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Old 02-06-05, 11:56 AM   #16
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Wow mooretorque! I really appreciate that you took your office time to post on this thread. My parents enjoy scaring me about going into medical school. They're both RN's but they know people in the field; my mother's brother is a doctor. I've heard stories of sleepless nights and no time for social life in medical school. My mother told me in an interesting story about a first year resident who screwed up somehow and was on the verge of having her residency terminated. Not only that, she owed about half a million dollars in loans... ouch!
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Old 02-06-05, 12:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooretorque
FLiP, I didn't touch on some of the more practical issues but unless you already have a close family member in the profession, there are things you should consider.

As verylost pointed out, it is indeed a long (at least 7 years from entry into medical school until completion of residency training; many require several years longer) road. And, I might add, a very expensive one even if going to a state school. There IS plenty of money available (and, as I mentioned in a peripheral way in my first post, programs that will basically cover the costs of medical school if you agree to serve in a)one of the branches of the armed services, b)rural/underserved areas both at the state and federal level, and c) other) to borrow but you'll be looking at a mountain of debt by the time you begin to earn enough to start repayments. Residency pay scales aren't enough to do so, so the loan programs will allow you to defer debt but that unpaid interest is capitalized so that your eventual principal will be on the order of several hundred thousand dollars (no exaggeration at all!). At the same time, physician incomes are NOT what you might think they are. Managed care insurance has led to drastic decreases in reimbursement. Medicaid and Medicare programs are, in general, basically "break even" propositions for those of us in primary care (iow, what you are paid for seeing a patient is only sufficient to cover the actual cost of seeing the patient). I realize that all this talk of money in a service-oriented profession sounds a bit callous. The REALITY is that you will somehow have to pay back those hundreds of thousands of dollars AND provide for yourself and your family AND provide for your own retirement. So it must be considered.

Medicine is still a wonderful thing to do from the standpoint of personal satisfaction and I still enjoy practice 19 years after my graduation. But these same managed care entities have eroded the autonomy of medicine and burdened it with a tremendous amount of redundant paperwork. I'm typing this post on Sunday from my office where I'm engaged in doing several hours of insurance busywork that have absolutely nothing to do with taking care of patient's medical needs. This is a weekly occurence (on top of the extra time I spend during the week on a daily basis).

I'm not attempting to discourage you from medicine and you may already know all of this if you have that previously mentioned close relative in the profession. If not, then these are practical realities that you need to factor in to your desire to serve. Medicine still requires all the sacrifices one traditionally had to make in order to properly care for the sick. There are just some additional ones that have nothing to do with the art or science of medicine but rather the business of it.

Good luck in your decision.

Dr T

this is one of the best posts on CL!
thank you very much mooretq and verylost. those are very helpful and informative. i am also a premed but my back up plan B is to get into grad school if i dont get into any of the school i applied to.

here is a little bit of my background. i was orginally from Myanmar ( usually know as Burma ) and went to medical school in my home coutry for about 1 year. that was when i was at the age of 16. as you may know, the education system is hopelessly screwed up by the military junta and i didnt see anypoint to staying in my country for my education. after thinking over and over agian, i made this decision to drop out from my medical school and decided to come to the United States and start everything from the ground zero.
So i went to junior college in california for 2 years and transferred to the University of California, Berkeley. Now i am currently studying Neurobiology and working in the research lab and so on.
The more i study about these biophysics and biochemistry, the more i want to go to research field. Now, my primary goal is to get into medical school and grad school as a back up plan. So this will be another very hard decision for me to make. any great suggestion would be very appreciated.

-Linn
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Old 02-06-05, 01:13 PM   #18
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Flip: I am glad you are thinking this through carefully. However, there are a few reasons why you should go to school now as opposed to later.
1) Cost, medical school tuition will always go up (and at a faster rate than inflation)
2) Quantity of knowledge. The longer you wait, the more you will be tested in school. I don't foresee the biochemical and basic science field leveling off anytime soon. Last month, I actually forgot someone's name in order to make room to learn the cranial nerves

And since you are from NY, our state school tuition cost about HALF as much as most private schools. I think my tuition for this year was around $19k. This includes medical insurance and housing.

DC52E55: You have a long road ahead of you. Flip has it a little easier than you because we have so many NY schools. However, CA's schools are rediculously hard to get into, including the state schools. The mantra for most has always been "Love your state schools." However, CA residents on average have a much harder time getting into their own state schools.

And before you get into research, I would get to know it a little better. Research is an extremely competitive field, but the rewards aren't that greater than medicine. The hours are painful (especially if you are a microbiologist). I have known numerous post docs who have had to go into lab at 3 am to take out a cell culture or to stop an experiment. The field is also extremely competitive. Becoming a PI just isnt easy. And the number one reason I didn't persure research is that the best researchers don't do research. They write grants and manage their post docs who do the real research.

If I were able to do it again, I'd still choose medicine. I might not get any sleep now a days, but I am having a blast.
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Old 02-06-05, 03:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verylost
Flip: I am glad you are thinking this through carefully. However, there are a few reasons why you should go to school now as opposed to later.
1) Cost, medical school tuition will always go up (and at a faster rate than inflation)
2) Quantity of knowledge. The longer you wait, the more you will be tested in school. I don't foresee the biochemical and basic science field leveling off anytime soon. Last month, I actually forgot someone's name in order to make room to learn the cranial nerves

And since you are from NY, our state school tuition cost about HALF as much as most private schools. I think my tuition for this year was around $19k. This includes medical insurance and housing.
Verylost, you give me something to think about. I could graduate with the PA degree but instead of working right away, I'd apply to medical school instead. That bothers me in that I would waste the PA program's time and that someone who really wants to be a PA doesn't make the cut because of me. However, after completion of medical school, I could pay off the loans better as a PA than as a resident. That means, I would be practicing medicine as a PA for the first time and then as a doctor for the first time! If I really wanted to become a doctor and not waste the PA program's time, I could change my major but that means more time and money. I'm already a year behind as a PA major and if I changed my major to medical technologist, I could graduate in 4 years instead of 5. I could fulfill my prerequisites and apply to medical school and a PA master's program. Yet, if i don't make it to any medical schools and PA is where I end up again, I just wasted time, money, and my opportunity earlier to go into PA.
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Old 02-06-05, 06:33 PM   #20
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Flip,

Do you have your premed requirements done? If so, why not study for the MCATS and see how you do? I think it only costs $100 to take the test, but it is 6 hours of hell.

If you have any questions about what med school life is like, you can always ask me through PM or we could meet up someday.

What I recommend is that you find someway to be around doctors more often. You need to find out what the life is like, the ups and downs, and judge whether this is something you want. Volunteering is always an option. You can always shadow a doctor. The best way to do this is to see if a family or friend who is a physician will let you follow him or her around for a day.

By the way, what PA program are you in?
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Old 02-06-05, 08:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verylost
Flip,

Do you have your premed requirements done? If so, why not study for the MCATS and see how you do? I think it only costs $100 to take the test, but it is 6 hours of hell.

If you have any questions about what med school life is like, you can always ask me through PM or we could meet up someday.

What I recommend is that you find someway to be around doctors more often. You need to find out what the life is like, the ups and downs, and judge whether this is something you want. Volunteering is always an option. You can always shadow a doctor. The best way to do this is to see if a family or friend who is a physician will let you follow him or her around for a day.

By the way, what PA program are you in?
sent you a pm.
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Old 02-06-05, 08:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLiP Sp33d
I've heard or read somewhere than you have to have at least a 3.5 or 3.6 overall gpa and no grade below a B to be considered for admission. Let's say you get a C in organic chem and your overall gpa is 3.3, would you still have a chance of getting into any medical school? Would the reputation of the school supercede that 3.3? Which are the easiest ones to get into? i knew this volunteer at the hospital with a 4.0 and a decent MCAT score. She was wait listed and never accepted to any of the schools she applied to. Is competition for medical school that brutal?! I was once told by a chem major that if you were to apply for medical school, it helps that you have a competitive major like chemistry or physics. I was once told by my professor who's an MD that English is a good major to apply with. Then there is clinical experience. Would professional experience (PCA, RN, PA) help out a guy with one or two D's or C's and a 3.3 get accepted?
Hi there,

You will need a very competitive MCAT score and excellent letters of recommendation.

Med School is much more competitive than Business School.

I had a 3.4 GPA from undergrad. But a strong GMAT got me into Columbia.

For more info. on admissions, you can go to www.usnews.com

Good luck!
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Old 02-07-05, 03:24 AM   #23
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wow good topic, Well i was in the same boat as you. I wanted to get my bachelors in Biology and transfer into medical school. but i recently changed my major from the medical field to business. I'm not trying to scare you but tell you reality about here in california at least. In california about 5000 students apply and only 70-80 get in and thats a very small percentage as it is. And on top of that with the affirmative action law where they think there should be an equal amount of nationality in each school that just lowers my chances of getting into medical even more since i'm asian.

ok so skip all that and lets say i do get into medical school. This is looking at the best route. i graduated HS when i'm 18 go to a community college for 2 years, i'm 20, then go to a university for 2 years for my BA in bio, 22, then transfer to medical school for another 4 years?, 26, do my residency for 4 more years, while only getting paid about 30k a year working like 80 hour shifts a week, so now lets say your 30, a few hundred thousand dollars in debt, been too busy to have a social life and in debt to much to care about falling in love and having a nice wedding.

basically you will end up being in your 30's in debt a few hundred thousand and getting paid merely 100,000-150,000 your first year if your lucky.

its more of a dedication than a career.
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Old 02-07-05, 08:05 AM   #24
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Quote:
However, after completion of medical school, I could pay off the loans better as a PA than as a resident. That means, I would be practicing medicine as a PA for the first time and then as a doctor for the first time!
FLiP, that's true but if you go ahead and do, say, a transitional/flexible (called different things in different programs) year (this is still called an intern year, but the term is a bit dated), you can practice as a physician rather than a PA. Working in small ERs, walkin clinics, and doing locum tenens for a couple of years can make a large dent in your medical school debt if you diligently apply money to that purpose. You'll make considerably more as a physician than as a PA in that circumstance.

Quote:
do my residency for 4 more years, while only getting paid about 30k a year working like 80 hour shifts a week
Jmai, residencies vary from 3 to 6 years, not counting fellowships (add'l 1-3 years). I do have a couple of classmates (one doing cardiothoracic surgery, the other nephrology) who managed to stretch it out to 10+ years, but that's an exception. And at least the residents are limited to 80 hours since OSHA reviewed residency programs a few years ago. Prior to that, depending on the rotation, it could easily be 100+ hrs; ah, those were the days............

As far as the time involved, what better thing could you be doing by age 30, that would give you as much intellectual satisfaction and the constant knowledge that you actually make the world a little bit better every day for quite a few people??? I'm not being idealistic here but it is one of those non-material benefits that I enjoy on a daily basis.

And you are correct about having to defer some things; a number of my classmates married their college honeys at Christmas of the freshman year. Two thirds of those marriages had ended by the time we graduated and quite a few more didn't last residency. The hours involved in medical school and residency are still such, even now, that you'll only have room for about two, maybe three things on your priority list (and guess which one better be #1!). But as verylost has pointed out, medical school is still a lot of fun and some of your classmates will become lifelong friends.
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Old 02-07-05, 09:58 AM   #25
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Since we're on the subject of medicine, how difficult would it be to find a residency coming out of medical school? Are there certain fields or specialties that are more competive than others? Also, are urban areas more inclined to be competitive than suburban areas? I'm guessing NYC, Boston, and cities in California to be competitive.
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Old 02-07-05, 10:24 AM   #26
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Our family operates an outpatient clinic in Arcadia. Girlfriend's sister's boyfriend is currently a 2nd or 3rd year med student, too.

Let me know which med schools and what field you have in mind, and I'll let you know the pros and cons.
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Old 02-07-05, 01:28 PM   #27
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It is not difficult to find A residency in SOMEthing. Literally every medical student goes on to post -graduate training even if it's only the internship year because every state in the Union now requires a year of supervised training/practice before granting an unlimited license to practice.

Residencies that are more competetive tend to be the surgical and medical subspecialties plus dermatology and radiology. Location in and of itself doesn't necessarily play a big role since you won't be spending just a whole lot of time enjoying the sights/scenery/recreational activities. So, factors such as the lifestyle and income that will be present in private practice come into play. Then, of course, some residency programs have more stature than others. But in the end they all produce board-eligible physicians who are well trained in their specialty.

But worry about medical school first!
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Old 02-08-05, 05:31 PM   #28
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With a 3.3, you may want to consider applying to Osteopathic medical schools. Your degree will be D.O. instead of M.D., but however, you still will go through the exact same residency programs that MD's do. You will not be limited at all as to what you can do professionaly. Both my sister and father are physicians, and they say they have seen D.O.'s in virtually every specialty.... even neurosurgery which is one of the toughest few residencies to get. I've known a few people who've had between 3.3-3.5 GPA and 27-30 on MCAT and have been able to gain admission to D.O. schools. If you want to apply to one of those, you should shadow a DO, because they want to know that you're serious about it and that you're not applying there just because you cannot get into allopathic (MD) school. The only downside to this is that DO's still sometimes face prejudice by their MD colleagues and people in the general public who are not educated as to who they are and what they can do.
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Old 02-10-05, 01:50 AM   #29
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I know a guy who knows a guy..... Cousin who is practicing in Chicago. Dad is on the acceptance board at a med school. Its all about who you know... Do a little research and some leg work.
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Old 02-10-05, 01:50 AM
 
 
 
 
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