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Interview with a 56-Year-Old Medical Student

Session 11

Session 11

In today’s episode, Ryan talks with Kate, a 56-year-old 3rd-year medical student at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, as she shares with us her nontraditional path to becoming a physician.

Kate was initially a bio premed major until she decided to stop and pursue a career as a nurse. Eventually she would change careers to become a nurse-midwife, then change careers again to finally pursue medical school.

Kate is definitely proof that anything is possible. Anyone can get into medical school. You just need to put in the work, and you’ll get there.

Listen in to Kate’s amazing journey!

Anyone can get into medical school. You just need to put in the work, and you'll get there.Click To Tweet

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Kate:

Kate’s path to becoming a physician:

  • Decided to become a doctor when she was 10
  • Interested in rural family practice, growing up in rural locations for the most part of her life
  • Initially a biology premed major until midway through college
  • Transferred to a nursing program in her junior year
  • Worked as a nurse midwife for 13 years prior to medical school
  • Switched from being a nurse to a nurse-midwife and a teacher in nursing
  • Decided to go back to medical school at the age of 50

Why Kate decided to stop being premed the first time:

  • Hearing that medical school has a cutthroat environment
  • Finding the length of education to be overwhelming
  • Finding interest in what the nurses are doing and wanting immediate gratification
  • The thought of raising kids
  • Lacking research into the whole thing when she made her decision

The driving force that made her decide to pursue medical school at age 50:

  • Being involved in her local community and seeing the need for primary care
  • Seeing physicians as a really huge instrument for change, especially in organizing around public health issues
  • Thirst for knowledge and wanting to become a “change agent”

Resources she tapped into initially:

  • Googling “old premedical students” which led her to the OldPreMeds Forum
  • Researching what prerequisites were needed
  • Talking to her family physicians

Some details of her premed postbac experience:

  • Not being able to get into the classes she needed
  • Applying to two schools for a “structured” postbac program
  • Quitting her job to do the program full time
  • Having fear in terms of finances

How she worked to fund her medical education:

Considerations for choosing the schools she applied to:

  • Emphasis on rural primary care and global medical outreach
  • Geography (closer to family)
  • Specifically choosing osteopathic medical schools (but she ended up applying to 6 DO schools and 6 MD schools, getting 6 interviews)

Kate’s experience with the med school interview process:

  • Connecting with the interviewer being a nurse educator herself
  • Being a nontraditional old premed was an advantage because of all the experiences she had

The biggest obstacle she had to overcome:

Talking herself into trying.

The biggest obstacle she had to overcome: Talking herself into trying.Click To Tweet

Links and Other Resources:

If you’re looking to connect with other nontraditional premed students, check out our Nontraditional Premed Forum, or join the Premed Hangout Facebook group!

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