing my options as well,... thanks so much for the response to this persons question you really put what I was thinking into the words I couldn't find.
"each day spent in pursuit of your dreams will beat out any ordinary day of your life."
LOVE THAT. =)
 

studentDO

10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
76
0
Status
thank you! thank you!
your words are imepiring!!!!!! iam 41 have 2 years of premed to go and would love to go and enjoy every minute of
med school!!!! thought 41 was feeling a bit to old.
dude (or dudette, I never know) .. I am 39, I have two kids and a wife and I am giving up a six figure salary to start med school in August. I come home with more money than most physicians, apart from surgical specialties. Over the last ten years I lived the life of the "buying big houses and fast cars" just because it was cliche, and all the time I was actually contemplating suicide (not kidding). Since I went back to school to take pre-reqs and started shadowing a doc I have felt like I have a purpose and a direction and I can't even understand why I was that way before. The point is that I will finally feel personally satisfied that I am doing something with my life and making an impact on the lives of others.

I hope this helps because I wouldn't just tell anybody this! :laugh:


mafiabug said:
i am hesitant because of the inescapable politics involved with medicine. i feel a lot of people are either getting substandard or no care at all due to the structure of our insurance system. then, there are the patients themselves
If you see a problem then all you can do is try and make a difference! I see the same thing and I am already formulating a plan ... Don't let the politics bother you, I was at the hospital the other day eating lunch with a group of surgeons and one of them told me that "no matter how much you hear us sit around and complain you will never meet a group of more personally satisfied people". That cleared up every question that I have ever had.
 

8744

Guest
15+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2001
9,322
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hi there. first post ever. i have been seriously considering medical school for awhile, however, have not yet fully committed. this is a major decision and will involve major sacrifices. the good news is that my girlfriend of 12 years will be supportive if i decide on medical school. i can't sit here and deliberate forever, though.

i i want to know and feel without a doubt that i am willing to sacrifice approximately ten years of my life. on top of that, and the main reason for this post, ahave done a lot of research on what is involved at both the premedical and medical student level and know that it is possible (plan on beginning a post-bacc program beginning either this fall or next summer, work as an emt for a couple of years, and volunteer at local hospital - hopefully, a low-cost clinic). i am hesitant because of the inescapable politics involved with medicine. i feel a lot of people are either getting substandard or no care at all due to the structure of our insurance system. then, there are the patients themselves. for example, those who have high blood pressure and damaged lungs but refuse to quit (an so on). i am realistic in that i know it is impossible to make everyone happy and healthy, but whatever i decide on, i want to be prepared for the issues that i may feel uncomfortable/disagree with. i tell myself at times that i can help reform the insurance system and/or work part-time/full-time at a low cost clinic when the time arrives. anyway, i am beginning to ramble.

i am curious to know if any of you went through a similar situation while thinking about medicine? if so, what are/were your thoughts to keep you marching on in the pursuit of a medical degree? thank you!
You are way over-thinking it. It's just a job. A well-paying, mostly interesting job but a job nonetheless. Ten years from now you will laugh if you read your post from today. All you will care about is making the best salary you can in the place where you want to live. Nobody I know, and presumably many of them were once idealistic pre-meds, is structuring their career based on altruism. Sorry. The farther you get along the more you will realize that if it wasn't for the money this mother****er would so not be worth it.
 

8744

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Because I don't think the OP really understands that you do...let's not say "sacrifice" but instead say "suffer"... for much of your medical training that can last a decade. I'm seven years into it with one left to go and I would never do it again.
 

8744

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Dec 7, 2001
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dude (or dudette, I never know) .. I am 39, I have two kids and a wife and I am giving up a six figure salary to start med school in August. I come home with more money than most physicians, apart from surgical specialties. Over the last ten years I lived the life of the "buying big houses and fast cars" just because it was cliche, and all the time I was actually contemplating suicide (not kidding). Since I went back to school to take pre-reqs and started shadowing a doc I have felt like I have a purpose and a direction and I can't even understand why I was that way before. The point is that I will finally feel personally satisfied that I am doing something with my life and making an impact on the lives of others.

I hope this helps because I wouldn't just tell anybody this! :laugh:




If you see a problem then all you can do is try and make a difference! I see the same thing and I am already formulating a plan ... Don't let the politics bother you, I was at the hospital the other day eating lunch with a group of surgeons and one of them told me that "no matter how much you hear us sit around and complain you will never meet a group of more personally satisfied people". That cleared up every question that I have ever had.
You cannot make a difference. Sorry.
 

Nanon

An urban myth.
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You cannot make a difference. Sorry.
You are a grouchy bear today, aren't you?

Listen, most of the people I work with (attending surgeons at a county hospital in Oakland... ya know?) really do this for altruistic purposes, and because they love the crap out of what they do. This is certainly not to say that they aren't a tired, irritated and frustrated lot. But only one has said that he hates his job, and I don't believe him entirely, because I've watched him at work. He loves his job. He just hates his interns. :laugh: (j/k. He loves all of his interns, and his residents, too. He actually hates his pager, more than anything else.)

Medicine is, however, a job. Just like any other job, some people hate what they do, some people love what they do, and some vacillate depending on how much sleep they've gotten. Go to sleep, Panda. :sleep::D

S.
 

8744

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You are a grouchy bear today, aren't you?

Listen, most of the people I work with (attending surgeons at a county hospital in Oakland... ya know?) really do this for altruistic purposes, and because they love the crap out of what they do. This is certainly not to say that they aren't a tired, irritated and frustrated lot. But only one has said that he hates his job, and I don't believe him entirely, because I've watched him at work. He loves his job. He just hates his interns. :laugh: (j/k. He loves all of his interns, and his residents, too. He actually hates his pager, more than anything else.)

Medicine is, however, a job. Just like any other job, some people hate what they do, some people love what they do, and some vacillate depending on how much sleep they've gotten. Go to sleep, Panda. :sleep::D

S.
But would they do their job for $40,000 per year? No. I didn't say that you will dislike medicine, just that very few people would do it if it didn't pay well. Now, I'll allow that there are some uber-macho surgeons and extreme left-wing Patch Adams types who are driven by other concerns than money but they are the exception.

For the record, now that I am a senior Emergency Medicine resident I get plenty of sleep and my hours, as I only work 14 12-hour shifts a month, are pretty good. The pay still sucks but I have signed a contract for my first post-residency job and the pay for that job is excellent, well above the national average for my specialty. (Hint: Avoid the coasts and cities that are trendy.)
 

Nanon

An urban myth.
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But would they do their job for $40,000 per year? No. I didn't say that you will dislike medicine, just that very few people would do it if it didn't pay well. Now, I'll allow that there are some uber-macho surgeons and extreme left-wing Patch Adams types who are driven by other concerns than money but they are the exception.

For the record, now that I am a senior Emergency Medicine resident I get plenty of sleep and my hours, as I only work 14 12-hour shifts a month, are pretty good. The pay still sucks but I have signed a contract for my first post-residency job and the pay for that job is excellent, well above the national average for my specialty. (Hint: Avoid the coasts and cities that are trendy.)
Heck, I wouldn't do my job for 40,000/year, and I actually enjoy it, at least most of the time. That doesn't mean I do the job for the money. I've made far more than I'm making right now in the past, but this job is actually fun to go to - a fabulous perk.

By the way, CONGRATS on the job, on graduating, on getting some sleep... :clap::horns: ... and I agree about staying away from the coasts, but my (mid-western) husband would adamantly disagree! :laugh:
 

princekc

10+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2006
226
15
NJ
hi there. first post ever. i have been seriously considering medical school for awhile, however, have not yet fully committed. this is a major decision and will involve major sacrifices. the good news is that my girlfriend of 12 years will be supportive if i decide on medical school. i can't sit here and deliberate forever, though.

i i want to know and feel without a doubt that i am willing to sacrifice approximately ten years of my life. on top of that, and the main reason for this post, ahave done a lot of research on what is involved at both the premedical and medical student level and know that it is possible (plan on beginning a post-bacc program beginning either this fall or next summer, work as an emt for a couple of years, and volunteer at local hospital - hopefully, a low-cost clinic). i am hesitant because of the inescapable politics involved with medicine. i feel a lot of people are either getting substandard or no care at all due to the structure of our insurance system. then, there are the patients themselves. for example, those who have high blood pressure and damaged lungs but refuse to quit (an so on). i am realistic in that i know it is impossible to make everyone happy and healthy, but whatever i decide on, i want to be prepared for the issues that i may feel uncomfortable/disagree with. i tell myself at times that i can help reform the insurance system and/or work part-time/full-time at a low cost clinic when the time arrives. anyway, i am beginning to ramble.

i am curious to know if any of you went through a similar situation while thinking about medicine? if so, what are/were your thoughts to keep you marching on in the pursuit of a medical degree? thank you!
what made me keep going?
do you really wanna to know?.....I grew-up in a village where there was no doc (at least at that time), I lost my dad at the age of three...he past away from something minor that could have been treated if there were available medicine and I recently lost my sister to what could have been prevented or treated.....What made me keep going is my plan to make a difference here and abroad.
 

take the shot

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Jun 17, 2007
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Ten years will pass (or, if it doesn't, then all bets are off), but my reasoning was "what else would I rather be doing than preparing myself to be a doctor"? It's a simple equation for me: If you want it badly enough, never stop trying.

The time invested is totally irrelevant because (pardon the dramatics) each day spent in pursuit of your dreams will beat out any ordinary day of your life.
:love:Thank you so much for stating so clearly what has propelled me to go after med school in my 40s. I feel more alive than I ever have before. Going after my dream takes away the the horrible mind-numbing, depressed state of being you have when you're doing a job that isn't really what you want to do. This has been replaced by the excitement of going after what I have always wanted, despite all the hard grueling work.

By the way, I have the same struggles as others with non-compliance of patients. I have spent several years as a nurse practitioner in oncology. I did clinical rotations in both internal medicine and oncology. After working with patients dealing with life-threatening illnesses, it was really hard to see a pt in clinic complaining about 'needing disablility for my sore arm'. I have no tolerance for this; cancer and other serious illnesses cut through the bull**** and I do much better in this setting. I try not to judge patients but being honest with myself, I prefer to work with patients who want to fight for their life and are willing to do what it takes - the others don't have a clue about how lucky they are.