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Deciding what to go into

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by JSandall, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. JSandall

    JSandall Member
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    I'm a MS3 and right now the biggest stress in my life is trying to figure out what I want to go into. We received an email from our school telling us to start thinking about how we will plan our 4th year rotations, but I can't do that until I have some idea what I want to do.

    So far, I have enjoyed every rotation that I've been on and I have yet to really rule any specialties out. Anyone have any advice? I apologize if this has been addressed before, I didn't do a search. TIA.
     
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  3. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder Urgent Care Physician
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    It's one thing to enjoy your rotations ( I enjoyed mine) It's another to sya to yourself, "Can I see myself doing this everyday for the next 20 years?" If you answer is no, then move on, If your answer is "yes" and you are jumping up and down about it. That's what you need to do. If there is something you are not sure about then do a rotation in that early in your forth year before you start applying. Also you have to look at doing a "general" residency like IM and doing a fellowship later if you really can't decide.
     
  4. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    Congrats, if you like everything, you can't go wrong. If you want to continue to do everything, consider FP if you are laid back and EM is you are hyper.
     
  5. robotsonic

    robotsonic Senior Member
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    I was told to do this: Think about each area that you like (medicine, neuro, surgery, whatever) and figure out the most boring and tedious career possibility for each of those. For example, for neuro it could be seeing endless patients with chronic low back pain and tension headaches. For medicine, it could be seeing endless non-compliant patients with HTN and DM. You get the idea. Next, think about each of the scenarios and figure out which one is the least disturbing for you. That may be the field for you :)
    The idea is that every field is interesting when all you see are the really interesting cases. You have to think about how happy you would be seeing the more typical cases.
     
  6. PatrickBateman

    PatrickBateman Senior Member
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    What? You've enjoyed them all EQUALLY?? That's basically impossible. What did you like best? What do you want in life? In any case stop asking others. Think for youself. If you don't, then I can gaurentee you that whatever choice you make will be wrong.
     
  7. EUROdocMOM

    EUROdocMOM Senior Member
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    There's a book called "choosing a medical specialty" that is pretty good to start narrowing things down. Since you go to my school, I know it is in our library.
    I read it and it helped me look at things a little differently while on rotations.
     
  8. JSandall

    JSandall Member
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    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate the responses.
     
  9. Cowboy DO

    Cowboy DO Senior Member
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    I think another problem that makes specialty selection hard/impossible. Is limited exposure third year. I know this is different at every school, but it is impossible to rotate through everything 3rd year.

    For example maybe you are considering Optho. You dont get a 3rd year Optho rotation how do you know its really for you?
    Yet if you want an Optho residency you need to rotate early in your 4th year to audition, and get LOR's. If you end up not liking it you wasted a rotation and the clock is ticking to get LOR's / discover a field that is right for you.
     
  10. Taus

    Taus .
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  11. cytoborg

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    I felt the exact same way...loved pretty much every rotation and could not decide until pretty much the start of 4th year. I read that Choosing a Specialty book about 15 times (I do recommend it) and changed my 4th year schedule around at the last minute. I just tried to look at the reasons I had enjoyed each rotation, and decide on the general job values I was looking for. My main criteria were variety (different organ systems, patient populations), intellectual challenge AND working with my hands, diagnostics rather than treatment of chronic diseases, laid-back culture/attitude among coworkers, and lifestyle. I thought EM might satisfy all of these, but when I actually did my rotation I realized I couldn't do it every day for the rest of my life - drug-seekers, domestic violence, etc (see robotsonic's post)...also strongly considered general surgery, but the lifestyle and coworker attitude thing didn't fit. Ultimately I chose pathology and am very happy with my choice.

    I recommend you really sit down and identify your job values, narrow it down to 2 or 3 and then line up those rotations first thing in your 4th year.
     
  12. cytoborg

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    Haha, yeah, I looked at both of those a lot...they didn't give me any magical answers (the virginia site kept telling me to be a dermatologist! :eek: :mad: ) but it did get me thinking along the right lines, in terms of job values. Good recommendations Taus.
     
  13. Gregg

    Gregg Member
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    Thanks for the links. I had been to the Virginia site before, didn't like the answers (told me I'd like radiology - no way). The Buffalo site gave me the three things I'm interested in (ED, critical care, sports) as 1,3,5, so I'm more impressed with their accuracy.
     
  14. PatrickBateman

    PatrickBateman Senior Member
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    I think this is probably the worst way to go about making a career choice. What you'll get is a theoretical suggestion based on a theoretical assessment of what you think you like. This probably has little to do with how you actually will react to the reality of different specialties. It's much better to assess specialties based on your actual experience of them.
     
  15. Taus

    Taus .
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    I agree that its not the greatest way or anything close to it (and by no means should a career decision be based on a website)....however for someone who is at a complete loss for where to begin their thought process about this issue (which is scheduling rotations in specialties they may have never checked out before)....those sites may offer some things to consider about what they want out of medicine and the type of encounters they look forward to with patients.

    ps...I'm just an MSI so I realize that I am speaking about an issue that I haves little real life experience with....(I should add this disclaimer to all of my posts..)
     
  16. robotsonic

    robotsonic Senior Member
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    I agree. I have done a bunch of those, and always got wildly different answers from each one, none of which actually predicted the field I would go into (I'm now applying for residency, so I'm set on what I want to do). You can sort of tell how ridiculous they are by looking at the careers that come up at the top of the list. They are usually *completely* different fields and personalities (for example: 1. Cardiothoracic surgery 2. Family medicine 3. Anesthesiology, etc).
     
  17. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed
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    Check with your med school- they may be able to offer other suggestions of where to look. I think Glaxo-Kline-Smith-whatever-the-name-is-now has a program to help in choosing a residency. AAMC also has something on their site.

    There are so many possibilities in medicine (including things outside of medicine as well, such as consulting, etc.), that make choosing a field very difficult. Just keep in mind nothing is carved in stone. There a many people who end up doing several residencies (I know of one person who has done three!).
     

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