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How to choose a specialty

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by yrodri15, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. yrodri15

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    Hey guys,

    A while back, I remember there being a thorough website, that gave an excellent break down of all the board-certified specialties and even came with a quiz to help you narrow down potential areas of interest.


    I was wondering if anyone on here had a link to it? I'm only a MS-1 and I want to begin narrowing down the scope, shadowing doctors in different fields until I come across the one that really calls to me.


    Thanks in advance :cool:
     
  2. Skills of House

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    There's the Careers in Medicine page on the AAMC site (you can google it), but you have to get a password from your school. But it gives you a personality exam (and lists others you can take) to help you see where your interests lie. Iserson's Getting Into a Residency and Taylor's How to Choose a Medical Specialty are also pretty good resource books.
     
  3. Sophie

    Sophie Lead Foot
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  4. MWillie

    MWillie On the wards
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    Personally I'd go with money/time, comfort and other lifestyle considerations. Interest is great and all but everythings equally boring after doing it for 10 years.
     
  5. MechE

    MechE Med School's Slave
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    Use this as a guide:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. SkylineMD

    SkylineMD Senior Member
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    Regardless of desire, after knowing your step1 score, you will have a better idea of what field you will be able to go into.
     
  7. pillowhead

    pillowhead Senior Member
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    Above is very true. In general, consider the following and try to find the specialty that most fits all your answers while simultaneously realizing there's no such thing as the perfect specialty! And some of these aren't true either/or but can be a mix such as inpatient vs outpatient.

    Patient contact vs. no or minimal patient contact
    Kids vs. adults
    Outpatient vs. inpatient
    Primary care vs. constant life/death situations
    Procedures vs. intellectualizing all day
    Must have good lifestyle vs. don't mind working butt off
    Must have lots of $$$ vs. comfortable at ~$110,000
    Academic vs. community (realizing that if you're a medical geneticist or pediatric CT surgeon, these specialities are almost exclusively academic)
    Prestige vs. I don't really care
    Must get out of residency in 3 yrs vs. I can't wait to be a PGY-10 with 2 fellowships

    And finally, your own circumstances may limit you. If you are an IMG or to some extent a DO, and/or if you make 190 on Step I or have other major academic problems, you're going to be very hard pushed to get into dermatology, radiation oncology, ophthalmology, ENT, urology, plastics, ortho, and perhaps radiology, emergency medicine, gen surg, and anesthesiology. Pediatrics, psychiatry, family medicine, internal medicine, and ob/gyn are generally open to most folks will frequently still be very competitive at stop institutions.
     
  8. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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  9. MWillie

    MWillie On the wards
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    By the time you get your step 1 score, you'll be at a significant disadvantage trying to get into the most competitive specialties that some of your peers have been working towards since ms1 day 1.
     
  10. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member
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  11. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    I agree, I like that one...it's the same as deuists buffalo one
     
  12. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    No, not really.

    There's time for research, time to make connections, time to shine in your clinical rotations, and time to do sub-i's. Starting research earlier is a good idea, but not necessary even for the really competitive fields.
     
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  13. MWillie

    MWillie On the wards
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    WRONG. What time do you have to do research in third year, after your 12 hour rotations, between studying for shelfs and scutting patients? Even if you manage to squeeze in enough time to pull off a project it can take months and months to get your work peer reviewed and in press, which will be too late for interviews for many specialties, and especially for the early match ones. Also research will compete with time which you need to sleep and get honors in your rotations. The truth is starting early will give you a significant advantage. Have people matched into competitive specialties without starting early? Sure. Does that mean you should wait until third year before you start any relevant activities? NO.
     
  14. RisingSun

    RisingSun Member
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    I just took this test for the fun of it: OB/GYN at the top, RAD at the bottom. That is the exact opposite of what the Virgina test gave me.:laugh:

    Take home message: for entertainment purposes only.
     
  15. OncoCaP

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    Hmmm. I'm getting medical onc or heme pretty consistenly on virginia and pathways.

    Of course the "funny" one gave me "you're woman enough for OB/GYN!" (and I'm a guy) :laugh: I'm pretty sure I would like that as well if I can survive the people in that field.
     
  16. RisingSun

    RisingSun Member
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    I agree. I never thought that I would be remotely interested in OB/GYN (i'm a guy, too), but after being there with my wife during every one of her prenatal visits and the deliveries of my two children, I actually think that I might enjoy the field. Lots of medicine, surgery, radiology, psych, procedures, and usually good outcomes with healthy patients. I even like all of the OB/GYNs that I know and could see them as future colleagues (much more so than physicians in many other fields that I know).

    We'll see how I feel about it after 3rd year, though.
     
  17. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    An advisor gave me some great advice recently...

    All throughtout M1-M3 you hear alot of buzz about medical specialties.

    "Surgery is awesome but the lifestyle is so bad!"
    "If you want to get into Derm you'd better be at the top of the class."
    "I think I want to do EM for the lifestyle."
    "I really like Neurology, but the thought of focusing on one organ system doesn't appeal to me."

    There is truth in all of this, but at the end of they day you just kind of walk into a rotation and find yourself saying, "hell, I really like this!"

    I have several friends who are planning to apply for General Surgery. If you asked them, none of them would say "you know what I really want to do? A field with 100 hour weeks as a resident, really hard work, and a difficult lifestyle as an attending." But guess what, they LOVE surgery. So all of the "lifestyle" issues kind of get pushed to the side.

    We all know the ecstatically happy Neurosurgeon who works 70 hours a week even though he's 20 years in. We all know the doc who does the bare minimum and is miserable.

    When you find it, you'll know, and you'll make it work.
     
  18. Strongbow

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    Plastic surgery...I guess I'm gonna have to study
     
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  19. glp

    glp Vegas Baby Vegas
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    #1 rad onc
    #2 derm

    i better start studying harder.
     
  20. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    I think I should start studying less. I keep on getting psych, pm&r & rheum as my top choices. Derm's up there, too, but, yeah ain't gonna happen.
     
  21. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    So your argument is that you should start research early? Well, I couldn't agree more, regardless of the specialty you are interested in. But that hardly means that you don't have time to get involved after Step 1. You have nicely over-dramatized 3rd year, since you only described Surg/OB/Med. You have plenty of time in the other rotations to do research, and I know that because I did it.

    Is it enough time to get published? That's a little dicier, depending on how the project goes, but it's certainly enough time to do a presentation or two at conferences. Again, I know because I did it.

    Your advice to start early and work hard is good. But that in no way means that you can't hold off on making specialty decisions until you see where you sit with Step 1.

    [As a side note: I advocate making the simplest decision regarding specialty in the first two years. Either you want to do Medicine (or some variant) or Surgery (or some variant). From that simple split you can develop your contacts, possibly do some research, etc.]
     
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  22. kittycrinkles

    kittycrinkles picking out zebras
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