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Do pre-meds *really* think about what they're getting into?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sunflower79, Jun 13, 2002.

  1. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    I'm asking because...

    I know many docs who would reconsider if they had to do it all over again :rolleyes:
    I know pre-meds who aren't terribly mature about the world :rolleyes:
    I don't think I really thought about it myself until I got rejected the first time. :(
    From advising pre-meds, I've gathered that most of them focuses on the "how" and takes the "why" for granted. Sometimes I wanna ask them, "are you SURE you really wanna go to medical school? then tell me what makes you so sure."

    Just curious :cool:
     
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  3. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    oh heck--

    Now that I look at my thread, I realize everyone who replies is gonna say, of course I've thought about it, what do you take me for!

    Well, I'm sure we all know ppl like what I said above.
     
  4. Street Philosopher

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    You know how they say you're preaching to the choir? Well take the opposite of that, and that's what it is. (sorry forgot the saying hehehe)

    People have reasons and know what they're getting into. Other people have sufficiently rationalized into thinking so. So you're not going to see premeds at a premed site saying "oh crap you're right what if I want to be a lawyer?"

    I dunno, but sometimes applying to medical school is like applying to the priesthood. They want to know everything about you, your personality, your personal views, your motivations... sometimes I question if all this is necessary. Why can't people be doctors for the same reasons that people do investment banking or law? It's funny how there is a double standard: we are molded into thinking medicine is special, different than almost every other job, but we are scolded when we express these views.

    I'm rambling!
     
  5. Bikini Princess

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    Yes, I agree with philosopher. Many premeds will say," I know about medicine because I shadowed a doctor in his office for two weeks". Or, "I want to be a pediatric surgeon" - "why? because that way I only have to work 3 days a week and I don't have to work with old people". Many premeds have rationalized it already; there's no going back to the frightening unknowns of the changing job market.

    Medicine's a great field to go into, but I agree that some applicants don't even know what a residency is, let alone whether they could handle one.
     
  6. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    I guess what I'm partly trying to get at is that we should at least give other professions a chance and not defend our reasons for pursuing medicine just because we're afraid of being wrong (read "Becoming a physician" by Danek and Danek). Public health, for example, or nurse practitioner, or clinical researcher. From my work I've realized there are other ways of helping people and doing science at the same time. Why medicine in particular?
     
  7. paean

    paean Senior Member
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    1. I like being heard, and being able to make decisions without having to fight to be respected, so nursing or getting a PA was out.

    2. I want to work with patients directly. I have 4+ years of consistant (although part-time) direct care, and I really value that interaction.

    3. I worked as a health site administrator for a year, and between that and the research I've done (not extensive, just enough to start to get a handle on what it would be like to be a researcher), and I found that I wasn't as excited or interested in administration, public health or research as I was by direct care.

    4. I'm fascinated by biology in general, and even more so by the human body. I'm also fascinated by the way we think and feel, and how that affects out health.
     
  8. paean

    paean Senior Member
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    5. The other routes I considered: teaching, information science (esp. medical informatics), public policy (focused on health and the environment) just don't grap me like medicine does. And I really looked, because I feel that getting an MD is an impractical career path, and slightly selfish, because I get to do what I love (school, more school!) and don't have to enter the job force yet.

    So, yes, some of us do think these things through. But I will be the first to say that I have no real conception of what it will be like to exist as a resident. But few people who enter a profession that requires significant training have the opportunity to fully understand what they are getting into until at least they enter the training.

    It's a fair question to ask.
     
  9. nezlab99

    nezlab99 Senior Member
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    I think that for many pre-meds, a career in medicine was their default career. It seems like every smart kid is told that they should be a doctor their whole lives. Many of these smart people pursue getting in to medical school their whole lives to meet a challenge, prove something, or whatever. I think a lot of pre-meds get so caught up in the game that they fail to see getting into medical school as a means rather than an end. Don't get me wrong, not all pre-meds are like this, but I think many are.
     
  10. Bradleyp

    Bradleyp Senior Member
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    If there is anything that gets on my nerves it is a dcotor who hates their job. I have spent three years trying to get into to medical school and only to listen to some of the doctors I work for complain about a job they went into without knowing what the expect, then got stuck doing it. You think they would would have noticed they didn't like it after their 5th or 6th year of training.

    Medicine is one of the few things I truly love and it pains me to see people who give it no respect. That is why I like this site, because we all have a common goal.
     
  11. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**
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    I think a career in medicine should be given some heavy thought.A person trying to get into medical school *should* be required to answer the question..why do you want to go to medical school? There has to be process of weeding out the ones who are not sincere about taking care af people.The patient's lives depend on it.
    I have been taking care of people for as far back as I can remember.The healthcare industry was the only choice for me.I choose medicine because I felt that other healthcare fields did not offer me the "fuel" I needed to stay on fire for life.I have seen a lot of the healthcare professions up close and personal-albeit some of them breifly.
    Everyone in my family knows that if they needed someone to come sit in the hospital for a family member,I would be there.I have changed bandages,cleaned up feces,vomit,"bags", bedsheets & saliva on many a chin.I tried to reassure the patient that everything was going to be okay.I listened attentively as the doctor gave out instructions on after-care.And made sure that those instructions were followed.
    The most frustrating thing for me is to not know "enough" to help somebody who was in need of medical care.
    I am hoping that my career choice will change that for the better.Yeah you could say that I thought about this a little... :)
     
  12. Green912

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    One of the difficulties that someone has in examining their choice of any career especially medicine is that the difficulties and hardships aren't tangible or real. Imagine you're sitting in your office with a student and you're both relaxing drinking a cup of coffee. And you're telling them "you know, you'll be studying non-stop for four years. Then working 80-100 hours for another four years. All the while living off or ramen noodles and balogna". They say "yeah that sounds pretty rough". But the problem is that it doesn't feel rough. It's hard to imaging what something will feel like day in and day out when you don't have anything to compare it to.

    Maybe someone should start up a scared straight program for pre-meds. Walk them through a dark and dingy Hospital filled with po'd Residents who are getting pimped in the halls by an overbearing Attending. :D :D

    Of course you can put a spin on anything and make it sound great or horrible. For myself, what negatives are out there are far outweighed by the rest.
     
  13. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    Street Philosopher you are awesome!

    I want to be a doctor because I think it's probably the only profession I could enter without getting terribly bored after 2 years.

    I also love working hard. I actually feel sick if I'm not working a lot... which is why this job I'm at is annoying me. They give me something to do and say "ok this should take you a few weeks" and it takes me a few days. Ugh! But hey at least I get to spend some extra time on SDN annoying everyone with my posts :)
     
  14. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member
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    I think a major thing that has changed is that medicine is becoming less of a profession and more of a job. By profession, I mean the strict definition, where it is more or less what defines you (I think medicine, law, and the cloth are the "true" professions). Now, people have so many diverse interests, activities, dreams of family/children, hobbies and passions.

    The old guard were doctors first, everything else dead last. My mentor is a cardiologist who never turns off his pager and always gives his cell and home number to his patients. When talking to his wife and kids, they tell me not to be like him ... for him, though, that is what he HAS to do, because that's what a doctor does.

    And this concept of 'lifestyle' specialties is definitely new. People never talked about it too much before, but we all think about it now. Why did radiology, anesthesiology, dermatology, EM, all get hot? Not because they are so much more fascinating than other specialties, but rather because of their other benefits. "I want to do ER because of the variety and because I only want to work 3 days a week and make good loot." You never hear the opposite: "I want to be a general pediatrician so I can be on a parent's beck and call 24/7, give them peace of mind, and make small amounts of money".

    Finally, job satisfaction/actualization is a modern American creation. I don't where else in this world you come home from work and say to your wife, "I don't know if I'm self-fulfilled." In India, where my parents are from, people work, get enough money to eat, socialize on weekends, and donate to the temple, and that's it. My parents still don't understand when I used to tell them I'm bored at a job. "Why are you bored, you're getting paid aren't you?" In a way she's right, because they worked too hard for their money.

    After just one year in med school, I'm not sure which way I'm going to go - profession or job - or even if I have made the right choice. It's awesome some times, and it's the worst other times. I still think the highs will be far higher than the lows will be low, but who knows?
     
  15. silvercholla

    silvercholla Smarter than the avg bear
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by 2badr:
    <strong>The most frustrating thing for me is to not know "enough" to help somebody who was in need of medical care.
    I am hoping that my career choice will change that for the better.Yeah you could say that I thought about this a little... :) </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Have you been sneaking into my house and reading my PS off of my computer <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> That is exactly why I want to go to medical school and become a physician <img border="0" alt="[Lovey]" title="" src="graemlins/lovey.gif" />
     
  16. Street Philosopher

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by relatively prime:
    <strong>this job I'm at is annoying me. They give me something to do and say "ok this should take you a few weeks" and it takes me a few days. Ugh!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">What the...? That's the best kind of job in the world man!!! It's funny. The places I work at think I'm a genius just because I'm actually competent! This isn't bragging either... I'm talking about knowing how to use a copy machine or use the telephone! Man life is good when you work at these kinds of jobs.
    :)
     
  17. KU Brendan

    KU Brendan FM/EM Attending, PC Gamer
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    I don't think anyone who has not been through med school truly can say he or she knows what he/she is getting into. Sure, I had my thoughts about what being a physician would be like and knew there would be tough times as well as good ones in med school, but until you've experienced those failures as well as those successes, you really don't know what you're getting yourself into.

    We go into med school rather blindly and start having our eyes opened year by year; it's easy to see why people get burned out, because the demands on your health, your time, and everything you have are enormous. What I advise everyone who is still a pre-med is to do exactly what sunflower79 was getting at in his or her original post--examine other professions and see if you could be happy doing those. Just as one of the other posters to this topic said, "smart" kids are often influenced from an early age by being repeatedly told that they could be a doctor.

    Please, for your own sanity and for the well being of your future patients, don't go into medicine for this reason or for personal gain. It was odd how many of my classmates in med school started out as first years with huge egos and would tell you flat out that they were doing this for the money. Looking back, we knew nothing back then, and no one had the right to have an ego, because when you're at the bottom of the learning curve, everyone--including nurses, PAs, and maybe even the receptionists--know more than you do.

    The people who went into medicine for the wrong reasons stick out during third and fourth year; I've been on rotations with people who either had no clue or were such slackers that they would compromise patient care in order to go home earlier or go out with friends. It's scary the kind of corners people will cut--don't let this happen, and tell yourself from the very beginning that you are not going to be like that. You can start by examining why specifically you want to be a doctor--not the answer you're giving on your personal statement or would tell an admissions committee--but the true, personal answer. Why do you think this career path is for you? If you can answer that and truly believe there's nothing else you'd be happy doing, go for it with all you have. If not, consider something else; "smart kids" can make more money and have a better lifestyle choosing another profession.

    For those of you who want to do this, I can tell you from a personal standpoint that it's worth all of the failures and hardship of applying and going through it. Try not to stress too much over the admissions process--save some of that for when you're not sure what drug your patients need in order to stay alive.

    Questions, comments, statements of appreciation, gripes, whines, or complaints? Just email me :)

    --Brendan--
    &lt;"}}}}}&gt;&lt;
     
  18. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Street Philosopher:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by relatively prime:
    <strong>this job I'm at is annoying me. They give me something to do and say "ok this should take you a few weeks" and it takes me a few days. Ugh!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">What the...? That's the best kind of job in the world man!!! It's funny. The places I work at think I'm a genius just because I'm actually competent! This isn't bragging either... I'm talking about knowing how to use a copy machine or use the telephone! Man life is good when you work at these kinds of jobs.
    :) </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yeah I guess you're right... but when I found out that hey were paying some guy 10 grand to do in weeks, what I could do in 5 hours... that kind of pissed me off. It wasn't really their fault though.. this guy totally took advantage of their niavety in computer science. As tackfully as I could I explained to them that they were being taken advatnage of... and showed them what he was charging 10 grand for... so now they think I'm some sort of CS goddess... lol... and needless to say they're pretty pissed at this guy. Unfortunately they signed a contract with him... ugh...
     
  19. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**
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    DANG! Sneverson, & I thought I was being original! <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> :D <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />
     
  20. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    Way to go, everyone, with the responses. I swear I should keep bumping up this thread just so everyone will have a chance to read it. Seriously: what discussion is more important that the one where you think about what you want to do for the rest of your life?! If we pre-meds truly like challenge as much as we claim to, we should be constantly challenging ourselves and each other about this subject.

    More food for thought: One question I always like to pose to docs, in order to "keep it real," is to ask what is the thing they like the LEAST about their work. As we've all heard, the downsides of working in a restrictive, overly costly and under-budgeted health care system, combined with the long, grueling nature of the training, is something we have to seriously consider when we think about whether the upsides are worth it.
     
  21. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    And SimulD, yeah I've heard *exactly* the same reason being given by a 4th year for doing ER. I was even more disgusted by the boastful tone in his voice as he said this.
     
  22. ckent

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    Medicine does seem like it's default for a lot of people. However, by the time that you gone through all the premed stuff, done well enough on the MCAT, done all these ECs, and gotten in, I don't see how anyone could have done all of that without ever realizing what they were getting into. I hate the question "why do you want to do medicine". For most people, I suspect that their actual answer is "I don't know" even though they might make something up for adcoms to hear. Doesn't mean that you don't want to be a doc if you don't know, and if you think about, most of our actual reasons for doing anything are very unconsicious and can't really be put into words. Like "why does doing this make you happy?", "why do you like spending time with this person?", or "what do you like about this TV show?". Even though you could make up a canned response to most of those questions, a more truthful answer for most of us would be "I dunno, I just do." in my opinion.
     
  23. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    In response to ckent:

    I think everyone owes it to themselves and to others, to know why they do what they do. Call it a personal ethic. Sure, we're still figuring it out, but the point is to do so in the first place. I'm not saying we should all engage in Freudian psychoanalysis, but we should know what principles guide our actions.

    - from a fan of Stephen Covey.
     
  24. ckent

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    In response to sunflower:

    Why do you think that we "owe it to others to figure out why we do what we do"? When I was interviewing for med school, one of the things that struck me the most was that most of interviewers never even asked me the standard "why do you want to be a doctor". I suppose that they might have been tired of hearing canned answers to that question, or they might have just not really cared, but I just think that it's a stupid question. Choosing a career is such a huge deal that any verbal reason anybody comes up with is not going to be sufficient for why they really want to go into the field. You can say "because I want to help people", "I like to study science", and these answers might be true, but any answer you give will be applicable to multiple fields and I would wager would not be your "true" reason(s) for wanting to into medicine. It's funny that you should mention Freud, because I was a psych minor in college and the one thing that I learned from that is that people and decision making is very complex and our motives for doing things are rarely black and white. If you do dig into someone's mind to try to discover the real reason that they wanted to go into medicine as opposed to many other fields, I suspect that you would find a lot of unconsicious thoughts and reasonings; some of which might be as silly as "I like wearing white coats, they go nicely with outfits", to "I had a crush on my pediatrician". They might not be able to consiciously think of these thoughts, and they may appear non-sensical to an outside observer, but within a lot of these "silly" thoughts lies ones true reasons for doing anything IMO. Anyways, enough psycho-babble, I won't come back and debate this, I just wanted to add my own thoughts.
     
  25. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    Well ckent, I respect where you're coming from on this. I agree that our motives *are* very complex. I just find a philosophical angle more compelling than a psychological one. And I'll just leave it at that. :cool:

    (also a fan of Immanuel Kant) :cool:
     
  26. paean

    paean Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by sunflower79:
    <strong>And SimulD, yeah I've heard *exactly* the same reason being given by a 4th year for doing ER. I was even more disgusted by the boastful tone in his voice as he said this.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I find it a little disturbing that there is a tendance to judge others' reasons for going into medicine or a specific field as bad. Just because someone's reason isn't the noble "I want to help others," they disgust you? If someone is a good doctor, what's wrong with their motivation being different from the one you profess?
     
  27. paean

    paean Senior Member
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    I think that it is more healthy if doctors are not expected by their peers to be superhuman. We (will) have an enormous responsibility when we are working, and I find it far more responsible of someone to recognize that the 24/7 lifestyle will not work for them, and choose a specialty where they can give their all when they are working. Far better than if they try to live up to outside pressure to be a "perfect doctor" and end up resenting their patients or giving inadequate care all of the time. As for myself, I know that what kind of life I want to live will be a decision I constantly evaluate and re-evaluate. Sometimes I *know* that being 24/7 would be the most fulfilling, and exactly what I want. And other times I think that there is so much else in life that I will miss if I never let myself be off. On top of that I wonder how fair it is to my partner, friends and family (and in the future, maybe kids) to never be there for them.
     
  28. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    I agree that lifestyle is an important issue, especially for women thinking about future childcare.

    I think my disgust was at the way that particular student talked about how much money he could make given how great his lifestyle would be in ER. Well, I suppose doctors have to care too about how much they make. But he just sounded materialistic. *shrug* maybe I should just chalk that up to machismo.
     
  29. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> "I want to do ER because of the variety and because I only want to work 3 days a week and make good loot." </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">And this is bad because......???????

    Yeah...this is terrible...I'm appalled. Can you imagine? Someone wanting to make a good living after 11-15 years of training? How awful! To add insult to injury, whoever made this comment is attracted to the hours -- this person may actually (Gasp!) want to spend time with their friends and family!

    I am disgusted.
     
  30. JZZZZZZZs

    JZZZZZZZs Senior Member
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    In my undergraduate experience, I came across many pre-med students that really had no idea why they wanted to go into medicine. They were like lemmings following blindly with all the other pre-meds. Echoing what someone else said earlier, I think a large part of the problem is that these students grow up as ambitious overachievers who are encouraged by those around them to pursue medicine because of their academic performance. Therefore, very seldom do the students themselves think it through personally with respect to what they want in life. And because medicine is such a respectable profession, it's very easy to fool yourself into thinking it is what you want.
    I've heard many doctors praise the importance of taking time off and doing other non-medically related activities (e.g. travel, exploring other career options) before committing to medicine because once you're invested into the field, it is nearly impossible to focus on anything else for awhile.
    To any pre-meds who have doubts, take the time to think what is best for you, not what other's expectations of you are and research other fields of interest. If medicine is really what you want to do, you'll come back to it afterwards like me!!! It's better to take a few years out to question your real motivations than to be stuck with a career you hate for the rest of your life. :)
     
  31. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member
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    Teufel,

    I think you took what I said way out of context. Not fair. I didn't judge it ... here is the lines right before it.

    "And this concept of lifestyle specialties is definitely new. Why did radiology, anesthesiology, dermatology, and ER, all get hot? Not because they are more fascinating than other specialties, but rather because of all their benefits."

    I don't judge anyone else's decisions. I just am saying that lifestyle specialties are a new concept. That's a true statement. I think my post was just about the heading - about what people think they are getting into. It's not bad to want to do it for financial and other reasons. It's fine. Its just everyone has different reasons.
     
  32. Bikini Princess

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by SimulD:
    [QB]
    "And this concept of lifestyle specialties is definitely new. Why did radiology, anesthesiology, dermatology, and ER, all get hot? Not because they are more fascinating than other specialties, but rather because of all their benefits."
    QB]</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">If you like work with patients on a long-term basis, I wouldn't recommend going into these specialities. Their benefits are tempered by the fact that they rarely get a chance to make much of a long-term impact in patients lives; at least not the way primary care fields do. It's true they can stich up a cut, interpret a lung scan, or cut out a cancerous mole...but what about teaching patients how to care for themselves? what about diagnosing the psychological causes of an addiction, or finding new treatments for a particular disease? Or teaching a brain-damaged child how to walk, or a chemotherapy depleted old man how to live?

    Although important, those specialities cover only a drop in the comphrensive ocean of what medicine does..personally I'd rather care for patients, but I suppose it depends on your personality. :)
     
  33. KU Brendan

    KU Brendan FM/EM Attending, PC Gamer
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    This whole argument comes down to a matter of personality. Some people really enjoy the high-adrenaline, quick-fix type of solution, while others like the long-term relationships and slow, positive change physicians (especially those in primary care) can provide. It's very interesting talking to people in my class now that most have decided which area they want to go into--most people you could tell from early on what they would be good at. Each specialty truly does have its own personality; once you do third year rotations, this will become very obvious.

    I personally like the idea of getting to help deliver a baby and then follow that individual through his or her life and helping him or her with all problems, big or small, medical or non-medical. But others hate this kind of thing and would rather do a quick surgery. Does this mean either of us have more or less of an impact? No, because if you need your appendix out, you need it out now, and the person who can do that makes a huge difference in the patient's life, albeit short-term--but if they don't play a role, the patient can die. Just as important, as one other person posting said, is getting someone to quit smoking by constantly asking him about it and trying to support him through the difficulties of trying to quit. An ER doctor can give a quick fix to someone who is badly hurt or can give relief to a parent who is scared because her baby has a fever. The point of this long post is to say that, although it sounds like one of those things you're just supposed to say during interviews, the "team" aspect to medicine is crucial. During rotations, you start to see how many physicians criticize other specialties and insist that theirs is better--but the truth is that the world needs all of them. Just as there are so many different types of personalities among us all, so too are there in medicine. The key is to not get into the habit of thinking one is superior over another. And I guess that's what has bothered me about this message thread--even if I have no interest in being a radiologist, I sure as heck am glad they exist, because they see things on scans that I certainly don't. Being able to diagnose a small tumor on a CT is certainly not an "inconsequential impact" on someone's life. It's not a matter of "liking" or "not liking" patients (as someone put it)--it's all about what part of the team you see yourself doing, based on your own personality, the best. If you like long-term care, join us in family medicine, pediatrics, or internal medicine. If you like the quick fix, go into surgery or ER.

    Now it's certainly true that "lifestyle specialties" (as one poster put it) are becoming more popular--but this is nothing new. The proverbial pendulum swings in medicine; at the beginning of the 90s, there was a huge shortage of people going into primary care. When I entered medical school three years ago, they were talking about how there was suddenly a shortage of specialists. Now we're almost back to the primary care shortage. Each year, the percentage of people entering different specialties changes, as does how competitive each is. General surgery, for example, has become much less competitive just over the past few years. Anesthesiology, on the other hand, which used to be basically the easiest specialty to enter just a few years ago, is now becoming quite competitive. But in a few years, the job market will become saturated, and fewer people will go into it. A classmate of mine freely admits that he wants to be an anesthesiologist because of the amount of compensation and the hours since he's 33 and has two children. He's not the first person in history to have that thought, and it certainly doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy being with patients. You'll find that every specialty, with the exception of pathology and a few othes, deal with patients directly more than you might think. Diagnostic radiologists, for example, now do many procedures and don't just sit around in a dark room all day.

    It's all about your personality and what you value the most. Don't let anyone tell you that your reasons for wanting to do something in medicine are wrong; just make sure you are clear about what your reasons are and why.

    Congratulations to anyone who made it all the way through this--feel free to PM, IM, or email me :)

    --Brendan--
    &lt;"}}}}}&gt;&lt;
     
  34. Acro Yali

    Acro Yali Senior Member
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    I didn't read this entire forum so I might be repeating what other people said. I agree with KU brendan's first post. I think for a lot of people, it is impossible to know what you are getting into until you are in the middle of it. I had an idea of what medical school is going to be like and what my life will probably be after school. But the degree of hard work was beyond anything I imagined. Also, during this process, some figure out that medicine is not the "golden" profession they make it out to be. One example, physicians are compensated at the level they are compensated for only because the amount of dedication physicians put in. A lot of people simply look at physician salary and neglect to look into how much work physicans actually do to get that compensation. This fact actually makes the people who are in medicine for money quite stupid, in the sense that if they put in 100 hr/week of hard work for &gt;8 years like those of us on the physician training track, chances are that no matter which profession you are in, you are probably going to make the same amount of money as physicians, without the debt at the end. For this reason alone, if you are going into medicine just for money, you are stupid.

    I also think that its those people who didn't realize what they are getting into when they applied for medical school who become interested in lifestyle specialties. When I applied, I knew* I am going to take on the "physicians's life" for the rest of my life. Therefore, when I realized just how much is a 80hr work week, I just accepted it. But, for those who don't realize this aspect of medicine, this is a shock. When they start to find out about the hours/call schedule, they freak out and say "gee, I didn't know medicine is going to be like this. Maybe I should go into a specialty thats less time consuming." These are usually the people who try relentlessly during the clinical years to minimize their clinical responsibilities and take off as early and as often as they could, while ignoring their duties to patients. I know, I have met quite a few of these people. You can be the judge of what kind of physicians they are going to be.

    The point is to really think about what you are getting into. Save yourself the trouble of scrambling for the most "lifestyle" friendly specialty years down the road when you realized that you don't really want to take on the responsibilities a "MD" gives you. Don't go into medicine simply because its the "default career," "it sounds good," "its a good paying job,"...etc. Its going to be painful for you years down the road when you realize that medicine is not what you want but can't switch career because you are too much into debt to do anything about it. Its important for you to realize that by applying to medical school, you should be prepared to take on the responsibilities of becoming a doctor.
     
  35. LJoo83

    LJoo83 learning...
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    Although I'm not even in college yet (I will be a Biology major this fall) I'm going into medicine for both reasons-the so called 'noble' and the so called 'un-noble' reasons. The more noble is because I truly do love helping people and it just feels awesome to see someone get better because of your care. I also love the sciences-it's amazing to see how complex and intricate our body system is, and how everything has a dominoe affect, and the neat thing about medicine is that there is a continual progress in it and nothing is ever the same. The more unnoble part is the money and prestige of having 'M.D.' in your name...it takes money and prestige to be heard in this world and I would love to be able to use my prestige to be a spokesperson for great causes. I have wrestled in my mind about becoming a doctor and I do feel that I'm going into medicine with the correct motives.
     
  36. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bikini Princess:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by SimulD:
    [QB]
    "And this concept of lifestyle specialties is definitely new. Why did radiology, anesthesiology, dermatology, and ER, all get hot? Not because they are more fascinating than other specialties, but rather because of all their benefits."
    QB]</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">If you like patients, don't go into these specialities. Their benefits are tempered by the fact that they rarely get a chance to make much of a long-term impact in patients lives. Yes,, they can stich up a cut, interpret a lung scan, or cut out a mole...but what about teaching patients how to care for themselves? what about diagnosing the psychological causes of an addiction, or finding treatments for a particular disease? Or teaching a brain-damaged child how to walk, or a chemotherapy depleted old man how to eat?

    Although important, those specialities cover only a drop in the comphrensive ocean of what medicine does. It's ironic that the specialists that make such a short-term and often inconsequential impact on patient's lives are often the best paid.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Unfortunately, your post shows well that you are a premed and not a medical student or resident. I do agree with you that primary care gives you much more of an opportunity to make a long term impact. However, the other generalizations you make are quite inaccurate for the realties of medicine.

    First, the impact of a good anestheiologist not only makes a difference in a patients surgery, (many of whom are older and have a multitude of other problems) but also plays a key role in the psychological well being of the patient prior to and after surgery. ER docs are the primary care docs for anyone without insurance and make a great impact on these peoples lives as well as the lives they save (kind of hard to give long term care if a patient dies in the ER). Most dermatologists do not just deal with pimples and blemishes. A significant portion of their work is diagnosing and treating cancer. Often this involves many visits over years (for repeated ablation of basal cell carcinoma for example). As for radiologists, almost every sick patient that comes into the hospital will get a radiologic exam during their stay and often times the radiologists interpretation will drastically affect the course of treatment. I would not call any of these "inconsequential impacts" in a patients care.

    Now your other misconceptions: "diagnosing the psychological causes of an addiction." Primary care docs can do a little bit of this, but most addiction cases are referred to a specialist (usually a psychiatrist or psychologist). "Finding treatments for a particular disease?" ER docs and dermatologists do this all the time. "Or teaching a brain-damaged child how to walk" This is mostly physical therapists. I worked in a peds neurology clinic and phsycians do not have the time to do this. Its more like 10 minute visits where therapy is referred. "Or a chemotherapy depleted old man how to eat?" Again, this is usually done by nurses or nutritionists working in a heme/onc clinic.

    Like I said, I do agree that primary care specialties will give you the best opportunity to make a long-term impact. However, how often this actualy happens is another issue. Also, this does not mean that other specialties don't have just as important an impact.

    I'll get off my soapbox now.
     
  37. Bikini Princess

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    Yes; I made generalizations, I agree, my apologies to the specialists. :) It's true that it's not a clear-cut argument.
     
  38. Flack Pinku

    Flack Pinku U lookin at my glasses??
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    It is very unwise to ask anyone why they chose a carrer path. Unless you did a subconscious psychoanalytical research on the person, you most likely won't get the true answer that the world would truly trust. This goes to anyone but people of Mother Theresa or other Saintly state of being.

    This might be sad, but in this day and age, it is true.

    In my humble opinion, the Admissions process should not depend on the "why" aspect of being a doctor. Engineering is noble and very intellectually stimulating, so why don't MS or PhD programs grill the applicants with the unnecessary "why" questions? Maybe they don't want to hear bottled answers (sometimes older than Campbell's Soups!) :)

    If a person has took the time to volunteer in clinic or hospital, has good past record (not violent or crazy), has good interview manners (i.e. interpersonal skills are good, all around nice person), and shows the capacity for absorbing the knowledge, then I ask (hope I don't offend anyone) why can't he/she become a doctor? Just because he doesn't find his life's meaning in spending his time in Nursing home all day?

    Should all future doctors have a noble dream/cause? Be awakened by a divine dream, with all right royalty to become a saintly person, that we call "The Doctor"? <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> Does he/she need to find cleaning feces or vomit or spit from suffering souls appealing?

    Doesn't the Fireman or Policeman do service to the society? How are doctors different? And yet we don't grill our future firemen and policemen or ask them what dream they had that made them want to be cops, or what person they knew had died in a fire that fuels his need to be a fireman...

    I don't mean to be going against any God given reasons you might have to wanting to be a doctor, but people--it's not a majestic position that most of us make it out to be. People aren't going to call you "Sir" or "Your Majesty"--you'll work for a living!

    It is not exactly the Presidency or even the Governorship of a state you're running for... you just want to be a doctor--get paid to help people's health get better! So enough with the "why's" already.

    Don't go into it with dreams of royal treatment, AND don't stray away from it just because your causes are not noble (as a certain neighbor you might know), or you feel that you can never come even close to Mother Theresa.

    I don't see why there's constant "oppression" to those people, who might not find all of their life's meaning in helping out others, but despite their shortcomings, can be good enough doctors to be responsible to their patients's health. All of you noble to-be doctors: Please don't put these people down! :rolleyes:

    DISCLAIMER: I truly don't mean to offend or satirize or (...) anyone. If your reasons are noble, then hats off to you! :) If not, as long as you will care for your patients well, no problem. I just believe it's time to stop worrying about the "why's" and just understand it's a long process. Sorry for any typos or for this long message. Just had to voice my opinion. :) I don't mean to start a flame war. Forgive my ignorance in this matter.
     
  39. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    Wow! I hadn't expected such passioned responses to my thread. This is great! I love to be thought-provoking.

    But I didn't ask the question I posed at the beginning so people know what to say to medical schools. Knowing why you're going into it is much more important. As I've discussed above with another SDNer, though, there are philosophical differences on this point too. Personally, I still think being as honest with oneself as one can is always a good thing. If you're pursuing medicine because it's in your family tradition, and you're ok with that, then go for it. Or if you're doing it for the money, fine. Just make sure you continue treating your patients well. They are the bottom line. Right after that is the doctor's own job satisfaction, because that WILL affect your job performance.

    I guess medical students and residents often become disillusioned/disenchanted with the system that they have to work in. It's sad, but a reality of life I suppose. And you're right, you can't find this out until you get into the trenches.

    *stepping off soapbox*
     
  40. Flack Pinku

    Flack Pinku U lookin at my glasses??
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    sunflower: I agree with the last above reply totally! :)

    And for the ADCOMs, it is sad that many of us are forced to think up some canned answers. But this is totally warranted I believe.
     
  41. wgu

    wgu Senior Member
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    I doubt there is a single reason for one to enter into medicine. Some we generally find "good" and others "bad". Say... excessive money would generally be an "bad" reason to do medicine, but I would personally find the want of financial security to be at least an understandable reason. Doctors do afterall have a responsibility to their families not just their patients. I'm sure we'll also disagree on what makes an "ideal doctor" if the description gets detailed enough.

    What I'm most afraid that premeds will feel obligated to say commonly accepted reasons to be a doctor: "I want to take care of patients". Not to say there aren't many out there with those real reasons. I just think people should be honest about their reasons. If they make wrong assumptions and expectations about medicine they'll only fool themselves.
     
  42. Alli Cat

    Alli Cat Flygirl
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    Here's my two cents:

    I think the reason med school adcoms want us to have "noble" aims is that doctors who like the job for what is-- basically, a service to society-- are more likely to stick with it and care about what they're doing, and thus, be better doctors. For example, I know I'd make a lousy lawyer. Even if I pulled down 500k a year, I'm pretty sure I'd be bored looking up precedents in the law books and doing all that other lawyer stuff. I'd be terrible! I can only imagine what a doctor that doesn't really like seeing patients would be like. Some of the posters have said, "As long as the person is a good doctor who takes care of their patients, who cares what their movivation is?" I wholeheartedly agree. I just think it would be a lot easier for someone to take good care of patients if that person really likes the job, as opposed to doing it because their dad was a doctor or for money.
     

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