intro and hope for advice

Hi all,

I found this forum a few years back and once again I’ve found my way back, reading the inspirational posts on this forum. It’s so wonderful to find folks that have taken this plunge. I’m almost 46 and considering the same - hoping for some realistic eyes on my situation. My friends/family just look at me like I have something in my teeth when I talk about this stuff.

So I have almost no natural science background. I started as a physics/computer sci major during undergrad, had zero focus and ended up switching to communication - science/math gpa is horrendous - probably 2.6 - overall gpa 3.2 or something like that. My last chem class was high school. I woke up after my BA and have two masters - one in statistics and an MBA - basically a 4.0 through those - though I doubt that matters. I have been a programmer/data analyst for years. Enough years actually.

Eight years ago I joined a medical device project and haven’t looked anywhere but healthcare since. I decided I wanted to check out the clinical scene, took some informatics classes, shadowed some docs and now work at the local university hospital internal medicine clinic where I help set up the EHR for the docs and research data questions. I like the work well enough, love the patients and have this dream where I finish up my MD, move to a rural area (here or abroad) and serve the geriatric community. That population is exploding and taking care of my father at the last brought home how all of the complex work that docs do with older patients really impacts lives - that’s the kind of work that sits in my heart now.

Other than leaving the clinic I have no problem switching to pre-med full time. My wife and I don’t have kids and she’s doing well enough for us both - a mixed blessing to be sure. I guess it comes down to how badly you want it but is it even realistic to get into a school with just the post-bacc pre-med coursework and the MCAT? Reading the AAMC stats was sobering - 2.4% acceptance rate in my state.

I’ve gone around on this thing for years at this point. Is it really even possible? The discussion about IUHS and OUM have given me hope but I don’t want to ignore reality either.

Thanks so much for your advice/thoughts.

Regarding age, read the following:…

My question to you would be if your dreams about practicing medicine are realistic? Most surveys concur that about half of all physicians (including former posters on this board who became physicians) would NOT become physicians again if given a chance to start over:… …

How old are your poor undergrad grades? If it has been long enough (enter arbitrary number here), they may be looked past assuming your total undergrad GPAs make it past the initial screen that some schools do. If you kill the courses you have remaining, you might be okay. Be ready to talk about what you did wrong in undergrad part I, how you changed to excel in your grad programs and post bacc, and what you’ve learned/how you’ve grown through your work and academic history.

How you are viewed will depend greatly on the philosophy of the admissions committee and dean of each school. There’s no way to give you a definitive answer other than you won’t know unless you fully commit and try. It’ll only cost you time, several hundred+ dollars, and a small piece of your soul. Answer ihopetobeado2’s question above before diving in. If it’s what you really want to do, go for it! Crush your remaining prereqs and the MCAT, apply broadly to realistic schools (like not Harvard), and reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself through the events of your life which brought you to this point.

PS, raw data that the AAMC publishes is not reflective of your specific situation in my opinion. You theoretically have a lot of other things going for you that the standard applicant with like statistics coming out of college doesn’t have.

I appreciate your time answering - both of you have good points. The internal medicine clinic where I work has 30 faculty docs and 50 residents. I hear the positive and negatives, certainly - and there are plenty of negatives, mostly around people not caring for themselves. I think a lot of the faculty enjoy their ability to teach at least if not more than patient care.

Reading Jimi44’s latest post it seems all too easy to go through everything and still end up unable to pursue the dream that may not be all that pleasant even to achieve.

My undergrad courses were in '87/'88 - it’s been a while. I’d have a hard time looking at any job applicant’s work from nearly 30 years ago with any degree of criticism but of course they have to be subjective when possible and they are my grades.

Ever watch Ted talks? I like this one that talks about starting from why instead of what. My career to date has been about finding what I was good at and using that to dictate jobs. Nothing to do with the ‘why’ - why did I want to do the work was never something I bothered to ask.

The why seems to be more of what I have now with the MD/DO - help people make decisions about their health, help to calm those that are feeling afraid and hopefully some people actually get better under my care. Working abroad to have more than 12 minutes with a patient, to connect with people at a level few can - to be part of their families. I’m my father’s son and working 7 days a week feels natural to me, in the right setting, and the constant mental and social exercise seems like a natural fit with my habits. It’s all about motion and, barring mental blowout or malpractice, I’d like to care for folks until I’m ready for the ground myself.

I know something about the pressures primary care docs are under now and what’s coming. Our hospital is part of various pilot projects that CMS is putting out - at least some of which will eventually drive practice pressures (quality measures, care management, etc) and I’m the guy that reports the numbers and see how hard it is for our docs to keep up. I don’t have a lot of interest in practicing in the US, honestly, but New Zealand or Canada? Maybe a lesser developed nation where what’s important to most folks doesn’t start and end with TV?

It all feels so overwhelming. One step at a time, right? One of my favorite trails here in Oregon has a fork with a sign that says ‘more difficult’ and ‘less difficult’ pointing to two trails. Thing is the views are worse on the difficult branch. All you get is more vertical challenge more quickly. I just don’t know how to turn away from this one - feels like something I have to try. Maybe the real why is to know I still can.

That sounds like a good start to your personal statement.

I’d bet money that a strong showing in your prereqs will trump your record from the 80s…as long as you’re not auto screened by a machine. I think most schools will put at least one set of eyes on your app before letting you fall into the auto reject pile.

You’ll still need to explain in your app what qualities and traits you have that will make you a good fit for the medical field. More importantly, you’ll have to have the previous actions and experiences to show it as well. This can be done in many different ways. If you think you haven’t done anything, think harder and apply your experiences more broadly than just “did a job”. If you really haven’t done anything, start now…

I’d recommend thinking back hard to try to find the “why” in the major decisions that led you to this point, and especially the “why now” after having solid footing in your current career. It came up during my interviews, but an honest answer that makes sense should suffice for most people.

I have zero knowledge of requirements or methods of working in another country. I do know that the DO degree does have some practice limitations in different countries (despite the rigorous course of study in the US).

Check out this info, which gives a grid of med school acceptances based on GPA and MCAT. I find it much more helpful than an overall acceptance rate. It’s better to target schools that fit with your profile instead of people who apply to 50 unrealistic schools and mess with the stats. atricula…

Thanks again for your responses. Excellent thoughts and advice. Life of leisure or years of memorization.

Not sure what quote I like better:

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Do. Or do not, there is no try

or maybe

Cut me Mick! I can’t see.

Best of luck everyone.