Seeking advice on potential med career.

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Oct 15, 2020
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Hello all,

A series of professional and academic experiences has led me to consider pursuing a career in the field of medicine in order to explore its relationship to security studies and international relations—topics that I had studied and worked in before.

As of now, I am scheduled to attend grad school in the following fall (had to defer to receive necessary surgeries). In the meantime, I’ve managed to certify as an EMT and am currently pursuing my advanced certification with the hope of gaining clinical experience to better inform my decisions regarding future endeavors. While in grad school, I hope to further study health and security with a focus on responding to complex emergencies both man-made and natural, albeit from the sphere of policy.

For me, the question now is where to go from there. I know I’m putting the cart before the horse so to speak, however: having some skeleton or framework regarding a plan sort of helps with goal-setting and achievement; and this route/dream/passion/etc. feels right both cognitively and emotionally. I know that I want to pursue a terminal degree, however, I don’t know if it should be a PhD or an MD. In the limited time spent taking EMT courses, I’ve come to enjoy the clinical side of healthcare. However, I would like to spend time exploring, researching, and potentially educating others regarding my other area of study/interest. How would one balance these interests and duties? Would I have to sacrifice professional capabilities in order to be both a clinician and a researcher (i.e. having a PhD, but being an NP or PA; or being an MD but only having an MA/MPH/etc.)? As always, advice and guidance is greatly appreciated.


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Volunteer Staff
2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2018
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you see really confused and all over the place right now. A good place to start would be to start shadowing different professionals and see what clicks. You really cannot decided something so big without seeing it in real life.
also, spend time in the lab, and see how you feel about that.

also, learn the differences between professions. as a PhD you cannot treat patients, MD/DO can do both research and clinical things, NP is a nursing degree, PA is physician assistant - they have very different scope of responsibilities than MD does.
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Just a side note--apparently most med schools want you to have finished any pending grad program by the time you matriculate. So maybe become a master's student if you're otherwise about to start a Ph.D..