Lots of stepping back and reaffirmation towards my passion to be a physician but I still need help!

Hello Dr. Gray,
Thank you for all you do!
And hello to all non traditional premed students!

I’m a registered nurse and I graduated with associates degree in 2006 (transferred some nursing courses from my home country to the US). I worked at a hospital for 8 years until early 2014 ( moving from a new graduate nurse to a nurse clinician-sort of assistant nurse manager -and participated in unit and hospital based activities in education, management, electronic medical record implementation, etc).

During 2012 and 2013, I went back to college to complete premed/Bachelors in Science ( that included some of the premed courses):
Bio I:A Gen Chem I: B+
Bio II: C+ Gen Chem II: A-
Organic Chem I: C
Physics I:C+
Pre Calculas-A+
Calculas I-A+
Intro to statistics: A-

During those 2 years, I had a full time job ( plus other activities mentioned above at the hospital) and I was a full time student. For 2 semesters, I did undergraduate research in a Department of Immunology which resulted a publication of a commentary.

While doing all of these, I was sort of unsettled at heart because my husband’s visa had expired and had gone back to his country in 2011. I was not sure when he would be back in this country and I didn’t want to be 45 to start a family. So, when I turned 30 in 2013, I thought that maybe I should step back from all of these and take a look at my priorities. So, Spring 2014 has some withdrawals in my transcript-I went to the registered classes only for the first week and didn’t take any exams but it was just the lack of understanding about when to withdraw classes that resulted the withdrawals.

Spring 2014, I left my job, school and this country to be with my husband. I have become a stay-home-mom of 2 beautiful children. I’ve been traveling in between countries and among different places within the US. Finally, we are settled down in NYC for good!!! I’m planning to go back to school in Fall 2021 since my youngest one will start his school then. My cumulative GPA is 3.66 and BCPM GPA is 3.4 as of now.

I feel that I have some time to review the premed courses taken to mainly prepare for taking Organic II and Physics II in Fall 2021. I plan to be a stay-home-mom and full time student this time around. Then, I plan to start preparing for MCAT in Summer 2022 with the goal to take it in Summer 2023. Also, I plan to apply to medical schools in 2024 for matriculation in Fall 2025…if all goes well ; )

I know that I need to have excellent GPA and MCAT scores. I also understand that I need some clinical experience, shadowing and volunteering which I plan to start in Summer 2022 and continue until or beyond matriculation as needed. I’m not sure about research though-it takes up so much time…I’m in NYC and I plan to apply to medical schools that are within NYC and maybe a couple in Long Island. Finally, I should be able to apply as a US citizen and my husband is supportive of this.

This is certainly a long post but please give me your thoughts regarding my situation:

  1. Should I take all the premed courses that I already took back in 2012/2013?—Given my work overload, my grades were descent, I think and I believe that I can do better given my situation now even though I’ll be 37 this year ; )…If needed I’ll minor in psychology so that I can fill up the semesters to be full time student from Fall 2021 to sometimes in 2024. I’ve, maybe, about 47 credits left for getting Bachelors of Science major if my new college allows me to continue onto Organic II and Physics II.

2)Does my 8-years worth of nursing career count at all even though it’s been many years since I have not been practicing?-I hold license though and I’ll certainly try to put it to use when I get clinical exposure and volunteering.

3)Should I spend time in research even though I did have 2 semesters worth of research?- I can try to gain a letter from the Principal Investigator but since it’s been so long and I’ve not been in contact with him, I’m not sure how it’s gonna go…

  1. I understand that I will have to overcome some biases from medical schools’ admission committee because I’m an immigrant, a mom and a non-traditional student. Any suggestions on how to handle these?

  2. Do I have to enter my nursing courses in AMCAS application when the time comes? If yes, will the science courses that I did for nursing school affect my science GPA in AMCAS?

Any thoughts/ suggestions of yours will be very much appreciated! Thank you!!!

I’m a similar applicant - graduated in 1996 with BS and am taking MCAT next month. I DON’T think it’s necessary to retake those classes. Considering that you did well, in your math classes, I’m guessing that your analytical skills are high and that will serve you well on the MCAT. I talked to a few admissions directors about my situation and one told me not to worry that I’ve never taken Organic Chem. Not all med schools require it. I think it would be helpful for you to reach out to admissions directors at the schools you’re interested in and briefly ask these quesitons.

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Thank you for your suggestion and encouragement…Also, all the best for your MCAT !!!

I’m in the process of researching all the schools that I’m interested in so that hopefully, I’ll have good questions to ask when I reach out to the admissions office ( as you suggested).

I noticed that even though some schools say that the prerequisite have to be taken within last 10 years and they recommend having some recent science courses in last 5 years, they are still willing to replace the basic science and math courses ( taken long time ago) with recent integrated science courses. Of course, then they will look at your MCAT to verify your knowledge in foundational science courses( eg BIO I and II, Chem I and II, Physics I and II, etc)…

Hope that this information is helpful to you…

Do keep in touch!