Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone, 

I am in a bit of a conundrum and was hoping that someone in a similar situation could give me some advice. 

I want to be a physician, and have felt this way my whole life, but I am struggling to decide what to do. First I am 36 years old(would not start until 38). I graduated from pharmacy school in 2006, then went on to do a doctor of pharmacy and am currently a clinical pharmacy specialist in critical care. I really do have a pretty cool job. I am able to see patients, discuss diagnosis and help come up with treatment plans with the staff doc. I also teach med students,get paid well, work M-F, but yet something inside me just won't let it die. I have thought about why, and I think it boils down to responsibility for the patient care and passion for diagnosis and treatment. Right now all of my thoughts on care are "suggestions", and my suggestions are all based on having a proper diagnosis which I have limited knowledge of. 

Based on this I should just go right? My problem is I have 2 young children and a wife that is extremely un-supportive of this dream. She has essentially said that if I decide to go, she is leaving with the kids. I have tried to discuss this with her for over 4 years, but she just won't budge. 

Now that you know my life story, I am wondering if any of you have words of wisdom? Has anyone been through something like this? I am worried that if I don't make this jump I will end up resenting her and the end product will be the same either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've recently decided to let the dream of medicine fade from my life, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

 

Based on this I should just go right? My problem is I have 2 young children and a wife that is extremely un-supportive of this dream. She has essentially said that if I decide to go, she is leaving with the kids. I have tried to discuss this with her for over 4 years, but she just won't budge. 
 

 

Is this worth it to you? I can completely understand the annoying thoughts of the dream bubbling out from underneath whatever you're doing, no matter how successful and nagging at you...but take a good long look at what you're currently doing, and a good long look at what your life would be like as a physician. Maybe it's a better life for you, and maybe it isn't (only you can answer that with sufficient research). However from reading your post, I've essentially extracted the following information:

PRO:

You would satisfy that little annoying feeling inside that's telling you "what if I did this?" or "I really want this"

CON:

You'd give up a solid career you already have
You'd potentially give up your wife and kids

There are no real guarantees - maybe you'll give up your wife/kids and be unsuccessful when applying

(Implicitly stated) You'll miss out on a lot of income while in med school, which will snowball into quite a comfortable nest egg. You didn't share how much you earn, but I'd imagine it's a decent wage. You should be hitting that age where you're already investing in retirement, 6+ years income is a lot to consider.

You haven't expressed that your current job is soul-crushingly bad, or even that you dislike it. In fact, you've talked about how successful you currently are. Thus, what concerns me is that with my outsider's perspective, my knee-jerk reaction is that losing your wife and potentially alienating yourself from your children's lives, isn't worth those (relatively) small gains. Ultimately it's up to you of course, I have no idea how your married life is, perhaps your assessment is that you're headed for troubled waters in that regard anyway.

 

I don't know anything of the sort, but like I said, my gut feeling, having gone through something similar, is man up and be the best father to your kids you can. No matter what your job is, you've got a responsibility to them.

 

----------

 

Out of curiosity, why didn't you become a physician before? Clearly you're a bright guy having done pharm, and you claim you've known your whole life that you want to be a physician...what prevented you? We would be happy to comment on whether or not it's feasible given your stats if you'd provide us with some details regarding annual GPA breakdown and MCAT.

 

----------

 

In terms of age, I've heard of people older getting admitted to med school. However it is truly an uphill battle for many reasons. Your life experience will make you appealing to (some) adcoms, but your age might be a tough selling point for some as well. It's possible given competitive stats, but my word of advice is think very carefully about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow that is really a very different question for this forum than the 1000’s of  “what are my chances” posts.

 

With your existing background, I don’t think it is too old to try.   You also appear to have alot going for you in medical related experience if you found the right med school that is not fixated on undergrad GPA/MCAT --- which is really ancient history for you. 

 

If you dust off your undergrad GPA from 15 years ago and it is +3.7 from a Canadian school,   that should be good enough for many Med Schools.    You got into Pharmacy – so I suspect GPA is not an issue.

 

The real issue is the stand-off with your wife.    Family is everything.    Your two small kids are way more important than your career.

 

Do you understand why your spouse is opposed to your plan ?    Is it money  ;  resentment for you being “in school” too much ; concern you are not spending enough time with the family already ?  Does she have her own development aspirations that you are ignoring ?    

 

I think you need to understand what her resistance is.    If the two of you cannot figure it out, then engage support from others to help you figure it out.   Either way it may get your and your spouse’s feelings out on the table and may help in resolving other issues.

 

Good luck in your path.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Swanky,

 

Your age definitely isn't an issue. People in their 40s and even their 50s have been admitted into medical school. I'm older than you and will be applying for a third time. When I did interview, I wasn't made to feel "old" by any of the interviewers or students. It was as if they didn't even notice (I'd like to think that it's because I look so young, but people that have met me can tell that I'm older than the average pre-med ;)). 

 

Like you, I will be leaving an established, decent paying career to do this (assuming that I get in). However, I have 100% of my spouse's support and I honestly don't think I could do this without that support in place. 

 

Like Meridian and MathToMed mentioned, the biggest issue is the fact that you don't have a supportive spouse. What are her concerns? If it's money, you'll get a big fat line of credit which shouldn't be too hard to pay off as long as you live reasonably within your means. If it's family time, then it will be a bit more difficult to convince her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone, 

 

I am in a bit of a conundrum and was hoping that someone in a similar situation could give me some advice. 

 

I want to be a physician, and have felt this way my whole life, but I am struggling to decide what to do. First I am 36 years old(would not start until 38). I graduated from pharmacy school in 2006, then went on to do a doctor of pharmacy and am currently a clinical pharmacy specialist in critical care. I really do have a pretty cool job. I am able to see patients, discuss diagnosis and help come up with treatment plans with the staff doc. I also teach med students,get paid well, work M-F, but yet something inside me just won't let it die. I have thought about why, and I think it boils down to responsibility for the patient care and passion for diagnosis and treatment. Right now all of my thoughts on care are "suggestions", and my suggestions are all based on having a proper diagnosis which I have limited knowledge of. 

 

Based on this I should just go right? My problem is I have 2 young children and a wife that is extremely un-supportive of this dream. She has essentially said that if I decide to go, she is leaving with the kids. I have tried to discuss this with her for over 4 years, but she just won't budge. 

 

Now that you know my life story, I am wondering if any of you have words of wisdom? Has anyone been through something like this? I am worried that if I don't make this jump I will end up resenting her and the end product will be the same either way.

You have a great career right now, and it doesn't sound like you are stuck in a dead end job etc.  

 

You'll be in school for another 6 years minimum, is it really worth it just so you can be the head honcho for diagnosis? Why not take more CME classes and just learn more on your own? 

 

I personally think you would be crazy to risk losing your family - but different people have different priorities in life. I just don't think doing 4 years of med school, where most of it will be grunt work will satisfy you either - it will be a step backwards from your current role.  Then residency, where you will start to learn more and be more knowledgeable...but even then you would probably still be acting in a capacity less than now, maybe until you get closer to the end of your residency will you be in a higher capacity of responsibility. 

 

Maybe some residents can comment?  

 

I don't know, seems risky - and its not entirely clear how much more of what you "want" , you will get in comparison to your current role, immediately. You'd have to slog through a demotion for a while before you get to a level "beyond" where you currently are.

 

Are there any other avenues you can take, to address that "itch" of yours for medical curiosity? It seems you are already quite successful in your field.. is there any further research or education you can get involved in, where you feel that you are more in control? valued?

 

BUT to your original question, 38 isn't too old. But you should really ask yourself what is important in your life - that fraction of more responsibility and intellectual curiosity...or your family...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also not to forget, the unknowns of where you would go to medical school, and the unknowns of residency - I can see why your wife would be extremely apprehensive, especially i imagine where you're at the age where perhaps thinking of starting putting money away for retirement etc. But I have zero insight into your relationship, so i can't comment on anything haha.

Really tough situation for you. Have you talked to your physician colleagues and see what they think? Maybe they can give you more insights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please don't ruin your life and family over something like this. Spend some time thinking and find out why you feel the desire to become doctor - many aspects of which sound similar to your current, great job. How do you think it will change your life? What will it give you that other things cannot? I'm in medical school now and I think a lot of the system is building medicine up to be something more than it is. It's a job. A pretty frustrating, exhausting job that has many drawbacks. Whatever happiness you lack cannot be made up for by becoming a doctor. Only you do that. I can also CERTAINLY guarantee it will not replace your wife or your kids. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks for the responses everyone.... I really do appreciate all your thoughts and efforts.

 

With respect to some of the questions...I wanted to go into med after I finished Pharm school, but my wife was unsupportive of that decision, so our compromise at the time was PharmD which was 2 years on top of my UG degree. As part of my PhamD I received training by physicians that would be very similar to what a medical resident would have. I went to radiology rounds, physical assessment rounds, etc. Over the 2 years I realized that, while Pharm was interesting, I was more interested in procedures, reading ekg's,CT's, and solving the puzzle of why people are ill, more than what to treat them with. I also really want to take responsibility for the patient.... While I have and do work with some amazing docs that truly value what I bring to the table there are a portion who dismiss me because "i'm just a pharmacist"...... This is something that I have a very hard time with because even if I think a patient is being mismanaged, I really have no power to stop or change anything.....

 

My stats are part of what puts me in the conundrum... I almost wish my GPA was 2.5, then there would be no question of my choice. Alas it is not.... UG GPA 3.7 , my grad stuff was Honours,pass, fail and with the exception of 3 courses I received honors across the board. I am a clinical instructor for the faculty of med, have lots of extra curriculars, and have 3 docs that I work closely with that would write me very strong letters of reference.  My big hurdle would be MCAT2015, which I have not written yet. 

 

Getting back to my wife..... She has multiple concerns, none of which I think are absolute no's. 1: I'm too old 2: PharmD + undergrad put us in a lot of debt that we are just recovering from...she doesn't want to be the sole earner. 3: She doesn't want to move. 4:She thinks it will take too much time away from the kids. My biggest concern is I worry that if I don't go and my marriage ends in 10 years , I will be kicking myself for not doing it....... I know this sounds like I am setting myself up for failure, that is not my intention, I just want to make sure I am considering everything.

 

On the other hand, the posts so far have been amazing! You are all right, my kids are the most important thing to me in the world and I need to make sure I take care of them first. I would have to leave them to go to med as the closest school is 4 hrs away if my wife did not agree to support me. You have all given me a lot to think about.Thanks again

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have the type of job that is pretty popular in the profession. While I think it's great that you want to pursue medical education, is it really worth it at this point? I mean, it's your call at the end of the day, but that is a lot of sacrifice, and I think the family dynamics are too important. Support system is crucial while you are in medical school, so if you are even a little worried, it may hinder you. As well, pharmacy is a GPA killer (you are already aware of that, I am sure), which reduces your chances substantially at a lot of schools. Sadly, schools don't care how you got the marks. 

 

I know, when I decided to pursue medicine (applying this year), my fear was having to end up in a community pharmacy for my whole life (after all, that's where 75% of the jobs are), but if I was guaranteed a clinical hospital job, maybe I would re-think my decision. I can relate to you though. Having shadowed in critical care cardiology multiple times, I saw some amazing work done by pharmacists and the collaboration that exists, especially when it comes to making treatment decisions. However, we simply do not get the training for diagnosis of such complex conditions... but at the same time, you have to remember that a family doctor would struggle in that environment too. I think it's a bit unfair to compare yourself to a specialist. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i cant imagine if my spouse was this unsupportive of my pursuits, regardless of age. I truly feel for you. I am all with you with the perspective of your marriage ending in 10 years and you not choosing med and then kicking yourself

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks for the responses everyone.... I really do appreciate all your thoughts and efforts.

 

With respect to some of the questions...I wanted to go into med after I finished Pharm school, but my wife was unsupportive of that decision, so our compromise at the time was PharmD which was 2 years on top of my UG degree. As part of my PhamD I received training by physicians that would be very similar to what a medical resident would have. I went to radiology rounds, physical assessment rounds, etc. Over the 2 years I realized that, while Pharm was interesting, I was more interested in procedures, reading ekg's,CT's, and solving the puzzle of why people are ill, more than what to treat them with. I also really want to take responsibility for the patient.... While I have and do work with some amazing docs that truly value what I bring to the table there are a portion who dismiss me because "i'm just a pharmacist"...... This is something that I have a very hard time with because even if I think a patient is being mismanaged, I really have no power to stop or change anything.....

 

My stats are part of what puts me in the conundrum... I almost wish my GPA was 2.5, then there would be no question of my choice. Alas it is not.... UG GPA 3.7 , my grad stuff was Honours,pass, fail and with the exception of 3 courses I received honors across the board. I am a clinical instructor for the faculty of med, have lots of extra curriculars, and have 3 docs that I work closely with that would write me very strong letters of reference.  My big hurdle would be MCAT2015, which I have not written yet. 

 

Getting back to my wife..... She has multiple concerns, none of which I think are absolute no's. 1: I'm too old 2: PharmD + undergrad put us in a lot of debt that we are just recovering from...she doesn't want to be the sole earner. 3: She doesn't want to move. 4:She thinks it will take too much time away from the kids. My biggest concern is I worry that if I don't go and my marriage ends in 10 years , I will be kicking myself for not doing it....... I know this sounds like I am setting myself up for failure, that is not my intention, I just want to make sure I am considering everything.

 

On the other hand, the posts so far have been amazing! You are all right, my kids are the most important thing to me in the world and I need to make sure I take care of them first. I would have to leave them to go to med as the closest school is 4 hrs away if my wife did not agree to support me. You have all given me a lot to think about.Thanks again

 

The attitude some physicians have towards other health care professionals is, ironically, unprofessional. However, being a physician doesn't necessarily mean you won't get that attitude - physicians can often be quite dismissive of other physicians, even if professional courtesy demands a modicum of respect.

 

As a physician, you'll still have to share responsibility for patients, with other physicians and if you follow the approach of those physicians you respect, other health care professionals. There will be patients you wish were being treated better and your ability to change things for them may not be that much greater than it is now. Ultimately medicine is a team activity, so there will always, always, be elements out of your control. As a physician, your role would be different and you might enjoy that role more, but we're talking shades of grey here, not a black-and-white change. It also takes time to get to a physician's full role - 5-6 years minimum, often 8-10 years. Keep in mind that you still have quite a bit of power and responsibility over patients in your current role. The grass always looks greener on the other side.

 

You're not too old, but otherwise your wife has some legitimate concerns. Medicine is expensive, especially when you have children to support. You have a good-paying job already, so while being a physician might mean more money in the long-term, your children will be adults by the time you break even. Moving is no small consideration and, depending on the path you take into residency, you may need to move multiple times during your career. It will take time away from your kids, even if you make every effort to minimize your education's impact on them. It sounds like your wife has been willing to compromise in the past, it's not unreasonable for her to ask for some sacrifice on your part as well. You've pushed yourself pretty far in your profession - is there not another path you could take to refine or add to your role further? Perhaps efforts outside your career that will help satisfy your desire to make more of a difference in patients' lives? There are a lot of ways to make a meaningful difference to people, being a physician is just one option. These are worth exploring.

 

I fully understand the urge to want to go beyond the constraints of your profession - I worked in healthcare before entering Med School, and it's a hard thought to shake. However, getting an MD doesn't stop that ambition or satisfy the ego that fuels those thoughts. If anything, it makes that ambition grow. At some point, you have to draw the line on your ambitions or they eat the rest your life. You're willing to consider destroying your marriage for medical school - that may already be occurring. You worry about resentment destroying it anyway, but there are always going to be things that you can't do because you have a family that takes priority, whether you're a physician or not. Your wife could be the most accommodating person in the world and there would still be reasons to be resentful. Families take sacrifice and only you can answer if that sacrifice is worthwhile, but the resentment you worry about is ultimately in your control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your wife's concerns of 2,3,4 are all valid. And it is a lot to ask of someone especially when you have kids.

 

I feel like there is more to the picture maybe that we dont know of your life, since it is coming off as a pride thing- and talk already pointed out, even as a doc you'll get ragged on by other docs sometimes too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of great posts here. I too also graduated from pharmacy school and worked as a pharmacist prior to going to med school. I can totally see where you are coming from and your situation, so I feel for you and totally agree that it can be frustrating when your opinions are not respected or heard. As the above posts' have mentioned, this is due to a problem of medical education and culture from the past; most current medical students and residents are actually very respectful and admirable of pharmacists.

 

It is true that some pharmacy students and pharmacists today wonder about going to medical school. There is so much overlap in education, and with the added complications of schools switching to an entry-level pharmD program, saturation of markets, lowering of wages, increased responsibilities of certified pharmacy technicians, and reduction of rebates from generic companies- there will inevitably be an enticement to charter the "unknown waters" and seemingly brighter path of medicine.

 

What you have to remember despite this is that there are many things you could do with the level of knowledge and expertise that you have. One can join the Canadian Expert Drug Committee, Therapeutics Initiative, Human Drug Advisory Panel of the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board, or write articles and chapters for publications, as well as teach and direct pharmacy services or do policy work to name just a few examples.

 

Even with this said, many of my classmates of pharmacy did apply to medicine. As of today, I know of 9 individuals who have been accepted and switched to medical school out of a class of around 140. There are 3 more who are trying this year, and I don't know everyone in my class, so this would be a minor underestimate of the real numbers. On the other hand, many who initially wanted to pursue medicine chose not to because of familial commitments, stability, and exploration of other avenues.

 

One huge red flag you did mention was that if your marriage would end in 10 years, you would be kicking yourself for this. It seems like subconsciously you are thinking of the possibility of it not working out. Perhaps you could reflect and analyze if this is influencing your decision to want a change in careers as well? Although difficult, I have classmates with two or more children and they are doing fine. It is extremely important to be living in a supportive environment while in medical school, and this issue should be prioritized first- even if that means starting medical school at age 38, 40, or beyond. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Swanky, 

 

I am a year older than you and plan to apply next cycle, also like you I would be leaving a job and career I adore if accepted.  It's something a lot of people don't understand and frankly I can see their point.  However, my husband is extremely supportive and prepared to move and be the sole earner if necessary.  

 

Although your wife's concerns are all valid, nothing is impossible if you face it together.  Is there something your wife compromised on or gave up when you started a family?  Perhaps if you could find a new compromise, to be sure you are both living your dreams she could get on board with Medical School.  It is difficult not to feel resentment when someone you care about isn't in your corner for such a big life decision and your concerns about that affecting your marriage in the long run are valid.

 

This is a huge decision for you and I wish you the best of luck, and for what its worth I think your kids being present and watching you go after a dream later in life is a fantastic lesson and will teach them that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My biggest concern is I worry that if I don't go and my marriage ends in 10 years , I will be kicking myself for not doing it....... I know this sounds like I am setting myself up for failure, that is not my intention, I just want to make sure I am considering everything.

 

Thanks for sharing your intimate details with us, I will respond in more detail when I'm at a computer. However I just needed to chime in on this point:

 

If you already can foresee marital issues in 10 years, do everything in your power to make sure it doesn't happen. Most people aren't so lucky and lack such foresight...for you, that's not the case.

 

I would hope in ten years, you'd be more devastated about your crumbling family than being prevented from risking it all for medicine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the double post, posting from a mobile phone and can't seem to edit.

 

Wanted to ask - are you willing to devote the same time and energy to fixing/maintaining your marriage that you would intoapplying to medicine?

 

If so, great! Make it work...

 

If not, then its no wonder your wife is feeling a bit insecure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting because my story was a bit similiar in regards to how SOME MDs at the end of the day will dismiss concerns from anyone who is non MD. You might have an idea or suggestion or read an article and you want to bring another perspective to the table but the MDs can be dismissive in very unprofessional manners sometimes. It's just about learning how to interact with people who think they are higher than you on some hierarchy. Read "how to win friends and influence people" MDs don't like to be challenged because they are raised (as residents) to be the most responsible caretaker...it wouldn't make much sense if they didn't exude some power or if they second guessed themselves or appeared unsure. Once you understand why some of the are like that, it becomes easier to interact with them and present things in ways that will stroke their ego yet still allow you to voice a perspective haha

 

In terms of your family concerns, I can't relate directly because I'm not in that stage of life yet, however, I had a few things surprise me ..

1. You stated your spouse was not supportive the first time around...was this a red-flag for you? Did you really want MD then and get talked out of it? I mean perhaps she had an expectation of where she saw her life at that point in time..making $, having a home, kids etc. That's fair. Some people want to go to school and get it over with fast then have a nice suburban life. To each their own but this is why it is so important to communicate early on IMO.

 

2. You stated you don't want regrets because you don't know where your marriage will be in 10 years?? are you expecting it to end? this does not sound like a comment from someone who is 100% invested. I'm not judging and it is not my business but are you unhappy and thus looking for a change or excuse for a way out?? just something to ask yourself.

 

I think you have one life and you need to make the best of yourself. Your kids will get older. They will spend less time with you anyway as they go to college and move out. You are not going to lose your kids. But you will lose your chance at a dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have much experience in this area... I'm just letting you know that the Pharmacists in my class's are incredible! I know one that has basically rocked every med school exam so far with minimal studying, and makes almost a grand working every other weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your intimate details with us, I will respond in more detail when I'm at a computer. However I just needed to chime in on this point:

 

If you already can foresee marital issues in 10 years, do everything in your power to make sure it doesn't happen. Most people aren't so lucky and lack such foresight...for you, that's not the case.

 

I would hope in ten years, you'd be more devastated about your crumbling family than being prevented from risking it all for medicine.

 

Agree but also want to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

 

It sounds to me like maybe from the start there wasn't the equal support. If you really wanted to be an MD and she didn't support you from the start that was a flag. If her goal was to be a wife and mom that's a great goal, was that also your primary goal? I think family is very important in life, but the dynamics of family will evolve IMO. Sure the first several years when you raise kids are key, but as kids get older and become more independent anyway, there is no reason why you can't use the time for yourself. I think there needs to be a balance and compromise in a marriage. I don't advocate divorce but both parties need to be on board to share goals and to compromise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of issues here to deal with.

 

1. Income:  Medicine will likely make more money than what you do now by a lot.  BUT there is a big if.  If you start medicine at 38, you will finish at 42.  If GP, 44, if specialist, 47-50 when one considers fellowships.  As a resident you make so-so money (less than what you make now).  If you become a GP - you income will likely be in the 250-300 range (probably only a bit more than double what you make), with a career of about 25 years.  If you choose a specialty, you income will be in the 350-600K range (unless you do something like ophthalmology) - with a career of maybe 22 years.

You however lose the benefit of compounding that a young person has, not to mention that the best remaining years of your life will be in a tiring sludge.

 

2. Marks:  You graduated maybe 12-13 years ago maybe.  Grade inflation has to be monstrous over that period of time.  You could have been top of your class with a 3.85 back then - it means almost nothing now.  

 

3.  MCAT:  The less GPA heavy schools will require very high MCATS - and the new MCAT has subjects like psychology, biochemistry, and sociology on it.  That will not be easy for anyone out of school for 15 years without a background in those subjects (of course biochem won't be too bad for you).

 

4. Family:  Man - less money and no time with the kids.  No wonder your wife is pissed.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Swanky,

 

A really difficult situation. The major issue is your relationship with your family - wife and children.

 

Regarding her concerns - firstly, I definitely don't think you are too old. However - her concern about moving and spouse earning - would there be any way to bring other support in? - i.e. extended family for instance in the short term while you pursued this?

 

The concern with children is serious - but children do age and I have heard of people going through medicine with families of different ages. However, it would certainly potentially mean a lot of sacrifice not just now but later and there is no guarantee that you would be able to stay close to the geographical area you are in, even if you were accepted. The effect on your children's formation, as mentioned by ralk, would really need to be considered.

 

Regardless of your decision, I think your relationship needs to addressed positively and that this issue cannot be put away. Neither of you should feel resentment as if sacrificing everything for a partner.

 

I think academically you would be able to handle the MCAT etc.., although changing from a position of considerable responsibility to being a premed would be an adjustment, with no guarantees. I would say you have an excellent profile for entrance to medicine, regardless of your age. Your experience and motivation gives me confidence that you could be a good physician. However, I'm far from being on an adcom.

 

I know this might be frowned on, but I would try talking to someone at a med school to see informally how they considered your profile. This might help you and your wife better understand your situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of issues here to deal with.

 

1. Income:  Medicine will likely make more money than what you do now by a lot.  BUT there is a big if.  If you start medicine at 38, you will finish at 42.  If GP, 44, if specialist, 47-50 when one considers fellowships.  As a resident you make so-so money (less than what you make now).  If you become a GP - you income will likely be in the 250-300 range (probably only a bit more than double what you make), with a career of about 25 years.  If you choose a specialty, you income will be in the 350-600K range (unless you do something like ophthalmology) - with a career of maybe 22 years.

You however lose the benefit of compounding that a young person has, not to mention that the best remaining years of your life will be in a tiring sludge.

 

2. Marks:  You graduated maybe 12-13 years ago maybe.  Grade inflation has to be monstrous over that period of time.  You could have been top of your class with a 3.85 back then - it means almost nothing now.  

 

3.  MCAT:  The less GPA heavy schools will require very high MCATS - and the new MCAT has subjects like psychology, biochemistry, and sociology on it.  That will not be easy for anyone out of school for 15 years without a background in those subjects (of course biochem won't be too bad for you).

 

4. Family:  Man - less money and no time with the kids.  No wonder your wife is pissed.

For 1. Don't forget 4 years of loss income, and having to PAY.  Residency is years at pay significantly below their current pay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone, 

 

I am in a bit of a conundrum and was hoping that someone in a similar situation could give me some advice. 

 

I want to be a physician, and have felt this way my whole life, but I am struggling to decide what to do. First I am 36 years old(would not start until 38). I graduated from pharmacy school in 2006, then went on to do a doctor of pharmacy and am currently a clinical pharmacy specialist in critical care. I really do have a pretty cool job. I am able to see patients, discuss diagnosis and help come up with treatment plans with the staff doc. I also teach med students,get paid well, work M-F, but yet something inside me just won't let it die. I have thought about why, and I think it boils down to responsibility for the patient care and passion for diagnosis and treatment. Right now all of my thoughts on care are "suggestions", and my suggestions are all based on having a proper diagnosis which I have limited knowledge of. 

 

Based on this I should just go right? My problem is I have 2 young children and a wife that is extremely un-supportive of this dream. She has essentially said that if I decide to go, she is leaving with the kids. I have tried to discuss this with her for over 4 years, but she just won't budge. 

 

Now that you know my life story, I am wondering if any of you have words of wisdom? Has anyone been through something like this? I am worried that if I don't make this jump I will end up resenting her and the end product will be the same either way.

 

Dear Swanky, I thought I was in a dilly of a pickle deciding whether to go to MD school in my late 20s while partnered but childless, but I think your situation takes the cake.  :(

 

You mention that something inside you just won't let your dream of being a doctor die, and you wanted to go to MD school since at least 2006 when you graduated pharmacy school. So it's probably safe to say this thing has been with you for well over a decade and it won't go away. I'm not an oracle, but if I had to guess I'd say it will probably NEVER go away, and you may for the rest of your life have to contend with that part of you that wants to be an MD.

 

No matter what you do, you'll have to honor that part of you, whether you fulfill it or not. You can't simply ignore it. And even if you decide today to put this issue on the backburner, it might spring up again next week, next year or five years down the road.

 

No one can tell you whether MD is right for you. I think you've already decided. If I was you, I'd ignore generic pronouncements like "it's not worth it, the patients suck, reimbursement is declining, it's just a job"... you're well beyond that point. You know what the field is like, you've worked in it, and you've been interested for many moons.

 

You mentioned a few barriers in the way of you becoming an MD. One is the GPA. Depending on the province you're in and what schools you can apply to, that may be a minor or a major issue. Ditto for the MCAT. Both issues can generally be overcome with time and diligent work. It won't be easy. I took time off work to study for the MCAT and my bank account suffered, though it was worth the sacrifice. But it's harder when your paycheck supports 4 people.

 

Your real issue is with your wife and kids. I can tell that you're perfectly willing to sacrifice your time, tears, sweat and financial stability for this (lengthy) career switch. But your wife isn't, and she's not willing to put your kids through it either. In effect, she's threatening to fire you as a co-parent, and not being a part of your kids' life at this stage could be devastating.

 

If you go to MD school, your kids may well be OK at the end of the day, but the role you play in their lives would be limited by your finances and a potentially hostile ex-wife. You might not be happy with the role you play as a parent.

 

If you stay in the status quo, your career aspirations would be frustrated, and it's an issue that could plague you for the rest of your life.

 

I also wonder about the health of your marriage Swanky, as others have pointed out. I'm alarmed that you had to make a compromise with your wife almost 10 years ago to shelve your MD aspirations, even before you had children. It's clear that your MD dreams mean a lot to you, so you sacrificed a lot at the time. I agree with others who say that you and your spouse need to have similar goals in life. If you don't... you'll make too many compromises and you'll inevitably feel resentful.

 

I can't tell you what to do, but as you've mentioned, there's no guarantee you'll still be married to your wife in 10 years, so whether you continue in the status quo or go  the MD route, you might be sharing custody of your kids either way. Last I checked every bank in Canada offers $250K in loans to MD students. That could help with your share of the child rearing expenses, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also wonder about the health of your marriage Swanky, as others have pointed out. I'm alarmed that you had to make a compromise with your wife almost 10 years ago to shelve your MD aspirations, even before you had children. It's clear that your MD dreams mean a lot to you, so you sacrificed a lot at the time. I agree with others who say that you and your spouse need to have similar goals in life. If you don't... you'll make too many compromises and you'll inevitably feel resentful.

I would like to hear from the OP - was the bolded the case 10 years ago? Or is this a recent situation, as you alluded to earlier by saying this has been an ongoing conversation for the "last 4 years". I'm wondering if some of the posters (myself included) may be reading too much into your situation.   I don't think its fair to assume the wife is being completely unreasonable haha, since we only have 1 side of the story.

 

It is concerning that the OP doesn't think/know their marriage will last in 10 years - i mean, there is nothing wrong with wanting out of a marriage that isn't working - but i hope you're seeking the help you need to help address things from a 360 perspective.

 

I would encourage you and your wife need to see a counsellor and really have an honest conversation, and put it all on the table. It could really help both of you achieve a clearer perspective, without having an uncomfortable or hostile environment and lack of guidance to navigate this path. 

 

No one here knows your personal life, so any direct advice to the original topic is going to be a bit irrelevant - you need to look at the situation from all sides .

 

I personally am a family first type of individual, but I do want to say - that if after having an honest perspective on your life from all sides, if you decide that pursuing medicine will be the better option for you, then that is your choice to make and you should be content to know it satisfies you as a person. While many of us can't fathom doing something like that, and i'm sure some may condemn you for doing so - you are an individual and everyone is entitled to make the choices they see as best fitting for their life. 

 

As another poster said, we only have one life to live - and there's never going to be one right way to live it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...