Am I crazy? Should I find something else?

First, sorry for putting in a lot of details.

I’m looking for some practical advice. Here’s my situation:

I turn 40 this year. I’ve always been interested in medicine. I met my wife working as a CNA in a nursing home. I was an intermediate EMT for 6 or 7 years before I moved to another state. Many of my family members are in medicine (my Mom was a nurse and an EMT). I thought about being a doctor when I was younger, but decided to pursue computers instead.

I love science and healthcare in general, and I love helping people. I’m not worried about staying current, since I’m already OCD about that in my current profession. For me, the primary motivation would be to help others, and I have a long term dream of opening up clinics in more remote areas to provide that service.

I’ve been in the computer software realm for nearly 20 years. I’m making 150k a year as a consultant, but am REALLY tired of the environment I find myself in. I’m already working long, demanding, and stressful hours in my current position. They’re not as long as what residents typically do, but they’re more stressful that what I dealt with as an EMT. I’m likely going to be getting laid off in the near future and will be taking a pay cut, probably down tot he 100 to 120k area.

I’ve got a bachelors of business management in 2000, and know I could handle the business side of the medical world. I also know I don’t freak out at the sight of blood. I’ve dealt with many different situations as an EMT such as full codes, automobile accidents, and gunshot wounds, and I did very well in my training to become an EMT (I was always the top in my class).

My software work in last six years has focused heavily in the healthcare industry around EMR’s, medical cabinets, and hospital billing and payments. I deeply understand HIPAA, HL7, NCPDP, and other infrastructure stuff around healthcare, which I think would add to the overall healthcare community.

As to the family situation, I have 9 kids, (yes, you read that right) ages 19 to 3, and I’ve been married for about 20 years.

Here’s my questions:

  1. What are my realistic odds about being able to get into med school?

  2. How much school will I need before I can even apply for med school?

  3. What will the impact to my family be, should I go down this path?

  4. Will ObamaCare and the Medicaid cuts kill my dream of both feeding my family AND providing care in more remote areas?

  5. What are the questions I really should be asking?

    I appreciate any advice and responses you can give.



From what I have read on this site and others, if you had a decent GPA previously, get good grades in whatever pre-reqs you haven’t taken yet (or a post-bacc program), and can do well on the MCAT (27-30), you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting in somewhere. You should apply to a variety of schools, some are more competitive than others of course and different admissions committees will view your previous experience differently.

It sounds like the biggest thing you need to consider is the financial aspect. You have a lot of mouths to feed and you are making a decent amount of money right now, so are you prepared to go from 150K to -40K per year, plus living expenses? That’s the first 4 years, then as a resident you will likely make ~50K for the next three to five years. It’s definitely not impossible, but you need to be prepared for that reality. There are some scholarship programs in the forums here that may be able to help.

Again, looking at the bright side, your age is not that big of a deal, you can do the education bit in as little as a year if you are prepared to go to school full time, and when all those kids get older they are going to realize what you went through and know that they truly can do anything if they want it bad enough. Your family and business experience will put you way ahead when compared to those fresh faced 23 year olds who have almost zero experience in the real world.

I’m in a somewhat similar situation although I’m a little younger, only 3 kids, and living comfortably but not 150K! Being an Air Force officer already I am looking at the military programs like HPSP, HSCP, and USUHS. I don’t know if you have ever had any interest in the military but they do provide a way to get through school debt free, keep your family covered with insurance, and provide a little cash to boot. It sounds cliche but I honestly believe the best part is that I will get to keep wearing the uniform and be a doc for the second family I have grown to love over the years. You are over the age limit for those programs, but in the military, everything is waiverable.

In summary, yes, you are crazy (but everybody here is), and only you and your family know if you should do this or something else.


I am in a similar position, except I have a masters degree in social work. I have been unable to find work due to funding cuts and have wanted to become a psychiatrist ever since the first one of my four boys was diagnosed with a mental health issue (Aspergers and ADHD). I find myself having very intellectual conversations with their psychiatrist and disagreeing about medications all the time. My psychopathology courses have given me a lot of ammunition in that area. I am going to be 40 in March of this year and want to pursue my schooling to become a psychiatrist, but I am not sure which way to go. I have gotten a lot of information via the internet and still need to go to an advisor at the college to discuss what classes I have to take. I keep hearing pre med and med school…I just want to sit down and see an outline of what I need to do so I can get it done and begin my classes. I already filled out an FAFSA and am awaiting a response. What is next on my agenda? Anyone?

Hello Kati,

I am also interested in becoming a psychiatrist and am currently a MSW student. Because I’ll be in your same situation once I complete my MSW I am interested in your journey. Are you completing your pre-med courses at a community college or University? Have you considered any premedical programs?