At my age do I stand a chance going to med school and I am already a nurse



first, it’s really hard to read posts that are all in caps.

second, of course a nurse can make it to med school, and 40 is not too old! There are several 40+ OPMers that are pre-meds, in med school, residents, or attendings.

Good luck!

  • megboo Said:

first, it's *really* hard to read posts that are all in caps.

Ditto that!!! My eyes hurt from just reading that! In common internet communication that is known as 'shouting'. So I guess we've got a shouter on the forum now. lol

Pamula, neither your age nor your past major or career is that important. What IS important is that you have to be able to articulate strong positive reasons for why you want to be a physician, and do VERY WELL (and yes, I mean to make that a shout!) in your current coursework.

You will not get any extra consideration for being a nurse. (You don’t ask that but sometimes it comes up.) In fact some nurses feel that they’re challenged - why do they want to “cross over?” If they’re not happy with their role in health care, what makes them think they’ll be happy as doctors? I tried to emphasize the things that a physician does, rather than the things a nurse can’t do - it’s hard to stress one without at least mentioning the other, but your emphasis is important.

When I decided to go back to school, I was a 41-year-old former nurse who’d toyed with the idea of going back to get an advanced-practice nursing degree, but I decided that medicine was a better fit for what I wanted to achieve. I had a B.S.N. with a very good undergrad GPA but an underwhelming science GPA (all those nursing science courses - they won’t be counted as science courses when you apply to med school; only course from the biology, chemistry, physics and math departments will count). So I went back, did all my prerequisites and did well in them, and worked my a$$ off to do well on the MCAT and during the application season. It paid off, and I’m glad - I love being a family doctor!

My classmates in med school felt I had an “unfair advantage” because of my nursing background but I didn’t really think so. The anatomy, physiology, ins & outs of medicine in the hospital, etc. etc. were far, far, far above anything I’d encountered as a nurse. The one thing I felt I had over my classmates - and to this day I don’t know how much of it was age vs. nursing background - was that I was comfortable talking to patients. That helped a lot and it impressed attendings, but it didn’t make getting through med school any easier, that’s for sure.

Tell us more about what you’re doing… after you disable the caps lock…


Dr. Mary Riley Renard:

I posted but am not sure it really posted. I’ve read a few of your posts and wondered if you would have any advice for me…

Here’s what I posted, but don’t see it anywhere…

I’m 33 and currently teach private music lessons at a music store in my city.

At 18, I started as a pre-med at 4-year univ and went to school to earn a paramedic license at the same time. I worked as a paramedic for several years, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but quit undergrad because I was burnt out on school. My license didn’t transfer when I moved to KY and financially it wasn’t worth it for me to jump through hoops to get a KY license so I didn’t do it. I am a musician so I started teaching private lessons.

Last spring, after years of missing the medical field, I decided to go to nursing school and was accepted at local community college Assoc. Deg. program. I’m scheduled to start nursing classes in Jan, and have a prospective grad date Dec 2009. (It has been my plan since I’ve gone back to go on to BSN after I’m through with the ADN)

That’s where I am, however, the whole med-school thing keeps popping up in my mind and has since I started back.

This week I decided to at least lay my cards on the table and find out what my options are/what my best bet is.

I have 2 and a half years of credits that ended with no degree from before, (core science)and probably won’t transfer now because it’s been so long.

At the end of this semester I will have completed 23 credits this year (basic General reqs, and A&P)

Does any ideas of where to start? And by start, where should I look to even find out what my options are if I continue in the nursing, then try to go on from there, or just nix the whole nursing and go the pre-med route.

I am so clueless and am open to suggestions at this point.

Any ideas?

Thank you so much.


To the OP - I will be 49 in December and have just finished interviews at 2 osteopathic schools. It depends upon your energy level, ability to study, desire and a myriad of personal questions. It is a lot of work but can work out quite well - keep reading the forum for inspiration and welcome.

Thanks for the encouragement. I will keep reading the forums.


Kristen, the very short answer to your question is, “Do you want to be a nurse or do you want to be a doctor?” I don’t mean to be a smartass or simplistic; it’s actually a question at the heart of the issue for you.

If you think you’re inclined to go into medicine, then you owe it to yourself to explore this inclination much more thoroughly before investing more time and money in schooling that is pointed in a somewhat different direction. Nursing school is NOT good preparation for medical school. It’s oriented differently from medicine, the science courses aren’t the same degree of difficulty, and it comes with many, many required classes and clinical time that don’t give you time to take med school prereqs while doing a nursing major.

Every once in awhile, while fielding questions like this, my Catholic upbringing comes out and I find myself wanting to use the word “discernment.” In discussing vocations to the religious life, discernment is a process by which a person contemplates that life and whether it is appropriate for them. It is intended to take months to years and should involve lots of thought about all the ramifications of the decision.

Well, medicine is not a priesthood (some would disagree but I really don’t want to go there!) but there is a process of discernment in going into this profession as well. You need to take a long hard look at the academic path that gets you in - major in whatever you want, but do well overall and do very well in your sciences. You need to have a sense of how you’ll do on the MCAT, the big bad test that stands in every pre-med’s way. In some ways, it’s just another standardized test… but it is a helluva test and you’ll need to be prepared for it. Your background as a paramedic gives you a good start in that you’ve been in the medical field and you know what it’s like so you don’t need to do the “reality testing” that I often advocate, but it would be wise to spend some time with a physician and pick her/his brain about life in medicine today.

Those of us who went into medicine after being nurses generally had many years between those two steps. I can’t stress it enough, a BSN is not a good degree program if your intention is medicine. So this brings me back to my original question - what do you want to do? That’s what you have to decide before you go too far on one particular academic path vs. another.

Good luck!


Thank you so much. You’re right, that is the bottom line. It really is a heart decision. I think I just needed to hear someone else say that.

I, too, was brought up Catholic, so that really rang a bell for me. Thanks for the analogy. As for the “priesthood”…I’m sure if I go for it, there will be a few men who will be thankful I’ve decided to stay single thus far.

Thank you very, very, much!


Hi Kristen,

I think I am in the same position as you are (although I am almost 10 years older). I, too, have been accepted into nursing school starting in January. I thought alot of the question posed by Mary about whether I want to be a nurse or want to be a doctor. I do want to be a doctor, however, nursing seems to be my achilles heel. I’ve had a couple of false starts, and in my heart, if I am not able to commit to these two years, how can I commit to the long, hard road towards medicine?

I’ve been working on a cardiac floor as a cardiac monitor tech and unit secretary for almost a year. During this year, I’ve been able to work with the nurses on my floor very closely. I have great respect for the work that the do, and I feel that in someway I will be involved with patient care.

I also feel that as long as I am moving forward, whatever my future brings, I will be better off than if I stay where I am, just hoping and dreaming.

If you would like to email me, please don’t hesitate…my email is


Yeah, I feel like I need to do this now, or not at all.

Whatever ends up happening, I am pretty sure that whatever I’m doing in 10 years, I won’t be able to guess it today.

I wish you all the best and much wisdom in your decisions!


So, are you going to go to nursing school this January, or are you giving up your spot to pursue premed studies?


I say “hang in there!”

I, like you, am a 41 y/o RN with 17+ years of experience and find myself wanting to do MORE for my patients.

I am currently taking the steps to pursue PREMED and would really appreciate ANY advice and encourage that anyone can offer.

I just found this site TODAY and was thrilled to know that there are others out there, like me, OLD and READY to MOVE forward.


Mary R.


Finally someone else that can relate to what I am thinking and feeling!

I have been a RN for over 17 years, and have enjoyed EVERY moment, however, I also felt that there may be a better way I can give MORE to my patients. I like you, have considered all options, including PA, NP, but have figured out that my ultimate desire is to provide MEDICAL care.

I finally have the support of a loving and understanding spouse and my children, (youngest is 13) are at an age where I can jump in and give it my all.

Once I have decided to do something, look out, there’s no stopping me. The problem has been that until TODAY, I did not know of any sites available to me for advice and assistance in stepping out into my quest.

I am currently still working full time, and keep working as long as possible to help with the finances.

Can you please advise me of where I can start?

I don’t know for sure yet. I have an appt next week with a BIO/pre-med advisor at the University I’d like to attend.

I kind of doubt I will go to nursing school at this point. I really want to be a doctor, that’s what I’ve wanted all along, and I probably just need to go for it. Even if I don’t cut the mustard, at least I can say I tried.


Well, best of luck, Kristen. Everyone needs to follow their own heart.

Maybe if I were younger, I, too, would just push straight for medicine. Part of my reasoning to go to nursing school is that I am 43, and at least when I am done, if I don’t pursue medicine…I will have a respectable career and I will be working with patients in the medical world.


Kristen -

I see your location says KY, hopefully Ohio soon. I strongly encourage you to think about establishing residency in Ohio before starting any course work, even if it means waiting a year or so to start classes. First of all, if you are planning on doing your undergrad in Ohio, being in-state will make it MUCH cheaper for you. Also, it would be very advantageous to be an Ohio resident if you end up applying to medical school. As you may or may not know, Ohio has six state supported medical schools, and most of them give preference to in-state students. You would have to check, but I believe that if you attend an Ohio school as an out-of-state undergrad, you will be considered out-of-state for application purposes.

Good luck with your decision.


Thanks so much for the advice. I am looking into moving up that way, soon. My Mom and Dad and a brother are in Dublin and my sister is moving to Dayton in the spring.

I have an appt with an advisor from Wright State Wed and I hope I will have a least a few more things to weigh after that. I thought about trying to move as soon as the summer and getting at least part of 2008 as an OH resident, but I’m still gathering information.

Thanks again for the advice! It is so appreciated!!


Hey! I went at 41 after 17 years as an RN, yes you can do it!

I just got an acceptance email today from DMU and I turn 49 this weekend! Hang in there