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Sabela12

Shall I Work Towards This? Or Am I A Zero Chance?

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Hey! new to this forum and still feeling new to the idea of wanting to pursue medicine. I'm one of the non-traditional applicants but thought I'd post it here to hear more advice on my situation! (totally prepared to truthful, blunt opinions)

 

A bit about me:

 

- Did two undergraduate degrees at the time solely because I needed a more "marketable" skill set than what I had. That being said, my first UG (bsc in cell biology) has a gpa of 3.45 and second UG (bsc in nursing) has a gpa of 3.3. So basically my second degree has a even worse gpa than my first degree. 

- Been an emergency RN for 3 years in a rural setting since then and still in love with my job.

- lately been "plagued" with the desire to pursue medicine. truly admire the level of autonomy and independence a physician can work with and most importantly would like to see changes being implemented in rural healthcare. (won't go into details but very hard to do from a nursing perspective)

- did one year of research in a basic science lab 4 years ago yet had no publications

- haven't done the MCAT but willing to take my time to study for it. 

 

The ultra low GPA will shut me out but I'm thinking perhaps scoring well on the MCAT along with my job experiences can earn me a chance? I've also been thinking of getting involved in a nursing research project to keep me in touch with the research side of science. Although all the preparation for an application towards med school will definitely require me to go part-time/ even casual at my current job, hence i'm running a cost-benefit analysis in my brain lately....I wouldn't mind being told the cold hard truth but I'm also posting to see if anybody out there who was in the similar boat (RN wanting to be MD) and made it? 

 

also, not overly interested in the american/intl route to become an MD at the moment as I will not be able to afford the cost. 

thank you, and truly appreciate all your comments!

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I am sorry to have to say this, but even a high MCAT score can't 'compensate' for a 3.4 GPA after 2 degrees. The reality is that applicants need both a strong GPA (3.8+ generally, and higher for some schools) in addition to a very good MCAT score to be accepted. And they need lots of experience, work or otherwise. 

 

On the bright(er) side, if it is autonomy and ability to have more influence on rural health care that you're looking for, NP would get you there. It would also be much, much cheaper and faster (i.e. 4 additional years income). 

 

I really hate to be discouraging, but I do think honesty is important here. And you really do have options to change your career path within nursing. 

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Everyone here is way off. There are schools that take selective years in the GPA calculation for example queens does last 2 year gpa and western does best 2 years and univ of Calgary only calculates full time years so if you did less than 8 courses in any given sept-April time period then that year of GPA would be omitted (if you have 5 in one semester and 3 in another then double check with the school to see if it counts). McGill takes most recent degree as well I believe. Also UBC calculates GPA as a percentage so if you calculate that and compare it to the published admissions statistics posted by UBC then you will have a better idea of where you stand there. Also you could move to the Yukon to get in province status at certain schools.

 

Basically the policies at some schools in Canada allow for a fresh start if you are willing to do another minimum of 2 years of school providing you get a high GPA in those two years. As it stands now it's unlikely you would get in based on the info you gave us. But if you do another 2 years of school and do really well then everything can change and you could be a great applicant and have strong chances at queens and western depending on your GPA, as well as other schools I'm not familiar with.

 

Basically you just have to research each school's policies and see if there is any place where you might have a shot. Familiarize yourself with their website and either call or email them if need be. You can also compare it to topics discussed on this forum.

 

I strongly believe if someone has time and money then there is nothing stopping them from getting in if they are able to get straight A's or preferably A pluses. For you, it just depends if you want to go back to school. If I was in your situation I would still chase my dream of med school hard but that's just me.

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Its easier said then done.

 

Unless OP has 2 years of 3.8+ full-time already across their two degrees(which they haven't indicated), they would need to go back and do more undergrad as you stated. Not sure if that would be appealing to them.

 

OP post if you meet that requirement.

 

 

For what they say in the post, NP seems the more logical choice. But even then not a foolproof option.

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Yeah you're right I'd say it's a pretty tough call for most people. Just because like you inferred, there's a chance it might not work out in the end. I suppose I just don't see it as final as other people do as I am not concerned with marriage or kids so I have no time pressures on myself and can therefore take as long as I please to fix my own GPA to make myself a better applicant.

 

Sorry I didn't mean to make it seem like it should be an obvious choice. I actually think the choice should be a well thought out one where op takes enough time to be 100% sure they are comfortable with the risks of doing it and the pros/cons of either not doing it or doing it. It totally depends on the person. There is no right or wrong answer, it's just whatever she/he wants and I proposed a possible path that may lead to he/she getting in. But it's definitely a tough call depending on what you would feel comfortable doing with your life.

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Since the new MCAT has a long life time, write it and see what happens. If you score well, perhaps you will have a better idea as to what the next steps are.

Good luck, friend :)!

What do you mean by long life time? I haven't looked into it too much so I'm unfamiliar? Is the score good for longer than 5 years or something?

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Where do you have in-province status? Depending on your status you might have a shot at U of C (it would be an uphill climb but not altogether impossible, people have gotten in with 3.3s before) but you would have to be in-province. You have some interesting stuff to draw from for a Top 10 if you are IP for Calgary.

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What do you mean by long life time? I haven't looked into it too much so I'm unfamiliar? Is the score good for longer than 5 years or something?

No, it's still 3 I believe. Compared to people who wrote when I did and had a 1-2 years (or 0, for UofA) of being able to use scores that's not bad. 

 

The other detail missing from your post is that only 3% of MCAT writers would have gotten the CARS score needed for Western, and Queen's is such a black box it's a hard thing to tell someone to count on. 

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Hey! new to this forum and still feeling new to the idea of wanting to pursue medicine. I'm one of the non-traditional applicants but thought I'd post it here to hear more advice on my situation! (totally prepared to truthful, blunt opinions)

 

A bit about me:

 

- Did two undergraduate degrees at the time solely because I needed a more "marketable" skill set than what I had. That being said, my first UG (bsc in cell biology) has a gpa of 3.45 and second UG (bsc in nursing) has a gpa of 3.3. So basically my second degree has a even worse gpa than my first degree. 

- Been an emergency RN for 3 years in a rural setting since then and still in love with my job.

- lately been "plagued" with the desire to pursue medicine. truly admire the level of autonomy and independence a physician can work with and most importantly would like to see changes being implemented in rural healthcare. (won't go into details but very hard to do from a nursing perspective)

- did one year of research in a basic science lab 4 years ago yet had no publications

- haven't done the MCAT but willing to take my time to study for it. 

 

The ultra low GPA will shut me out but I'm thinking perhaps scoring well on the MCAT along with my job experiences can earn me a chance? I've also been thinking of getting involved in a nursing research project to keep me in touch with the research side of science. Although all the preparation for an application towards med school will definitely require me to go part-time/ even casual at my current job, hence i'm running a cost-benefit analysis in my brain lately....I wouldn't mind being told the cold hard truth but I'm also posting to see if anybody out there who was in the similar boat (RN wanting to be MD) and made it? 

 

also, not overly interested in the american/intl route to become an MD at the moment as I will not be able to afford the cost. 

thank you, and truly appreciate all your comments!

 

What is your best two years GPA? If you have two years with full course load, 60% of courses at the appropriate level, and the GPA for those years are 3.8+, I would write the MCAT and see how it goes. If the MCAT goes well, you can apply to Queen's, Western, and possibly Mac without having to do further schooling.

 

If your GPA is consistently 3.3 - 3.5 for all years, I echo what other people have said regarding the NP option.

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What do you mean by long life time? I haven't looked into it too much so I'm unfamiliar? Is the score good for longer than 5 years or something?

Sorry. Perhaps I'm misinformed. I've only written the new one once. I made an assumption.

 

Since there is now an upper limit to the maximum amount of MCATs you can write (7), I assumed the expiration dates weren't as little as 3 years. I may be wrong. Sorry for the incorrect information.

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Everyone here is so academic, and focusing on GPA, MCAT etc lol 

 

The OP said they are plagued by a desire for medicine because they like the autonomy and desire to make changes to healthcare system. Well I am sure been a RN they know the system so I'll be short, but I think even if OP gets into med school, finish residency, etc etc, they'll be disappointed because been a MD probably won't satisfy those desires.

 

I think the autonomy part is a bit misleading, because physicians have limited autonomy both in terms of medical practice (eg. they have to adhere to standard of care, follow guidelines, etc) as well as the bureaucratic part (which I am sure the OP is aware of). MD is still just a front line worker and doesn't really get you farther up the bureaucracy, where important system changes are decided.

 

I think the OP should have some serious discussions with MDs and even hospital adminstrators regarding the above points so they don't overestimate the potential benefits. 

 

Many pre-meds go into med school with big dreams of transforming healthcare, cure cancer, eradicate AIDS, etc etc and by R1 all they think about is how many calls are left until they hit an easy block or if there's leftover pizza in the OR lounge.

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Sabela,

 

Your chances are good for acceptance.  Please re-consider IMG schools.  IF you have the passion, drive and motivation, then do not let money get in the way of your dream.  If you now love ER med, you will probably love it even more as an M.D.  I practice as an ER doc in the USA and also love it.  Many R.N.s have made the journey, and your perspective is so valuable in this critical decision.  Reach for the stars and max out your potential, i.e. it is worth the effort.  You can do it if you want.  And that is the key question for you today.

Good Luck..... Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD

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Sabela,

 

Your chances are good for acceptance.  Please re-consider IMG schools.  IF you have the passion, drive and motivation, then do not let money get in the way of your dream.  If you now love ER med, you will probably love it even more as an M.D.  I practice as an ER doc in the USA and also love it.  Many R.N.s have made the journey, and your perspective is so valuable in this critical decision.  Reach for the stars and max out your potential, i.e. it is worth the effort.  You can do it if you want.  And that is the key question for you today.

Good Luck..... Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD

LOL

 

Except, if they go IMG route, they will almost certainly never be an Emergency Medicine residency trained doctor in North America. 

Nice try Ronald. 

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LOL posted an outdated reply.  

It is true that your chances for an ER residency were previously nil as an IMG, no longer true!

I work with many IMG docs in ERs across the country ..... all boarded too.  

Yes, a tougher road it is, but many are doing it.  

Do not let money get in the way of your dreams.  

Do not let effort or work, or even a longer journey derail your potential.

And most importantly, be most careful to whom you listen to, including me.

Again, Good Luck, many have done it and many more will also.  Never forget, it's your dream, not theirs.

Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD

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LOL posted an outdated reply.

It is true that your chances for an ER residency were previously nil as an IMG, no longer true!

I work with many IMG docs in ERs across the country ..... all boarded too.

Yes, a tougher road it is, but many are doing it.

Do not let money get in the way of your dreams.

Do not let effort or work, or even a longer journey derail your potential.

And most importantly, be most careful to whom you listen to, including me.

Again, Good Luck, many have done it and many more will also. Never forget, it's your dream, not theirs.

Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD

No.

 

Previously IMGs could go for the 3 year EM programs, and now those are not options. 4 year in US only. Which are few and not IMG friendly.

 

Only option is FM followed by CCFP-EM.

 

You are out of touch with the current IMG reality.

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No.

 

Previously IMGs could go for the 3 year EM programs, and now those are not options. 4 year in US only. Which are few and not IMG friendly.

 

Only option is FM followed by CCFP-EM.

 

You are out of touch with the current IMG reality.

 

Question: Then why and how did nearly 100 IMGs graduates from 3 different, and well recognized, Caribbean Med Schools place in the 2016 MATCH for US emergency medicine programs?  While you are correct that said programs are "not IMG friendly," that does not preclude acceptance.  3 years versus 4 years should not matter an iota for a passionate student, just as "tuition cost" should not hinder reaching one's potential.  I also see nothing wrong with Family Practice, Internal Medicine, General Surgery as other options if one really has the drive and passion to practice emergency medicine.  There are many paths to the bountiful and exciting practice of ER Medicine, if one simply thinks outside the box.  It should be noted however that I practice only in the USA.  In fact, reality in the "good ole USA" says that many docs do not have to even be board-certified to work in various ER departments, although I do not recommend that option.  The IMG route remains a viable option for a passionate and studious PreMed.  Just do the proper research and consider your options.

Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD

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Question: Then why and how did nearly 100 IMGs graduates from 3 different, and well recognized, Caribbean Med Schools place in the 2016 MATCH for US emergency medicine programs?  While you are correct that said programs are "not IMG friendly," that does not preclude acceptance.  3 years versus 4 years should not matter an iota for a passionate student, just as "tuition cost" should not hinder reaching one's potential.  I also see nothing wrong with Family Practice, Internal Medicine, General Surgery as other options if one really has the drive and passion to practice emergency medicine.  There are many paths to the bountiful and exciting practice of ER Medicine, if one simply thinks outside the box.  It should be noted however that I practice only in the USA.  In fact, reality in the "good ole USA" says that many docs do not have to even be board-certified to work in various ER departments, although I do not recommend that option.  The IMG route remains a viable option for a passionate and studious PreMed.  Just do the proper research and consider your options.

Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD

 

I'm going to make a guess here and say that the majority of that 100 were US citizens and didn't need a program to pay for their visa. If so, it's pretty misleading to compare that to a Canadian trying to match. 

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I'm going to make a guess here and say that the majority of that 100 were US citizens and didn't need a program to pay for their visa. If so, it's pretty misleading to compare that to a Canadian trying to match. 

 

You are correct in that most of the EM residents in the 2016 Match were US residents.  Cost is not the issue, US Immigration policy is the issue.  In 1991, Section 303(a)(5), the law was modified to allow Canadians to practice in the U.S. to "pursue graduate medical training."  That is done via the H-1B visa that must be employer-sponsored.  However, the kicker here is that the Canadian student must have passed all 3 steps of the USMLE and few Canadians even take the test (they take the LMCC).  That is significant obstacle number one.  Number 2 obstacle is that U.S. programs prefer US students because our residency programs are federally funded and program directors seem to prefer US citizens.  I agree that may not be fair, but that is what is happening in this competitive market.  PreMed is the most grueling, demanding major and the end-goal of graduate medical training becomes even more so.  Some Canadians have also tried using the temporary TradeNAFTA (TN) work status - but that too does not work for the practice of medicine.  Therefore, it seems like the best option is to take the USMLE tests if that is your goal to enter a US emergency med program and then compete on a more level playing field with all IMG graduates.  Again, tough road, but not impossible.

I might also ask - why do you want to practice in the USA anyway?  Is the grass that much greener?  

Ronald Kapp, MD, PhD 

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