MD vs Human Factors PhD

  • MD or DO

    Votes: 10 52.6%
  • Human Factors PhD

    Votes: 6 31.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 15.8%

  • Total voters
    19
Nov 15, 2014
76
7
Status
Pre-Medical
I am currently in a masters of physiology program. When I started I know 100% I wanted to become a doctor. My boyfriend is currently in medical school, and I see how much he struggles which scares me because he is very smart but does not do great on test.

This semester I enrolled in a human factors class, I had never heard of human factors before. It has sparked an interest, because they can also work in the medical field with doctors. I find human factors interesting, but if I go this path I will no longer study biology. I have a BS in human biology, and I am working on a MS in physiology I have always studied biology, and now I am thinking of changing everything, all of my long nights studying will have been for nothing. I like biology, but I also find it very difficult with my learning disabilities.

Many doctors have told me not to go into the medical field because it is so uncertain where the field is going. My human factors teacher looks so happy and does not appear to be super stressed.

How do I decide where to go?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
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For everyone who is curious about "human factors" and medicine, here's a Powerpoint presentation from the FDA on the subject:
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/HumanFactors/UCM320905.pdf

@mnmoore If you want to work with patients, diagnose and treat diseases and alleviate suffering, then you need to go to medical school. If you are interested in "medicine" but not really interested in working face-to-face with patients, then there are many options and you seem to have stumbled into one of the newer and more exciting ones.

Do not consider your years of biology study to have been for nothing; you will draw upon that knowledge going forward while expanding into new areas such as engineering and/or behavioral science.

How much experience do you have with patients? Would you trade that for a career that may involve research subjects who may be ill or dealing with chronic conditions but whom you are not "treating"? Only you know if you want to make that trade-off. If you would be happy in a career that does not involve being a licensed clinical care provider, then the PhD might be a good route.
 

Doug Underhill

5+ Year Member
Sep 2, 2011
1,874
1,392
The South
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I didn't know human factors Ph.Ds were a thing. If you asked me what "human factor" was, I would have guessed a receptor tyrosine kinase ligand.

How is the job market for that field?
 
Jan 21, 2015
76
39
You should ask the university you attend/nearby universities if they have more human factors classes that you can audit/take. My systems engineering grad degree incorporated some HF classes and they were pretty damn cool. Though, the research in HF could be extremely boring depending on the field of study. BEWARE. Lol.

My advice: look into auditing another course, maybe in a particular field or grad level course. perhaps do a MD/PHD program, they are out there. Additionally, some biomedical phd programs have electives that you could use to take HF courses though they are pretty rare and you may have to petition to count them towards your phd.

TL;dr Get more info, make an informed decision. Voted for MD because you can do the same research as phd's with more job opportunities.
 

caffeinemia

5+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2014
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New York, NY
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Resident [Any Field]
i'm going to be a jerk here and ask...

ever consider the alternate perspective that maybe you should readjust your baseline of how "smart" your boyfriend is? Maybe he ain't that smart and that's why he's sucking at medical school? Would make medical school seem so much less scary, huh? Also kind of "ehhh" in determination/dedication to give up a field because someone else is not doing well.
 

Pusheen

silently judging
2+ Year Member
Nov 26, 2014
1,758
2,300
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Medical Student
Your boyfriend may not be as smart as you think he is. Don't base your confidence in your abilities in someone else.
You do you
 
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Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
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Dec 20, 2004
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As mentioned above, only do med school if you think you will enjoy practicing clinical medicine. You won't love medicine if your goal is primarily to be a scientist, or put your bio background to best use. Medicine is really a job about working with people -- the science is very tangential. The answer, obviously is to do a bunch of shadowing and see if practicing medicine is really what you want to do. Don't make this kind of decision in a vacuum. From what you've written, I'm skeptical that you will like it.
 
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OP
M
Nov 15, 2014
76
7
Status
Pre-Medical
i'm going to be a jerk here and ask...

ever consider the alternate perspective that maybe you should readjust your baseline of how "smart" your boyfriend is? Maybe he ain't that smart and that's why he's sucking at medical school? Would make medical school seem so much less scary, huh? Also kind of "ehhh" in determination/dedication to give up a field because someone else is not doing well.
Yes of course if he was doing well then it would be less scary. The sad part is he is smart! He never struggled in undergrad, and did well. The real question is am I smart enough....
I am in a MS program now because my undergrad GPA sucked (3.1). Im sure you are thinking that I must have partied too much, skipped classes an rarely studied. The truth is that I worked very hard, never missed class, and I studied a lot but I just struggle in school (I have learning disabilities :'( ) . I think becoming a doctor would be great, but.....

I just got my MCAT scores back and they were really really bad! I am scared that if I struggled in undergrad, and in the masters program how would I ever make it in medical school? Even if I kill myself and get a high MCAT and a good GPA in my masters program can I even make it in medical school??
 
OP
M
Nov 15, 2014
76
7
Status
Pre-Medical
As mentioned above, only do med school if you think you will enjoy practicing clinical medicine. You won't love medicine if your goal is primarily to be a scientist, or put your bio background to best use. Medicine is really a job about working with people -- the science is very tangential. The answer, obviously is to do a bunch of shadowing and see if practicing medicine is really what you want to do. Don't make this kind of decision in a vacuum. From what you've written, I'm skeptical that you will like it.
Your skeptical if I would like MD or PhD??
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,555
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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Non-Student
Everything here screams do NOT do Medicine.


Yes of course if he was doing well then it would be less scary. The sad part is he is smart! He never struggled in undergrad, and did well. The real question is am I smart enough....
I am in a MS program now because my undergrad GPA sucked (3.1). Im sure you are thinking that I must have partied too much, skipped classes an rarely studied. The truth is that I worked very hard, never missed class, and I studied a lot but I just struggle in school (I have learning disabilities :'( ) . I think becoming a doctor would be great, but.....

I just got my MCAT scores back and they were really really bad! I am scared that if I struggled in undergrad, and in the masters program how would I ever make it in medical school? Even if I kill myself and get a high MCAT and a good GPA in my masters program can I even make it in medical school??
 
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NewHorizons

2+ Year Member
May 20, 2015
290
230
Yes of course if he was doing well then it would be less scary. The sad part is he is smart! He never struggled in undergrad, and did well. The real question is am I smart enough....
I am in a MS program now because my undergrad GPA sucked (3.1). Im sure you are thinking that I must have partied too much, skipped classes an rarely studied. The truth is that I worked very hard, never missed class, and I studied a lot but I just struggle in school (I have learning disabilities :'( ) . I think becoming a doctor would be great, but.....

I just got my MCAT scores back and they were really really bad! I am scared that if I struggled in undergrad, and in the masters program how would I ever make it in medical school? Even if I kill myself and get a high MCAT and a good GPA in my masters program can I even make it in medical school??
With a consistent track record of academic struggle, you won't have the capabilities to adapt to the ever increasing volume + complexities of medicine unless significant changes occur.