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interest in pathology = bad to adcomms/ rejection ??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Bengalswillwin, May 7, 2007.

  1. Bengalswillwin

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    I've heard that adcomms don't like people that want to be a pathologist. Is this true? Why or why not? Discuss
     
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  3. Toohotinvegas33

    Toohotinvegas33 Currently Glasgow 3
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    Just don't be too dead set on becoming a pathologist during your interviews, asay crap like you have an interest in pathology, but have an open mind for other specialties. Also its hard to show empathy and altruism in pathology.
     
  4. Bengalswillwin

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    I am not dead set on being one. It is one of many fields that I don't mind doing. However, someone told me that only doctors with no people skill choose this field, and I don't know what adcomm would think. Should I not even mention about it during interview, etc ?
     
  5. cleothecat

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    Pathologists need to relate to colleagues, administrators, juries, and now with clinical pathologists doing biopsies, even patients.

    Old prejudices sure die hard!!

    :mad:
     
  6. HreComesTheSun

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    sounds like "someone" doesn't know enough about the field to give advice on it
     
  7. pennybridge

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    there is an inordinate amount of pathologists on every admissions committee. Look it up.
     
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Best to be not too dead set on a particular specialty until you are exposed to more of them. I've known clinicians and surgeons who didn't like people who showed up to school too dead set on a field, based on minimal exposure (or worse, TV). Also bear in mind that some schools have missions that are biased towards primary care, direct patient care, helping underserved residents etc. And you should be aware that all specialties have their own personalities so you may be telegraphing something to certain interviewers by knowing before you start that you want to be a pathologist. Might be suggesting you don't want to deal directly with patients as much (whether this is a fair stereotype or not, it persists), which often goes against the grain of the schools that are working hard to give folks more (not less) clinical exposure in the early med school years. You are usually better off at a lot of places showing up gung ho to get to work with patients.
     
  9. HreComesTheSun

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    as long as you are honest (you said you are not dead set on it, but would be interested in it) you will be absolutely fine. i mentioned it as one of the specialties i might be interested in at ALL of my interviews and fared very well post-interview
     
  10. tredici

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    i would think the only specialty you shouldn't really express interest in during an interview or on applications is plastic surgery since most will assume you're only in it for the money, women, money, and women
     
  11. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    :laugh: at the premise of this thread
     
  12. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    This is very true. I haven't had a conversation with a real person since I finished med school. God help me if I ever encounter a woman.

    Who was it that told you this? A premed?
     
  13. Pathology has its share of personalities. In the surgical pathology dept where I work, there are a few who are really great and love to teach anyone who is interested about the field and what they do everyday. But there are also some pathologists in the department who become visibly frightened when anyone talks to them. I'd say there's probably some truth to the anti-social stereotype that plagues pathology due to the lack of direct patient contact, but like any other medical specialty, there's gonna be a range of personality types.

    :lol:
     
  14. emaj1n

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    As a general guideline, don't go into an interview and say you have your heart set on any particular specialty. You can say "pathology" initially sparked my interest for medicine, but be sure to follow that statement up with something like "but I realize there are numerous specialties about which I know very little. I want to educate myself fully before choosing a specialty."
     
  15. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna
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    I doubt that being interested in pathology would be detrimental. In fact, my faculty interviewer at GW was a pathologist. I have absolutely no interest in going into the field, but we do need pathologists.
     
  16. pennybridge

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    dude you all are missing the point: the goal is to find out what your interviewer's specialty is before hand, and then profess your burning desire to enter that line of work. flawless victory!
     
  17. djmd

    djmd an Antediluvian
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    And when they ask you about what you like so much about their field and your answer doesn't make sense. Flawless failure.

    Or

    When they get to the admissions committee, and one guy says 'I really like this guy's drive to be a surgeon', and the other doc says 'no you have the wrong file, he wants to be a child psychologist'. 'He told me he wanted to study zebra-fish gene hybridization in mice,' says BSR PhD. Flawless rejection.


    But what do I know about talking to people I'm a pathologist. :smuggrin:
     
  18. Gut Shot

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    You run the risk of encountering bias no matter what specialty you're interested in. Pathology = asocial is about as inherently meaningful as surgeon = dingus, OB/GYN = mean bitch, and internist = chess team mouth breather. The key isn't to try and choose a specialty which you hope the adcom will find appealing, but to have some legitimate basis for your interest. Possessing some honest understanding of pathology, and then conveying why it intrigues you, will probably get you much further than repeating some tired cliche you don't really believe.

    Just, for the love of God, don't bring up CSI or Quincy (or any other medically based TV show - especially Grey's F**king Anatomy).
     
  19. Severus

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    Yaah!!!! :D How have you been?
     
  20. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    I'm thinking of applying to medical school, but I have to go to a top 10 school otherwise I won't get my first choice of residency. I have read many times of the key to success in life (or in the underpants mafia):

    Step 1: Go to a top 10 med school.
    Step 2: ...
    Step 3: Profit.
     
  21. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    Nonsense. I mentioned in most of my interviews (when asked) that I found pathology very interesting and I got accepted to said schools. I was never negatively challenged about it.
     
  22. Severus

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    Exactly. You'll never get your dream girl if you don't go to a top 10 med school. She will not find you prestigious enough... even if you study for an advanced physics degree. Your life will suck.
     
  23. Law2Doc

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    Sure, all the fields have personalities, but from what I've heard, the biases aren't going to be as evident against the OB/IM/Surgeon types. Unless you have a really strong reason why you like a certain field (such as the year you worked in a path lab as an undergrad), you may want to consider what image you are portraying. Like it or not many people do choose Path not because they are excited about path but because they are not excited about dealing with patients. So that is the image you will have to overcome if your interviewer is a non-path clinician who feels, as most do, that the whole point of being a physician is to work with patients, up close and personal. Similarly, Derm may suggest to some that you are too lifestyle focused from day 1, unless you have a great story about the dermatologist you worked with or who saved you from skin cancer.

    Surgery faces fewer obstacles, as the initial career decision all med students must make is going to be surgery versus non-surgery (followed thereafter by adults vs children), so you are pretty much expected to have entertained this. However I know of a surgeon who interviews who has stated he dislikes any premeds who profess an interest in surgery and says he would never want one on his team, as he's convinced that until you have done rotations and seen it up close, you are making the decision based on TV. IM is the largest specialty at most places so most schools consider it their bread and butter and few biases will predominate. And lots of schools these days are actually pushing OB because a relatively small number of students are choosing this troubled specialty these days, so if you seem sincere, some folks will deem this a plus, even if they truly do consider you a "mean bitch".
     
  24. Gut Shot

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    Which is precisely why I stated this:

    "Possessing some honest understanding of pathology, and then conveying why it intrigues you, will probably get you much further than repeating some tired cliche you don't really believe."

    I'll make you a deal. I won't pretend to know anything about law if you refrain from pretending to know anything about pathology training. People who go into path just because they don't like patient contact rarely survive the rather lengthy and intellectually grueling residency.

    Good clinicians appreciate their pathologists. Perhaps you'll learn this later in your training.

    I'm having trouble deciding between Nitpick and Profundus Maximus on this one.
     
  25. PepperMD

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    What about Dr. G, Medical Examiner?
     
  26. Gut Shot

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    Just don't make it the cornerstone of your argument.
     
  27. AnesthesiaMD

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    Dr. G from Discovery Health seems to be pretty articulate :). Also Drs. Daniel and Werner Spitz from Oakland County in MI seem to be good at talking to the media as well.
     
  28. Law2Doc

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    We are on the same page on this.

    As for the rest, I happen to know folks who chose path largely for the reasons I suggested, and don't consider my post particularly nitpicky.
    I have no problem with you offering your own, differing opinion (on this, or, where appropriate on law issues). Healthy debate is the fuel that makes these boards go round. Good luck in your path career.
     
  29. HreComesTheSun

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    :lol: ridiculous! i second what gut shot said


    OP, there are at least 2 of us on here who had direct experience mentioning Path in several interviews with successful results. be wary of those who make claims based on stereotypes
     
  30. Law2Doc

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    Yes, but you are assuming that this thread is a representative sampling. It may be you 2 out of thousands. Although I did say in my post that there was a right way to mention it (as confirmed by Gut Shot above) and a wrong way. It's all about how you spin it.
     
  31. pennybridge

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    what's wrong with a dual degree double specialty? :smuggrin:
     
  32. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.
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    Dermpath:horns:
     
  33. pennybridge

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    not quite pediatric surgical psychiatry, but kudos!
     
  34. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    I am in residency and have met hundreds of pathologists, and have not met one who said they they went into it because they don't like patients or patient contact (or said that was a major reason). People who do this bail out quickly because it is hard work and they are not suited for it. People who choose a field primarily for factors unrelated to the field (like lifestyle or perceived benefits) rarely are successful or enjoy it.
     
  35. Law2Doc

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    Playing devil's advocate here (redundant for a lawyer I know), but: Are you saying that lifestyle is not playing a big role in any people's decisions to do path, derm, rads, etc. Hard to believe. Or that people are going to bail out of path because it is "hard work", yet are going to bail out into another specialty that isn't? Like what? (If you don't like patients, it's all going to be rough).

    For the record, I think people should do what they find most interesting; that people sort of missed the boat if they think medicine is just about shooting for the cushiest of hours or pay. But it's pretty clear to me that missing the boat is not such a rarity.
     
  36. Tired

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    Of the half-dozen people I have known who went the path route, the dominant reason given was something along the lines of, "Clinical medicine is jacked up". Be it rounding early in the morning, call schedules, dislike for patient and/or family interaction, all of them (with one exception) expressed a desire to practice a form of medicine different from 'traditional' clinical specialties.

    No one is going to tell you that they want to do Path because they hate patients, but are stuck with huge loans they have to pay off. But I think it is either naive or disingenuous to suggest that this never occurs, or that such people will never make it through residency if that is their motivation. The truth is that most people, including the 'questionable admits' make it through.

    The best proof of this fact is the movement my class (and I'd bet most classes) had away from medicine and surgery, and towards radiology, anesthesiology, and pathology, following the MS3 year. Was it sudden love for the fields that caused so many (7, by my count, out of 70) to pursue those fields? Not likely, since we had no electives as MS3s. Rather, it is the discovery that a lot of things about Medicine and Surgery suck, and a desire to do something different.
     
  37. djmd

    djmd an Antediluvian
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    Oh my god 7 people going in to three fields...
    How many going into pathology? 1 maybe 2? wow that really seem a lot less of a clear argument.

    Of course the 2 people who are going into pathology have no knowledge of pathology. It is not part of the basic science years, related to gross anatomy, present in histology....

    Of course there are people who go into or try to go into pathology because they hate all other options. They dislike patient and clinical medicine.

    They often come to pathology after doing 1+ years of residency in something else.

    Oh but here is the shocker. It turns out you actually do have to care about patients, because that why you have to get the Dx right, that is why you have to sample the lymph nodes...

    And whats more, you have to do this with almost no expectation of thanks.
    No patients saying oh thank you doctor. No families thanking you.

    As a Pathologist I know likes to joke, "Pathology is the least co-depend field of medicine."
     
  38. Gut Shot

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    Who said it never occurs?

    All you've proved is that after 12 months of ball crushing core rotations, med students yearn for what they perceive to be lucrative, mobile, straight forward specialties with minimal BS. Doesn't mean they'll end up liking them.

    By my calculations, radiology, anesthesiology and pathology comprised 11.7% of the total spots offered by the NRMP in 2007 (2,849/24,685).
     
  39. Law2Doc

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    I don't think he or anyone was suggesting that pathologists don't "care" about patients or are going to be lazy or nonchalant about diagnoses. The suggestion was that some who go into that specialty don't enjoy patient contact. It's a huge difference.
     
  40. Law2Doc

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    yaah pretty much did in his above post.
     
  41. Tired

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    Your compatriot yaah, who said, "People who choose a field primarily for factors unrelated to the field (like lifestyle or perceived benefits) rarely are successful or enjoy it."

    And apparently, by yaah's reasoning, they will be unsuccessful.

    Which of course is bull-honkey.

    Yes, I'm very impressed at the ability of people here to do simple math. However, you're missing my point. The argument advanced here was that, in order to do well in a specialty, you need to have some sort of strong desire or passion for the work. I call B.S. on that. All you really need is a reason to not do the non-lifestyle specialties. And yes, you can be very successful in those fields regardless of your underlying motivation.
     
  42. Tired

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    You should have read further into my post.

    Irrelevent, since I specifically pointed out that they were originally interested in other fields, then switched following clincal rotations. And I never said they had no "knowledge of pathology".

    And so now you're agreeing with me.

    Oh, now I get it. You thought I was knocking your specialty. I wasn't dude, relax.

    "Thank you for cutting open my dead relative."
    "Thank you for proving I have cancer."
    "Thank you for proving my relative's death was a suicide."

    You're right, it just has no ring to it.

    But apparently one of the more defensive . . .
     
  43. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member
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    Agreed. We had one doctor say he picked his field by process of elimination...he could not see himself doing anything he did in medical school and it seemed like the least painful option...
     
  44. Acremonium

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    I have no idea what you are getting at here. You are just supporting his argument. We don't hear these thanks. We don't really need it, or we wouldn't have chosen path. We don't expect it. We know we are far from the trenches, so to speak. We are ok with that. But the point is, some people need this ego stroking and that is why they choose clinical fields. But no one accuses them of less-than-altruistic motives for their choice.

    I agree that most people could probably be successful in a number of fields. I could have gotten by in internal medicine or peds, but I chose pathology. I just think it was a better fit for me professionally. The lifestyle is a bonus, but it's not as great as people make it out to be. That's another topic entirely. Some people may be swayed by the lifestyle if they come down to a few fields that seem right to them.

    But don't discount the fact that people who choose path (and other non patient care specialties) solely because of the perceived lifestyle will ultimately fail. A couple of months of grossing specimens endlessly and realizing that you have no control over your workload and people head for the hills. It is just the ridiculous comments people get as med students when they mention they want to do path that infuriate most of us. The majority of people are unsupportive and make rash generalizations about pathologists being socially awkward. The bottom line is that we talk to a lot of people during the day, most of them just don't happen to be patients.
     
  45. DropkickMurphy

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    Personally pathology interests me a lot more than primary care (but then again so does the idea of having a rabid pitbull gnawing on my scrotum; although I am seriously considering path as a choice) but I sure as hell would not be so stupid as to say that during interviews. If asked I will sing the praises of primary care in a rural community such as where I grew up....which is not a baldfaced lie. I did grow up in an extremely small town (it's not on most maps) and I respect the hell out of primary care docs because I couldn't do it.....
     
  46. Gut Shot

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    yaah said "rarely," you said "never." Sorry, but those are very different prospects, although I appreciate your subtle attempt to discredit him by mischaracterizing his claim. In any case, I happen to agree with yaah. To truly enjoy one's specialty and be successful (and by that I mean above and beyond surviving residency and staving off suicide for 20 or 30 years) one really does need to have some inherent interest in the subject. It doesn't have to be a burning passion, but it has to be something substantial. Lifestyle, no matter how good it is, will have a very hard time overcoming what you spend half your waking hours doing.

    You seem to be operating with a different definition of "successful" than the four pathology residents in this thread.

    Funny, your point was that a seemingly disproportionate number of your classmates were being drawn to lifesyle specialties. Faced with the simple math that disagrees, you're now just attempting subterfuge. Interesting how that goes.
     
  47. georgia_md

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    Dr. G is my girl!! :D
     
  48. lsumedgirl

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    One of my interviewers actually was a pathologist. So, if you're ever have that kind of interview, I guess you're in luck! I wouldn't think it would hurt to express your interest (particularly when they ask about what fields interest you most right now); but just be sure to make it clear that you have an open mind when it comes to specialties.
     
  49. Severus

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    Getting back on topic, I mentioned my interest in neuropathology on all secondaries (when asked) and during interviews and it really didn't seem to hurt me. Just have reasons for an interest... I never tied myself down to the idea though.
     
  50. Tired

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    Ah yes, rarely vs never, obviously I have grossly mischaracterized his argument, since those are clearly two opposite concepts. Seriously, get real.

    It would seem so. I'm talking about surviving residency, lasting 20-30 years in the field with at least a mild-to-moderate degree of satisfaction with their life. I don't what anyone elses definition is, but pardon me if I think I'm being reasonable.

    Not really. My point (again) was that when 10% of my class drops out of one prospective specialty, and instead chooses fields they have never done clinical rotations in, that is indicative of the fact that "burning passion" may not be the only motivation that allows one to be successful. 10% a year, while not a majority, seems to me to be a fairly signficant number.
     
  51. Gut Shot

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    Attending Physician
    I am real. Rare implies highly unusual but possible, never states that at no point in the history of humanity did a given event occur. I know it seems minor, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that you keep your details straight.

    You may be pardoned. Your perspective is that of a med student who still has choices to make and a limited number of days to graduation. When you slip on the long white coat and start actually doing what your career will involve (no matter what the field), things change. All of a sudden it's not just some 4 to 12 week audition with a shelf exam... it's your life. And if you don't like what you're doing, then God help you. As LADoc00 (a real life practicing pathologist) said back in 2005:

    "We are talking about something you will be doing the rest of your life and settling on a back up plan is not an option unless you want to be sitting one day surrounded by empty Ole English bottles with a .357 magnum to your head."

    Great. Get back to us in about three years, after match and after intern and PGY-2 years, with some preliminary outcome analysis of your n = 7.
     

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