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AIBU to retrain at 30?

(41 Posts)
goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 21:43:57

I posted in "work" but there not much action there I don't think!

My original post is below.... WIBU to retrain at 35?

Hi all,

I have dilly dallied over the years, wishing I had stuck to my guns at school and applied for medicine, but chickened out last minute. Sciences weren't my strongest point but I got decent grades and studied earth science instead.

I'm now 35, two young kids at school, and deeply unsatisfied with my career. I have wound up in research, albeit in science comms and engagement specifically, but I just can't shake the dream (it feels like a calling now, cliche as it sounds) of working in a health care setting. I was offered a job in a GP surgery two years ago but DH talked me down. I earn a pretty good wage in my rather niche field, I've done well and have an MSc in my area of expertise but I desperately want to fulfil this long held ambition.

It could be nursing, midwifery, paramedic science, but if they take 3 years, should I just bite the bullet and do medicine? I could do nursing part time (6 years), keep my current job (and pension), graduating to a nursing career when the kids are a bit older?

I know there will be a lot of study regardless, and shift work, and stress. I feel like I'm ready for that but DH will push back. He always says I've made my decisions and should stick, we earn well, have good pension plans, work flexibly etc etc. He's a good bit older than me, is highly skilled, and I think he thinks I'm too old to retrain. He's generally very supportive but this has been a sticking point over the years. But I've got at least 25 years of work left in me!

Any advice from anyone who has done similar would be greatly received.

OP’s posts: |
goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 21:44:29

Title should be edited to read 35!!

OP’s posts: |
OwlInAnOakTree Sat 16-May-20 21:48:44

YANBU. I'm currently at university doing an AHP course. Will graduate when I'm 49. Like you say, you've decades of working life ahead of you.

Hairyfairy01 Sat 16-May-20 21:53:04

Have you considered physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy? Not sure about OT and SALT but with PT you could probably go straight into a 2 year full time masters.

Aliceinwanderland Sat 16-May-20 21:53:42

I know two people who retrained older than you. One now a GP, the other a surgeon. You could point out to DH that your earning power will be higher once you qualify.

ElfAndSafety1 Sat 16-May-20 21:56:49

Have you looked to see if your current qualifications are enough to get you onto the postgrad medicine degree? It's 4 years rather than 5

goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 22:00:00

I don't have biology or chemistry a level so it's unlikely I could do a shorter course, I've looked at the fast track ones. Also love the sound of a Physicians Associate course but need to do a foundation first.

OP’s posts: |
goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 22:02:10

PT and OT don't really appeal. I'd rather be in general nursing or children's nursing. Dreamed of being a doctor in a hospital but I feel it's too much of a stretch now.

OP’s posts: |
DissociatedDinosaur Sat 16-May-20 22:07:37

I think in some universities the postgrad medical degree is not based on A levels but GMAT or similar. Worth looking into.

Have you thought about working in mental health?

goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 22:09:17

I've considered doing the mental health nursing course, yes, but kids or adult appeals more if I'm honest.

No one yet has said IBU?

OP’s posts: |
Aldilogue Sat 16-May-20 22:09:26

I think if you don’t do it you will always feel like you should have. When your kids are older and don’t need as much hands on care you may feel resentment because you didn’t do what you wanted.
I did it. I’m nearly 47 and am 2 months off my nursing degree.
I have 3 kids and I work part time. I’m not going to say it’s been easy and I’ve had times where I’m really stressed, mainly getting assignments done but it’s going to be so worth it.
I’m not the oldest in my class either, we have some women in their 50’s.
I think when you study when you’re older in some aspects it’s easier as you have more life experience however you have to manage your time well and take time out for yourself when possible.
It seems like the biggest problem is your husband, he is being selfish by not letting you be who you want to be.
Family support plays a huge role when the mother studies again.

EmilyJo Sat 16-May-20 22:10:26


Definitely not too late. In 2010, I was 37 and my children were 6 and 11 when I left an unsatisfying job and retrained to be Speech and Language Therapist undertaking a full-time four year degree. Having not undertaken any study since my postgraduate course (in an unrelated discipline) finished in 1994, it was certainly a steep learning curve.

We were lucky that I did not have to pay tuition fees and received a small NHS bursary which made it manageable financially. It was certainly not an easy four years and there were many times I felt like giving up, but it was a proud day when both my girls attended my graduation. I managed because I had a supportive husband and family to help with childcare. The children were also old enough to understand when mum needed to study and had the benefit of my full attention over the long summer holidays before each new university term started again. I think parents with children younger than mine found it much harder to combine studying with childcare.

I don’t know which route you’ll decide on, but I know I definitely couldn’t have done any more than four years of study with a young family, or combined study with paid work. Good luck if you decide to proceed. I don’t regret my decision now and have a very rewarding, if sometimes stressful job working for the NHS.

Northernsoullover Sat 16-May-20 22:12:52

I'm retraining and will graduate at 49.

goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 22:14:38

Thanks so much for the replies, this is exactly what I need to hear, and yes, DH is the main reason I haven't done it. We could manage on his salary relatively comfortably- even if it were hard for a few years.

OP’s posts: |
CaptainCabinets Sat 16-May-20 22:14:48

If you don’t already have an absolutely concrete, passionate idea of which area of healthcare you’d like to work in then I wouldn’t, as your commitment and passion needs to shine through in your application, your interview and your practical placements.

The professions you’ve listed are very different and medicine really isn’t a ‘might as well for the sake of two years’ career path. I say this as a nurse who came to the profession as a ‘retrain’.

Can you maybe get some voluntary work experience to see what you actually enjoy before you quit your job and retrain in something that you realise you hate a year or two down the line?

ArriettyJones Sat 16-May-20 22:15:11

You’re not even a third of your way through your working life. Do what will make you happy and satisfied.

goldpendant Sat 16-May-20 22:17:20

Hi Captain,

I think your post is spot on, and actually the reality of doing a medical degree for four or five years would be too much. My passion is more for the environment and hospital, less being a doctor. To that end I'd consider admin or management roles but anecdotally I've heard these tend to be internal promotions?

I'd love to volunteer, yes.

OP’s posts: |
LadyDoc1 Sat 16-May-20 22:44:19

The jobs you mention are all very different! What would you like from re-training? By that I mean are you looking for patient contact, making treatment decisions with patients, acute care, in-patient care, community work, public health, policy, what age groups etc?

Binxy34 Sat 16-May-20 22:46:21

Responding as an ex medical student myself here, just from my own experience this is what I would say to anyone considering medicine - you need to be super sure that you want to do medicine before going ahead - all healthcare courses are competitive, but medicine much more so. You will need a decent amount of work experience (including for nursing too to be fair), top GCSEs and A Levels (if you didn’t do chemistry you will need to go back and do it or do a year’s foundation course on top of the 4/5 year degree), and stand out in terms of extra curricular activities (unfortunately due to the number of applications vs places you will still need to “sell” yourself in the same way a teenager applying would regardless as they’re still your competition). This is at a bare minimum.

You will need to do the UKCAT and/or BMAT exams on top of this - they don’t cost much but it’s still money you’re spending with no guarantee of getting an interview let alone a place. If you want to try for grad entry there’s an extra exam on top of this but can reduce the degree time by a year.

Not trying to put you off or anything, but just from my own experience it is very long winded, time consuming and stressful so you really really need to weigh up all this vs juggling what comes with being a mature student with family and obligations that an 18 year old studying it wouldn’t. It is extremely intense and longer than other courses, so if it’s more the healthcare environment then there are plenty of other health courses that are shorter, less contact hours, and more financially viable if you are returning to education and having to fund yourself (SFE may expect you to fund at least your first year/all of the years depending on your situation). Also you can’t go part time at all with medicine, where as you’ve stated you could do it with nursing.

Saying that, all healthcare courses are more of a drain on your time as opposed to a purely academic degree where the majority of time is spent in uni, so this is something else to weigh up. I had friends at uni studying OT, nursing, etc, and while they were at uni some of the time and then for example did a 2 month hospital placement, I was constantly on rotation for the entire year in different locations, with no choice - some miles away so this is also a factor to bare in mind. Having your own car would help greatly. Some days I’d get up at 5am and come home at 7pm, then still be expected to study that evening. OT, radiography etc are much more “separate” in terms of their placement vs study time, or at least where I studied.

I don’t think you’re being unreasonable to go back as that’s what I’m doing but slightly younger than yourself. As long as you have properly looked into it and have worked out how you and your family will cope financially for 3+ years and balancing study with everything else you should be fine.

IThinkImBSCrazy Sat 16-May-20 22:51:18

I will be 30 when I go back to uni to study paramedic science, 33-34 when I pass. The way I see it is, I’ll try & do my best but I won’t be kicking myself for the rest of my life stuck in a job I hate! Go for it Op! Seriously, go for it! Make yourself happy & a better life for your family! Wishing you the best of luck star

poppinpink Sat 16-May-20 22:52:02

Hi, I think you should go for it! Life is too short to be wondering 'what if'. I'm 36 with 2DC at primary school and for the last couple of years have been thinking about changing too but worried if I'll be able to cope with study and the demands of it all and if I'll be any good at the actual job! You seem focussed and if it's something that's always been on your mind you shouldn't hold back!

willowboom Sat 16-May-20 22:53:03

You have so many working years ahead of you that it seems sad not to spend them doing something you would love to do. And by the sounds of it, it would be a vocation not just a job. Please don't talk yourself out of doing something that would make you happy, we all spend too much time doing that. Yes it'll be hard work but that isn't a reason not to do something. Good luck!

Iloveplacentas Sat 16-May-20 22:56:48

I’m about to qualify as a midwife at 37.

I was advised against doing medicine by a doctor friend, she said the training just isn’t feasible with kids. Midwifery is brilliant- hard work but just the best job ever.

Rainallnight Sat 16-May-20 23:03:32

I am precisely a decade older than you and I say go for it. I always think that if I’d retrained at your age, then by now it would be done! And I’d be working as whatever it was I’d retrained to be.

You’re not old. Obviously you do have to get your DH on board because it’ll have an impact on the family but I think he could be a bit more supportive.

(FWIW, I’m thinking of retraining now at the grand old age of 45 and wondering if that really is bonkers!)

Stuckfornow Sat 16-May-20 23:04:43

I just turned 37, I’ll graduate next June from a BSc in Sports therapy, switching from hospitality management. Considering a 2 year Physio MSc depending on the work situation following this pandemic. I probably still have another 30 ish years of work to go, either way I love what I’m doing now and don’t regret making the change.

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