PMY 205 : Why She Left the Premed Track, Became an NP and is now an M1

Session 205

In today's episode, Ryan talks with Hanaan, a first year medical student who is married with three kids and worked as a nurse practitioner for three years.

She initially wanted to become a doctor but aside from family obligations, the lack of mentorship during her premed somehow caused her to sidestep and follow the NP route. Not finding full satisfaction from it, she finally decided to pursue her lifelong dream to become a physician and take on the medical journey.

Here are the highlights of Ryan's conversation with Hanaan:

Hanaan's journey to becoming a nurse:

  • Initially a premed at undergrad school
  • Her mom getting sick and becoming the primary caretaker of her younger siblings and her mom
  • Considering applying to medical school but at the same time dealing with the stigma around being a woman in medicine and having children so she lost her confidence in pursuing it as she had no role model
  • Not having a lot of support considering nobody in her family was in the medical field
  • Deciding to apply to the Nurse Practitioner field and getting into a highly rated and competitive program

Her NP experience:

  • Her NP program: First half was in RN/BSN and the second half as MSN Nurse Practitioner
  • Working as an EMT after the first half through the RN part and working as an RN through the NP part
  • Realizing it was the end of her education and feeling not having good enough background to be treating patients of high acuity which was what she wanted to do

The next steps she took to start applying to medical school:

  • Her job as NP at an academic hospital and used them for three years talking about different eye-opening situations
  • Realizing how closed-minded she was about the possibilities of being a nontraditional medical student (At this point she was married with two kids)
  • Having a discussion with her husband about wanting to go to medical school
  • Redoing a couple of prerequisite courses so she can take the MCAT
  • Taking the MCAT once
  • Considerations for choosing medical schools to apply to: Location and proximity to family

MD curriculum versus NP curriculum

  • Different pace: Much more information as a shorter amount of time
  • A lot more details in the medical school

The importance of having a support system:

  • Getting a ton of support from her husband
  • Her mom living two hours away from them
  • HIring a nanny
  • Having friends in medical school and also a friend in medical school who is a mom

Hanaan's advice to students who are trying to choose between being a doctor or an NP:

  1. Talk to as many people as you can talk to (NP's, top physicians, medical students, interns, residents, attending physicians, new and old attending physicians, and anybody you can get your hands on)l
  2. Everybody will have a different outlook. Ultimately it's your decision but having different perspectives, the more intake you can get and the better you can make a decision

Her advice to a currently working NP and considering taking the next step:

  1. You already know the struggles of being in the healthcare field so it's an easier transition but you still need to talk to people.
  2. Look into yourself and understand why you're really doing this?
  3. Figure your real intention in wanting to go into medicine. If you're doing this for the money and prestige, you're in the wrong field.

Hanaan's advice to premed students:

Find out what it is that you really want to do. If you have your heart set on medicine and being a physician, and you know what you're getting yourself into when talking to people and doing your research and it's still what you want to do, then go for it! Side stepping will only take you longer as you would have to start all over again.

Come celebrate with us!

In celebration of this podcast's 4th anniversary (which will be Episode 208), Ryan is giving away a 4-pack mock interview prep and a single session of personal statement editing, and some of his mock interview courses. To get a chance to win, simple follow these quick steps:

Contest Mechanics:

  1. Leave this podcast a review on iTunes.
  2. Take a screenshot of the review. (If you've already left one, just take a screenshot of the review you've already left.)
  3. Post on your Facebook page the best way of getting this podcast out to more people or go to www.medicalschoolhq.net/contest and have a snippet of what you need to write.
  4. Take a screenshot of your Facebook post and tag MSHQ too if possible.
  5. Fill up a form at www.medicalschoolhq.net/contest and upload your two screenshots.
  6. Deadline will be on November 14, 2016 at 12 midnight (technically the 15th).

Links:

www.medicalschoolhq.net/group

The Premed Years Session 201: Interview with Dr. Hala Sabry of Physician Moms Group, a Facebook group with over 62,000 members (female physicians who are moms or trying to be moms)

www.medicalschoolhq.net/EMS

Transcript

Introduction

Dr. Ryan Gray: The Premed Years, session number 205.

Hello and welcome to the two-time Academy Award nominated podcast, The Premed Years, where we believe that collaboration, not competition, is key to your premed success. I am your host Dr. Ryan Gray, and in this podcast we share with you stories, encouragement, and information that you need to know to help guide you on your path to becoming a physician.

Now before we break into today's episode, I want to tell you about episode 208. Now if you're quick with math, 208 divided by 52 is 4. Episode 208, which is coming out in three weeks, will be our fourth anniversary of this podcast. It's been- it will be 208 weeks since we released episode 1 way back in November of 2012. And I want to do something special to celebrate 208, and that requires you. But there's a little bonus kicker here. I want to have a contest, and in that contest I want to give away some things. I want to give away some mock interview prep with me- a four pack of mock interview prep. I'll also probably give away a single session. I want to give away personal statement editing. I want to give away some of my mock interview courses, and I want to give away a lot. So if you are interested in winning some mock interview prep with me, or personal statement editing from me, or my interview course, or whatever I have coming down. We can even figure it out afterwards too. I'll say, ‘Hey you, what do you want?' Then here's what you need to do. Leave me a review in iTunes, or leave this podcast a review in iTunes. www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/iTunes. Take a screenshot of that review. If you've already left one, don't worry, just take a screenshot of the review that you've already left. Alright save that screenshot, we're going to use it later. I want you to post on Facebook, on your own personal Facebook, the best way- the best way of getting this podcast out to more people, which is the goal. Collaboration, right? Collaboration, not competition. I don't want you to hoard this podcast and keep it your secret. So the best way to do that is let your friends know, and your friends are probably friends with you on Facebook, and a lot of premeds have other friends who are premeds. So go onto your Facebook page, post. I will tell you specifically what to write by going to www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/contest. Go there and it will have a snippet of what you should write. Make it easy for you. Take a screenshot of that post and tag Medical School Headquarters too, if you know how to do that, that'd be awesome. So leave a review on Facebook- or post on Facebook, leave a review in iTunes, take screenshots of that. Make sure you are in our Facebook group, www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/group, and after you fill out the form over at www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/contest- fill out that form, upload your two screenshots on the 208th episode, so you have three weeks to do this, three weeks max. For episode 208 I will talk about the winners on that podcast, so they have to be in before 208 comes out. And actually let's set a deadline here. So 208 will be out on- doing some quick math here, on November 16th. So let's make the deadline for all of this November 14th. Alright? So November 14th at 12:00 midnight, which I guess would be the 15th, these need to be submitted so that I can actually record the episode and get it submitted for Wednesday the 16th. So www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/contest will tell you all the details. Go there, I would love to give away some stuff as you spread the news of the Medical School Headquarters, and The Premed Years hitting four years of podcasting.

Alright let's get into today's episode. Today I had the awesome opportunity to talk to Hanaan. Now I learned about Hanaan from Hala who I had on the podcast a couple episodes ago, back in session 201. If you haven't listened to that, Hala is the founder of Physician Mom's Group, which is a Facebook group which has over 600,000- Hala would love that. It has over 62,000 female physicians who are moms, or trying to be moms in that group, and they are doing more than just hanging out and talking. They are changing things for every future physician. And Hala posted that podcast episode on her personal Facebook page, and Hanaan chimed in and said, “Great podcast episode, you're awesome Hala,” which everybody agreed with, Hala is awesome, and Hala mentioned that Hanaan has three kids, is a first year medical student, and is an NP- or I guess we can say was an NP at this point. But once an NP, always an NP. So very interesting. I immediately reached out to Hanaan, I said, “Oh, sounds like an interesting podcast episode.” An awesome nontraditional story from being a nurse, to having three kids, and now entering medical school. And so this conversation was awesome, a lot of great information came out of it. So without further ado, let's say hello to Hanaan.

Hanaan, welcome to The Premed Years, thanks for joining me.

Hanaan: Thanks for having me.

Hanaan’s Background

already, and a specialty if you want to call it that as a nurse practitioner, but now you're in medical school. So with that, I want to know why you became a nurse in the first place.

Hanaan: Alright. Well so I was actually premed in undergraduate school, and when that was happening like in my senior year of college I did a biology undergraduate degree. There was a lot of kind of personal stuff going on, my mom who was a single mom got really ill and I was kind of primary caretaker for my younger siblings, and her as well with her illness. And started thinking a lot about applying to medical schools, and potentially leaving the area, and my role in my family at the time, and then I started thinking about of course too all the stigmas that go in along with being a woman in medicine, and having children, and going to medical school and residency and all that. And I don't know, I don't want to say I chickened out is the right word, but it just didn't feel like the right time of my life to make a major transition. So I was introduced to the nurse practitioner field, and I decided to apply and see what happened, and I ended up getting in right away to a very high rated and competitive program. So I thought that, ‘Hey I guess this is what's supposed to happen,' so I pursued that, and that is how I became a nurse practitioner.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Interesting. So you- so you didn't start off thinking, ‘Oh I want to be a nurse,' and then went down that path and said, ‘Oh I think I want to be a nurse practitioner now.' You initially were premed, and your fallback after everything happened said, ‘Well maybe a nurse practitioner is ‘good enough.”

Hanaan: Yeah, yeah that's pretty accurate.

Seeking Guidance

Dr. Ryan Gray: So as you're- I'm sure that many people listening to this can relate with those same struggles that you had, going through college saying, ‘You know what? I want to be a doctor,' and then family obligations coming up and kind of derailing that. How did you go about seeking guidance when you're in the middle of that? Or did you just go about it on your own?

Hanaan: So I did a little bit of talking to counselors and things at school, but nobody in my family or any of my friend circles were in the medical field at all, so I didn't really have a lot of people that I could talk to about it, and it was just kind of what I knew in my own head, or what I could Google about what it was like to go through medical school. I didn't really have a lot of support, and I think that's kind of what got me derailed is I didn't really know, I was just making assumptions about how medical school would be, and that's kind of what derailed me. Like I said, I don't want to say I chickened out, but that's part of it, is I chickened out.

Dr. Ryan Gray: It's hard when you're going through this process, and you said as a female and this stigma involved as a female physician, especially with kids. You- I'm assuming you didn't have a mentor or somebody, a role model that was a female physician with kids that you could go, ‘Oh she did it, so I can do it too.'

Hanaan: That's correct, I didn't have a role model in the medical field at all, so I had no idea how it was going to be. And this was back in 2009 is when I graduated with my biology degree, so there wasn't as much all over the Internet, and these wonderful podcasts like you have, and all these other like outside support systems that I had access to. Or maybe there was and I just didn't know about them.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Did you go to a large- I guess it doesn't really matter if it's a large school, but did you go to a school with a strong science background and premed advising?

Hanaan: I did actually, I went to a school that has a medical school. I went to UC Irvine, University of California Irvine.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Okay, and so do you think- the resources are there, do you think you just didn't seek them out appropriately? Or you did and got bad advice?

Hanaan: I think I probably did not seek them out appropriately. And the advisor that I did have was- I don't think that they were well versed either in the kind of personal aspects of being in medical school in terms of lifestyle, and being a female, and wanting to have children. I don't think that they were well versed in really any of the medical school issues like that.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah, did you have kids already at that point, or was that just family planning for the future?

Hanaan: That was family planning for the future, because I knew I wanted to be a doctor but even more so I knew I wanted to be a mom.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Okay, interesting. So you- I wouldn't call it chicken out either. I would say that you just didn't have that role model in your life to mentor you and support you in your decision, and give you the confidence to tell you that you could do it.

Hanaan: Right.

Dr. Ryan Gray: So you didn't chicken out.

Hanaan: I like it, I didn't chicken out.

Changing Directions

Dr. Ryan Gray: So you go to an NP program, and at what point in this NP journey did you say, ‘This is not what I want to do with my life'?

Hanaan: So the NP program that I went to, the first half of it was an RN BSN and the second half of it was an MSN nurse practitioner. So after the RN BSN portion I actually started working- I was working as an EMT through the RN part, and then through the NP part I was working as an RN, so my learning curve was kind of increasing. And then when I got to the NP part I realized, ‘Okay that's it. There's no more- there's nothing else-‘ well there's always something else to learn in medicine, but that's the end of my education. And I felt like I didn't have a good enough background to be appropriately treating patients of high acuities, and that's what I wanted to do, I want to do high acuity stuff. So I knew fairly early on that I probably wasn't going to be satisfied with the amount of education and then my abilities within the amount of education that I got within the medical field.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Talk about that for a minute, the high acuity side. Is that the EMT experience in you wanting to run around and chase ambulances and trauma patients?

Hanaan: So I actually became an EMT because I wanted to do that, and the EMT job just kind of solidified that. And family practice, and internal medicine and all that is great and it's necessary, but it's not- I knew it wasn't for me. I knew I wanted to see more acute patients. I just like the aspect of emergency medicine, or emergency surgery, or trauma surgery, or anything that has to do with an acutely ill person a lot more than I do with chronic illness. So I think that I found out very early on that the nurse practitioner is not really the route to take to deal with the really, really acute patients.

Dr. Ryan Gray: So you have this epiphany that said, ‘Oh I'm not where I should be,' after I'm sure some quick soul searching, because this was the original path that you set out for anyway. What next steps did you take to find a mentor maybe, and find some guidance to actually start on your journey to applying to medical school?

Hanaan: So the job that I had while I was an NP was in an academic hospital, so there was a lot of residents, and attendings that were teaching residents and medical students, and I burned their ears off with my questions, and my situation, and just used them for three years talking to them about different situations that I saw people with different- coming from different backgrounds, or going through medical school. I met a lady who was in her fifties who was a third year medical student, and just realized that I had been very close minded about the possibilities within medical school with being a medical student, and a nontraditional medical student. I met people that had kids, I met people that this was their third career, I met people who were straight out of college, and I realized it's not all what people think it is, like you graduate college at 22, and then you go into medical school at 23, and then you're done by 27, and you go into residency, and you're done by the time you're in your thirties. That's not how it always is, and I think that working at that institution and around all of those residents, and interns, and medical students really opened my eyes to that, and I realized that, ‘Hey I can do this.' By that point I had a husband and had two kids at that point, but I saw that there were many other medical students that had spouses, and children, and other things going on in their lives, and it wasn't completely out of the ordinary.

Dr. Ryan Gray: You said you were working in this academic center for three years. Why did you not leave your program or stop working and just try to get into medical school right away?

Hanaan: So the first year of being a nurse practitioner having had only had about two years of RN experience while I was in school was pretty overwhelming, and the amount of information that I was intaking and trying to learn how to do my job. So I think that I was just so overwhelmed by all this information that the first year I didn't really think about it, and then it was really the second year that- of my working as a nurse practitioner that I was like, ‘Hey I'm a little bit more comfortable, and I realize that I don't know everything that I should know to take care of the people that I want to take care of.' And even like the chronic conditions you know how to recognize them, you know how to diagnose them, but you don't know as in depth of like the pathophysiology, and things that the medical students even around me did, and I felt almost inadequate.

Deciding on Medical School

Dr. Ryan Gray: So you- at some point you go, ‘Okay I'm going to pull the trigger.' Talk about the discussions that you had with your husband, and I'm assuming your child at that point was too young to have the conversation with him or her. But what- obviously with kids going through this process, leaving a job and training that you're going through, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made, especially obviously you can't always get into the school that's right around the corner from you, so conversations about moving, and his job, and how did that go down?

Hanaan: So I remember very well the day that the switch went off in my head of, ‘I need to do this, I just need to.' I was working a 12:00 to 12:00 shift, and I got off at 12:00, and I went home and my husband always waits on the couch until I get home. And I woke him up and I said, “I have to tell you something,” and he jumped up thinking that something happened, and I told him, “I want to go to medical school,” and he was so excited. I thought I was going to get some pushback of like, ‘What do you mean you want to go to medical school? Like we're stable and we've got kids,' but he was so excited. So we- I was like, “Well let's leave this for another day when you're awake and functional, and we'll talk about it more.” And what we did is we kind of just gave ourselves steps along the way. So I had to redo a couple of prerequisite courses so that I could take the MCAT, so that was kind of our first roadblock if you will. I said, ‘We'll take these prerequisite courses and if I don't do at least as well if not better than I did the first time, then that's probably not going to look good so we'll stop there.' So I did those, and I did well, and then I gave myself another roadblock like, ‘I'll take the MCAT twice but if I am continuing not to do well then maybe it wasn't supposed to happen.' So I took the MCAT once and I did pretty decently. So I was like, ‘Alright well we'll apply for two cycles,' and we decided to apply in the state that we live in, and then the state that I have other families in, and just kind of where we had support system because we did have kids and we do need people around us. And I said, ‘Well if I don't get in in two cycles then I think that we'll just put this behind us,' and I applied and I got in first cycle. So everything just kind of- just kind of happened in a very easy manner for us, so that's kind of- that's how we approached it. We said if it gets too difficult or there's too many roadblocks, then maybe it's still not supposed to happen.

Dr. Ryan Gray: And all along the way he's supporting you which is fantastic. What about your work? Did you spill the beans to anybody at work that you were taking this next step?

Hanaan: I did not spill the beans to anybody until I had done well on the MCAT, and then it was just close people around me that I trusted. I did not spill the beans to administration until I had gotten into medical school and I knew for sure I was leaving, because I did not want them to replace me if I didn't know for sure that I was going to go. But I had some close people around me, some of the attendings that I worked closely with that were acting as mentors at the time, and then some of my fellow nurse practitioners and PA's that I worked with that I would just kind of bounce ideas off of, and tell them about interviews and things. And some people I had that would revise my personal statement with me, and just a close kind of bunch of people that I was talking to along the way, but then when I was hitting the major milestones then I would kind of talk to more people because I realized, ‘Hey this might be more of a realism than I realized it's going to be.'

Dr. Ryan Gray: The school that you got into, is it the same academic center that you were working at?

Leveraging Relationships

Hanaan: No. I got into the same academic center that I was working at but I decided to go to someplace else because I wanted to- I knew how like at least a lot of the residents and the type of education they got, and the feedback that they had with that medical school, and I think I wanted to see what another place would be like.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Okay, that's good. You did get into the center where you were working, and training at. Did the relationships that you had there- did you use those relationships in any way to help bolster your application to that school?

Hanaan: Yes, and that school actually asked because they're very into community there, so they like you to have established ties within the community, so they asked me if I had any ties, and I did use that in my application. But that's kind of where it stopped because once you hit the interview process you have to disclose anybody that you know and if you know any of the interviewers, which I knew most of them. They weren't allowed to be a part of that process.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah, but I'm assuming they put in a good word for you outside of that.

Hanaan: I'm assuming as well.

Dr. Ryan Gray: I would hope so. Alright so you open up your email, and you get your acceptance. What was going through your mind at that point?

Acceptance to Medical School

Hanaan: I was overwhelmed. It had been something- I mean being a doctor is something I wanted to do- I know this sounds so cliché but it's something I wanted to do since I was like two. You know I would always want doctor's sets and stethoscopes and things for my four year old birthday parties and things. I think that a part of me was relieved because I knew that a part of me was never happy, or satisfied I guess you could say with being a nurse practitioner because that wasn't my dream end goal, and I think that even though it had taken a few extra years that I was finally like, ‘Hey this is exactly what I want to do,' and I just felt overwhelmed and relieved and satisfied for the first time really in my life that I had been satisfied with my path, my educational and career path.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah, so you're a first year medical student now.

Hanaan: Yes.

Dr. Ryan Gray: How do you compare the pace of the curriculum, and how stressful it is or isn't compared to the NP curriculum?

Hanaan: So it's definitely a different pace, it's much more information in a much shorter amount of time. Like I said, there's just a lot more detail that goes into learning the diseases and the organ systems than there was in nurse practitioner school, but I'm also a few years older so my learning style is a lot different. So I know how to time manage better but I might not necessarily retain the information as well as I did three, four years ago as well. So it's kind of ups and downs with that.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Your memory is not slipping that fast.

Hanaan: I can tell a little bit of a difference. Not bad.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Although having three kids, my wife always talks about having baby brain and she always blames a lot of her missteps now on having a kid, so maybe that's part of it.

Hanaan: Yeah, yeah I started medical school when I was nine months pregnant with my third so I got to be- have pregnant brain my whole first month of medical school which was fun, and that encompassed two exams. So that was difficult but it was doable, and administration really, really works with you and gives you any kind of accommodations you need, time off or- I couldn't even sit in the lecture chairs anymore because I was a house, and so they really work with you. It's- again it's not at all what I thought or the stigma of them like, ‘Oh well, suck it up, too bad. You chose this.' It's very- they're very accommodating and very just supportive the whole way, so with the pregnancy, and the birth, and the post-birth, and then things that happen along the way when you have kids.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Good.

Hanaan: It's good to know.

Having a Strong Support System

Dr. Ryan Gray: And from the time where you talked to your husband and said, “I want to go to medical school,” now he's actually in it as a med student spouse. Is he regretting that support at this point?

Hanaan: Not yet. Not yet. He is still- I'm very lucky he's very, very, very supportive still. And I mean our life is pretty crazy because he had to switch jobs too, we moved, we've got three kids three and under, and I'm gone all day at school which we're not used to, but we're slowly adjusting and he's remained as supportive as he has been- as that day three years ago when he jumped off the couch. So that's helpful.

Dr. Ryan Gray: That is very helpful and necessary.

Hanaan: Yes I wouldn't be able to do it without a support system.

Dr. Ryan Gray: That's great.

Hanaan: That's for sure.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Besides him, do you have other family that is helping at all?

Hanaan: So I had to move two hours away to this other school that I chose, so the closest family I have is two hours away, and that's my mom and she does come occasionally here and there, but she also works full time. So we're pretty much on our own. We have a nanny that we hired, and we have some friends- very good friends that we've made so far in medical school. You make friends very quickly at medical school because you're around each other all the time.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yes.

Hanaan: And you're going kind of through the same struggles. And actually one of my dear friends now is another mom, and she's a single mom of one child that is around my children's age too. So that's been great too to have somebody else that kind of knows like, ‘Oh my kids woke up sick this morning, that's why I was a little bit late.' Or, ‘I've got to run because I have to pick my kids up,' or just the struggles that go with being a mom in school, and any type of school, and especially medical school, so they can kind of relate to me more than the single 22 year olds down the hall.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Now that you're at this stage, having gone through all of the steps that you've gone through, what would you tell to a male or a female that is in undergrad at this point, and is debating, ‘Do I really want to spend four years and become a doctor? Or should I just go and be an NP?' What advice would you give them to help them make that decision?

Advice to Premeds

Hanaan: Talk to as many people as you can possibly talk to. Talk to NP's, talk to physicians, talk to medical students, and interns, and residents, and attendings, and new attendings, and old attendings, and anybody that you can get your hands on. Because everybody will have a different outlook, and I mean ultimately it's your decision but being able to look at all of the different aspects of being an NP versus being a physician, and what your own goals are in your own life, the more kind of intake you can get from as many people as you can, then the better that you are going to be able to make your own decision about what's best for you and you won't have to delay it an extra four years like I did.

Dr. Ryan Gray: And what about a nurse or an NP that is currently working, and debating whether or not they should take that next step? Is it the same advice, just go out and talk to as many people as you can?

Hanaan: So if you're already kind of within the medical field I think it's a little bit easier because you almost know what you're getting yourself into. Like you know the struggles of being anybody in the healthcare field really. There's this- you know there's this appearance of physicians of having like you go, and you take care of the patients, and it's all happy and smiles, and you go home, and you relax, and you go back the next day and pick it up again. I think that anybody that works in healthcare knows that that's now always or ever the case.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Ever, ever, not ever.

Hanaan: Never. So I think that it's a little bit easier to make a transition if you're already in healthcare because you almost know what you're getting yourself into, but you still need to talk to people because it's just- again, everybody has a different outlook, everybody chose the path that they're on for a certain reason, and you'll have to look in yourself too, and understand why are you really doing this. Are you doing it for the prestige and the money? Are you doing it because you want to take care of higher acuity patients? Are you doing it- what is the reason that you're doing it, and then take it from there. Because if you're doing it for the money and prestige you're in the wrong- yeah you're going to spend a lot of money before you ever make money [Inaudible 00:29:54] as you probably know. But it's just what's inside of you and what are your real intentions of wanting to go into medicine, and then does your expectations of that- does that really align with what's really going to happen?

Dr. Ryan Gray: You're in medical school now, you have three kids, you're a female. Do you still have a goal of working with the higher acuity patients, or have things changed now that you have three kids and you're in this for real?

Hanaan: So I still do have the goal of taking care of higher acute patients within that realm though. I think that things probably are a little different because I am- I don't want to say I'm old, I'm not old, but I'm a little bit older than the average medical student age, and I do have family obligations and kids. So I think that if I was 22, 23 again, and I wanted to do anything I wanted to do, I'd look into like CT surgery, transplant, trauma surgery, maybe neurosurgery. But those are very long roads, seven, eight years, residency, fellowship. So I think that just the timeframe within the acuity realm, I'd probably stick more with maybe emergency medicine, EMS, maybe- maybe even general surgery that's kind of in the middle. I think that just the timeframe for me is a little bit different, but I still do want to do acute- like higher acuity care.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Okay. What do you say to the 20 year old Hanaan that is struggling, that is trying to make these decisions, and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there, like I said, that are in that same boat right now listening to this. What do you say to motivate them to continue on, to follow their dream of being a physician, and not take the sidestep that you initially took?

Hanaan: So it may seem easier now, you're just like, ‘Hey three years and I'm done. There is no residency, and I can start working, and just kind of stabilize my life.' But if it's not really what you want to do, then you're going to end up in the situation that I ended up in, and have to go back and start all over again from the beginning. So just find out what it is that you really want to do. If you have your heart set in medicine, and you have your heart set on being a physician, and you know what you're getting yourself into, and you talk to people and you do your research and it's still what you want to do, then I say go for it because if you sidestep somewhere else and that's not your end goal in life, then eventually the honeymoon phase of whatever your sidestep is will be over and you will likely regret it, and then you'll say, ‘Hey I've got to start all over again because I'm not- just I'm not satisfied with my life.'

Final Thoughts

Dr. Ryan Gray: Alright that was Hanaan. Amazing story, some great information about how to trust yourself, how to find mentors to help guide you on this journey, find mentors that look like you- and I really mean look like you. If you're an underrepresented minority, if you're African American, if you're Hispanic, any sort of Latino; whatever it is, go find a physician who looks like you so that you know that it can be done. I think that is severely lacking and one of the reasons why we don't have enough diversity in our physician group as doctors. And so go find somebody like that, and if you need help finding somebody like that, email me. Ryan@medicalschoolhq.net and I can try to use my resources, and my connections, and try to find somebody to help you. And Hala even talked about it in episode 201, if there's anything we can do, 62,000 female physicians out there that I could possibly find a mentor for you. So shoot me an email, Ryan@medicalschoolhq.net. Thank you Hanaan for sharing your story with us.

I want to take a second to thank our sponsor for today's episode, Elite Medical Scribes. We've talked about it a ton here, and what you can do to improve your application, to increase your exposure to physicians, to increase your exposure to medicine, to increase your knowledge of how the medical team works, go be a scribe, and specifically go check out Elite Medical Scribes for opportunities that they have in your area to be a scribe. You can find out everything that they have to offer at www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/EMS for Elite Medical Scribes. That's /EMS. They hire you, they train you, they find a spot for you in a field maybe that you want or thinking about going into, they have tons of different clinical sites whether it's a hospital or outpatient setting. Anything you need, go check them out. www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/EMS. Thanks Elite Medical Scribes for sponsoring The Premed Years.

Don't forget you have until November 14th to sign up to win mock interview prep with me, personal statement editing with me, lots of stuff. Go to www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/contest and help me celebrate four years of doing The Premed Years Podcast.

Alright let's wrap it up. As you move forward every day, every week, every month towards your goal of applying to and getting into medical school, keep your sights set on that goal, stay motivated, stay confident, and always listen to The Premed Years Podcast.

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