From ABD to MD
January 12, 2014 7:46 AM Subscribe
Leaving academia and going into medicine: when to jump ship?
posted by oinopaponton to Education (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a Ph.D. student in the humanities struggling with two big epiphanies right now: I want to leave academia and I want to go into medicine (specifically primary care/family medicine -- yes, I am aware that this is on the lower end of the pay scale and requires lots of paperwork). I have lots of reasons for considering medicine, but the major ones are using my brain to actively help people every day and career stability. I have thought about going into nursing instead, but I think my personal skills (understanding how complex systems work on macro and micro scales, coming up with possible hypotheses and testing them, ability to explain complicated things to people) are more suited to being an MD and in fact would make me a good one. However, becoming an MD requires medical school. I've thought through the finances and I'm okay with the debt. My major concern is balancing doing it right vs. doing it quickly.
I need to do a post-bac program because I don't have the required science courses on my transcript. I'm pretty confident that I can get into a decent one because I have good GRE scores, a good undergrad GPA and an excellent postgrad GPA, plus I can articulate why I want to go into medicine and will have at least 6 months of hospital volunteer experience when I apply.
My uncertainty is regarding whether it's worth it to finish the dissertation. I have about two (funded) years left of research and writing and am sure that it makes sense for me to stay in the program for at least one of those to build up my volunteer experience and get my ducks in a row while still having health insurance and a paycheck. I also genuinely enjoy my dissertation topic and don't find graduate school that excruciating, and as a bonus my research is related to medicine (think history of medicine). But I'm feeling a bit impatient and nervous about "wasting" a year when I'd already be starting medical school so late.
Here's my current best case scenario plan:
-finish Ph.D. while building up volunteer experience in local hospital (2 years - age 27 and 28)
-do a 15-month post-bac with a linkage program, get accepted to linkage program or apply traditionally and endure glide year (age 29/30)
-start medical school at age 30/31
-start residency at age 34/35
-finally start practicing for real at age 37/38
On the one hand I do like the idea of finishing the dissertation while having some subsidized time to make myself a more attractive post-bac candidate. On the other, that's a whole year of my life. What do you think -- is it worth it to stay the course when the end is in sight, or should I jump ship sooner? Are there any benefits to staying that I haven't considered?