The Student Room Group

Doctors/medical students, would you start medical school at 40 years old?

Excluding the extremely hard work. (Because that's a given and it's what everyone says)

What other realistically pros and cons are there to starting medical school at 40?

5 years are going to pass either way arn't they? So i guess my options are; be a 45 year old doctor, or be a 45 year old receptionist at a gym. I guess the choice is mine at the end of the day.

And the years in between, i guess the difference would be; working super hard and studying every night to become a doctor VS ordering takeaways and watching netflix every night because im lazy and it's easier etc...

One path is helping me become a better, more educated person, whilst the other is probably helping me provoke a heart attack.

But like i said, what are some other realistic pros and cons at starting at 40?

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Stupid idea, sorry. The job and hours of a junior doctor are brutal. It will be even more brutal by the time you graduate at 45 - it will be hard physically and you will be earning a pittance. I literally can’t see a single pro to starting as a foundation doctor at 45 (or at all, the way things are heading in the UK, tbh - being a PAs is a way better deal; do that if you have a relevant degree).
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by girl_in_black
Stupid idea, sorry. The job and hours of a junior doctor are brutal. It will be even more brutal by the time you graduate at 45 - it will be hard physically and you will be earning a pittance. I literally can’t see a single pro to starting as a foundation doctor at 45 (or at all, the way things are heading in the UK, tbh - being a PAs is a way better deal; do that if you have a relevant degree).


Completely agree with this post.

Being a doctor isn't the only way you can help people and make a difference, I would recommend looking at alternative careers.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 4
God no! I'm a new consultant and not quite 40, and there's no way I'd go back to being an FY1 now, let alone in my late 40s.

Original post by ZenDixon
Excluding the extremely hard work. (Because that's a given and it's what everyone says)

What other realistically pros and cons are there to starting medical school at 40?

5 years are going to pass either way arn't they? So i guess my options are; be a 45 year old doctor, or be a 45 year old receptionist at a gym. I guess the choice is mine at the end of the day.

And the years in between, i guess the difference would be; working super hard and studying every night to become a doctor VS ordering takeaways and watching netflix every night because im lazy and it's easier etc...

One path is helping me become a better, more educated person, whilst the other is probably helping me provoke a heart attack.

But like i said, what are some other realistic pros and cons at starting at 40?


Your examples are rather extreme! There are literally thousands of jobs out there that would enable you to help people and develop yourself, and/or study more if you want to. There is no reason why you have to sit on the sofa and eat takeaways just because you're not studying medicine (also nothing stopping you eating takeaways while studying medicine).

You don't mention what qualifications you already have and whether you've done any research into where/if you'd be eligible to apply immediately. Medicine is incredibly competitive, you may well not get in first time, so you're delaying everything even further. Even if you did get in and got through the course without any problems, you then have a minimum of 5 years' training before being fully qualified (if you go for GP). If you go for any other specialty it will be considerably longer. That means shift work - plenty of nights and weekends - and moving jobs/hospitals at least every year. Almost certainly you won't easily be able to commute between them all from wherever you currently live. Is that really what you want in your late 40s?

Have a look at my post from a few months back when I finished my training, to get an idea of the timescales involved: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7310313

What is it that's attracting you to medicine at this stage, rather than earlier in your life?
OP, you made a thread about this very recently. You wrote that you're drawn to medicine because you want to be seen as an intelligent person with a prestigious career. The advice you were given in that thread still holds, even if it's not what you wanted to hear. If you have nothing stronger than other people's opinions and perceptions to motivate you, there will be no pros at all to doing medicine. I think you need to consider that the reason why you're so upset and dissatisfied with your life may not be because you haven't met some arbitrary self-imposed social standard, it's because you care far too much about arbitrary standards and this preoccupation is draining the enjoyment out of everything.

You've also mentioned that you don't yet have GCSEs or A-levels and you're currently teaching yourself GCSE maths and English. To be in a position to apply for medicine you'll need GCSEs and three A-levels at a certain grade, plus an adequate score on the UCAT. This is likely to take several years. I don't want to sound harsh, but this means any question of whether to do medicine or not is moot.

I think the best thing you could do is focus on enjoying your GCSEs. Both my siblings left school without qualifications, but fifteen years later my sister enrolled in night classes to study maths, English language/literature, and double science. She wanted to get some GCSEs, but she had no idea what she would do after that. To her surprise, she found she really liked biology and Shakespeare, something she would never have predicted! The best way to find what you will be happiest doing is to find the things that chime with your interests. It doesn't make any sense to try and plan a career change without knowing those. I'd also do what my sister did and look into the adult education programmes at your local FE colleges. Quite a lot of people leave school without the qualifications they would like and go back as adults, and being part of a community like that is a much smoother and more satisfying way to learn than trying to teach yourself from scratch.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by ZenDixon
Excluding the extremely hard work. (Because that's a given and it's what everyone says)

What other realistically pros and cons are there to starting medical school at 40?

5 years are going to pass either way arn't they? So i guess my options are; be a 45 year old doctor, or be a 45 year old receptionist at a gym. I guess the choice is mine at the end of the day.

And the years in between, i guess the difference would be; working super hard and studying every night to become a doctor VS ordering takeaways and watching netflix every night because im lazy and it's easier etc...

One path is helping me become a better, more educated person, whilst the other is probably helping me provoke a heart attack.

But like i said, what are some other realistic pros and cons at starting at 40?


Is it possible - yes

would I recommend doing med school -> Foundation Programme -> Core Training -> Specialty Training, in your 40s? - absolutely not
Reply 7
Original post by ZenDixon
Excluding the extremely hard work. (Because that's a given and it's what everyone says)

What other realistically pros and cons are there to starting medical school at 40?

5 years are going to pass either way arn't they? So i guess my options are; be a 45 year old doctor, or be a 45 year old receptionist at a gym. I guess the choice is mine at the end of the day.

And the years in between, i guess the difference would be; working super hard and studying every night to become a doctor VS ordering takeaways and watching netflix every night because im lazy and it's easier etc...

One path is helping me become a better, more educated person, whilst the other is probably helping me provoke a heart attack.

But like i said, what are some other realistic pros and cons at starting at 40?


Follow your dreams and ignore all the negativity. There is a lot of ageism on here. It’s very much an individual thing. If you have the determination and energy then 100% go for it and I mean that with sincerity. I’m on my journey, I’m retaking my GCSEs at 39. I do not think it is a stupid idea. I work in healthcare, I know how hard it is and I look forward to practicing medicine outside the U.K. one day and earning very good money and feeling fulfilled and happy whilst also very mentally and physically stimulated.

I’m a receptionist at the moment, was a health care assistant doing phlebotomy for a few years. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor but never thought it possible. I know I’ll be a better one then many of the stuck up posh, snobbish ones that I’ve met that have looked their noses down at me and I look forward to giving patients a positive experience unlike the ones I’ve had.
I feel dead inside in my current role and the ones before that. I know I’m meant for more.
Don’t let anyone stop you.

I’d rather be a doctor at 47 then an unfulfilled receptionist living on the bread line for the rest of my life.

Yes it will be hard, but you already know that.
I am 37 and I am about to start my 7 years long journey to become a Clinical Psychologist. I originally wanted to aim at Psychiatry but the thing with medicine is (assuming you ever make it in) is it's all or nothing. You either make it trough as a doctor or you just own 40k to Sunak. Psychology route allows me to pause change institution or maybe do a year as part time because life happens. I can actually keep my fulltime job while studying. I would reconsider the medicine and look for other careers that might be fulfilling and pay well.
I'm studying Medicine but I have no plans to stay within the NHS or remain a doctor beyond the FY1 and FY2 years.
Original post by quagmiretoilet
I'm studying Medicine but I have no plans to stay within the NHS or remain a doctor beyond the FY1 and FY2 years.


You are pretty much a textbook recruitment failure :biggrin:
Original post by SocksInSandals
You are pretty much a textbook recruitment failure :biggrin:


The NHS is undesirable, the reading list for the University I want to go to lists just a few examples of anecdotal books that detail the experience of doctors working within the NHS. It's not just undesirable, it's downright criminal. An SHO working extreme hours (48 hours a week minimum) gets paid on average £6.60 an hour. That was around 2005 so there will be a slight discrepancy there, nonetheless I would much rather go into research or a more academic career as it is more well suited to my skillset. The clinical expertise that a degree in Medicine will give me is powerful in that regard (at least for me) over simply a biomedical sciences degree or natural science alternative.
(edited 5 months ago)
Also, **** the NHS. I've worked in a hospital before and the uppity attitude that you get from many of the more senior medical professionals leaves you feeling frustrated at their arrogance. If that is what results from a lifetime in that institution then it is simply not worth it. Besides, I am not willing to leave myself degraded and shattered before I can even contribute in a meaningful manner to an area of academic interest to me. If the NHS really wanted to recruit more professionals to study and work within this country then they should have done a damn better job at bringing it in line with many other career paths that require less education and fewer back-breaking hours just to break even. Don't even get me started on the loans and the lack of sociable hours. I'm sorry, I may be a young man but I'm not wasting my life away working for an institution that couldn't even give a damn if I lived or died (a toxic work-life balance that leaves no room for recuperation or self-development)

Honestly sick of the narcissistic and self-serving politicians that act sanctimonious in their ivory towers and holding the ministerial red box. I will not work under such a government or institution, I am not a slave.
Reply 13
Original post by quagmiretoilet
I'm studying Medicine but I have no plans to stay within the NHS or remain a doctor beyond the FY1 and FY2 years.


💯 Same. And the money outside the U.K. is excellent in some places and even if the money is around the same or less, the quality of life is much better.
Original post by $exyRum
💯 Same. And the money outside the U.K. is excellent in some places and even if the money is around the same or less, the quality of life is much better.


Exactly, I'm sick of people treating doctors like they're subhuman and don't deserve better standards of living and work.
Reply 15
Original post by SocksInSandals
You are pretty much a textbook recruitment failure :biggrin:

You sound bitter. Good luck with psychology.
Original post by $exyRum
You sound bitter. Good luck with psychology.


I am pretty sure he is exactly the type of person who suppose to be filtered out during recruitment. He literally took away a spot from someone would genuinely wanted to be a physician.
Original post by SocksInSandals
I am pretty sure he is exactly the type of person who suppose to be filtered out during recruitment. He literally took away a spot from someone would genuinely wanted to be a physician.


Did you just choose to ignore everything I wrote.
Reply 18
Original post by SocksInSandals
I am pretty sure he is exactly the type of person who suppose to be filtered out during recruitment. He literally took away a spot from someone would genuinely wanted to be a physician.


Absolutely nowhere does it indicate to me that he/she does not want to be a physician and wouldn’t make an excellent one at that.
Original post by SocksInSandals
I am pretty sure he is exactly the type of person who suppose to be filtered out during recruitment. He literally took away a spot from someone would genuinely wanted to be a physician.

This is also slightly hypocritical coming from someone who wants the role to be seen as intelligent which is pretty self-serving and narcissistic. I'm just advocating for better working conditions and pay.
(edited 5 months ago)

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