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Making the Leap from Working Professional to Pre-Med Student

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If this is what “brave” is, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Being “brave” means feeling scared. However, it’s what many people have called me over the past several months as I’ve shared my ambitious (crazy?) plan to transform from a communications professional into a medical doctor.

Why I’m Planning on Going to Med School

No longer satisfied with living vicariously through the lives of my clinical friends and coworkers, who I have had the privilege to work alongside at the UVM Medical Center for the past eight years, I finally gathered up my courage and applied to UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program (nope, they don’t let English majors just walk into medical school). For the next two-ish years, I’ll take all those science courses I dodged the first time around in college—trying to maintain a stellar GPA while juggling my husband and kids and multiple jobs.

I also need to gain valuable patient care experience, and feel very fortunate to have landed a position in non-invasive cardiology as a cardiology technician. I’ve learned to perform 12-lead ECGs (though I sometimes get tangled in the leads) and have been trained to assist with stress tests (think treadmill tests).

Feeling Right at Home

It has been so gratifying to care for patients for the first time in my life. Frankly, I’m humbled every time I walk into an inpatient room and enter the lives of people at their most vulnerable. I’ve been stunned by the kindness and patience of many patients, who are often in pain, as they tolerate me learning the ropes.

I’ve also come to appreciate the warmth and candor of all the employees I’m meeting for the first time—RNs, technicians, LNAs, respiratory therapists, unit secretaries, schedulers, and so many more. This hospital is supported by a cadre of wonderful, talented people that I am pleased to call my colleagues.

If the next step—physics, chemistry, biology is as gratifying as this one has been, I can’t wait to get started.

-Kim O’Leary lives in Essex and is a student in the UVM Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program.

Learn more about the UVM Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program