× Thinking of a Becoming a Doctor

34 yr old and thinking about MD

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #77651 by consult2health
I'm at a crossroads (i.e. constantly thinking about going to Med School), but at the same time have my life kind of set.

What am I doing w/ my life? I'm at a top 5 university working on my PhD in Finance. This means I'll end up teaching at a Bus school in about 4 yrs (if everything goes according to plan). Profs at Bus schools (usually) make good money, so my interest in Medicine has nothing to do with income.

I love teaching, but I'm not passionate about finance, i.e. I like it, but I think there're other things I might like more (eg Medicine). It seems I'm unable to brush the idea of practicing medicine off my mind. I've been entertaining this thought for about 5-6 yrs now. I don't know what triggered it, but it started as an idea/thought, then quickly progressed to visualization of me practicing medicine (not sure which specialization, but I find myself reading/watching about skin problems pretty frequently).

I have the resources and would gladly invest in my future in order to pursue smth I love. The problem is the following:

1) I don't know if I just love the idea of Medicine or I'd enjoy actually being a doctor (what experiences will let me see what it's like to be a physician and work with patients)
2) how will leaving the Phd (if I decide to pursue Med S) affect the admission process
3) how many yrs (realistically) I'd need to accomplish this goal (2 yrs for prereqs + 4 yrs MD + 4 yrs residency ?)

any comments/suggestions are welcome.
Last Edit: 8 years 7 months ago by .

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8 years 7 months ago #77662 by consult2health
so, no comments?

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8 years 7 months ago #77663 by SW to MD
1: You are going to want to start by shadowing and volunteering. I cold called a lot of hospitals/clinics to get in with a few physicians and spent the last 18 months in our home town volunteering a few hours every week in the ED.

As you have already figured out, the majority of medicine is NOT the patient contact or the glorified scenes of the TV dramas. It is a lot of paperwork and ensuring electronic records are kept up properly. It is important to take note of that piece of things as you shadow, and talk to those you shadow/volunteer with about the +/- of the profession.

2: Generally speaking, the admissions committees frown upon leaving a program without graduating. Their concern is usually from a place of lack of commitment and ability to follow-through/gets bored with process easily. I cannot speak intelligently on your specific situation- some may see it as a positive (i.e. researched what you want to do, prepared, stuck with decision), others will not. Your best bet is to contact schools you have interest in and ask the question directly.

Number of years is dependent on a few factors- how many prereqs you have to do, whether or not you will be employed, studying for the MCAT (which should not be taken lightly), etc. As far as med school, you are looking at 4 years (although I think there may be a school or two that do a 3 year program for those committed to primary care?) + 3-7 years residency (paid, but not much) + fellowship years if you choose to go that route.

Again, the best place to start is shadowing- also, contacting schools in which you have an interest to talk about what would make you a strong candidate.

Also, consider the debt- you will most likely end up with 6 figures of debt by going to medical school. I know you said income was not a factor, but realistically, you do not want to get to retirement age and still have debt. There is also the factor of not contributing to a retirement plan during med school.

Good luck!

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy - MLKJ

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8 years 7 months ago #77666 by Doc201X

SW to MD wrote: Also, consider the debt- you will most likely end up with 6 figures of debt by going to medical school. I know you said income was not a factor, but realistically, you do not want to get to retirement age and still have debt. There is also the factor of not contributing to a retirement plan during med school.

Good luck!


I agree with everything SW said except the part about getting to retirement age without debt because I just don't think that's a realistic goal for a super (much older) nontrad student interested in med school. In other words, if retiring at retirement age (62-65) is your goal in life, then you're already too old med school, an idea which I personally find highly ridiculous because I don't think there's any such thing as too old!!

I'd suggest you go to the oldpremeds website for insight into to the money issue and see what these newly minted Docs in their late 30's, 40's, and yes even 50's have to say. You'll see few if any worrisome conversations about settling all debts before retirement which makes since because so many Docs work well past retirement age anyway. Not only that, the older you get the smarter money decisions you make, at least that's been the case for me!!

So while I don't take the potential debt I may be carrying at retirement age lightly, I certainly don't loose any sleep over it either. In theory, you could stay doing what you're doing now and STILL be in debt at retirement age because none of us knows what our finanical future holds, unless your last name is Trump!

My Scientist/Physician Journey
www.Doc201X.blogspot.com

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8 years 7 months ago #77667 by Doc201X
Almost forgot to say that it would be far better to leave with at least an MS than to just outright leave a PhD program.

My Scientist/Physician Journey
www.Doc201X.blogspot.com

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8 years 7 months ago #77670 by residentmom
I would also really think about your reasons for wanting to consider medicine-- ie: not so much "I hate it less than finance" (not that I think that is what you're saying) but more "I can't live without this career". That is the vibe all the other candidates will be giving off. Also I would caution you against appearing to be a "career student" or degree collector... this is generally frowned upon by residencies, if not by med schools. I agree with SW's recc to do some shadowing and see if this is really what you want before you even set foot down the long path.

ResidentMom<br /><br />"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." --Jackie O.

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