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post #21 of 44
Not an MD, I'm an RN (10 years' experience, about 7 of those in major teaching hospitals). Just wanted to poke in and say there is no way in the world I'd ever consider med school/residency when my children are young. Residents work like dogs, are paid slave wages, and have little to no time for anything above a few winks of sleep between pages. Fellowships are not as bad, but close, when it comes to hours worked. One of my best friends is married to a surgeon, and she is essentially a single parent when it comes to actual hands-on care of the children and childrearing. He is finishing his fellowship this year, thank goodness, and starting private practice. To put a finer point on how bad it can be...during the birth of their first child, he was on call (at the same hospital where she was delivering), and barely made it for the birth. He had to bolt shortly after the birth to continue patient care, he had no choice. He is currently on call (I talked to her this morning), and she hasn't seen him....literally, hasn't seen him....for 3 days. That's the norm at her house.

I have worked with enough physicians and residents to know that it is an extremely difficult road to take. I personally would never in a million years choose to do it, BUT, if asked my opinion on when it would be best to do it, I would definitely say when your children are older...much older. It's not like going to grad school or even undergrad. Your entire life becomes medicine. If you are prepared for it, if it is what you want to do, go into it with your eyes WIDE open and know the sacrifices you will HAVE TO make. It is a noble profession, certainly, but not one for the faint of heart. Good luck in your decision.
post #22 of 44
I'm a full time PhD student and my partner is a resident and we two kids. I second the not-worth-it sentiment.
Have you considered PA or NP or other advanced practice nursing? The glory of 'doctorness' and 'medicine' wears thin after a while. PAs and NPs often have some of the same roles with less insane training.
post #23 of 44
Thread Starter 
Hm...actually for all the cautions that have been voiced, I'm not sure where this not-worth-it sentiment that you're talking about is. People have actually been quite supportive.

I'm not looking for glory or "doctorness" (whatever that is).......if I was looking for glory I would never have been a SAHM in the first place. My mom is a nurse and I've been exposed to that profession my entire life, and I'm quite sure it's not for me. My motivation for medicine is the advanced technical details, the cognitive challenges of diagnosis and the personal challenges of independent decisionmaking...exactly the roles that are reserved to the MDs. I'm sure I would be perfectly miserable as a nurse, even an 'advanced' one....and I mean that as no offense to nurses. But I would shoot myself if I had to spend my days within arm's reach of people who were doing what I really wanted to do in the first place, and never able to take on that role myself...it would be better, for me personally, to stay away from health care altogether.

Sorry for being touchy but I hope you realize that historically, "why don't you just be a nurse instead?" is kind of a sore spot for women seeking careers in medicine.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post
My motivation for medicine is the advanced technical details, the cognitive challenges of diagnosis and the personal challenges of independent decisionmaking...exactly the roles that are reserved to the MDs. I'm sure I would be perfectly miserable as a nurse, even an 'advanced' one....and I mean that as no offense to nurses. But I would shoot myself if I had to spend my days within arm's reach of people who were doing what I really wanted to do in the first place, and never able to take on that role myself...it would be better, for me personally, to stay away from health care altogether.
This is exactly my motivation! I'm the just about to start pre-med student. In fact, this is my last day of work! I've resigned to throw myself into this. I have reconciled myself to the fact that if, for whatever reason, the path to M.D. is too long/hard/financially precarious/injurious to my marriage or children, I will be ok w/another, clinical alternative, but that's definitely not my first choice. I have to "go for it" for my own peace of mind.
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrible View Post
not to side-track the discussion but... this thread is pretty depressing. (my background is a few posts up) it's so frustrating to have intelligent, caring women and men who want to be attached parents as well as physicians not being able to accomplish both at the same time. What do we do???
My stock answer to that question is that the more women enter the work force, the more things change for EVERYONE!

My mother was a social worker - starting again in her 40s with me as a baby. In her day she was counseled never to say that she had to pick me up from the sitter, but to simply say she had an appointment (with a client was implied). In her job interview, she was questioned on what would happen to her child (I already have a sitter lined up), when she would do the grocery shopping (Saturday, the same day I do now) and how her family would get fed (I'm very fast in the kitchen). Today it is illegal to ask these questions. Why? Because women have entered the work force and demand not to be patronized but treated equally.

Recently, my ROOFER had to cancel an appointment with me because he had to care for his sick child? I'm THRILLED! I'm thrilled that a man's man, doin' man's work thinks nothing of telling a professional woman he has childcare responsibilities. I don't even care if he was lying to me. We've come a long way, baby!

But medicine is another stonghold of boy's club fraternity style hazing rituals. I worked 120 hours a week, paid my dues and it made me a better doctor (yeah right!). You kids have it easy today with 80 hour weeks. This doesn't necessarily lead to continuity of patient care. Tired, overworked people make more mistakes then well-rested people. Doesn't matter if you're a doc or not.

/end rant

post #26 of 44
Quote:
\

Sorry for being touchy but I hope you realize that historically, "why don't you just be a nurse instead?" is kind of a sore spot for women seeking careers in medicine.
I certainly don't mean to offend. I would recommend nursing or PA over medicine to any person - male or female.

Perhaps some background would help... My partner was first a doctor, then after she immigrated to the US with me, (due to unfair immigration laws for gays and lesbians) started over as a nurse's aide, LVN, critical care RN and is now back in medicine - in her third year of residency.

She chose nursing because the training was affordable and relatively quick and the money was good and they sponsored her for a green card. She liked nursing because she likes healthcare and likes taking care of people.

After a few years of nursing, she passed her medical boards and is now in her third year of residency. So my perspective in suggesting that it wasn't worth it is that we had a much better life when she was an RN than now. Similarly, we also had a better life when I was working than now as a student.

I understand the drive, but I would seriously consider your priorities in life and what sacrifices in time and money you're willing to make on behalf of yourself and your family. We've made those same sacrifices and I often regret them.
Then again... nobody could have warned us or stopped us and there comes a point where the investment is too high to back out. And so we continue onwards.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lingmom View Post
Perhaps some background would help... My partner was first a doctor, then after she immigrated to the US with me, (due to unfair immigration laws for gays and lesbians) started over as a nurse's aide, LVN, critical care RN and is now back in medicine - in her third year of residency.
I'm sorry you and your dp had to go through that nonsense. I hope you have found a supportive community.
post #28 of 44
In doing your research, I'd ask the school you're considering what the divorce rate of its married students is. Some schools have started to track information like that.

It's not so much that you personally are at risk for divorce (I don't know anything about your marriage) but if there is a very high divorce rate, you may be able to infer that the program is unfriendly to families.
post #29 of 44
I started a thread on here sometime back on this very topic. Check it out, you might find it interesting: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=553835


I have since decided that YES, medicine is what I want to do. I want to be an MD/DO, not a nurse/PA/NP.

GalateaDunkel, you summed up my feelings exactly when you said this:

Quote:
My motivation for medicine is the advanced technical details, the cognitive challenges of diagnosis and the personal challenges of independent decisionmaking...exactly the roles that are reserved to the MDs. I'm sure I would be perfectly miserable as a nurse, even an 'advanced' one....and I mean that as no offense to nurses. But I would shoot myself if I had to spend my days within arm's reach of people who were doing what I really wanted to do in the first place, and never able to take on that role myself...it would be better, for me personally, to stay away from health care altogether.
I lurk on mommd.com and on studentdoctor.net. There are quite a few people who started off as mid-levels who've now decided to go back to school and get their MD. Some, actually, who are still in nursing or PA school! I don't want that happening to me. Since I know I want the MD, I'm going to go for it. I, too, would be absolutely miserable "settling". So I figure I have one chance at this -- I'm going to take it and hope it works out. If I never get accepted, then I'll probably continue my current career, which has zero to do with medicine.

I already have taken all the pre-reqs (I have a Biology/chemistry degree). Right now I'm just preparing for the MCAT, which I'll be taking in January. I'm getting in my clinical experience, summoning letters of rec, and getting all my ducks in a row. So if all goes well, I'll be applying next year and (if accepted) matriculate in '09. We'll see.

I have had serious, serious discussions with my DH over this. How to balance family life with school/residency/work. But in the end, after a lot of soul-searching, I know this is for me. My DH is a wonderful father who is definitely not above caring for sick children, doing housework, and even being a SAHP. We've already discussed that with my crazy schedule in residency, he may need to stay home or work part-time. He's okay with that. With any luck, I'll get to go to school and residency here in my city so that I can be close to our parents (who are likewise supportive). But in the probably chance we'll have to move, that's okay, we'll get through it.

My DD is 2 now and hopefully we'll have another one soon. By the time I get out of med school, they will be older. As for during school, well I'm a full-time WOHM who is taking grad school in the evenings. . .it doesn't sound like med school will be any worse than what I've got going on right now.

Yes, there'll be sacrifices. . .there always is. After a lot of soul-searching and disucssion, I know this is my path. Other people will need to find their own path, whatever that may be.
post #30 of 44
I've been lurking on this post for a few days (while on call) but haven't had the time (or the heart) to reply...

I'm a 4th year medical student going into OB/GYN. I just returned from a year of maternity leave and have thrown myself into my Acting Internships. When I got pregnant and while I was on maternity leave I thought- "This is just perfect timing- and I'm so lucky to be able to take a whole year off." I am one who is known for a sense of balance and has always made plenty of time for school/work, family/friends, taking care of the house, etc... Throw a 14 month old into the mix as well as working 80 hours a week (I'm doing an Obstetrics Night Float month)... there is no balance. None. I love what I'm doing but there have been days when I have seen my son for half an hour. This from a women who didn't spend longer than 2 hours away from him for the first 11 months of his life. It's awful. Beyond that- DH is stretched to the max doing laundry, dishes and trying to maintain some semblance of an organized house... And me the type A personality has to let go of doing everything. It's the toughest thing I've ever done.

I would really advice thinking through what you want/need out of a career in medicine before going into it. Talk to local doctors or residents- have coffee and a real conversation. It is very possible- especially depending on how "family friendly" your school is. In my class, 15-20 people were parents- many of them for the first time (however, most of them are dads- not moms- and you know it's quite different!). In considering specialties as well, there is a lot of differences in the time demands- even in residency. While 80 hours is the max (and the standard)... there are programs that are less (e.g. Pathology, Psych).

Additionally- I'd like to speak up and demystify the "midlevel provider" issue... and say that if I could do it all over again, I would totally be an NP or PA. It depends on where you work but many places there is still a lot of difficult clinical decision making, independence, continuity with patients- and a great deal of respect. It's not all about the letters after your name that dictates your authority- it's also your clinical skills, way with patients and knowledge base. I have worked with MDs who regularly consult NPs with issues. There's also a great deal of flexibility in places to work depending on your interest. Here in Vermont, Planned Parenthood has three consulting MDs but the "midlevels" run the show- and with authority.

Facing another year of school and then residency I must admit that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Resilient in my decision--- plus, at this point I'm WAAAAY in debt and have no other way to dig myself out other than to become a doctor (or an investment banker... but I don't really have those skills). It is on my mind every single day. I wonder about how much I'm missing and how much Silas will remember my absence. My biggest hope is that by the time I'm an attending, he will be 6 and then I can have much more flexibility in negotiating my schedule. Until then I am resigned to missing so many important moments. .... Okay, now I'm tearful. Whew.

I'm happy to talk more about it if you want to PM me. Good luck with your decision!
post #31 of 44
Thread Starter 
I want to say that I really feel for all the people who have posted about negative or difficult experiences about medical training in their families.

I have already gone through the process of getting close to the terminal degree in a field and realizing, painfully, that it wasn't right for me after all and that the time had been essentially wasted. Once in a lifetime is once too many IMO and I will do everything in my power not to repeat that experience.

Just to clarify, I am not talking about doing this with really young kids; right now the timeline I have in mind is to start pre-reqs when youngest is a pre-teen and start residency when youngest is out of the houto se, or almost out of the house. The only problem with that is, it would make me one of those really older older students (late 40s/early 50s), which would limit my choice of specialty and how long I would ultimately be able to practice. DH thinks I am selling myself short by waiting so long to get started - but he doesn't realize it's not about me, it's about the kids.
post #32 of 44
Just fyi, the docs I know (2 of them) who have been in other professions before and who started their careers as MD's "late" in life are excellent physicians. There's something about letting life season you a bit before that really does make a positive difference. One is an anesthesiologist, the other is a general surgeon.
post #33 of 44
I say go for it! I think we have somethings in common (homeschooling, etc).

I am 33 years old and for the time being I went ahead and got my BSN because it was the same pre-reqs for med school (minus a few like physics and ochem) and I wanted to get started doing something in the medical field.

I also homeschool my girls (they are 9 and 5). I took all my pre-reqs in the evening when dh was home (chem 2, microbiology, calc, etc etc). I was able to balance that fine with homeschooling, family time, etc. I don't see why you couldn't start by taking 1 class in the evenings. I think it is very doable and you would probably enjoy it very much.

I work in a critical care setting (ICU) and omg I love it! The nursing we do in the ICU at my hospital (which is a teaching university hospital) is completely different than a lot of other nursing areas. We are in a different world at times it seems and it is truly team work in the ICU. I have learned so much it is unreal. I love that I can work 3 days a week (I work nights by choice) and it is full time and I am off and at home with my girls 5 days a week. So for right now, it is a good choice and I am completely happy (mainly because I work in critical care, I personally couldn't do floor nursing or any other type...I like the traumas, the blood and guts, the heart patients, the vents, the codes, the decision making, etc RNs in the critical care areas work very autonomously).

To me they are still too young (even the 9 year old) to even think about applying to med school, but I didn't want to not do anything just waiting (make sense??). I feel at 33 I still have plenty of time to do what I want. I could change my mind and go to NP or PA school (I really can never tell the difference between either of those in our ER and ICU's and the physicians to be honest--they diagnose, do all the same procedures, prescribe medicines, etc) and with my BSN degree I could get into either my experience, grades, etc. I like having all those options and experience that my degree offers; it is truly like no other. Just offering my background.

My girls pediatrician went to medical school in her 40's (she was an RN before hand). Because of her experience she only had to apply to one school and was accepted right off the bat because of her experience in the cath lab. I talk to her off and on about medical school and she said even in her 40's she wasn't the oldest one. My husband was telling me the other day about the 55 year old Pharmacy student he was talking with

I think it's very doable but for women it can be harder than it is for men I have noticed, most of us don't have a SAHD, but a lot of men have SAHM to take care of the kids. I think you would be fortunate to have a husband who would be at home. My husband is going to law school so he can't stay at home with the kids.

I know some of the others said that medical school was the easy part (and I don't disagree) but I know a lot of medical students and they *are* gone all day long. Most are in school for most of the day mon-fri, come home to eat and then have to head right back up to school till midnight to study. I have a friend right now in her 2nd year and she is never ever home. I think that is one thing that stopped me from heading to medical school with my younger kids at home. My oldest is 9 and that is still just too young for me to be gone all the time. I'm already gone enough with my BSN program, clinicals, and my job in the ICU, I can't imagine at all being in med school or residency right now in my life.

Why do things have to be so hard!?
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrible View Post
not to side-track the discussion but... this thread is pretty depressing. (my background is a few posts up) it's so frustrating to have intelligent, caring women and men who want to be attached parents as well as physicians not being able to accomplish both at the same time. What do we do???
Get a co-wife.
But that's a whole nutha topic............
post #35 of 44
Well, I pretty much know just how you feel. About two years ago I decided I was going to go to med school. I started looking into programs, took the MCAT last year, was getting ready to submit applications, and then suddenly put it all on hold. My kids are too young right now. Now, I'm not a SAHM, but I do WAH part time and WOH as a chemistry instructor part time. It's a very family-friendly set-up, but I don't feel like it's what I want to do for the rest of my life at all. I too have realized that the field I was studying (I was in a PhD program) was totally wrong for me. But since having left that program, I feel like I am incomplete in my education, and treading water, rather than reaching any sort of goal, career wise.

So I think you should go for it! It sounds like you know what you want and have the determination to make it work for you!
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post
Hm...actually for all the cautions that have been voiced, I'm not sure where this not-worth-it sentiment that you're talking about is. People have actually been quite supportive.

I'm not looking for glory or "doctorness" (whatever that is).......if I was looking for glory I would never have been a SAHM in the first place. My mom is a nurse and I've been exposed to that profession my entire life, and I'm quite sure it's not for me. My motivation for medicine is the advanced technical details, the cognitive challenges of diagnosis and the personal challenges of independent decisionmaking...exactly the roles that are reserved to the MDs. I'm sure I would be perfectly miserable as a nurse, even an 'advanced' one....and I mean that as no offense to nurses. But I would shoot myself if I had to spend my days within arm's reach of people who were doing what I really wanted to do in the first place, and never able to take on that role myself...it would be better, for me personally, to stay away from health care altogether.

Sorry for being touchy but I hope you realize that historically, "why don't you just be a nurse instead?" is kind of a sore spot for women seeking careers in medicine.
I agree. I have dreamed of being a doctor for years. Since I was in health occ. in high school and got real, hands on experience in the field. But after 3 years of pre-med (still need the calculus and physics!), and now awaiting baby #4, I just can't do it.

The calculus is daunting and with how stressed I am right now, it almost doesn't seem worth it. I spent a lot of time on mommd and working in healthcare, and I know being an actual "Doctor" is the only way I would really be happy.

Unfortunately, I just know with my family situation, that nursing may be as close as I get. I hate moving, and we would have to uproot again...and again...and again. I know I will not be 100% happy as a nurse or NP, but right now I am at least trying to get my foot back in the door. But it does annoy me when people continually ask "Why not nursing", though people tell my dh he should or any other man I know who is interested in healthcare that they should be doctors.:
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnw826 View Post
But it does annoy me when people continually ask "Why not nursing", though people tell my dh he should or any other man I know who is interested in healthcare that they should be doctors.:
It works both ways though. I am asked all the time because I am smart "why not be a doctor, why are you in nursing school?" which is like a slap in the face....as if you can't be smart and a nurse, the nurses are dumb or something or are beneath Dr's (some nurses have advanced degrees and as much experience/education as an MD and many make just as much money as an MD or have their own offices, etc). Most smart women who are nurses get asked that question ALL THE TIME. The men in my nursing class get asked all the time why in the world they are not in medical school and are nurses. Why would a man want to be a nurse in the first place because men are supposed to be doctors, people can't understand that. Because they must be either gay or stupid to want to be nurses.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by marilynmama View Post
It works both ways though. I am asked all the time because I am smart "why not be a doctor, why are you in nursing school?"....as if you can't be smart and a nurse, the nurses are dumb or something or are beneath Dr's. Most smart women who are nurses get asked that question ALL THE TIME. The men in my nursing class get asked all the time why in the world they are not in medical school and are nurses. Why would a man want to be a nurse in the first place because men are supposed to be doctors, people can't understand that.
I agree, it goes both ways to a point. Though when I worked med/surg, none of the nurses I worked with had been asked "Why not become a doctor" except for 2 male nurses. It is sexist both ways.
post #39 of 44
I think a lot of the comments about becoming an advanced practice nurse were not meant in the way some people took them. In the original post she talked about wanting to be able to work and homeschool and not wanting to be away from her kids too much and all that....which you really can't do while in medical school (she didn't mention till later on about waiting till her kids were out of the house....that makes a big difference). MOST of the premed types I work with that come on my floor (I work in the ICU) go back and forth between medical school and PA or NP and especially CRNA school, both males and females because each of those really does have very appealing aspects to it.

Advanced practice nursing and PA school is a job where you can 'have it all' so to say (prescription authority, procedures, autonomy, etc), and that is the reason so many people (both male and female; in fact medical school admissions have gone down) are going the NP or CNS or PA route because you can practice medicine and still have a family life. If you have ever worked in a critical care setting you will have seen all of those (I'm mentioning that because around here that is where they are primarily used), and you would never have known they were not a MD--just look at the CRNAs. I know the first time I worked with a cardiac CNS in the ER I was SHOCKED she was not a physician, I really had no idea and she opened my eyes to opportunities besides just a RN or a MD/DO. So a job as a NP, CNS, or PA or especially CRNA is very appealing to many people for those reasons and they are being used more and more and of course the $100K starting salary (CRNA) would be nice (though anesthesia bores me to death! lol). Most people though really have no CLUE what advanced practice nurses do though or even that they are out there. So ya, I do encourage those looking into the medical field to look also into advanced practice nursing and PA school. I prefer advanced practice nursing because they don't work under a doctor, but under their own license. Those working in my hospital are highly highly highly respected by both the nursing and medical staff.

I only mention this because there are a lot of opportunities out there for those interested in medicine but maybe want a family life as well (that would be me). It has nothing to do with "your a women you can't be a MD/DO" at all--I work with way to many female Dr's that I love to even think that. There are just so many doors and opportunities in the medical field I think anyone seriously exploring it and interested in medicine should consider all their options before commiting to anything.

This is a really good site from a CRNA: http://www.gaspasser.com/

http://www.mayo.edu/mshs/np-career.html
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnw826 View Post
I agree, it goes both ways to a point. Though when I worked med/surg, none of the nurses I worked with had been asked "Why not become a doctor" except for 2 male nurses. It is sexist both ways.

Well I think part of those goes with working in Med/Surg. Those nurses are freaking awesome and work like dogs yet don't get a lot of respect from anyone (even other nurses). You work in other specialties (I work in the ICU and the smart RNs hear it) and you WILL hear that a lot actually, "oh your so smart, why are you a nurse and not a doctor?".
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