Old NP with old science classes

Hi folks,

I am a new member here with a lot of questions. I would like your advice on whether medical school is a realistic goal at this point.

I’m 47 years old and have been a Family NP for 15 years. While I love what I do, the intellectual challenge is just not there anymore and I 'm looking at medical school as a logical next step.

I got a BA in Sociology in 1989. I took a few science classes and as best as I can tell they were equivalent to today’s premed classes but I got B/Cs and took them over 25 years ago. My BSN/MSN/MPH are all from great schools with great GPAs but it doesn’t sound like that matters so much for med school.

I would like to do a formal premed post bac program but I am in the foreign service and live overseas. So I am looking at various online options but worried that these classes will be viewed as lacking rigor.

I’d love to hear your feedback esp. from those who have done the NP to MD switch or taken online premed classes.

Thanks and so glad to have found this forum

I did an online DIY post-bacc for some classes through UNE-COM (Univ New England Coll/Med, DO School) because I needed some prereqs. It’s self-paced, on your schedule, but you have like 4-6mo to complete each class without requesting an extension. Are you having to retake some prereqs because you haven’t had them/want more recency in them or are you looking to take more upper level sciences?

I took orgo I/II w/labs and biochem through UNE. I had to take Bio II w/Lab as well but did that through a local state school. I learned a lot and thought the workload was fair. The syllabi have changed though, so I can’t speak to how the classes are now.

Some schools accept online courses, some don’t. I was really only blocked from applying to one school (USU) that I wanted to apply to before researching using the MSAR. Online was the only way I felt I could get classes done, so that’s the route I took. My undergrad was in the traditional classroom setting, but my MBA was also done online. Med Schools do look at WHERE you took your classes, so keep that in mind when choosing what school to go through.

I was also looking at the U South FL online MS-Science program, but that is scheduled to align with a normal academic year and is 3 classes/semester, which I didn’t have time for.

I’m not sure if you’d need an additional degree If you have all the prereqs done, you may want to take an “upper level” (i.e. biochem) science class to show recency and ability to return to the work of academia. One ADCOM I talked to was more interested that I took biochem last winter and did well than she was that it was done online. Your background and work as an NP kinda show that you understand the medical world… Lots of medical schools are using the whole-person approach to balance/diversify their classes. It’s not all about the 4.0/45MCAT anymore.

Hi! I can’t answer to the on-line bit but am a CNM who went back to med school, starting the process of trying to sign up for courses at 50. Ended up applying for a post-bacc program at 51. Retook basic bio (I highly recommend this - the info is lightyears beyond what I got back in the 1970’s!) 2 semesters, and 2 semesters of inorganic chem, organic chem, and physics, all with labs. This gave me the content for the MCAT, fresh in my mind, so studying for it was just an extension of the previous year.

You might consider DO school. I found it fit my own philosophy of healthcare well and have not regretted that choice. Also, the schools tend to really value your nursing background and experience working in healthcare.

Best of luck!


Hi there “Old NP”. I too am an NP who started Med school at age 47. I finished yesterday and matched into Psychiatry here at home in AZ. I will be an MD in less than a month and am so thrilled to have done it. I attended Oceania University of Medicine which is geared for those of us who have been in the healthcare professions for a while. I am so excited to start my residency in July even at the grand “old” age of 52!!! Its never too late to pursue a dream. The 1st 2 years (preclinicals) at Oceania are online while the last 2 years are traditional doing rotations

Thanks for the tip about NECOM. I enrolled in the BIO 1class yesterday. What did you think of the DIY Labpaq ?

Did you get references from your online professors?

Thanks, M

Kate and Orla -

Delighted to see a couple of NPs on here who have successfully made the jump. Did you find that being an NP helped you in anyway in the admissions process or during medical school itself?

I read your diary Kate - very inspiring and made me feel less old and foolish for pursuing this.

I am looking primarily at DO schools. In my current overseas post I am working with a DO and he is a great clinician. I thought about the overseas route but I’ve been overseas so long I’m getting homesick. Orla - did you have trouble passing USMLE or getting a residency?

I thought the labs were good. I remember labs in college taking forever with set up, waiting for reactions, etc, and then screwing up one step that left you with jack squat for yield. With the software, you can screw up and try again. I felt I learned the same amount of stuff and took away from the labs what I should have in MUCH less time. It lacks the fun of being hands-on, but to me time was much more important. Downside of NECOM was I don’t remember seeing Bio II on their offerings.

I did not get any letters from the profs. Schools seemed alright with letting me use supervisors/docs for letters since I had zero face-face time with the online profs. I did try to get one from a guy at NECOM, but I think he retired at the conclusion of my class and never responded to my email request. I don’t think he would’ve been able to write anything strong anyway. Just email schools you’re interested in, I got waivers for all of the schools that I applied to that absolutely required professor letters. I think there was maybe one school that stood fast that the requirement is the requirement, so they didn’t get any of my money…

No did fine on the steps and matched into residency this year

I did think being an NP helped me in the admission process. 3 of the DO schools who accepted me I think were favorably impressed with my work background. The school I am attending has a professor in the clinical faculty who is a CNM, applied to their school and was accepted, graduated top of her class and had NO trouble getting a residency, and is a practicing DO now. I feel that I MOST benefited by her example. They saw I was a CNM and I think they figured I must be uber smart also NOT top of my class, but I’ve done alright!




I am turing 40 and want to try! I just join this forum. I hope we can keep this positive. I look forward to exchanging ideas and information

Any recommendations for schools?

I haven’t even finished my NP program yet but already know that it will never be enough for me. I have only a few more months of it left so it makes sense to just finish it. Quite a few NPs are making this switch. I’m doing a mix of online and on-campus courses for my pre med sciences. I know that some schools won’t take the online stuff, but I don’t plan to apply to any of those.

I used to hear people talking about how NPs will take over primary care in the future. Not going to happen—even in the states where full autonomy of NP practice is permitted. Now that nursing academia is pushing all NPs towards the DNP thing I suspect that they will soon see an overall decline in applications to NP programs. DNP is about another 3 years of grad school—and several wheelbarrows full of cash in tuition costs. It takes a freshman student about 4 1/2 to 5 years to do get a BSN (when you consider the prerequisite courses), plus another 2 1/2 years to get the MSN, plus now another 2 1/2 years to get the DNP—provided you’re a full-time student and you don’t fail any classes or take any time off. That’s 9+ years of schooling that future NPs will need to have. I looked into DNP and realized that it is a waste of time and money. Medical school isn’t cheap but its a much better investment to me.