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Never too late to be a doctor (转载)

发信人: dojo (麦地里的豆角-MS0), 信区: MedicalCareer
标  题: Never too late to be a doctor (转载)
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Mon Jun 13 23:49:31 2011, 美东)

【 以下文字转载自 Pre_med 俱乐部 】
发信人: dojo (麦地里的豆角-MS0), 信区: Pre_med
标  题: Never too late to be a doctor
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Mon Jun 13 23:48:50 2011, 美东)

http://us.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/13/mid.life.doctors/index.html

(CNN) -- By the time Mike Moore finishes school and starts his career as a
doctor, he'll be in his 50s.

As a second-year medical student at Pacific Northwest University of Health
Sciences, Moore listens to lectures from younger professors and sits with
classmates who are old enough to be his kids.

"I kinda stick out a little bit," the 48-year-old Army major said.

Stories about midlife career transitions are mostly about how a stressed out
professional quits to pursue a passion like baking cupcakes or opening a
cafe.

Seldom do they involve a more rigorous route -- like becoming a doctor in
your 40s and 50s.

Medicine is a pressure-packed field that requires between seven and 11 years
of training, including post-medical school residencies with 80-hour
workweeks.

Future doctors like Moore who make unlikely career choices are called
nontraditional students, and they are increasingly attractive candidates for
medical schools.

"Some of them have become the most desirable applicants," said David Muller,
dean for medical education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Last year, 9% of the medical school applicants were over age 29, according
to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Those statistics have held
steady in the last five years. While 29 isn't exactly midlife, it means by
the time students are done with their training, they'll be inching toward
their 40s.

Nontraditional applicants are on a mission, said Dr. Suzanne Miller, a
medical school admissions consultant.

"They've left lucrative jobs," she said. "Most people who come to me are in
tears."

They think they're insane for even thinking about investing the next 10
years to become a doctor, she said. But Miller encourages them.

Medical schools are accepting nontraditional students because "emotional
intelligence is just as or more important than IQ," she said.

Wanted: Fewer science nerds, more 'culturally competent' doctors

Nontraditional students are more likely to have real life experiences like
balancing their checkbook, taking care of sick people or dealing with death.
They might be better able to relate with patients, because they've already
worked outside the academic setting, said Miller, author of "The Medical
School Admissions Guide: A Harvard MD's Week by Week Admissions Handbook."

Moore, who attends school in Yakima, Washington, put a lot at stake to go to
medical school. His family depends on his wife as the sole breadwinner
until he finishes school. They have two children.

It meant, "I'm going to give up everything and become a physician," Moore
said.

His wife, a pediatrician, supported his decision.

Moore studied for his medical admissions test in Iraq between missions. He
flew to Qatar to take the exam and slept the night before in a cot at a U.S.
military hospital.

Having already worked as a military physician assistant, he decided to
pursue a D.O. -- doctor of osteopathic medicine.

"I know I love this," Moore said. "I can't see myself doing anything else."

The appeal of older medical students is that they generally seem
accomplished, mature, grounded and disciplined, said Muller, a medical
school educator.

"They didn't churn out of high school and college," he said. "They had time
to think about it, process it and arrived at the position to be physicians
or scientists."

Heidi Meyer had always wanted to pursue medicine, but pursued musical
theater instead.

So her decision to quit her role in Broadway's "Miss Saigon" for medical
school drew puzzled stares.

"I wasn't going to grow and be the person I wanted to be," Meyer said about
her theater career.

She decided it was time.

"Life is weird that way," she said. "I would be 40 by the time I was done
with training and going into debt. I was already in debt being an actor in
New York. The thinking was: Leap and it will appear."

Meyer, 40, is now finishing her family medicine residency at the University
of Arizona in Tucson.

Meyer lost her income when she became a full-time student for two years at a
post-baccalaureate premedical program to fulfill medical school
requirements and then four more years at medical school. To support herself
and pay rent, she found part-time work at the California Adventures
amusement park singing in an a cappella group.

Dr. Jessica Freedman, a medical admissions consultant, said there are two
aspects about midcareer medical students.

"From the admissions standpoint, you're concerned when you meet
nontraditional applicants, because they bring great experience, diversity
and a fresh outlook, but some are going to be set in their ways and
difficult to teach," she said.

There are also questions whether it's wise to give competitive medical
school spots to older students who may not be able to practice as many years
as the younger ones.

"I may only practice for 20 or maybe 30 years, but those are going to be
high-quality years," Moore said.

"I feel like I can contribute something very unique and special to health
care that other people can't. I can also be a great example. You don't have
to hang it up when you're 50.

"I have a whole lifetime ahead of me."

--

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