Are my reasons good enough for the committee?

mcatwoes

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Dec 22, 2012
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    (I accidentally posted the same post in the wrong section. It was meant for this section.)

    I'm curious as to what kind of answers the admission committee is looking for when they ask the question "why do you want to be a doctor". I mean, do they really want to know the real reason or am I suppose to just rehash the same, overplayed, scenarios that everyone else has used? Some common reasons I've heard include:

    -I've wanted to be a doctor since I was a child
    -I like helping people
    -A loved one suffers from [X] and I want to make sure no one else suffers as well
    -I love solving puzzles and the complexities of medicine
    -Financial stability
    -Medicine is always changing and there is always something new to learn

    Don't get me wrong. I am sure these are valid reasons - but come on, everyone says the same thing. I tried explaining to a friend why I wanted to be a doctor and they said my reasoning wasn't good enough for the admissions committee. Or that the committee would not understand what I want to do. My views are a little different and I am coming from a different perspective. But how will they react to this?

    The truth is, I have a passion for technology. A real, strong passion. I am currently a mobile application developer and I love it. I make good money and I enjoy what I do. But, I also have a passion for medicine. I hit the ground running in medicine. By the age of 16 I was a certified medical, nursing and occupational therapy assistant. By 17 I was working for a very large medical practice and I worked there for almost 5 years. Soon after that, I graduated with my BS in chemistry. When people ask me why I want to be a doctor, all I can think of is, "I know I can make a difference in the medical field". Not good enough, right?

    But I believe the more important questions are HOW and WHY. Technology is one the driving forces behind medicine. Without it, where would we be? Technology, as well as research, are an absolutely integral part of medicine. But it is sort of like the chicken and the egg. Who came first? Anyway, as much as I enjoyed working with patients (after all, I had hands on time every day. I wasn't some clerk. I was working alongside physicians.) I also think that I can come up with new medical tools and procedures to make caring for patients easier and more efficient. A quick example is that, everything is going mobile. So with my background skills I could come up with something useful and give back to the medical field.

    I want to be that driving force. I want to invent and think of the medical technologies that will be used tomorrow. I want to find easier ways for patients to connect with their physicians. For physicians to collaborate together more efficiently. For getting information to where it needs to go, faster. My friend also made the point that things like these already exist or are in the works. To that, I reply, "but it can always be improved". Medical technologies (including procedures and protocols) get outdated fairly quickly and the field will need people to help push it in a new direction. I want to be one of those people. The mobile applications I developer/invent are successful because they not only address a need, but also because they are innovative. In essence, I believe I can bring something to the table.

    Sure, I am no Steve Jobs, but that doesn't mean I don't invent and solve problems pragmatically. Some might say that I should do some kind of research. But then that takes away from the other half of what I want to accomplish. As stated, I do enjoy helping people and solving complex medical mysteries. Who doesn't? I find working with patients to be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time (even when I was just a simple MA). As for the money, I'd be leaving a well paying job, and enjoying a debt-free lifestyle so that I could be $250k in debt. Does it really sound like I'm in it for the money?

    But after standing around for 5 years not being able to really help patients the way I wanted to (since I was only an MA), I feel like I'll finally have my say. That my input will matter. This really isn't about being authoritative or playing the 'I'm a doctor' card. I genuinely care about the wellbeing of my patients and working at the clinic has opened my eyes on what NOT to do or how NOT to deal with a situation. By learning from the mistakes of the physicians I have worked with, I can be an even better physician. I can be better at improving my patient's quality of life. It taught me how to do right by my patients. I thank my two mentors, who were both physicians at the clinic, for that. Through my experience I understood just how complex and intricate the human body is. I spent my time in college learning about the human body. It was exciting to see what I was learning be used in a real life situation.

    So you see, my answer isn't simple. Even as I read a back on what I wrote, I feel the technology part seems to trump the actual clinical reasonings of being a physician. But what can I say that is both truthful, yet isn't a rehashed story? That is why it is impossible to just sum up everything into a few lines like most folks. There are many things I want to do when I become a physician. I haven't met anyone in the same boat as me and that could be good and bad. It's hard to convey what I am trying to say at times. For me, it's not a shift from the technology field to the medical field. It's an integration. A unified, cohesive entity. There's just no way I could do one without the other.

    I was told by a friend that I shouldn't write or tell med schools about this. That I should just stick to the standard points because they will be worried that I won't give back to the community if I am focused on medical technology. I guess he just fails to understand that there are two parts to my ambition, but they go hand in hand. Maybe it's my fault for not being able to express what I want to say in a concise manner.

    Anyway, if you've made it this far, I'd just like some input. Should I just be who I am and say the hell with what other say or should I just play it safe? What would you do?

    TL;DR

    I like technology. Currently working in the tech field (programmer). Reasons for being a doctor include: wanting to unravel medical mysteries, and also to create/invent/improve medical technologies. Nothing major (like inventing a new MRI machine or anything) but maybe something like a new EMR system or make mobile applications that can be used by physicians and patients. Is this a good enough reason to be a doctor?
     
    Last edited:

    PreMedOrDead

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      TL;DR

      -I've wanted to be a doctor since I was a child Eh.
      -I like helping people Essential.
      -A loved one suffers from [X] and I want to make sure no one else suffers as well Eh.
      -I love solving puzzles and the complexities of medicine Eh.
      -Financial stability Oh, hell no!!
      -Medicine is always changing and there is always something new to learn Eh.

      Anyway, if you've made it this far, I'd just like some input. Should I just be who I am and say the hell with what other say or should I just play it safe? What would you do?

      If you're so interested in medical technology, why not just get a PhD in bioengineering or some other form of biomedical tech? Focus on your need to work directly with patients and provide care. The only schools that will really love your research interests are those top ones that love academic medicine and medical research. If your primary focus isn't clinical medicine, then it's difficult to justify going to medical school instead of the other routes.
       

      HughMyron

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        If your primary focus isn't clinical medicine, then it's difficult to justify going to medical school instead of the other routes.

        Not it isn't. Just mention the Ph.D. glut, and how trying to get a faculty job as a Ph.D. is an exercise in futility nowadays.

        Once a primary career path, only 14 percent of those with a PhD in biology and the life sciences now land a coveted academic position within five years, according to a 2009 NSF survey.

        If you're a student intelligent enough to get into medical school, and you really want to do academic medicine, why risk your chances in the PhD lottery? Just get an MD or MD/PhD, and knock yourself out.
         
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        Oogieboogie

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        Jan 12, 2013
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          Everyone has different reasons for going into medicine, and honestly a lot of the reasons are going to be the same because a lot of people go into medicine for the same reasons.

          Just tell them what really sings TRUE to you. Tell them that you've worked in healthcare, and that you enjoy the environment, the fast-paced environment, the teamwork, the critical thinking. If you see things from a technological perspective-- say it. Don't hide it. Just have a good reason for WHY you aren't doing it some other way. WHY do you need the MD?

          If you can answer that, and as long as you are passionate, serious, and well-informed no one will deny you in the veracity of your reasons.

          The adcom is there to protect you from doing something that has a huge commitment (400k debt, anyone?) for superficial reasons.

          Do it because you want this, and people will see that.
           

          txMed7

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            TL;DR



            If you're so interested in medical technology, why not just get a PhD in bioengineering or some other form of biomedical tech? Focus on your need to work directly with patients and provide care. The only schools that will really love your research interests are those top ones that love academic medicine and medical research. If your primary focus isn't clinical medicine, then it's difficult to justify going to medical school instead of the other routes.

            What are your motivations for wanting to become a physician? Apart from wanting to help people, you've downplayed every one of his other factors.

            Money is a taboo subject, but what's wrong with enjoying the clinical decision making process (I love solving puzzles and the complexities of medicine)?

            "Medicine is always changing and there is always something new to learn" is an absolutely essential requirement for being a competent physician, even if it may not be applicable to motivation per se. Physicians need to be able to keep up with changing protocols, updated literature, etc.

            It's absolutely absurd that you should downplay these aspect of medicine as a "eh"-level factors.
             

            mcatwoes

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            Dec 22, 2012
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              TL;DR



              If you're so interested in medical technology, why not just get a PhD in bioengineering or some other form of biomedical tech? Focus on your need to work directly with patients and provide care. The only schools that will really love your research interests are those top ones that love academic medicine and medical research. If your primary focus isn't clinical medicine, then it's difficult to justify going to medical school instead of the other routes.

              Because technology isn't all I want to do. It's not like I don't enjoy the clinical aspect of medicine. I did enjoy working directly with patients and other physicians. Building relationships and helping them live a healthy life. Even when I did something as simple as call in a medication for a patient, I felt like was making a difference in someone's life. I was thinking more like working at a medical technology company and maybe being an ER doctor. Perhaps do a 70/30 split. 70% clinical, 30% medical technology. I just know that being a physician will open up a lot of doors and opportunities for me to make a difference. There's only so much I can do standing out side looking in. If there is something that need to be improved or has the potential of being improved, I need to be in the center of it to see for myself.
               

              PreMedOrDead

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                It's absolutely absurd that you should downplay these aspect of medicine as a "eh"-level factors.

                "Eh." is exactly what "Eh." is. Really, anything is going to be an apt 'reason for medicine' if you demonstrate its viability in the interview. This is done through accentuating your activities that identify these desires. If you care about people, what activities have you done that show that? If you like to learn, what have you challenged yourself with? If you like to design medical technology to help people, what research have you done in this regard thus far?

                Spouting out these things doesn't give you an adequate reason to be a doctor, that's why I said 'Eh.' I simply emphasized caring about people because it's absolutely required, and disregarded the financial/stability aspect of the career because you'd have to be nuts to say that in an interview or anywhere among your application.

                But OP's reasons are fine. But the person you're talking to does matter. If you go to Podunk State School who gets a couple million in research funding a year and has only a couple labs devoted to very basic science research, then spout how you want to revolutionize medical technology, it's probably not going to be effective. However, going up to places like Harvard/Pitt/JHU who really love this kind of stuff and have the funding? They might just eat it up as long as you can speak passionately about it and reference your work so far.

                Perhaps do a 70/30 split. 70% clinical, 30% medical technology. I just know that being a physician will open up a lot of doors and opportunities for me to make a difference.

                It's almost always a 9:1 split. 4 days lab research, 1 half day in clinic and the rest lab. At least in my experiences. It's almost impossible to get away from that from what I've been told from MD/PhD and research-oriented MDs. Not sure exactly why it is, as I didn't ask, but YMMV. Maybe someone will add insight to that viability.
                 

                Lady Netter

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                Jan 8, 2013
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                  TL;DR most of it, but from what I read, your reasons are good, and they make you unique. Just my opinion, but if I were adcom, and I saw that someone was interested in medical technology, then that would be a plus because what if you came up with something awesome? Then you'd be connected to my institution.

                  I'm pretty sure adcoms can see through BS. Be true to yourself. Just be sure to explain why MEDICAL SCHOOL will get you where you want to go and how being an MD (or DO) would be better than just going through grad school. Why should they put you through training that you may not use directly later? I don't know if I would focus entirely on technology in your PS but on how you plan on using your experience as a physician to improve technology.

                  Basically...you could go into medical technology without medical school. So why medical school?

                  However, you need to make sure you apply to right schools. Schools that are heavily focused on primary care are not going to care very much because it might seem like you would be the last likely person to go into primary care or spend a significant amount of time in primary care. If your MCAT and GPA are good, you have a chance at more research-focused schools
                   

                  mcatwoes

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                  Dec 22, 2012
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                    Thanks for everyone's feedback.

                    I've decided to go to med school and keep my love for technology to myself. I'm sure I'll be able to do some consulting for medical technology companies and build my own medical apps in my spare time. If that eventually takes me places, so be it. If not, I'd be perfectly happy just being a physician.
                     

                    mcatwoes

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                    Dec 22, 2012
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                      Opened this thread and just saw a wall of text. Provide cliffs please?

                      I'm sorry. Here you go:

                      TL;DR

                      I like technology. Currently working in the tech field (programmer). Reasons for being a doctor include: wanting to unravel medical mysteries, and also to create/invent/improve medical technologies. Nothing major (like inventing a new MRI machine or anything) but maybe something like a new EMR system or make mobile applications that can be used by physicians and patients. Is this a good enough reason to be a doctor?
                       

                      JoshuaGuit

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                        I do like helping people. I should start with helping you learn how to use proper grammar when forming a sentence.

                        I'm sorry. Here you go:

                        TL;DR

                        I like technology. Currently(sic) working in the tech field (programmer). Reasons(sic) for being a doctor include: wanting to unravel medical mysteries, and(sic) also to create(sic)/invent(sic)/improve(sic) medical technologies. Nothing(sic) major (like inventing a new MRI machine or anything)(sic) but maybe something like a new EMR system or make(sic) mobile applications that can(sic) be used by physicians and patients. Is this a good enough reason to be(sic) a doctor?

                        :confused:

                        Learn some humility big guy, I was just trying to help you.
                         

                        mehc012

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                          I'm sorry. Here you go:

                          TL;DR

                          I like technology. Currently working in the tech field (programmer). Reasons for being a doctor include: wanting to unravel medical mysteries, and also to create/invent/improve medical technologies. Nothing major (like inventing a new MRI machine or anything) but maybe something like a new EMR system or make mobile applications that can be used by physicians and patients. Is this a good enough reason to be a doctor?

                          I think that's a great goal...one of the most prevalent complaints about the current EMRs is that they were designed without any input from actual doctors. Talk about it passionately, it'll work out.
                           

                          IslandStyle808

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                            I'm sorry. Here you go:

                            TL;DR

                            I like technology. Currently working in the tech field (programmer). Reasons for being a doctor include: wanting to unravel medical mysteries, and also to create/invent/improve medical technologies. Nothing major (like inventing a new MRI machine or anything) but maybe something like a new EMR system or make mobile applications that can be used by physicians and patients. Is this a good enough reason to be a doctor?

                            I think the main thing is do not be too vague in what you state. This right here is really good.

                            If you state "I want to help people," you need elaborate more on this answer (it is not wrong but can be interpreted in various ways). The answer you have stated in quotes is on the right track (has more detail). Remember though that a physician's job doesn't entail making gadgets specifically. Physicians diagnose diseases and try to keep their patients healthy (this is their main job).

                            Try to look into what doctors do more and look into the technologies that are being developed in diagnosing disease. This will help you focus your answers better.
                             

                            113

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                              I'm sorry. Here you go:

                              TL;DR

                              I like technology. Currently working in the tech field (programmer). Reasons for being a doctor include: wanting to unravel medical mysteries, and also to create/invent/improve medical technologies. Nothing major (like inventing a new MRI machine or anything) but maybe something like a new EMR system or make mobile applications that can be used by physicians and patients. Is this a good enough reason to be a doctor?

                              Honestly, I don't think an MD is necessary at all for what you're describing.

                              The people who develop EMR and other medical software usually don't have medical backgrounds. Sure, they have medical consultants help them in areas where medical expertise is necessary. But this is primarily a side venture for these medical consultants. They're still mainly focused on their clinical or academic duties.

                              Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
                               

                              mcatwoes

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                              Dec 22, 2012
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                                Honestly, I don't think an MD is necessary at all for what you're describing.

                                The people who develop EMR and other medical software usually don't have medical backgrounds. Sure, they have medical consultants help them in areas where medical expertise is necessary. But this is primarily a side venture for these medical consultants. They're still mainly focused on their clinical or academic duties.

                                Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD

                                Thanks for your response. But as I have mentioned, I still want to be a physician because I enjoy working with patients and studying the human body. This way I am able to do both.
                                 

                                113

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                                  Thanks for your response. But as I have mentioned, I still want to be a physician because I enjoy working with patients and studying the human body. This way I am able to do both.

                                  Fair enough. My response was based only on the cliffs you kindly provided, wherein you mention programming medical apps. If you have an interest in clinical work, go ahead and apply. Medicine should be your primary interest; the programming will have to take a backseat for now.

                                  Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
                                   

                                  mcatwoes

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                                  Dec 22, 2012
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                                    Fair enough. My response was based only on the cliffs you kindly provided, wherein you mention programming medical apps. If you have an interest in clinical work, go ahead and apply. Medicine should be your primary interest; the programming will have to take a backseat for now.

                                    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD

                                    Thank you. Yes, I plan on putting programming aside once I get into medical school. Won't have time for that.


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                                    Girly X

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                                      I see where everyone is coming from. But, this could make for a unique story if you can figure out how to frame it, and if you have some specific stories and experiences to back it all up, rather than just a feeling that an MD will be better than some of the other options that exist for your combined interests.

                                      Not easy to pull it together, but this story line will probably set you apart if you can do it. You have some time to mull over it. Good luck.
                                       

                                      cbarne01

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                                        ...this could make for a unique story if you can figure out how to frame it, and if you have some specific stories and experiences to back it all up, rather than just a feeling that an MD will be better than some of the other options that exist for your combined interests.

                                        Maybe try flipping the order around: I love doing this (med technology) and it introduced me to med which I now want to do because a, b, c. That way the technology becomes an existing interest and a set of skills that you can apply to medicine. I do think you need to flesh out your motivations for medicine alone and reduce the importance of your future design ideas.
                                         
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