over 50?

I am over 50 and am dreaming my next chapters. The truth is, I have spent most of my life in healthcare as an LCSW - currently inpatient psychiatry setting. The reality is that I could list my accomplishments (which at 50 - hardworking and smart and Ivy League educated) are considerable, no less my experience in medicine (have been hospital based for most of my career and am direct clinical) but my age feels like a weight.

My children are nearly grown, my husband supports this 110% and I did take a few biology classes over the past few years and managed straight A/s. I love medicine, its history, its practice and have dreamed this dream since I was 7 - travelling the world, having children and climbing mountains took me on a detour.

I would LOVE some advice about situating myself for this journey - and feedback on my age issue - is it all in my head? My dream is to practice internationally, in underserved areas - not do a fellowship in surgery or plastics and make lots of money here in the US. My hubby and I dream of spending our next passage on the African continent and I long to be of service as an MD.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Go for it? Or just laugh and make the best of the work I already do (which I love…it is all direct patient care and am the chair of Ethics at a large teaching hospital as well as a faculty in the school of medicine)


Hi Namaste,

Your dream is admirable and you should certainly apply. I am not applying yet but have done a lot of research and it seems that as long as you have good grades, MCAT etc. and apply to many schools, you may get accepted somewhere. Also, it seems that DO schools are more open to older students but I am not sure how easy would be to practice internationally with a DO degree so maybe someone else here can provide more info about this. Also, unless you have enough savings to pay for medical school it would be very difficult to repay your loans if you decide to relocate to Africa. I have very similar interests (international work with disadvantaged populations etc.) and have done a lot of research on salaries (for medical officers at WHO etc.) and the salaries are far lower than what you would make in the US even in primary care. So this is certainly something important to consider.

Best of luck!

If medicine is truly your calling then let nothing or no one stop you, not even your own self. Sometimes, we need to get out of our own way so all of our blessings can begin to flow to us and from us to others.

What is it about your age that concerns you regarding going to medical school and becoming a doctor?

Thanks for replying!

Kitty, the main age issue is that I will be considered less of a qualified applicant than my younger cohorts during the process. Honestly, my experience in hospital-based medicine is probably a great asset but I am not young, years to practice are far less and my endurance may be mentally far superior but I am a menopausal gal with more challenges at lost night’s rest.

The money is an issue, too. Repayment and all that - am tempted to do some research on service type work to have them repaid in underprivileged areas abroad…also, am not averse to going to school our of the US - have lived abroad alot over my lifetime and, except for the longer term plan I have for my children (grandchildren) - lol - not much tethering me to this way of life. Prefer much simpler, frankly.

I would love to do primary type practice, women’s health or infectious diseases (the latter a real interest but takes fellowship time/$)…

I happen to value the concept of the present more than I may have let on before and, with 30 years of practicing both yoga and being sober, am in terrific health, mind and body-wise. I also believe that our lifetimes are a gift we are graciously let to compose so I am more of a mind that a calling is a calling and putting it aside does more damage than following it, as you referenced.

But where and how to start? The specific and most streamlined course of study to acceptance, given that I still have to work? Thoughts on medical school abroad (which my husband would love!!) Anyone out there know anything about getting educated in Israel? (I have family there)

I have the same concerns at 33 about the physical toll of med school.

As far as age, this thread may help with that discussion point. http://www.oldpremeds.org/fusionbb/showtopic.php?t…

Truly, there is always a way and if it is your heart’s desire, it will happen.

As far as the sleep deprivation, I already deal with that as a paramedic on 24 hour shifts and, yes, it is harder to recover after 40 but if you take good care of yourself nutritionally and get some naps, it works out.

As far as some schools, there is a program with early acceptance that was mentioned on this site that may be worth a look-see: http://icahn.mssm.edu/education/medical-edu cation/…

Also, there is a program in NY that links up with Israel that may be something you are interested in checking out. http://sacklermedicine.us/

There are some online science courses through the University of New England that may help you “fit in” some of your remaining classes. Kind of pricey, but doable if in-person classes are not an option.

Keep looking for ways to make it work–you’ll find what works for you!


You’re welcome Namaste. Who said you’re going to be less of a qualified applicant than your younger cohorts? Be careful what you think. Proverbs 23:7 As a man thinketh, so is he. That kind of thinking can come through in your energy and mannerisms when you interview and therefore you walk into the room defeated instead of courageously and with confidence.

Being young is a state of mind. You’d be surprised what the body will do with the right frame of mind. Instead of saying but I’m not young, look at your age as ONLY an advantage and others will see the same. Remember God used Abraham to father many nations and Sarah as the vehicle to make that happen. He chose them despite their “old age” or who knows maybe even because of it as an example to others that age does not limit God’s plans for your life.

Theoretically you may have less years to practice than someone younger than you. But, no one knows who will stay and who will leave once someone enters the field of medicine. Besides, he who gives much in a short period of time has done more good for mankind than he who gives little in a longer period of time (my proverb) . Don’t focus on quantity, focus on quality. But you never know, quantity may be on your side as well.

As far as money, people take out 30 year mortgage home loans that are more expensive than medical school with no program for loan repayment. I’m just sayin…

As far as where to start, you’ve already started right? Can you take evening courses or courses around your work schedule? Medical school abroad is a nice option for you. It’s great you’re in a position to have so many options!

Put aside all the buts…You can do it Namaste!

33! You can handle it!