Interview with a 56-Year-Old Medical Student

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OPM 20

Session 20

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 path to becoming a physician.

Kate was initially a bio premed major until she decided to stop and pursue a career as a nurse until changing careers to becoming a nurse midwife and doing another career change into finally becoming a physician.

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!

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
  • Interest 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
  • Working as a nurse midwife for 13 years prior to medical school
  • Switching from being a nurse to a nurse midwife and a teacher in nursing
  • Deciding to go back to medical school at the age of 50

Why Kate decided to stop being premed the first time:

  • Medical school as having a cutthroat environment
  • Finding the length of education to be overwhelming
  • Found interest in what the nurses are doing and wanting immediate gratification
  • The thought of raising kids
  • Lack of research into the whole thing when she made her decision

The driving force that made her decide to get into medical school:

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

Resources she tapped into initially:

  • Kate googled “old premedical students” which led her to
  • Knowing what prerequisites were needed
  • Her family physicians

Taking her postbac program:

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

Getting the finances:

Applying to the National Health Service Corps each year and not getting it

Applying for loan repayment program as her plan B

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 ended up applying to 6 DO schools and 6 MD schools and getting 6 interviews

The interview process:

  • Having a collegiate footing with the interviewer being a nurse educator herself
  • Giving her an edge as a nontraditional old premed having had some experiences

The biggest obstacle that she had overcome:

Talking herself out of trying

Links and Other Resources:

West Virginia School of Medicine

National Health Service Corps

AAMC list of postbac programs

If you need any help with the medical school interview, go to Sign up and you will receive parts of the book so you can help shape the future of the book. This book will include over 500 questions that may be asked during interview day as well as real-life questions, answers, and feedback from all of the mock interviews Ryan has been doing with students.

Are you a nontraditional student? Go check out

For more great content, check out for more of the shows produced by the Medical School Headquarters including the OldPremeds Podcast and watch out for more shows in the future!

Hang out with us over at Click join and we’ll add you up to our private Facebook group. Share your successes and miseries with the rest of us.

Email Ryan at or connect with him on Twitter @medicalschoolhq