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personality types in medicine

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Suey, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Suey

    Suey Member
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    Do you notice any trend of personalities of people who are in medicine? Like my friends say that they can't see me as a physician because of my personality type. They can see me as anything else (dentist, pharm, etc) not a doc though. I'm more mellow and kinda reserved, so they can't see me dealing with all these high stress situations. I know I work well under stress, but I don't know exactly how much stress since in med, I know it's the ultimate high stress level. Since I don't have any family or friends that are in medicine now, I was wondering if you guys think that certain personality types thrive better than others surviving through medicine?
     
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  3. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    I think this varies a lot based on the type of medicine you want to practice. A surgeon for example, could be an anal-retentive jackass and be a really great surgeon. The same person would not make a very good primary care doctor.

    A quiet, shy and deliberate person could make a great opthalmologist, say, but maybe not the greatest ER doc.

    Plus in any specialty, regardless of your precise personality type, I think what really matters is how much you love what you're doing. If you love it, that will show, and you will become good at it. If you hate it, your patients will know, and your work will suffer.

    In short, don't worry what people say about whether or not you fit their stereotype of what a doctor should be like. Only you know if you are meant to be a doctor, and you can make yourself into a good one, a bad one, a stereotypical one, a unique one, a red one or a blue one!
     
  4. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    I think that one of the most important qualities for a doctor to have is confidence. Confidence in his/her ability to learn the material, interact well with patients, work well with other health care professionals.... if you believe in yourself, then nothing should stand in your way.

    Certainly, there are some people whose personalities inherently cast them off from mainstream society. However, aside from these occasional cases, I would say that most people have the personality to become doctors, or any profession that involves caring for people and interacting with them on a personal level.

    Furthermore, I completely agree with the above post... there are many, many specialites in medicine and each has its own personality. If you're shy, you might not like surgery or EM, but you may be good at radiology, internal medicine, peds... or a dozen other specialities that don't require a "forceful" personality.

    Don't worry. Become a doctor if that's what you want to do. The rest will work itself out.
     
  5. I'm quiet, shy, and deliberate and I see myself in ophthal, radiology, or anesthesiology mainly. Although I love working with people... but yeah a different perrsonality would make a better ER doc or psychiatrist, etc. where you are doing more talking and extroversion is key to doing a good job.
     
  6. Celestron2000

    Celestron2000 Senior Member
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    You know, you might be suprised. I'm also generally quiet and reserved, but when I did some clinical volunteer work that involved taking histories, I found that I really enjoyed interacting with all sorts of people. I was completely comfortable, and loved it.
     
  7. Yeah, I love taking histories. Dealing with people one on one and sitting down is one thing, but working in an ER is another.
     
  8. finnpipette

    finnpipette Fallen from Grace
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    I think just as specialities vary, personalities in medicine vary. however, I do notice that people in specific specialities tend to have similar personalities. This is most noticeable in ortho, the jock boy's club.
     
  9. Probably my last choice.
     
  10. maybe is this is why i saw so many jock boys at georgetown. they screamed "hot chicks!" at me and i ran away fast.
     
  11. Don't forget, as you progress through med school, your confidence levels will rise. This will translate into a more assertive personality. :)
     
  12. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    Same here.
     
  13. Plastix.MD

    Plastix.MD Junior Member
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    Pefection & detail, go getting gunner, willing to give it all for the sake of your speciality, and that is why I plan to choose general surgery, plastics. :clap:
     
  14. MNgrrl

    MNgrrl Senior Member
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    Actually, I work in an ER right now, and feel that it is an interest of mine (at this point...we'll see what happens when I get to rotations...) even though I consider myself more "reserved" than others. In my experience, I think the docs that are quiet and more reserved are at least equally efficient and effective with patient management. In the ER, it is important to keep the situation as calm as possible, and though things need to be done quickly, I would say that it is a strength to be quiet because you will invariably rub off on other people I agree with quideam that the most important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing, and you have confidence in your ability. Your personality might dispose you to choosing certain specialties over another, but I think it is a stereotype that EM physicians and surgeons are more extroverted -- it may turn out to be something you really like.
     
  15. cardsurgguy

    cardsurgguy Senior Member
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    It depends on the specialty that the physicians are in.

    I'll give you an example from my past experience to illustrate this...

    For multiple summers I worked as a PCA in cardiac surgical critical care (heart transplant unit and general cardiac critical care) and also as something called a heart holder (somewhat of an OR tech just for cardiac surgery) in which I assisted with cardiac surgery

    I can tell you that many cardiac surgeons are assholes (surgeons in general are known as assholes relative to other physicians, but cardiac surgeons are known as the assholes of the assholes)
    there were times after all day surgeries I drove home with a headache because they were screaming at everybody in the room over nothing

    then this past summer, due to a mistake by the hospital, I wound up working in the float pool, and worked all over the place, but mostly in the ER
    the ER staff was looking at me like I was weird when I was surprised that the ER physicians were actually nice people who looked at and treated everybody equally whether or not they were a physician, and also didn't have a huge ego

    just goes to show you that there's just as much variety in terms of personality in medicine as with the general population
     
  16. CalBeE

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    Suey,

    HOnestly, take what your friends say like a grain of sand...cause they're not physicians themselves. Often times, people outside the health care field are not aware of the variety of specialties (and personalities) out there.

    For example, some of the people I know associate physicians with ER or Surgery room immediately...and we all know there are many more other types of doctors than those.

    In particular, I heard that Pathologists are more reserved and quiet, probably because they're not like family practice doctors who see and talk to patients all the time, also, and people who are drawn to Pathology are probably those who like thinking/problem solving.
     
  17. skypilot

    skypilot 2K Member
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    I see a dentist as somewhat high stress since you are basically performing surgery on patients who are awake.

    If you are quiet and reserved there are plenty of specialties that may work for you. If you can handle the stress maybe Anesthesia but then you will have to deal with the surgeons. ;) Also consider Psychiatry, Radiology, Dermatology, Pathology and Family Practice.
     
  18. emily69

    emily69 going a bit crazy here
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    I think many personality types could thrive in medicine depending on the specialty. But that doesn't really answer your question per se. I think there are some traits that people who choose medicine have in common. I've noticed that they are really goal oriented, some to a point of obsession. I've also noticed that they are willing to make sacrifices in their present lives in order to invest in their future. Overall, they are hard-working, and intelligent, but not all are ridiculously bright.

    I think one of the things that will carry you through the "arduous path", is confidence in the face of extreme stress. I know that there will be a zillion times in the next 8-10 years where I'd feel like I'm gonna crack. As cheesy as this sounds, you have to keep the big picture in mind and believe in yourself. If you don't believe that you'll make a fine doctor, no one else will.
     
  19. Ol' Blue Eyes

    Ol' Blue Eyes Junior Member
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    Excellent thread!


    :thumbup:
     
  20. avicoo

    avicoo SDN Donor
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    I have worried about this issue some myself. I talked to one doctor who made me more comfortable about this. He pointed out that much of medicine is routine and repetitive (even when you are talking about an ER where you could see anything and everything). I think when you are so practiced and confident in what you do these personality differences become less important.
     
  21. kito

    kito Big Evil
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    It is quite a sweeping indictment but I won't dispute it because you've seen more than have I. I will say that I've met some really cool surgeons and some really dopey physicians, so go figure.
     
  22. MumbleJumble

    MumbleJumble Member
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    A couple different doctors have told me that you don't choose a specialty, it chooses you. They said that most people end up choosing a field in which they find people with similar personalities. This is mostly because they pick people that they would like to emulate as their mentors.
     
  23. blondesareeasy

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    Excellent point. And as you attain more confidence, hopefully you will acquire the "people skills" that allow tolerance for mistake, and gentle guidance for others that will respect you for the above gifts.

    Nobody wants or needs an arrogant, brilliant know-it-all. Surgeons save lives. So do nursing assistants, eeking out a meager living, just on a different parallel.
     
  24. BMBPSU2008

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    Says the Vet four years later..
     
  25. Yeah, wow that's a big bump. I wrote that 4 years ago! :eek:
     
  26. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"
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    That's what happens when you post a lot. :D
     
  27. PeepshowJohnny

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    Zombie thread~! Run!
     
  28. :)

    Imagine if I had joined SDN as a pre-med, instead of during my MS-III year!
     
  29. BTW, nurse aides here make between $9-11 an hour, not including overtime, weekend pay, etc.

    Pre-tax, if you're assuming I work 80 hours/week (NOT always a good assumption during the busy clinical years), I make around $10 per hour.

    :(
     

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