Med School (yes, I'm asking for advice)

Baron58

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 19, 2004
451
2
Anyone here in med school?

Anyone here older-than-usual (10 years or so post-college) in med school?

Talk to me.... Career change? Finances? Able to work at the same time for an income? What are the courses like (I know, too broad a question, but I have to start somewhere)?

Anyone here in radiology/diagnostic imaging?
 

jefhatfield

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Baron58 said:
Anyone here in med school?

Anyone here older-than-usual (10 years or so post-college) in med school?

Talk to me.... Career change? Finances? Able to work at the same time for an income? What are the courses like (I know, too broad a question, but I have to start somewhere)?

Anyone here in radiology/diagnostic imaging?
baron58,

congrats on your decision to do graduate school, especially medical school

and with more than ten years past college, it is very brave of you but believe it or not, it's not all that uncommon these days since people live longer and thus work longer in their lives

for me, i am 11 years out of school, and i am returning to school to get my juris doctorate at age 41...since i have two businesses of my own i will have to work because there is no choice with house expenses, car expeses, groceries, insurance, etc

since i have my work here and no top of the line american bar association law schools in my area or online, i have resorted to looking at california bar association schools here or online which are available to me ranging from 3,000 dollars a year to 8,000 dollars a year, for four years, and that's without books...all expenses totaled in, that comes to 18,000 dollars on the low end to 37,000 dollars on the high end...so it's not really that bad over four years but california bar association school graduates make less than american bar association school graduates

but i assume your medical school will amount to considerably more than just 37,000 dollars for four years and depending on your age now, you will have to see if you can recoup the costs

if you are under age 45 and you shell out 60,000 to 100,000 dollars, then you will probably break even by the time you retire...if you are only in your early 30s then you will most likely be able to pay everything off, tuition and lost work hours, and then make hundreds of thousands of dollars extra over your lifetime

i had a friend who got his bs in biology and he did some research into how long it took the average american doctor to pay off his student loans and he found that it was in their 50s so it's no easy commitment...but since most doctors work way past that in their career, it's usually a financial advantage to get your md and practice medicine
 

Dros

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2003
484
1
jefhatfield said:
i had a friend who got his bs in biology and he did some research into how long it took the average american doctor to pay off his student loans and he found that it was in their 50s so it's no easy commitment...but since most doctors work way past that in their career, it's usually a financial advantage to get your md and practice medicine
It may take them that long, but that is while they are paying a mortgage on a nice house and buying nice cars, not living in a hovel.
 

jefhatfield

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Dros said:
It may take them that long, but that is while they are paying a mortgage on a nice house and buying nice cars, not living in a hovel.
i am sure doctors live better than most while they are paying off their med school and startup costs for their practice...but they can't spend every penny they make on leisure stuff and nice cars
 

EJBasile

macrumors 65816
Apr 20, 2004
1,304
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I went to med school to become a doctor. I am a surgeon practitioner meaning I mostly deal with appendicitis and such.

I enjoy my job very much because every day you get to help people. Problems with being a doctor though are that you can get stressed out particularly when working in the ED/ER, when patients don't make it, and Malpractice insurance.

Finances... well I came from a rather well off family with old money so my schooling has been paid for. Malpractice insurance is expensive and getting more expensive.

I think gastric bypass surgery is a good field to get into. Its becoming more and more popular. And it works if the procedure is done correctly. Also plastic suregery is growing, personally though I feel that reconstructive plasic surgery acceptable but cosmetic plastic surgery is not wrong, but not right either.
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,477
205
visiting from downstream
Radiology and other medical fields that require no patient contact are increasingly being offshored to places like India, so you might want to bear that in mind before you rack up huge med school loans in a field where the job market is volatile. I'd recommend studying a field that requires direct patient contact... they can't outsource or offshore those.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
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Location Location Location
How do they do radiology offshore? Do they send the patients to India? ;)

Well, by Radiology I'm assuming its just imaging and such. I'm doing a PhD in Medical Physics, which means I will oversee things like general Radiation Therapy (ie: x-ray beams from LINACs), MRI, CT scans, brachytherapy, PET and SPECT scans, bone scans, brain scans, and um...... lots more! You treat all sorts of cancers, plus some other ailments.

You don't need to go through Med school to do it, although I believe you do at some schools. I think your responsibilities would be different if you did it through a Med School.

To be a Radiation/Radiology technician, you basically do a lot of the work WITH the patients. You're the guy who does the work, handling the machines, getting the readings/images and such. It doesn't take very long to get this degree/diploma, and its quite rewarding. You also don't need to be a Physics geek. Medical Physicists just oversee things and are in charge. They're paid for what they know, and you do need a PhD to do a lot of the work.
 

MOFS

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2003
1,217
154
Durham, UK
Baron58 said:
Anyone here in med school?

Anyone here older-than-usual (10 years or so post-college) in med school?

Talk to me.... Career change? Finances? Able to work at the same time for an income? What are the courses like (I know, too broad a question, but I have to start somewhere)?

Anyone here in radiology/diagnostic imaging?
Just wondering where you are based? I'm guessing you're from the States, which obviously makes a difference.
 

stonyc

macrumors 65816
Feb 15, 2005
1,259
1
Michigan
Baron58 said:
Anyone here in med school?
I'm not but I have very good friends and my fiancee is (going to match this Thursday). I also decided late in college that medicine was not for me but at that point had gone through a large portion of the process.

Baron58 said:
Anyone here older-than-usual (10 years or so post-college) in med school?
Sorry, can't help there... but I'll be going to grad school in bioinformatics next fall (and be about 6 years from college).

Baron58 said:
Talk to me.... Career change? Finances? Able to work at the same time for an income? What are the courses like (I know, too broad a question, but I have to start somewhere)?
You will probably not want to work while in school and you likely won't have the time... unless you are an extremely gifted person who will just like to "get by" there's no chance, especially if you are looking into Radiology/Imaging. Radiology/Imaging is now one of the hottest specialties out there and is super-competitive... my roommate and best friend had to go to 25+ interviews, did very well at the University of Michigan and still might not match come this Thursday. In the end, you will probably not WANT to work while in medschool in order to concentrate on your studies and do the best that you can in classes to help prepare for Step 1 and Step 2 (board exams).

Finances... most that I know (except one, his parents paid for his med school) take out substantial loans. Depending on the school that you go to as well as any other outside funding sources (wife? family? scholarships? grants?) , expect medschool to cost about $120,000 to $250,000+ in total (if you include living expenses).

As far as courses go, your first year will (depending on the school) likely consist largely of more basic science classes: biochemistry, genetics, gross anatomy, etc. and introduce you to diseases, pathology and the like. Anatomy will be a time suck no matter where you go. Second year will go more into diseases, diagnosis, practicals, etc. Third and fourth year will consist almost solely of clinical rotations: third year will be much more highly standardized when it comes to the types of rotations (ie. internal med, peds, etc.). Fourth year, you will have more options in terms of electives.

Baron58 said:
Anyone here in radiology/diagnostic imaging?
My cousin who I'm very close with is... he's currently doing his residency in Virginia. My roommate and best friend is (hopefully) matching this Thursday. If you'd like to speak with any of them directly, they'll think it strange that I would ask, but I'll forward their e-mail addresses to you.
 

stonyc

macrumors 65816
Feb 15, 2005
1,259
1
Michigan
stonyc said:
Radiology/Imaging is now one of the hottest specialties out there and is super-competitive... my roommate and best friend had to go to 25+ interviews, did very well at the University of Michigan and still might not match come this Thursday.
Sorry, just to elaborate on this further... alot of this is going to depend alot on the specialty that you choose. For the hotter specialties (surgery, orthopedics, radiology, derm, anesthesiology) you will need very good board scores, top-notch recommendations, and good scores in school. For other specialties like Family Medicine (which my fiancee is in) residency programs will bend over backwards for you and although I can't speak for every program the reason for this is that some programs are more concerned about how you relate to patients rather than if you scored in the top 99th percentile on your Step 1 and 2.

So in the end, the "hotter" a specialty is the more competitive it will be to find a match for your residency... which means you will need higher grades, higher board scores and better recommendations.

Hope that all helped somewhat.
 

Dave00

macrumors 6502a
Dec 2, 2003
855
62
Pittsburgh
Baron58 said:
Anyone here in med school?

Anyone here older-than-usual (10 years or so post-college) in med school?

Talk to me.... Career change? Finances? Able to work at the same time for an income? What are the courses like (I know, too broad a question, but I have to start somewhere)?

Anyone here in radiology/diagnostic imaging?
A long time ago, I put together a web page, The Applicant's Advocate for people applying to medical school. Much of the information is, unfortunately, out of date (been meaning to get to that) but it can probably answer most of your questions.

There's a broad age range in medical school, especially the more competitive ones (which aim for diversity.) You do have to consider the incredible amount of time you lose while training - four years of medical school plus at least 3 years of residency, working up to 120 hours/week. No you certainly cannot do another job at the same time, except perhaps teach a few hours of an MCAT review (even this is iffy.) I've always said it's not necessarily the amount of time you devote to your training, but the dearth of time available for doing anything else, that is especially hard.

Good luck.

Dave
 

themadchemist

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Jan 31, 2003
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Chi Town
Hi, I'm applying to med schools right now, too, though I'm a traditional applicant. Suffice to say that for all its neuroses, Student-Doctor Network will be your new best friend. Also, take a look at MD Applicants for a look at the competition.

Before you think too deeply on a specialty, you might want to think more deeply about why you want to be a doctor, where you want to go to school, and how you're going to study for the MCAT.
 

Angelus

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2002
372
4
New Zealand
Hey i'm 21 and currently a 3rd med at University College Cork, Ireland.
I'm not sure of the differences in courses between here and the states but i'll try to help if i can.
I can't help with the finances bit cos our government has a free tuition fees scheme ie. my parents taxes are given me a medical education.

With regard to the course layout, it is 5yrs in total after which i must do an intern year in order to be registered with the medical council of ireland.

1st year: Anatomy
Physiology
Biochemistry

2nd Year: Neuroanatomy
Physiology
Clinical Anatomy
Behavioural Science
Biochemistry

3rd Year: Pharmacology
Pathology
Bioethics
Clinics( Clinical Examination and History Taking on wards)
Forensic and Legal Medicine

4th Year: Clinics (as above)
4 specialities: Paediatrics, Opthamology, ENT, Obs and Gynae
Epidemiology

5th Year: Clinics (as above)
Medicine
Surgery

I may not have covered everything for 4th and 5th year cos i havent done them yet but they are the major things.
 

themadchemist

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Jan 31, 2003
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Angelus said:
Hey i'm 21 and currently a 3rd med at University College Cork, Ireland.
Do you guys enter into medical school as a bachelor's program straight out of high school? I know this is the case in India...If so, the way training is laid out is quite different from that in the U.S.
 

Dave00

macrumors 6502a
Dec 2, 2003
855
62
Pittsburgh
themadchemist said:
Hi, I'm applying to med schools right now, too, though I'm a traditional applicant. Suffice to say that for all its neuroses, Student-Doctor Network
Interesting site, but the demographic there has slightly higher-than-average gpa/mcat for accepted med students. One thing to guard against is all these people telling you you can't make it because your scores aren't a zillion, and it's just not true.
themadchemist said:
MD Applicants for a look at the competition.
One thing - and this is super important - listen a lot more to medical students than to med school applicants. The level of backstabbing and viciousness present among some certain applicants is simply amazing. Their goal is to intimidate and "suppress the vote", to use an analogy. So you have to consider the source.
 

jefhatfield

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themadchemist said:
Do you guys enter into medical school as a bachelor's program straight out of high school? I know this is the case in India...If so, the way training is laid out is quite different from that in the U.S.
in the uk, or at least when i was there many years ago, a five year program leading to a bachelor's would make someone a doctor and he/she would be addressed as "doctor"

if he has a doctorate degree, then he is higher up and called "mister"...i know that sounds strange

lawyers used to get an llb degree in the states which was a bachelor's degree in law and then went on to either practice law or pass the bar and then practice law, depending on the state, but since the 1970s, the llb has now been called a jd, or juris doctorate

to make matters more confusing, the advanced law degree beyond the jd is the llm, or master's in law, and after that, the jsd, or doctorate degree in law...this is the real "phd" level degree of the field of law and not the jd which is a dressed up llb, as the law field has recognized for most of its history

an honorary law doctorate is called an lld, most of the time, unless the institution wants to use lld instead of jsd for the highest degree in the law field

many law professors have an llm or jsd, and some have the lld

for more interesting information on the origins of degrees and titles, check out bear's guide in the education or reference section of most bookstores
 

themadchemist

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Jan 31, 2003
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Dave00 said:
Interesting site, but the demographic there has slightly higher-than-average gpa/mcat for accepted med students. One thing to guard against is all these people telling you you can't make it because your scores aren't a zillion, and it's just not true.
"Slightly higher-than-average gpa/mcat for accepted students:" Much of this is probably inflation-by-way-of-falsehood, as you pegged. However, there's a lot of useful information there once you get past the superstition, paranoia, and general inability to define oneself as anything but "pre-med."

dave00 said:
One thing - and this is super important - listen a lot more to medical students than to med school applicants. The level of backstabbing and viciousness present among some certain applicants is simply amazing. Their goal is to intimidate and "suppress the vote", to use an analogy. So you have to consider the source.
Hey--not all of us! As with all advice, take it with a grain of salt and don't rely too much on one source. Dave does make a great point, though, but, I think, for a different reason. People like me understand "in theory" how the process is supposed to go, but we have not even been through it, let alone successfully.
 

Dave00

macrumors 6502a
Dec 2, 2003
855
62
Pittsburgh
themadchemist said:
Hey--not all of us! As with all advice, take it with a grain of salt and don't rely too much on one source. Dave does make a great point, though, but, I think, for a different reason. People like me understand "in theory" how the process is supposed to go, but we have not even been through it, let alone successfully.
Sorry! I was actually worried you might take it that way. It's not even the applicants in general, it's just these few that make it hell for everyone else. Especially when it comes to numbers.

Good luck to those of you in the process.

Dave
 

themadchemist

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Jan 31, 2003
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Chi Town
Dave00 said:
Sorry! I was actually worried you might take it that way. It's not even the applicants in general, it's just these few that make it hell for everyone else. Especially when it comes to numbers.

Good luck to those of you in the process.

Dave
Oh, don't worry, no offense taken. I see what you're saying and you're right. But I feel like it's that way throughout life. You've got the anti-social zealots who cut out pages from library books in the pre-med classes and these are the same people who psyche applicants out during the application process and who compete too bitterly in medical school, residency, and beyond. The only thing is that they aren't as cruel to you when they are in a different part of the process because then, they have no vested interest in your failure. Of these folks, though, one must simply steer clear.

They follow as a motto one of my favorite Gore Vidal quotes:

"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail." :D
 

Angelus

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2002
372
4
New Zealand
themadchemist said:
Do you guys enter into medical school as a bachelor's program straight out of high school? I know this is the case in India...If so, the way training is laid out is quite different from that in the U.S.
Yeah we can apply straight out of high school. It's a bachelors degree in medicine, surgery and obs+gynae. Following graduation you are provisionally registered with the Irish Medical Council for your intern year, after which you can apply for full registration.

This basically means that i'll be a fully practising house officer at age 24.
 

themadchemist

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Jan 31, 2003
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Chi Town
Angelus said:
Yeah we can apply straight out of high school. It's a bachelors degree in medicine, surgery and obs+gynae. Following graduation you are provisionally registered with the Irish Medical Council for your intern year, after which you can apply for full registration.

This basically means that i'll be a fully practising house officer at age 24.
Oh, ok. Here you do a four-year undergraduate degree out of high school, then four years for an MD, then 4-7 years of internship/residency.
 

Baron58

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 19, 2004
451
2
jefhatfield said:
congrats on your decision to do graduate school, especially medical school
Haven't decided yet! I'm going to take Chem & Bio classes to see how I do, I'm still not committed to anything (besides doing *something*) yet.
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
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themadchemist said:
Oh, ok. Here you do a four-year undergraduate degree out of high school, then four years for an MD, then 4-7 years of internship/residency.
that probably explains why we don't see a lot of doogie howsers around here :)
 

themadchemist

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Jan 31, 2003
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Chi Town
jefhatfield said:
that probably explains why we don't see a lot of doogie howsers around here :)
And I'd say we're better for it! The only problem is that grossly-overworked residents treat patients...That should be troubling to anyone. The AMA, I believe, or some other such organization, actually limited the recommended maximum # of hours of work per week for residents to 100 recently because they found that working more than this hurt patient care...Ya don't say...
 

jefhatfield

Retired
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themadchemist said:
And I'd say we're better for it! The only problem is that grossly-overworked residents treat patients...That should be troubling to anyone. The AMA, I believe, or some other such organization, actually limited the recommended maximum # of hours of work per week for residents to 100 recently because they found that working more than this hurt patient care...Ya don't say...
when i worked at the hospital for three years, i did the graveyard shift and i saw the 9-5 doctors spend another 8 hours in the transcription room and doing rounds at the hospital...and they pretty much did 7 days a week month in and month out...so there's your 100 hours there, and then some

if you broke down a doctor's earnings into dollars per hour (i also helped do taxes for doctors and dentists the previous years), it would actually be frighteningly low...doctors around my area made $90k to 200k (if they did plastic surgery) but then divide that by what someone who puts in then that's just above $34 dollars an hour...of course if you count just the office hours in their practice then it's twice that (taking the 200k figure)

i came to the conclusion that doctors work for every penny they make...compare and contrast that against some juiced up baseball ace
 
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