Path future

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by El Duderino, Sep 19, 2002.

  1. El Duderino

    El Duderino Senior Member
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    Hi everyone. I'm considering path as a future career, but I'm still four years or so away from graduating (IMG from Scandinavia, different setup). I'm hearing that although pathology is reasonably easy to get into right now, it is getting harder every year.

    Now, I'm wondering if it will follow the radiology trend and get really REALLY hard to get into a couple of years down the line. This is of course all very speculative, but I'd like to get a second opinion from you guys and gals.

    Do you think getting into pathology will be as difficult as getting into radiology in five years?
     
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  3. scopemonkey

    scopemonkey Member
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    Although pathology is getting more competitive, I don't think it is for everybody and it is obviously very different form other medical specialties. Part of the appeal of radiology is the promise of a high income. I don't see pathologists reaching those kinds of economic hights so it won't be quite as attractive to applicants.

    As far as the hours are concerned, if you want to be a halfway decent pathologist, you need to do a huge amount of reading which makes up for the hours not spent on call
    I think pathology is more of a calling than something to fall back on if they don't like the floors. I just hope people realize that before they apply.
     
  4. Mindy

    Mindy Senior Member
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    I too think that some of the issues that Scope has identified will impact the future of pathology training.

    I think that "lifestyle" concerns, while certainly warranted in many regards, are causing people to seek certain fields. I think a study of the anesthesia and radiology threads demonstrate this point clearly on SDN.

    I think that the current most desirable specialty is radiology. Med students with high grades/boards are seeking positions in radiology and thus shutting out average and below average applicants. People may then be using pathology as a back-up field, because the buzz is that it is markedly similar (oh how I disagree) to radiology.

    My guess is that a lot of folk who do consider pathology as a field that is "like radiology, but not quite as good" are going to be terribly disappointed with the actualities of practice. Furthermore I will guess that the attrition rate from residencies 1 year out will be high because many people do have this "back-up/safety" opinion of the field.

    I hope that program directors are not so dazzled by the increased numerical component of applications that they overlook motivation for seeking pathology as a career when evaluating candidates. I personally think it takes a unique personality to become a pathologist. It is an odd job with odd demands, one that mirrors no other field in medicine.

    caveat emptor.

    Mindy

    P.S. really I'm preaching to the choir...this is actually a great bunch of folks on this pathology forum, all of whom I would be happy to share the bench with!
     
  5. El Duderino

    El Duderino Senior Member
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    I would agree that the trend for some specialties to become people's fallback options is definitely a lamentable one.

    If I'm not mistaken, this was partly the case with surgery/anaesthesiology before, and if you go by some of the posts on the SDN forums, it might be the same way with rads/path a couple of years down the line. And, as they say, that's not gonna be good for anyone.

    Oh well, it's not my problem yet, so I'll just keep my fingers crossed that things work out until then. For all I know, the option to come to the US for a residency might not even be available when I'm done with my studies... :-/
     
  6. Mindy

    Mindy Senior Member
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    Duderino...

    Demonstrate your motivation for pathology by researching, getting acquainted with faculty both in the US and Sweden, attending path meetings, joining some of the prominent pathology organizations.

    I do not believe anything is impossible if you plan for it. If you want to study path in the U.S. develop a plan *now* for it. This really should be regardless of what the competition may or may not be like in the future.

    Mindy
     
  7. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    It will definately be harder and harder for FMGs in the coming years. But, unless things dramatically change there still should be positions for outstanding people.

    I don't think Path will ever get as popular as rads or gas, because personally I don't believe lifestyle was the driving issue for the resergence of both. The large increase in rads and gas appear to me at least to have been driven by the hugh increase in income and opportunites. For gas there is also the nurse anest. issue but which has contributed to the large change. But, path hasn't had this huge income change recently. The residency has become more attractive with the fewer years (though you folks are going to feel more pressure than ever to do fellowships). But, I just don't get the gut feeling that the jump in applications is going to be as high as everyone thinks.
     
  8. scopemonkey

    scopemonkey Member
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    I personally enjoy having so many FMGs in pathology. It makes the conversation during the day more interesting since they bring in different life experiences and viewpoints and often a lot of experience to the program. :D
     
  9. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Me too, the ones in my program are smart, work hard and are very friendly folks. Normally the FMGs that can get into US residencies are all of these things. Much tougher for them.
     
  10. Brougham

    Brougham Member
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    Okay having recently discovered this site I am feeling the need to put in my two cents on this thread.
    Here's my story.... I am an MS4 at Med. College of Wisconsin (or MCOW as it is affectionately known). Out of 204 students in my class there are 9, yes 9, of us going into path. In last years graduating class of 197 there were 10 people who went into path. Is this a national trend? I don't know and that's my question to all of you. How many people are going into path from your schools?
    In addition, I'll add that the people going into path from my school are not doing it as a back-up. All of them are excellent canidates and good all-around people. In fact this year we have two people applying to path that are AOA.
    So, to tie this all to the topic of the thread...I do believe path will get more competitive in the years to come. I agree with several other previous posts that path will probably never reach the level of insanity that rads and gas have, simply because the $ isn't really there.
    Regardless of how competitive path does get I don't think that fact alone should prevent anyone from applying. Path is a great field and I think if you apply wisely you'll get a spot that your happy with.
     
  11. Mindy

    Mindy Senior Member
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    Brougham:

    I saw Wisconsin's numbers last year and was shocked, honestly. But when I checked out other lists of path applicants from each school, I realized Wisconsin was an anomaly. This year, we have 6 path applicants... I am not sure if this is a national trend, though buzz on the street is that its not...

    BTW, you must have some motivating pathology faculty at Wisconsin. 19 Pathologists in 2 years is certainly remarkable!

    Mindy
     
  12. Brougham

    Brougham Member
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    Mindy,
    Yeah, I kinda figured we were probably just path freaks out here.
    6 at your program seems like quite a few as well though. I think this new interest is great for path as a field in general. :)
     
  13. Mindy

    Mindy Senior Member
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    Honestly, I almost had a coronary (ask scopemonkey!) when I found out we had 6 going into path.

    I think it may be the beginning of a brand new wave of enthusiasm and growth for the field... (just hope I get a decent spot first!)

    Mindy
     

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