Talk me out of this please...

Hi guys:

I have a business degree with limited physical science background. I’m considering taking some pre-med classes and possibly applying to a DO or PA program.

I have a law degree, and am pushing 40 years old.

My questions:

  1. I don’t see a post bacc program as an option, due to cost, family and job. I’m thinking I need a self directed part time program. I understand seated classes are preferred. Is this correct?

  2. Will my law school grades be considered in terms of overall GPA? I did poorly (way back then I should have realized law wasn’t for me).

  3. PA is probably a smarter route for me due to my age and cost. But, how does one obtain the required patient contact? I’m thinking volunteer EMT, or part time work in an ER as a tech. Is my thinking wrong here?

    Thoughts? (Honest feedback appreciated)

Best of luck to you. There are definitely folks older than you on these boards who are pursuing medicine, so don’t discount yourself just on age.

As to your questions,

  1. True in general, but check with the schools that you’re interested in to see what they have to say.

  2. Not entirely sure, but AMCAS seems to count just about everything.

  3. Volunteer EMT is a good option. There were a lot of folks in my EMT class going that route. Only issue is that they probably want you to have your EMT certificate, which is about a semester of work and a written and practical exam. A buddy of mine just went and got a job as a Nursing Assistant at a local hospital. Good thing about that one is that they didn’t require any training or certification.

Ok – so a few things re: your post –

Age - Don’t want to hear it – 40 when I started prereqs, 42 when I entered medical school, graduating from residency at 51. sorry, that argument doesn’t wash with me – get back to work, you ;->

  1. I did a “self-directed” post back - went to various community colleges to get my preqreqs, maintained a 4.0 average in those and was OK.

  2. Everything counts – what you do now counts more. Do not screw this up.

  3. Bag PA school – go for the full enchilada, rice and beans. You’ll enjoy it more, be stretched more and have more opportunity later. Patient contact? Volunteer in an ER, scribe for an ER doc, get a part time job in a physician’s office, call the state medical association for leads for physician’s who can get you letters of reference (i.e. like students and premeds), call the schools you’re considering and see what they suggest – be aggressive about doing this and getting in – you will. Show a passion for medicine…

    Like the old First Sergeant says," Don’t go in half-steppin’ gentlemen. There’s a thousand ways to die, Mr. Charles is just one of them"…

Not sure what you want? If you don’t want to become a physician then you won’t. You’re not going to haphazrdly get into med school so you have to decide what you want. Do you want to be the responsbile one with a vast deeper and broader knowledge base than a PA? Do you want to be the one who lawyers go after, pay higher malpractice,…and any other negative thing you can think of…AND still not care because it’s MD/DO for you regardless? Then you know which to chose.

Age is not a good argument around here. Cost is a personal matter. You have to count the cost. Look into the opportunity cost of continuing down your current path for ten years and what it will look like if you pursue med school instead. Then looking at the numbers you make the choice to either defy the objective numbers and instead go with what you believe is a calling or not. If it not a calling and merely a job then the opportunity costs should make the decision for you.

I nor anyone else can talk you out of what you believe is a calling on your life. We can talk you out of a job that is not as financially lucrative for the cost involved and your age. So in the end it’s all on you. =)

And BTW it’s okay if it’s not a calling and just a job but the latter will not make all the suffering worth the effort.

Thanks guys, good stuff. I’m moving in a few months, so I am trying to get an idea of the resources available at my new place. Community College seems like the best bet - night classes are my only option while still working.

That said, I did find this program - it looks web based with in-person labs.

They use the term “linkage” to PCOM. Any insight into whether this is a marketing term, or something meaningful? I ask because Philly would be a pretty good location for me.

Thanks again…

Thanks croooz. You hit it right on the head. I already know that I cannot continue in my current job for 10 more years even if they doubled my salary. No to get too personal, but I just started on blood pressure medication. For what? A job that offers no psychic rewards but a decent paycheck with an uncertain future. [Queue whiney lawyer music, if there is any…]

That said, I know medicine is no picnic (mother was a nurse, father was a healthcare attorney/administrator). Ideally, I want to be the one in control (and all the responsibilities that come with it). My main concern the impact to my family, I have 2 young kids and a wife to think of now.

I have some serious thinking to do…

It won’t be easy but if your family is prepared and willing to back your play then your good to go. My mentor had two kids while in med school and he had a tough time in school and residency. This was not because of the kids but instead he developed an almost debilitating form of test anxiety. Took him 6 years to finish med school and another 5 for IM residency. He’s now an attending and he nor the family could be any happier. Started med school with a teenager and they had two while in school. He finished as an attending with a 30 year old daughter and two ten year old boys.

Thanks for sharing. My wife values education. I guess i will test that. Biggest problem I’m having so far is finding a school with night classes. Didn’t expect that difficulty. First of many I’m sure.