Introduction/Scared about Residency

Hi all.

I’ve been reading this board for about 3 months. Thank you all for your shared wisdoms. 3 months is also the from when I first decided to go to medical school to my first day of Pre-Med class hoping to enter med school in 2014-15.

I’m 36, father of two 10-month old twins, and 1 3-month fetus. I’m currently an RF engineer, who struggles to find personal connection and meaning in my job.

Anyways, I’ve been working through all the downsides to a mid-life change to medicine. I think I can make the money’s work out. I’m still a little quesy around blood and guts, but I’ve been watching surgery videos on ORLive/You-tube to help. But mostly I’m still scared of residency and the 80 hours+ weeks.

My soon to be brother in law, currently doing a fellowship in pediatric othro, off the cuff said that 75% of residents over 35 don’t make it - and that most of the older physicians were going to family practice.

So here’s my questions, becuase I haven’t seen any one really posting about it?

1)Is 80 Hours really doable at 45+? I’ve barely worked over 50-60hrs as an engineer…Any thoughts? I’m personally nervous becuase I’ve fought with insomnia and try to control my schedule to maintain sleep. Do most of you just assume you can plow through, and survive on the other end of residency?

2)Is it common for a non-trad to look at specialties- rather than family practice? One of my main interests I have in becoming a doctor is helping people deal with terminal issues and using technology to help, and as such I’m looking at the Med/Rad Oncology.

Thanks to anyone who reads through,


Hi there and welcome to OPM, you are among kindred spirits.

As someone who is 38, 4 kids, and in 2nd year residency I can tell you that the 80 hour work week is true but not always. Depending on the program that you will enter, will determine what your hours are. Certainly for surgery they are a lot different than for medicine. On the average I work about 60-70 hours per week. I hit the 80 hour mark when I am in the ICU. And while it is brutal, if you are happy doing what you are doing then it will not feel like it.

Overnights are harsh, but you slog through it because it is not all the time. There are also hours restrictions that ACGME programs have to follow. For example, and intern cannot be in the hospital more than 16 hours and must have at least 10 hours of rest between shifts. There must be at least 1 day of rest per week, Residents can do the 27 hour shifts but there must also be at least 1 day of rest.

It is hard but doable.

It is certainly doable. I went through residency prior to the current work hour restrictions. I was 47 when I started. Almost all my intern rotations and about half the PGY2 and 3 rotations pushed the 80-hour weeks. Call (30 hours) was anywhere from q4 to weekly.

I am Fam Med by choice; my age was not a deciding factor. I know several surgeons, neurologists, oncologists who did residencies in their 40s. As Gabe pointed out, if you love what you do the hours won’t matter.


I am new to this forum and very happy I found it. I am a 45 yr female and started this med school journey 10 yrs ago, I finally got my md degree in o9 and due to a horrible boyfriend I wasnt able to take all my exams, I finished the cs exam with stars thank god and have been studying with a million interruptions for step 1 for 4 years. i am about to take it in a few weeks. I am looking for support from older docs I dont want my dreams to die becasue it took me so long, I started college at 23 got a ba in law ms in science 5 yr in a phd and 2 yrs post doc for psych now the 2.5yrs premed and the md degree I have alot work into this and for some reason I was hit with every block and barrier a person can encounter I hope tomake my dreams real, wanna be a surgeon of somekind may ct surgery trauma or reconstructive, i figure no one person runs the whole world so anything is possible, would like to support others on their journey and hear what you think about mine. open to hera your thoughts.thanks

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mydoc99, I’d suggest starting a new topic instead of posting under this one. People may be more likely to see and respond to your posts if they’re under their own listing.

mydoc99 - I’m not sure how you have your MD degree but haven’t taken step 1? Or did I misunderstand you? I had to take step 1 at the end of my second year before moving on to 3rd year clinicals.

Do you need to take and pass steps 1 and 2 to apply for a residency? Any chance of getting some more recent rotation experience?

My perception is that surgical specialties are more difficult to get into with more age.

Sorry to hear you had such barriers. What is the cs exam you took?

Not quite following what your situation is.