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The short version:

I have worked in public relations for the past 5 years to support our family. It was never going to be a "career," the hours were long (12 hour days), travel required, so on and so forth.

Through a lot of thought, I've realized that what my heart wants to do is be a doctor. I come from a medical family, so am pretty realistic about what a medical career , and the work required to get there, entail. DH is supportive. He's actually encouraged me to be a doctor for years. I have lots of family support/help.

It will be a long road. I'll be 40 before I'm practicing. But I'll be 40 either way.

To get to med school, b/c of my school history, I'll need 2 years of school before I can apply. I have resigned from my job & started on this path.

I'm also ok w/the reality that I may not, for one reason or another, become a doctor (DO is also fine). If, for academic, financial, or family reasons, that many years of school/training won't work out, I will pursue another clinical career - right now I'm thinking my fallback would be NP.

Here's the thing...an M.D. whom I've seen over the years for my ADHD is discouraging this b/c 1. the insurance industry has taken its toll on medicine as a career and 2. he feels my children will suffer.

I think I'm ok w/his objection #1. As for #2, quite frankly, at least until residency, school will not be much worse than the work I was doing (12 hour days, 1+ commute each way, getting stuck late at the office, having to travel, sometimes on short notice, occasionally having to work all weekend, etc).

Am I out of my mind for going for this?

I really can't think of an alternate career that would be AS satisfying for me. One thing that would be OK would be special educaiton, but the area I'm interested in would be a PhD track career, so there I am again w/the long hours, academics, etc...

If you've made it this far...thanks for reading, and all opinions welcome!
 

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I also looked (briefly) into going to medical school but ultimately I ended up deciding against it and to continue on with my original plans for nursing school. The reason I ultimately decided against the MD route is because we're not done building our family yet which would mean I'd be pregnant and having babies, or at the very least have very young children, while in medical school and during my residency. Also, money (more the time spent out of the work force than the money for school) would be an issue.

I did a bunch of searching online to learn first hand experiences of women doing medical school and residency while also building their family. Many of them said that while it's tough, it's totally doable. However, the deal is, you really don't get to spend nearly as much time with your kids as you do now. During residency it may be necessary for the other parent to take over and pretty much act as a single parent. This was a deal breaker for me. If I had started school 5 years ago it probably would have worked, or if I had started having our children 5 years ago, it may have worked but not now, not at my age and not at this point in our family building.

I hate that residency is so ridiculous with the number of hours required (frequently about 80 hours a week! and this is the recently enforced relaxed schedule!). It makes it very difficult for people with families and forces a choice that some feel is unreasonable. But while in medical school, while you will no doubt spend a lot of time studying and it will be tough, you should still have plenty of time to spend with your family. I've had a couple of very tough semesters and while I'm sure they don't compare completely with medical school, they did require a truly astonishing (to me at least) amount of study time and I was still able to spend a satisfying amount of time with my husband and son.

I am in no means trying to talk you out of this route. In fact, I think it's fantastic that you have taken on such a big task! It's inspiring. Also, I think that your children will be at a better age to handle weird schedule issues while you're doing your residency.

You won't ever starve or miss a house payment while you're a licensed MD and in fact, you will most likely make plenty of money to offer your children a lot in terms of schools, etc. To me, that's huge. It's one of the reasons I'm keeping medical school in the back of my mind once I'm done having babies.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by A Boy's Mama View Post
You won't ever starve or miss a house payment while you're a licensed MD and in fact, you will most likely make plenty of money to offer your children a lot in terms of schools, etc.
Actually that isn't true anymore. Doctors don't make the money they used to--not all of course, but being an MD doesn't guarantee money anymore. I know MDs who are *struggling financially* because of loans, overhead, insurance, etc. Read some of the MD/DO posts over on mommd, etc and you will see this is true. I only know because I've talked with Dr's where I work (I work in an ICU) about going to medical school myself.

I know a LOT of MD's and DO's who will tell you they are stuck in their careers because of the debt load, some want to quit (family reasons, children, etc) and they can not. I know quite a few who want out of clinical practice but can't afford it.

Yes there are some specialties that do make good money, good hours, etc I'm thinking specialties like Derm which is VERY hard to get into if not impossible for most.

I think medicine is wonderful, I work with MD and DOs everyday and most are really great people I get along with and enjoy learning from and hanging out with at work. Most will tell you not to do it.

I guess my main point is before you commit to medical school you need to do your research (and just "knowing" someone who is in the medical field doesn't cut it...just like babysitting isn't even close to having your own kids), you need to get a job or volunteer position in a hospital, talk to the residents, talk and watch the Dr's, get IN THERE and see how it is---because it's a lot different than most people think it is. You wouldn't buy an expensive car without really test driving it and looking at other options would you? A medical career should be no different.

Just wanted to offer my perspective since you asked


I guess my main point is to just talk to a lot of Dr's and get some experience in the medical field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
MarilynMama - I definitely know that being a doctor isn't quite as lucrative as many people think, esp in primary care. Good idea about knowing what I'm getting into. I have done volunteer work in hospitals before, and am starting again (going through the endless admin process). I think I have a better idea than many about careers in medicine because both my parents are doctors - mom's a clinician, dad's an academic. So I did experience it, from that perspective. While both of them are very honest about the challenges and the hard stuff, they love their careers, and wouldn't trade them for anything.

I have several other family members who are docs as well, I guess it's the family business. In any event, my plan right now is to dive into the prerequisites, do the best I can, and go from there. If I'm making the grades to give me a shot at getting in, I'll apply to med schools (also considering dentistry). If not, or if the long schooling/training seems too daunting, I'll probably go for NP. Thanks for the thoughts!! How's your schooling going?
 

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Originally Posted by BusyBeeMom View Post
Thanks Crazy Diamond! How's the studying going? When are you planning on applying for? It seems like SUCH a long process (applying).
The studying is going okay. I have a degree in biology/chemistry, but that was 7 years ago so there's a whole lot of studying to do. I'm in an completely unrelated field now so all that stuff I learned I never used. I'm studying almost every day and plan on taking the MCAT in January. Then I'll get my Personal Statement written, finish up my app, and be prepared to submit to AMCAS in June. Yikes! It's definitely a long road but I know that this is definitely what I want to do.
 

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I just wanted to bump this thread because I think it's really interesting.

I'm a nurse who had planned on attending med school - prior to getting married and having a baby!
We were in dire straits financially (sheesh, still are) and I made the decision to sacrifice my goals for my family's stability. Now that I have more stability and am considering my career options, which definitely include continuing my education, I've gone back to considering the option of med school. DH is really supportive of this, but I'm not sure he fully understands the sacrifices our family would have to make. I think even if he were aware of them, however, he would likely continue to encourage me on this path.

Either way I plan to get my BS in nursing, it's just a question of what happens after that...
 

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I don't know if you've looked into this, but consider NP or PA. I always wanted to go to medical school, but I couldn't figure a way to make it work for my family. I ended up going to PA school. Less time than medical school (usually 1 year of didactic, 1 year of clinical). My clinicals were fairly flexible in terms of location, and I know the program did lengthen the clinical year for one mom who needed to take 2 months off for a sick kid.

The end result, to me, was basically the same. I saw patients independently, was able to have some of my own patients as well as sick visits. I just didn't have to spend as many years, or as much money. More importantly for me, I can work part time as a PA to be able to spend more time with my son. I don't know many docs that can do that.

Good luck with whichever way you choose to go.

Jen
 

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Are you drawn to medicine because of an interest in working with people, or working with health issues? If it's the latter, you could also consider a PhD in public health or something like that. Still lots of hours, but generally more flexible.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jen_in_NH View Post
I don't know if you've looked into this, but consider NP or PA. I always wanted to go to medical school, but I couldn't figure a way to make it work for my family. I ended up going to PA school. Less time than medical school (usually 1 year of didactic, 1 year of clinical). My clinicals were fairly flexible in terms of location, and I know the program did lengthen the clinical year for one mom who needed to take 2 months off for a sick kid.

The end result, to me, was basically the same. I saw patients independently, was able to have some of my own patients as well as sick visits. I just didn't have to spend as many years, or as much money. More importantly for me, I can work part time as a PA to be able to spend more time with my son. I don't know many docs that can do that.

Good luck with whichever way you choose to go.

Jen
I'm a nurse, and wouldn't have it any other way. I'm back in bedside nursing now,in the ER, after a bit of a hiatus. My hours are flexible, and no matter where I live, I'll always have a job.

I'm contemplating going back to school .. RN to MSN, for a nurse practitioner program. Problem is ... I've been a nurse long enough, I don't think I'll be making that much more money. (I'm at 60K now, not counting a shift differential.) It's something I've always wanted to do -- now I just have to decide if it's worth the time and effort ... cost-benefit ratio, you know.

BEst of luck .... a career in medicine is rewarding in so many ways .... it's so much more than the money.

Dianna
 
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I commend anyone for wanting to better their education in the healthcare field. We all know that it isn't easy to be a medical student. The time, energy, strain and sacrifice involved is immense. For example, being in medical school and Residency definitely means that you will have to be away from your family, and that can be very difficult. But if you choose a medical school with flexible hours, then you can take much-needed time off to be with your loved ones. In that sense, choosing a more "family-friendly" specialty can help you. You can also consult with some good career counselors or visit job-related websites for a better understanding of what your desired medical job entails, the amount of education that is required, and find out other essential information regarding your medical career.
 

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I agree Naomi! While it would be ideal to find a "family-friendly" med- school, we all know that is nearly impossible to find. They really don't exist. Most people are already aware of the rigorous training as well of hours that you have to dedicate to several years of residency. Making a decision to go to med school with children depends on several factors like: child care (daycare or nanny and hours available) and family support, spousal support and current income coming in, can you pay bills with on that 1 income for the duration of school, how many hours can you dedicate to your child, the type of parent you are and the relationship you have established with your children, your children's age, current debt and paying off student loans, are there jobs readily available, etc.

School is stressful but it is doable. To be honest, you can do it at any age with children at any age. The reason I speak with such conviction is I was a single mom to 3 when I hauled ass with my kids and bird in tow, to a state where we knew nobody, and went to school as a Respiratory Therapist. I had money coming in from child support as well as a side business which brought in residual income. I used daycare for my 2yr old, an after school program for my school aged kiddos and nannies for clinical rotations.

For details on how I did it, go to thrivelevel.info. I took some money I made from there and utilized it towards investments from strategies I learned at this workfromhome25k.com
 
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