New to boards

Hi, thank you all for making this board possible. New here and introducing myself. I am a young 45 y/o female, single with no kids, who has always dreamed of being a doc but for financial and cultural reasons put the dream aside. I currently have good credit but only a few thousand in savings, and a well paying job of 3 years.

I would like to know from anyone who, or knows someone who is, going through the med school application process, whether they think my age will be a big deterrent in being accepted, even if I have good grades. I majored in pre-med courses with a 4.0 GPA twenty years ago and am still due to take more undergraduate pre-med courses.

I am aware that the debt from med and undergrad school can very high upon graduation and unfortunately physician salaries are not large enough to ensure fast loan payoff. I am not in this for the money but am realistic about the importance of financial security.

I am very much interested in cardiac surgery but not sure how open the field is for women and, having been told how grueling a residency can be (as are all surgical residencies), I am looking to hear from anyone with information in this area. At this time I am preparing to find a surgeon/physician to shadow, a process I have also just been made aware of and am unfamiliar with.

I would love to be able to attend the POP convention, will see if I can make it.

Okay, I just lost everything I just typed…ugh!!! But to suffice it to say…NO, 45 is not too old (I sure hope not, I’m 44). Having a good GPA, you’ll only need a good MCAT…those are the only numbers that will really count. If you don’t have good numbers, it doesn’t matter how old you are…you’ll have a tough time getting in.

As for specialty, I think it is entirely possible for you to forfill your dream of being a cardiac surgeon, as long as you are willing to work hard for it and it will be hard. I have seen on sdn (and possibly here too) that there is a nontrad who is pursuing a surgical career having started in her late 40’s. I think she is currently doing a fellowship in neurosurgery. Her username is njbmd (or nbjmd, can’t remember right off which one). She actually has a blog that tells of her experiences…very interesting indeed!.

Remember if the 50’s are the new 30’s, than the 40’s are the new 20’s, so we are right on schedule!

First you need to get into medical school which you should be able to (regardless of age), then once you have your grades/board scores/letters/ research then you can think about specialties. Your age will be a red flag for some surgical specialties and you need to be realistic in that you may “not” be able to pursue a cardiac surgery specialty. You need to be able to be “okay” with matching into other specialties. If your heart is solely relying on cardiac surgery I would hesitate to apply to medical school. This specialty is UBER competitive and although some non-trads have pursued surgical subspecialties it is not possible for all.

There is a backdoor into a cardiac specialty. It may not be surgery, but if you go for IM and then a cardiac fellowship, you can get yourself on the track to do interventional cardiac procedures. Not to say that it still will not be competitive, but getting into an IM residency is not as hard as getting into a surgery residency…then apply for the cardiac fellowship. It still isn’t going to be a quick route, but it will get you to where you can do cardiac procedures.