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golimumab

Soon-to-be vet student considering med school

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I'm about to start vet school (in Canada) but I'm considering declining the opportunity in order to apply to human medicine in the future.  This is not a sudden change of heart, I've debated between the two careers for years and was planning to apply to med school had I not been accepted into vet school on my first attempt.

Here are my main concerns:

1. I'm much more interested in the human body (its anatomy, physiology, diseases, etc.) than I am in other species.  I like the idea of working with animals, but I'm not particularly interested in how they are put together.  I have zero interest in the large animal/food production aspect of vet med, which is about 50% of the curriculum.

2. I want a career that is lucrative and stable.  Vet med seems very dependent on the economy and doesn't have the guaranteed job security of, say, a family physician.  Clinic ownership might be lucrative but owning an animal hospital seems a hell of a lot more demanding than working regular hours as a GP (not to mention less stable). 

3. I hate the idea of having to promote myself as a veterinarian - i.e. the whole customer service and marketing aspect of it, like dentistry.  MDs seem like they can get away with being introverted and can adopt a much more 'take it or leave it' approach with their patients, since they don't need to try to convince people to come and see them.  Quite the opposite: people are desperate to get appointments with doctors and will go on waitlists, drive across the city, etc. 

4.  There's part of me that feels it would be far more beneficial being an MD, since I don't think we really need more vets (nobody is waiting 6 months to get an appointment for their cat).  I also like the idea of being in a position where I can help my family with their future health care needs.

5.  My vet school is a 6 hour drive from my home, where I live with my wife.  This alone might be a deal breaker.  There are two med schools near where I live, either of which I could attend without sabotaging my family life and the career I've worked so hard to establish.

That's about it.  If I don't attend vet school this fall then I'll be giving up the certainty of becoming a vet for the possibility of getting into med school.  However, I currently have a well-paying career that's very flexible, so I could easily continue with my current life while studying for and applying to med school, year after year if necessary. 

Thanks for reading.  Perhaps someone on this forum will have experienced a similar dilemma and can offer some insight.

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You need to understand that you don’t have a clue if or where lightning will strike, so you could be accepted to a med school out of town if you apply broadly. I understand the reasons why you are evaluating whether to proceed to vet school. Should you not proceed, you are entering the lottery of life and will either eventually get into med school or continue in your career. Giving up the certainty of a fulfilling career as a vet, with the uncertainty of it being financially rewarding, is understandable. Over a decade ago when I researched the possibility of a career as a vet, I came to the understanding then that I could look forward to earning 75K a year after 5 years in practice. This dampened my enthusiasm for this profession, and despite the fact that I loved animals, I made the decision for medicine. You have 3 closed curtains to choose from - good luck! :P

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1 hour ago, Bambi said:

You need to understand that you don’t have a clue if or where lightning will strike, so you could be accepted to a med school out of town if you apply broadly. I understand the reasons why you are evaluating whether to proceed to vet school. Should you not proceed, you are entering the lottery of life and will either eventually get into med school or continue in your career. Giving up the certainty of a fulfilling career as a vet, with the uncertainty of it being financially rewarding, is understandable. Over a decade ago when I researched the possibility of a career as a vet, I came to the understanding then that I could look forward to earning 75K a year after 5 years in pro rice. This dampened my enthusiasm for this profession, and despite the fact that I loved animals, I made the decision for medicine. You have 3 closed curtains to choose from - good luck! :P

Thanks for your reply but I don't understand what you mean by "5 years in pro rice".  What is pro rice, and what 5 years are you referring to?

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14 minutes ago, golimumab said:

Thanks for your reply but I don't understand what you mean by "5 years in pro rice".  What is pro rice, and what 5 years are you referring to?

Being a professional rice cooker that even rice cookers would be jealous of

/s

I think Bambi meant "practice" 

- G

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Typo - meant 75K after 5 years in practice. In other words, I did not envision earning a sustainable income to cover over the long term, maintaining a practice, buying a home, raising children, having savings, discretionary spending and saving for retirement. When I enter practice soon, my minimum income after expenses will be 350K and I probably will earn more.

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2 hours ago, golimumab said:

I'm about to start vet school (in Canada) but I'm considering declining the opportunity in order to apply to human medicine in the future.  This is not a sudden change of heart, I've debated between the two careers for years and was planning to apply to med school had I not been accepted into vet school on my first attempt.

Here are my main concerns:

1. I'm much more interested in the human body (its anatomy, physiology, diseases, etc.) than I am in other species.  I like the idea of working with animals, but I'm not particularly interested in how they are put together.  I have zero interest in the large animal/food production aspect of vet med, which is about 50% of the curriculum.

Sounds reasonable.

2 hours ago, golimumab said:

2. I want a career that is lucrative and stable.  Vet med seems very dependent on the economy and doesn't have the guaranteed job security of, say, a family physician.  Clinic ownership might be lucrative but owning an animal hospital seems a hell of a lot more demanding than working regular hours as a GP (not to mention less stable). 

I don't really know how stable being a vet is, but with the current down turn everyone was hit hard. Though I agree typical outpatient FM is one of the most stable jobs, it's hard to beat it in that respect.

2 hours ago, golimumab said:

3. I hate the idea of having to promote myself as a veterinarian - i.e. the whole customer service and marketing aspect of it, like dentistry.  MDs seem like they can get away with being introverted and can adopt a much more 'take it or leave it' approach with their patients, since they don't need to try to convince people to come and see them.  Quite the opposite: people are desperate to get appointments with doctors and will go on waitlists, drive across the city, etc. 

Sure in some specialties maybe you can take on a more assertive demeanor, but not in family medicine. Aside from the ER (which are often manned by family docs), family medicine probably has the highest proportion of people who treat you like you're serving a burger. There is no end to overly demanding patients with inappropriate expectations. Plus in general while you don't have to be nice to survive, you need to develop a therapeutic alliance with the patient to do your job.

2 hours ago, golimumab said:

5.  My vet school is a 6 hour drive from my home, where I live with my wife.  This alone might be a deal breaker.  There are two med schools near where I live, either of which I could attend without sabotaging my family life and the career I've worked so hard to establish.

That's about it.  If I don't attend vet school this fall then I'll be giving up the certainty of becoming a vet for the possibility of getting into med school.  However, I currently have a well-paying career that's very flexible, so I could easily continue with my current life while studying for and applying to med school, year after year if necessary. 

Thanks for reading.  Perhaps someone on this forum will have experienced a similar dilemma and can offer some insight.

Medicine is very competitive. I know veterinary school is competitive, but there's some self-selection at play. You may not be able to enter into the medical schools close to you unless you're already an exceptional candidate (in terms of grades/MCAT/other entrance reqs).

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32 minutes ago, 1D7 said:

 

Sure in some specialties maybe you can take on a more assertive demeanor, but not in family medicine. Aside from the ER (which are often manned by family docs), family medicine probably has the highest proportion of people who treat you like you're serving a burger. There is no end to overly demanding patients with inappropriate expectations. Plus in general while you don't have to be nice to survive, you need to develop a therapeutic alliance with the patient to do your job.

Pretty sure it's not great to have this "take it or leave it" attitude in many fields of medicine. Can you imagine if I had that attitude talking to stakeholders or the government? 

"Can be more introverted" .... I've never met so many extroverted and intense people since entering medicine school in my entire life. 

- G 

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10 minutes ago, GH0ST said:

Pretty sure it's not great to have this "take it or leave it" attitude in many fields of medicine. Can you imagine if I had that attitude talking to stakeholders or the government? 

"Can be more introverted" .... I've never met so many extroverted and intense people since entering medicine school in my entire life. 

- G 

I agree! But the 'option' of being a bit less pleasant or more assertive is generally more accepted coming from a surgeon than family doctor for example, just how it is.

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31 minutes ago, 1D7 said:

Sure in some specialties maybe you can take on a more assertive demeanor, but not in family medicine. Aside from the ER (which are often manned by family docs), family medicine probably has the highest proportion of people who treat you like you're serving a burger. There is no end to overly demanding patients with inappropriate expectations. Plus in general while you don't have to be nice to survive, you need to develop a therapeutic alliance with the patient to do your job.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to each of my points!  With regards to the above, I'm sure GPs have their share of rude, demanding, entitled patients, but for me the key difference is that a family doc doesn't have to cater to these patient's needs in order to remain employed.  After all, if a disgruntled patient decides to find another doctor, there will be no shortage of patients who are eager to take his/her place.  For me, it would be very comforting to know that I can simply be myself without having to put on a show, so to speak, in order to impress clients/patients and stay afloat financially.

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Hey OP, I'm sorta like you - I'm currently a dental student in Canada looking into switching to an MD program. Honestly, why don't you try applying while you're in vet school? If you don't make it during school, at least you'll come out with a vet degree. If not, you can always try again after you graduate if your passion is still there.

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2 hours ago, PlantersCashews said:

Hey OP, I'm sorta like you - I'm currently a dental student in Canada looking into switching to an MD program. Honestly, why don't you try applying while you're in vet school? If you don't make it during school, at least you'll come out with a vet degree. If not, you can always try again after you graduate if your passion is still there.

That is definitely something I'm considering doing - perhaps writing the MCAT next spring/summer and applying after my first year.  Of course, if I did get into an MD program part way through vet school it would sure feel like I'd put myself through an enormous and unnecessary hardship & expense when I could have just continued working in my current job while apply to MD programs....but it might be the safest approach.

I don't know your reasons for wanting to switch from dentistry to medicine, but I definitely think vet med and dentistry share some similar challenges that aren't present in human medicine (business aspect, corporatization, oversupply).

Good luck with your med school applications!

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10 hours ago, golimumab said:

That is definitely something I'm considering doing - perhaps writing the MCAT next spring/summer and applying after my first year.  Of course, if I did get into an MD program part way through vet school it would sure feel like I'd put myself through an enormous and unnecessary hardship & expense when I could have just continued working in my current job while apply to MD programs....but it might be the safest approach.

I don't know your reasons for wanting to switch from dentistry to medicine, but I definitely think vet med and dentistry share some similar challenges that aren't present in human medicine (business aspect, corporatization, oversupply).

Good luck with your med school applications!

Thank you, and you as well! 

Also, I agree that it might be a lot less stressful working the current job rather than going through vet school. I have heard how hard it is and the amount of info you have to learn. I guess it's ultimately up to you, but with the current pandemic and job instability, I personally leaned more towards just staying in school. Of course, I'm racking up debt during this process, but ultimately, I will have a license I can use post-graduation in the worst case scenario.

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