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M.D., D.O., Pre med, and med students

  1. Jan 12, 2004 #1
    M.D., D.O., Pre med, and med students....

    I dunno if this is the right forum for this, so if the mods have a better suggestion, feel free to move it :)

    I'm thinking of a vast change in my life. I've always wanted to be a surgeon, but never had the means to do so before.
    I presently run a computer consulting business, and while I am good at it, I don't find it to be that challenging, or rewarding, anymore. I'd like a job that challenges me to think more, and helps people more than I currently do.

    I've found from my readings, and talking to several doctor friends that biology and chemistry majors are typical for pre-med. I would like to know if anyone is in med school that has gone askew from this standard path.

    For those of you who are working towards, or have completed, medical school, please answer the following.

    What was your pre-med major?

    What schools did you/do you plan to attend?

    Why did/do you want to become a doctor?

    Any other input would be greatly appreciated.:smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2004 #2
    Re: M.D., D.O., Pre med, and med students....

    Hey there,

    I'm the resident wanna be MD, so I'll answer the best I can

    1. My major is going to be most likely in Biomedical engineering or psychology. This is a vast switch from the CIS I was pursing(half-heartedly).

    2. Ideally, I'd love to attend mayo medical school- It's the besst (IMHO) in the country, and possibly the world- at the very least it ranks with Harvard and Johns Hopkins. Realistically- any school that will take me

    3. I have a lucrative career currently in the IT/Automotive world, and I'm miserable. I'm on a good career path, but I do not feel fulfilled. Becoming a doctor is something I always wanted to do when I was younger. But life got in the way, and I went down the wrong path. Now I'm a little older, I'd like to think a little wiser, and realizing that my heart lies in making a difference- and this is where my best chance at doing that lies.

    You aspire to be a surgeon? I would first like to lay out a rough career path for you. First, you need a bachelors in SOMETHING. If you don't have a bachelors, I'd suggest one that incorporates your premed qualifiers(physics, organic chemistry, biology, possibly calculus). Next you take the MCAT test(very difficult) get accepted at a medical school, then go there for 4 years full time(there's no part time for med school). Next, you have your residency. This is where you really need to know if you want to be a surgeon. Residency varies from 3-7 years depending on your specialty. Guess which one is 7 years? So it's another 7 years for surgical residency(2 of those are research years during which you do imperical research and publish research papers, etc). Then you can either become a general surgeon, or pursue an additional 1 to 2 years to become a specialty surgeon (plastic, ortho, derm, cardio, peds, etc). So in theory if you did school full time and went the full path, the youngest surgeon would be 35. I'm assuming you're a little older. I won't go into the demands a surgeon has. That you can find out for yourself;)

    Tsunami is also in the medical field, though I'm not sure exactly what she does (she's very mysterious about it )

    As for me, I'm currently intersted in radiology.

    If you want to learn more, you can try these places:


  4. Jan 12, 2004 #3
    Re: Re: M.D., D.O., Pre med, and med students....

    WOW!! This so close to me, it's scary!!

    I really appreciate your fullhearted reply. I am only 21, so I'm not too far out of school yet. I have some college down, but after realizing that school wasn't fulfilling my wants, I went the work path to realize what I want to do. My work actually puts me in one doctors office or another about 50% of the day, and it's almost like a tease at what I have really wanted to do.
    I'm meeting with a pre-med advisor this Friday, and have an interest in persuing a medical technology BS. I understand fully the requirements of what I am looking at, but I still just can't find enough to push me off the course (a good thing).

    I'd love to hear from more people in our situation, or that are in/finished med school.

    Thank you very much!
  5. Jan 13, 2004 #4
    Zantra, I really appreciate those links! I was unable to find such things, and they are exactly what I was lookign for. Any others?:)
  6. Jan 13, 2004 #5


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    Re: M.D., D.O., Pre med, and med students....

    What was your pre-med major? Chemistry and anthropology (MS in the first and BA in the latter.) But half my medical school class were non- biology or chemistry majors. Many were philosophy majors, engineers, history majors, etc. Majors did not predict how well you would do. Medical schools want to see that you can excell at what you put your mind to. The valedictiorian of our medical school was an english major who went on to become a Md/Phd ENT surgeon at John's Hopkins staff as an full tenured professor.

    What schools did you/do you plan to attend? Any that would give me the most scholarship. I got into Vanderbilt, Duke, Cornell, Emory and went to Dartmouth due to the scholarship money.

    Why did/do you want to become a doctor? I was a dissatisfied chemist and enjoyed being a New York City paramedic even more but it was a dead end job in that I could not go beyond stabilising and triaging a patient.

    Any other input would be greatly appreciated.

    You will change your mind a million times regarding surgery or no surgery. Lifestyle is an issue but many cardiologists and internists put in horrific hours in private practice as much as any surgeon (with exception of vascular and neurosurgeons) so it's a matter of what floats your boat and the type of thinking process that you would like. Our cardiologist pretty much work 7 days a week since there is such a shortage here in Georgia. I fluctuated between urology, then emergency medicine, and finally latched onto internal medicine with a concentration on managing critically ill Intensive care unit patients (both medical and surgical).

    I started medical school late but have not regretted my choice. (only regret the loss of sleep which will be chronic).
  7. Jan 14, 2004 #6
    adrenaline: quick question

    I'm premed still, and want to get some shadowing done with a radiologist, and possibly a neurosugeon, as those are the fields that interest me. Does the premed office have a listing of doctors willing to shadow, or do you think I should just go find a doc and ask to shadow him? This is more for my own edification than to buff up my application, so I'm not looking for LORs necesarily

    PS: My heart's in neurosurgery, but my bones and age say rads for the lifestyle. But who knows?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2004
  8. Jan 14, 2004 #7
    www.studentdoctor.net is by far the best resource I can offer you that will give you such a broad base of information. There isn't much you can't learn at that site related to medicine and the process of becoming a doctor. Any major pertinent site will find it's way linked into SDN. But if you really want the lowdown on the ins and outs, OPM has blogs that older (non traditional) premeds keep of thier experiences. One is kept by a PGY 2(2nd year resident) in surgery-very interesting read if that's your thing. Check it out here

  9. Jan 14, 2004 #8


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    Shadowing will be difficult with the advent and institution of HIPAA act. (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and makes patient privacy ridiculously complicated. For instance, if a wife of a demented patient calls me to get test results, I cannot discuss his tests with her without his written permission or I get fined 10,000 dollars. But he is demented so I can't get his permission unless he had the forsight to leave a power of attorney etc.etc. It also makes casual exchange of info between doctors very difficult. Anyway, this makes shadowing a very very thorny issue for alot of doctors now adays. Our hospital axed shadowing once HIPAA went into effect this february for non-medical or non nursing students. Your best bet is to talk with your family doc if you have a good relationship and see if he/she has collegues who will do him a favor. Every primary doc has a working relationship with a neurosurgeon they like or a radiologist/radiology group.
  10. Jan 14, 2004 #9
    That seems ludicrous. There should be a clause in it that allows you to dicuss it with immediate family in cases where it's determined that the patient is mentally incapable of making his own decisions. It's the same as if the patient were in a coma and the family must decide weather to disconnect the patient. Or if a patient is committed against his will because he is deemed mentally incompetent. This has wide ramifications, and I can't see it going unchallenged.
  11. Jan 14, 2004 #10


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    Ridiculous because it's the government. Our office spent 50,000 dollars so we could be HIPAA compliant. Patient privacy was already in effect but we had to do things like put sound proof glass around all the nurses station work areas so patients would not inadervtently hear a nurse calling in a prescription for someone else etc. Now our nurses can't hear a patient calling from a room if they need help. They actually send officials out to inspect doctors offfices and if we are guilty of any infringement, we are fined. This is but a small taste of where American medicine is headed. I am not being cynical, just practical. One doctor's office was "tested" when someone called pretending to be a patient's husband concerned about her condition. If the nurse hadn't insisted on calling the patient herself at her hospital extension phone to ask her permission, the doc's office would have been fined thousands of dollars. The real concerned spouses or parents who call insisting on getting an update on a patient's condition pretty much chew us out when we tell them we have to verify it first with the patient in person or with a written permission. (Of course, if the patient is comatose...HIPAA did not have the foresight to address that area.) Who says Big Brother does not exist.
  12. Jan 14, 2004 #11


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    During my late wife's illness I decided that that act had been for the benefit of paper companies. Every time you turned around they shoved another standard form at you stating a bunch of rights that nobody but a paranoid ever asked for. Guess where all those pretty forms ended up?
  13. Jan 14, 2004 #12
    You know I've always envisioned opening up my own private practice someday and maybe going to a rural or underserved area, but the more I hear, the more I'm realizing what a huge hassle it is. Between HMO's, high cost of insurance, and things like HIPAA, it make me think it might not be worth it. Just do hospitals and let someone else develop the ulcer.
  14. Jan 14, 2004 #13
    I know this all too well. 90% of my clients are medical, and the computer aspect of HIPAA is so vague in many areas that some clients end up possibly over doing it, just to cover their rears.
  15. Jan 17, 2004 #14
    I love Calculus and Physics much much much more than Chem and Bio...

    Can I still be a surgeon?
  16. Jan 17, 2004 #15
    ROFL "How much time it take x object to go 3 meters if acceleration is 1.5m/s^2"

    ... lol MCAT hard? no plx.
  17. Jan 17, 2004 #16


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    I know surgeons who range from being art majors to physicists. It's how you preform in med school and residency that counts.
  18. Jan 17, 2004 #17
    sweet, math major, ja??
  19. Jan 17, 2004 #18
    what I've "heard" is that hte critical factors adcoms look for when determining admission to med school are:

    1. volunteer work/experience in the medical field. At least something that says you have an idea of what medicine is like, and that it's what you want to do.

    2. MCAT. This is a major criteria

    3. math and science GPA. they look at thiss above your overall GPA because if you can't do well in math in science(which shouldn't be a problem if you're on this board) then you won't do well in med school

    4. overall undergrad gpa. think 4.0, but I have heard of people with 3.2 or around there getting in for exceptional cases.

    5. Personal statement- it's basically an essay of "why I want to be a doctor".

    There are other factors of course, but I believe these are the major ones. And none of them usually stand alone- it's a combination of all the factors. It is very competitive to get in, but if you really try and do well in undergrad, you WILL get in somewhere. It may not be the school of your choice, but unless you want an ivy league school, most of the schools are roughly the same, and have the same curriculum offered.

    Feels good to be answering the questions for a change instead of asking them:wink:
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