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is medicine worth it if dermatology is all you want?

Discussion in 'Dermatology' started by LasagnaBoy, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. LasagnaBoy

    LasagnaBoy 2+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2006

    I am an undergrad pre-health sciences major who is finishing up my last semester of undergrad. I have been considering the medical profession, but after doing much research, the only field of medicine I am very interested in is dermatology. Now, I know that it may definitely change later on if I do medicine since I have not even been exposed to the different medical fields yet (which would come from M3 and M4, correct?). But from my observations of doctors at this young age of my life and my assessment of my strengths, weaknesses, and personality, I think dermatology would fit me best. My question is the following: is it even worth going into medicine if dermatology seems to be the only field you are interested in? I hear all about how competitive dermatology is, and this scares me since I would be investing so much money, time, and energy into a single field that is so difficult to get into. While I have not had a day of medical school and cannot accurately judge where I stand compared to everyone else in medical school, I do not believe that I would be in the top 10% of medical students. If I work really hard, I would perhaps make top 30% or even 20%, but I highly doubt top 10%

    This is complicated also by the fact that I am very adamant on living in a big city, so I would VERY preferrably want a dermatology residency in a big city. I am a racial minority, and I have had bad experiences living in rural areas where the population is mainly white, which is why I do not ever want to be too far away from a large, diverse urban area.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for reading this.
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  3. old_boy

    old_boy Contrarian 10+ Year Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Just out of curiosity, why is derm all you are interested in?

    Derm is very very competetive. Take a look at the following match data - it is a year old but probably similar to this years:

    Bottom line is that only about 60% of people who rank derm #1 in the match get it, and this is out of a pool that is very competetive to begin with.

    That being said, if you *really* want to do derm and are willing to work hard to get it, then go for it. Just make sure that you have some sort of back-up plan if it doesn't work out (i.e., going into family medicine and building a strong derm side of your practice).
  4. cdql

    cdql 7+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    Yes and no.

    If you plan on keeping an open mind, then yes, medicine is worth entering. I find it hard to believe someone so young has already ruled out all other fields of medicine (especially since it's impossible to see them all). There's no problem with wanting to enter derm but keeping an open mind along the way and seeing if anything else catches your eye.

    If you are definitely set on derm (money and lifestyle huh?) and don't intend to pursue any other field, then I don't think entering medical school is such a good idea.
  5. Faebinder

    Faebinder Slow Wave Smurf 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2006
    This thread is like saying... If I cant marry the top model of the world... are the rest of the girls worth dating?

    Dermatology is not a good reason to go into medicine. Medicine is a good reason to go into medicine.
  6. redjack2k

    redjack2k New Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    I agree with Faebender. You go into medicine because you can't sleep at night simply worrying about your PCR's and whether your gels will turn out better tomorrow. You go to sleep at night reflecting on how you treated Patient X and how you comforted Patient Y or how you were able to help Patient Z face death.

    Keep an open mind, I for one never realized how awesome endocrinology was (yea...don't make fun!). There are other just as interesting specialties and practices of medicine out there. Family medicine doctors more or less have the training to "be it all", especially in a rural setting (they're the only doctor within a 100 mile radius, say). There sure are Ob/Gyn's who subspecialize in maternal/fetal medicine, neonatology, and even reproductive endocrinology. The sky really is the limit, and it's really hard to think that you've already narrowed it down to Dermatology.

    If perceived lifestyle is your biggest concern, I suggest you sit down and think about it. 4 years of GRUELING medical school (because Dermatology is a very difficult residency to get into) and then 3-5 years of Residency pretty much where they send you (only 60% get their first choice, if at all) all for a perceived lifestyle. Not only that, think of medical school as the best of the best and they are your peers. You may very well end up being the last in your class, not getting into AOA. Basically think really hard about why you want to do something. Perceived lifestyle should be at the bottom because in the end you will be very unhappy and wondering "what if."
  7. TexPre-Med

    TexPre-Med Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2003
    haha. My new goal is to marry a top model!
  8. LasagnaBoy

    LasagnaBoy 2+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Thanks for the replies. Well, perceived lifestyle was part of it. Another part was because my family has a history of skin conditions, and I myself have been on accutane, so I have had much contact with dermatologists which have helped me through many years of my life.

    When you apply for residency, do you apply to a specific program at a specific school, and do you just apply to a specific field without a specified location and go wherever it is in the country they want you?
  9. TexPre-Med

    TexPre-Med Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2003
    Unless you score in the top 99% of step 1 or something rediculous, I'd say that you have relatively little say where you end up in Derm. You interview wherever you get the chance and rank your favorites near the top. Then hope and pray.
  10. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster 2+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    It will be a high risk manouvre.
  11. artist80


    Mar 27, 2007
    Lasanga Boy, I agree with the previous posters that you should probably have additional reasons to go into medicine -- things like wanting to work with people, enjoying science, enjoying the rewards of successfully completing challenging work. I just matched into a dermatology residency and can testify that I had absolutely no idea if I would actually match or not until match day itself. If you would be absolutely devastated by not matching into dermatology and could think of nothing else that you would enjoy within medicine, then med school may not be the best choice. It is a lot of time and hard work along the way, you need to be able to enjoy the process in order to make it worth it.
  12. artist80


    Mar 27, 2007
    Oh, and also, when you apply for residency positions, you pick which programs you apply to. But the process will decide for you where you end up, based on your rank list and the programs' rank lists where you interviewed.
  13. vkrn

    vkrn Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    actually, the NRMP numbers are skewed towards overestimating the number of people who can get into derm, as they take the ~60% from the following:

    those who match / those who were able to rank at least one derm program on their rank order list (meaning, those who got at least one interview and ranked it)

    This year's numbers:

    For about 900 applicants, there were about 300 spots. Meaning about 1/3 of people who pay $ for ERAS to send an app to derm will ultimately match.

    Trust me on this one--I'm going into derm and I've crunched the numbers. Also, these numbers accord with two current derm profs who have done this year's stats.

    To the OP: The majority of people end up changing their minds about what specialty they want to enter during the 3rd year of med school, when their strengths and weaknesses are truly tested. I didn't even know I was going to take the derm plunge until mid-October.... of the month my residency apps were due. It goes both ways.
  14. eternalrage

    eternalrage Even Kal has bad days... 10+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Is that the only field where you have clinical volunteering? If so, then you might like something else. If not, you may not like it at all in actuality.

    No. It comes from MS3 and MS4.

    I'm curious please expand on this.

    You want to look at acne and psoriasis all day long? Sure then I guess, why not.

    Haaaaaave you heard about how competitive medicine is? How about getting into med school itself?

    You and me both. The top 10% can go jump in a lake. Of boiling acid. To coin a cheesy and f**king annoying line we see alot in preallo, "you don't need good grades to get where you want!" Yeah, you just need lots of money.

    Curiousity again. Can you expand on the bolded section?

    Also do you want to live in a city because, if the **** goes down, you want your peeps to roll up and bounce some punks

    I want ice cream.

    You're very welcome.
  15. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Inside the tesseract
    Why not consider going to Physician Assistant school? It only takes two years You can specialize in derm. You can do much of what the dermatologist can do, avoiding the high risk stuff that leads to malpractice lawsuits. You'll still make good money and have a great lifestyle. Another route to this is becoming a specialized nurse practioner, but it takes longer. A friend of mine did the latter and is happy with his choice. He specializes in Botox injections.
  16. rich1234

    rich1234 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2007
    I cant believe the non chalant attitudes towards dermatology, Its just acne and psoriasis and that someone could ONLY want it for the money and "lavish lifestyle". I struggled with terrible acne in my teens and this had a devastating effect on my self confidence, personality, and overall mental health. Skin diseases are very real conditions that millions of people struggle with everyday. I plan on going into dermatology and its not for the money.
  17. ajce9

    ajce9 Banned Banned

    Mar 31, 2007

    You mean you plan on TRYING to go into dermatology.

    But if you don't get in, you can still treat someones severe acne as an FP.;)
  18. rich1234

    rich1234 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2007
    Nah, Im determined Ill get it. but I have a long way to go, so maybe something else will catch my eye too
  19. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor 5+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Not an expert in this area but I believe there are only something like 38 or 60 or less than 100 slots in Dermatology residencies nationwide. I know the number is real small but not sure what it is, with hundreds of applicants. My close friend is trying for it so I see what he is going through trying to get it but I'm certainly not an expert in this area.

    I do know one thing:

    Determined = top .5% board score + research + in the loop with someone. Very, Very competitive.

    Good luck if that's what you want. Not immpossible because people match every year in it but they worked insanely hard for it (and they are smart):)
  20. (Pants)^2

    (Pants)^2 aka Square Pants 5+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2005
    You know nothing of medicine and, I glean, the world in general. I think I would punch my intern in the colon if he had no interest in anything medical except dermatology. <Whoomp!!> I'll bet you'll take an interest in GI now that you will be pooping blood for the next decade. naive moron

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