Is A Career In Medicine Right For You?

A career decision is one of great importance. It sets the foundation for you to build up towards success. It is critical to identify what makes you happy and what skills you possess.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What drives me as an individual?
  • What are my abilities?
  • What are my interests?
  • What are my values?
  • What are my goals?
  • What constitutes my personality?
  • How committed am I when I take up a job or responsibility?
  • How self-motivated am I?

Rate yourself on these abilities and skills:

  • Communication – listening
  • Communication – speaking
  • Observation
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Trustworthiness
  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Learning capability
  • Passion for learning
  • Honesty
  • Ability to focus on one task/person
  • Being unbiased
  • Handling difficult or stressful situations
  • Service driven
  • Motivation
  • Consistency
  • Commitment
  • Problem solving
  • Intellectual curiosity

Begin with these and answer them truthfully, to the best of your knowledge about yourself. Understanding yourself better can be done by using online tools based on personal insight. This enables you to get a clearer perspective of who you are and what you want to achieve in life.

Self-knowledge tools like the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory, Strong Interest Inventory or the Rokeach Values Survey can help you identify your strengths and abilities which will guide you to make the right choice in your career.

An idea of what it will be like if you do choose to study medicine:

Psychological:

  • Long hours of studying for many years
  • Handling stress

Physical:

  • Long hours of grueling, intense training
  • Sleepless nights revolved around studies

Emotional:

  • Putting others ahead of you no matter who they are and where they come from
  • Sacrificing your social and family life in order to pursuer your career

Practical:

  • Cost of education is high
  • Taking up a loan; be prepared to work hard and pay it back

Educational:

  • Good grades in undergraduate degree to get you into medical school
  • Ability to maintain your academic accomplishments

So what actually goes into achieving a career in the field medicine? And is it the right choice for you?

Being a Doctor goes beyond just a respected title and a good salary. It takes years of studies, practice, taking exams, and continuous learning to be a good doctor. Medical school takes a toll on you physically, psychologically and emotionally. So what do you need to consider before taking on the task of getting into a medical school?

A career in the field of medicine involves:

  • Being service oriented
  • Acquiring knowledge constantly
  • Being able to work as a team
  • Wanting to contribute to society
  • Helping other people
  • Communicating wisely
  • Showing empathy towards others
  • Inculcating a caring nature
  • Being socially adept
  • Handling difficult  and challenging situations
  • Showing concern for individuals

Take time and reflect on the abilities, talents, preferences and passions you possess as an individual. Compare those with the demanding nature of medical school, the time and effort involved in the process of learning and the benefits of completing your studies in the field of medicine. As you weigh out your career options, you will be able to make a firm decision based on yourself and what is required of you.  Here are some tips to help you get thinking.

Be Realistic about the Challenges and Rewards

There is a lot of work and effort that goes into progressing through medical school, residency and taking exams in between all that.  Many people join a medical school with the goal of becoming good and respectable physicians but not many have the in-depth knowledge of what is required of them and what constitutes being a part of the practice of medicine.

Do Your Homework

  • Explore the life a doctor.
  • Meet with doctors and talk to them about their profession.
  • Read reviews on today’s doctor’s world.
  • Be aware of what will be required of you in order to become a doctor – time, effort, cost, etc.
  • Get to know the basics about medical school – how to apply, what types of programs are there, which medical schools are the best, where residency happens, etc.

Consider Educational Costs

Medical education is expensive – the cost of applying for admission into a medical school, the cost of tuition, the cost of living and traveling (if you’re studying away from home) is bound to put you in a challenging financial situation. Are you prepared for it? Do you have the funding? Are you willing to take a loan? Will you be able to pay off the loan after medical school?

Most students, about 90%, take up a loan in order to finance their studies in the medical field.

Expect Medical School To Be A Rollercoaster Ride

Medical schools show you that the field of medicine is a career option that is focused on service and the need to put others before yourself. It is demanding, time consuming and requires continuous learning. There will be a number of challenges involved while pursuing this goal. With the basic sciences course, the workload and material to be studied is exponentially greater than what you have ever been through till now. The clinical course demands you to be physically and psychologically fit as it will involve long arduous hours, immense hard work, and to top it all off a cool head while dealing with patients, their families and other members of the faculty and staff.

The field of medicine is for a highly self-motivated, service driven, personally accountable and committed person.

But despite the difficulties, pursuing your goal in the field of medicine has its rewards. You are able to help others, develop meaningful professional relationships with patients and their families, use your problem solving skills on daily basis as each case will be unique, and in the end make a difference in people’s lives.

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