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Medical school at 34?

3 years 3 days ago #95742 by healthcare123
Hello Everyone, I am new to this site and have found some wonderful stories about women in medicine. So, I would firstly like to say, I'm honored to be here. I have posted on student md about this recently but would want to get a mother's perspective. I graduated high school in 2000 with 4.32 gpa. Started UCLA right away with major in Cognitive science. I aced my first summer and quarter. Starting second quarter, my 23 y/o sister dies in a horrific car accident. My grades plummet like crazy. I didn't want to study; I would sit in the library and just day dream. I really needed to see a counselor but never did. Anyway, I keep taking classes and failing miserably at them. Then a year later, my father at 51, passes of a heart attack (I think it might have been my sister's loss that really killed him). Now it's just my mother, 9 year old brother and me. I gather myself somehow and start doing better in school (average Bs and a few As). Thinking my medical school years are definitely over, I start taking LVN classes at night during my last year of UCLA. Right after, I go into an accelerated RN program and start working to support my mom and brother. The psychological stability of my family fell into my hands as my mother was too devastated, and my brother was too young to have to suffer such. I got married and now have a wonderful one year old boy. Working full time, I went on to become an Adult Nurse Practitioner and recently completed Critical Care Nurse practitioner post-masters' program. However, I feel like I'm always chasing my dream of becoming a physician and no matter how much schooling I do in nursing, I just don't have enough breath of knowledge I want. Maybe other NPs are satisfied with their role, but I always want more. Now, at the age of 33 I'm thinking of taking all my science classes over to apply for med school next year. Am I crazy to want this? I have also considered CRNA, but it's still not medicine. What do you all think? Am I rational? Thanks everyone.

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3 years 3 days ago #95746 by sahmd

healthcare123 wrote: I have also considered CRNA, but it's still not medicine.

This warms my heart. :D :P

I'm sorry for all the hardships you faced during your pre-med years. But you have done really well for yourself.

It seems to me that if you are seeking further knowledge, you do not necessarily have to get it in medical school and residency. You can read, find a physician mentor, ask lots of questions, do CME...however you learn the best. Yes, you will be better educated if you do the entire medical education thing from start to finish. You will get more experience and it will probably translate into better patient care. But it is also a huge expenditure of time and money, and a huge disruption to your family life.

The current political and economic environment has really created great opportunities for nurse practitioners, and so many physicians (but not all) would choose that path instead if they had to make the choice again. Physicians are losing their autonomy, the respect of the public, and their ability to make a high salary, to mention just a few downsides to being a physician today.

I myself am happy to be a physician and I totally understand your ambition to be one. But will being a physician really be so much better than what you have now? Will it be worth the price you and your family will pay? Or is there another way to achieve your goals? I am not saying that you should not do it. If you and your family think that the benefits outweigh the costs, then go for it. Good luck, whatever you decide.

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2 years 11 months ago #95789 by t
I'm really surprised by the level of promotion of midlevel careers as the way of the future by MDs on this forum compared to medicine. I feel like we're in the decline of the Roman Empire... don't worry about using all marble, we'll just use marble facades. Don't worry about realistic art, the art created by less educated artists is interesting and cheaper. It feels like medicine is becoming the same way... it's almost as good having a midlevel, as long as the patient doesn't have anything unusual.

Just another perspective for you. I'm a midlevel. I have 6 kids. I'm now in medical school. I felt like there was so much I didn't know and would miss if I didn't go back. Being a midlevel felt like a dead end job to me. As a midlevel, you don't know what you don't know until it's possibly too late for the patient.

I think you need to decide what it is you want out of medicine. Are you the type of person who has to be in charge? (I was in denial when I went to PA school). Are you a perfectionist who wants to know everything? Do you love medical knowledge just because it's so cool? Do you want the flexibility of working as an MD in another country? If yes, you should lean more toward MD school.

If these things aren't important to you, then whether you choose PA or NP should depend on what you want to learn, do, and what state you live in. Independence, oversight, and jobs vary greatly between these two types of midlevels depending on the state.

Best of luck in your decision! I'm sure you'll make the right choice for you.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Doc201X, Chenel

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2 years 11 months ago #95793 by sahmd
I suppose my reply above could be seen as promoting mid-level careers, but I did not really mean it that way. I do believe that patients are best served by physicians, and I don't like the fact that the system has evolved to the point where more and more patient care is done by mid-levels. However, it seems like quite a good deal for the mid-levels, to get to do almost the same job but after spending way less money and time.

Becoming a physician requires a huge sacrifice of money and time and it is definitely easier if you start out with no family obligations. I suspect my advice would be the same to anyone with a bunch of family obligations and a good job, mid-level or not. But, as you say, there are some great reasons to go ahead and pursue full medical education and training despite those factors.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chenel, Undecided

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2 years 2 months ago #96212 by Julia Robinson
My question is very similar. I wonder if I am just kidding myself going to RN school when I really want to be a doctor. I have considered PA school but I don't know if I would be satisfied just being a PA and not an MD. I am 41 now in RN school and would probably be 44 by the time I start medical school so I wonder if I'm too late.

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