What do I do next

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Medstudent 98, Oct 6, 2017.

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  1. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I'm a first year med student who's rethinking this whole med school thing.

    I'll be honest, when I first started considering my career options my first priority was money so naturally I looked into career options that'd help finance a cushy lifestyle. However how I acquired that money was also one of my concerns, I didn't want to pursue a career that'd require me to go against my morals; and maybe this is just the cynic in me speaking but I feel like you can't really thrive in law or business without selling a piece of your soul. Also I'm not cut out for law and I don't have the right personality for business. Combining all this with a love for science, (bio & chem) medicine just seemed like a good fit. Also, the whole guaranteed employment deal (due to a huge doctor shortage in my country) was a huge bonus, especially since youth unemployment is huge in my home country.

    My approach to this whole thing was childish, there are a lot of things I didn't consider that I really should've.

    But I've had doubts about it since day 1, but my parents (who had been against med school in the beginning) told me to at least give it a chance before giving up on something I've wanted for so long.

    I've been harbouring this whole doctor fantasy since I was 14, I even chose my subjects around it back in highschool. I still get envious when I see the upper class men in their scrubs going for rounds.

    I figured I'd know by day 1 whether this was the right decision but it's just gotten harder. The classes interest me, I'm enjoying really enjoying biochem & anatomy and histology and physiology aren't that bad either. But I'm not so fond of clinicals, and honestly with the way they've been teaching us clinical skills I'm starting to think medicine is nothing more than a glammed up service industry job.

    Now looking at all the time and effort I'll have to put into pursuing it, and all the s*** I'm going to have to deal with once I get my degree it seems like a really bad idea.

    I've talked to doctors who went into medicine to help people who hate their jobs which means someone with no real passion for helping people like me may well end up miserable the rest of their lives or jumping off of a roof.

    Problem is even though I don't want medicine anymore I'm finding it hard to leave. I think I spent so much time fantasizing about my future as a doctor and worked so hard getting into med school I almost feel like I can't give up on it. I haven't really figured out what to pursue next, I have some options but nothing concrete. If I woke up tomorrow knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life I'd drop medicine in a heartbeat, but that isn't the case. How do I decide what to do next?

    P.s. sorry for the long post, I just needed to vent.:oops::oops::oops:
     
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  3. OrthoTraumaMD

    OrthoTraumaMD

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    Hmmm...you don't like clinicals but get excited when you see the upperclasmen going to do rounds? So which is it? It sounds like you have more of an issue with the way they are teaching you than the work itself. I suggest that you take some of your free time and see if you can hang out with some attendings. Surgery is great for that. If you want to feel like you're making an impact and aren't just in a service industry, go into an OR. Maybe it will help clear things up.
     
  4. neoevolution

    neoevolution 5+ Year Member

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    So you're enjoying preclinical but think you won't enjoy a life of clinical practice? I'd try to shadow docs in fields you're interested in and see if you could see yourself doing that day to day.
    What sort of clinical skills are you learning and what don't you like about it? Honestly, a lot of jobs have elements of service in them, lawyers and finance guys have clients and bosses too. Physicians have actually more autonomy and opportunity to branch out IMO.
     
    Medstudent 98 likes this.
  5. Dermpire

    Dermpire

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    Welcome to medicine in the 21st century where 10% is practicing medicine and 90% is being a social worker/note writer :/
     
  6. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    When did it become more about smiles and customer satisfaction than the actual art of medicine?
     
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  7. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I've been thinking of aneasthesiology, dermatology, pathology, or completely ditching clinical medicine and going into public health or pharmacology.

    I have been trying to get a chance to go shadow at our local referral hospital but they haven't replied my application yet, apparently the hospital manager doesn't want kids running around his hospital.
     
  8. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    Yeah, I think I really need to take the time to really talk to doctors and hear what they have to say. I'm just hoping I can make up my end by end of this year and hopefully make up for the lost time.
     
  9. Nucleophile1

    Nucleophile1 2+ Year Member

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    This might be a silly question, but have you done any shadowing? If you haven't, I would encourage you to find some doctors to shadow. Your school should be able to facilitate shadowing opportunities.
     
    Medstudent 98 likes this.
  10. cd14+

    cd14+

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    You missed the studies indicating physician burnout, high misery and medicine becoming a business

    We need smiles and patient satisfaction now more than ever considering those who do smile are the ones retiring
     
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  11. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    Actually, not really. I did shadow my GP for a week before the med school interviews but there really wasn't much to see, mostly just people with a cold.

    As I said on a reply above I haven't heard anything from my request to shadow at our local hospital. I think I'll try one of the private hospitals in the area though I think they might be a little more adverse to having me snoop around.
     
  12. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    Oh no, I read those. I read some of them even more than once and for some reason I still went ahead and signed myself up for this.

    Yeah, the older guys seem to really enjoy medicine. I guess it must be cause they practiced at a better time.
     
  13. Nucleophile1

    Nucleophile1 2+ Year Member

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    If you can’t get into a hospital in your area, contact your school’s career counseling office. At most schools (mine included), they will have a list of doctors to shadow or can put you in contact with someone who will let you shadow them.
     
  14. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I will do that. I had previously contacted them to help me decide whether to stay or leave so I'll ask them for help on that during our next meeting.
     
  15. Endoscopy

    Endoscopy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

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    If you want an honest opinion on your reflection/post here sounds more like you're burned out than you actually dislike Medicine. I had similar times at the beginning of medical school.

    Back in high school, I had a physics teacher describe sarcomeres and relate it to tension. I used to think those kinds of problems was what medical school was about. Doing physics/chemistry calculations and giving a patient a unique therapy based on my calculations. Even with organic chemistry, I envisioned my knowledge of R-groups being critical when I chose a therapy.

    Finally when it came closer to application and I did everything like shadowing, externships, etc. I realized that Medicine was not that at all, but rather a people/service profession which required knowledge of the advanced solely to taper it a bit down each year as knowledge became increasingly focused. Lucky for me, I was also super into talking to people, giving advice, and took genuine interests in the lives of others so I was still interested in medicine as I saw it as a combination of science and interacting with people.

    In my first year of medical school I burnt out really quick. I really tried my best for the first few exams but couldn't compete with the curve and really became frustrated with the whole system. Medicine was all memorization, I thought to myself. You can input all of this into a large data-base, we don't need to do all this work. As a result, my motivation really waned because I did not see the point in rote memorizing all of it.

    What possibly pulled me out of this mindset slump was second year material that was obviously more relevant to clinical medicine. More importantly though, things started to build on other things and I realized I had to start using multi-step reasoning to look for symptoms, consider possibly mechanisms that caused those symptoms, and think of a treatment to target that mechanism. It was not as elegant as physics (because sometimes you just had to memorize something), but Medicine was a different flavor that I learnt to respect and enjoy which brought a lot of my interest back. At that point, I'd wished I'd have to opportunity to go back in time to first year and re-learn everything.

    Moving into third year, I realized even that science (basic science as they call it) was hardly ever used besides to pay homage to it by pimping medical students. Over time I realized other interesting things. Medicine is an art form. I know things like notes, basic treatment plans, etc. sound boring and routine but what really interests me now is a quest for efficiency. How can we maximize care? How do we round the fastest while getting the bang for our buck. Should we use Microsoft Access to create faster rounding sheets? What is the most optimal format to write a SOAP note? What body language puts the patients at ease? I really enjoy trying to break down and solve these small problems. Just as importantly, I really want to share my knowledge with new incoming medical students.

    Sorry that turned into an essay but I think the lesson becomes that you may want to give medicine more time. For now, you may be burnt out so if you haven't already done so, learn to practice better self care. Eventually I think there's a good chance you'll find something worth digging deeper into whether that's research in your field, medical education, systems-design, medical literature, etc. Take this for what it's worth.
     
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  16. Peach Newport

    Peach Newport board certified in jewish dermatology 2+ Year Member

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    Law is NOT a field that requires you to sell your soul. Law, like medicine, is a really big place. A lot of my friends are lawyers and they're some of the most ethical people I've ever know.

    There's way more to law than business and criminal law.
     
  17. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    Thank you for that viewpoint, part of me was a kinda hoping this was me just being slightly 'depressed' (it's happened before in highschool). Going a week or 2 with me somewhat removed from my environment and more pessimistic than normal isn't a new thing, and I reasoned that since with medicine the stakes were higher it'd take a little longer to get out of this rut.

    But I also think it may be me realizing my viewpoint on medicine was skewed. Like you said, it's a people profession more than it is a science, and I don't think I was made for customer service. I think I'm more suited for a job behind the scenes.

    I've never been socially inclined. I remember an interaction with this one patient, I was helping take vital signs. A sweet old lady kept going on and on about a ton of things like how she travels 50km or more past bigger, better clinics to that particular clinic because she loved the service.

    I remember thinking the whole time, I don't care. It just wasn't my idea of a stimulating conversation piece, and even though we've been taught to engage patients I just felt like my lack of interest would show through. Small talk is a special kind of hell for me.

    I hope it doesn't take me till my 3rd year to hang up the towel if need be, that's just too much time wasted.

    Also, as a student did you ever worry that within the time taken to become a doctor your priorities may completely change and that even if medicine did turn out to be all you hoped for you'd still hate it because fundamentally you'd be a different person?

    Like I might hang in the towel then realise 5 years down the line this is what I should've done for the rest of my life. Or, I'll have to drag myself out of bed every morning because I didn't act on these worries and now resent my job.
     
  18. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I know you can do a world of good as a lawyer, especially when it comes to defending the little people. I know tons of people going down the law root who really want to make a change in people's lives but hate science. (And a group equally as big in it for the profit.)

    If I didn't hate the prospect of doing paperwork for a living I may have actually given areas like land law a second glance.

    It's just that the most successful lawyers I know are either into business or criminal law; with the exception of that one media lawyer.
     
  19. OrthoTraumaMD

    OrthoTraumaMD

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    I'm not a fan of small talk either. That's why I became a surgeon. Even if you're not a social butterfly, you can find your place in medicine. You can be a pathologist too--your patients never talk to you then!
     
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  20. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I don't think I have the hand eye coordination needed to be a surgeon, but I am considering pathology. It kinda seems like the perfect fit for me. Especially since at one point I had considered switching from pre med to med lab.
     
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  21. Dandine

    Dandine 5+ Year Member

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    Here's my $0.02 on clinical skills; other ways of looking at them if you need it.

    I don't know your school but it seems from reading you're in the starter stages of clinical skills. I'm kind of similar to you as I thought some clinical skills seemed very superficial at the beginning. But then going along, especially once physical exam material rolled around, I was able to see how to narrow down conditions based on history/findings and it became kind of "scientific" to some degree. Long story short, clinical skills are absolutely more than just customer service things (although other aspects of med make it seem otherwise).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the "customer service" parts of med is allowing people to trust you so you can figure out how to help them. If there isn't trust, it will be difficult. Like it or not, humans operate similarly and we (since we're humans too) want to make sure the people that we're letting into our lives to help us have good intentions, which can be hard to do if there's no trust or good communication from those people helping us.

    The point of all this is that while it's annoying the way your class is set up, realize the actuality of clinical skills is there to help you link the patient to their disease. If it doesn't seem like you're finding that mindset in class then definitely shadow in various fields to get an idea of them in practice.

    Hope that helps somewhat; if anything I said needs clarification feel free to ask (got kind of long!). Best to you.
     
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  22. Goro

    Goro 7+ Year Member

    Go talk to a counselor. How are your grades so far??
     
  23. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I started seeing a career counsellor about a month back, I think it helps but the whole process is moving very slowly.

    As for grades I don't know, they haven't let us know any of our official grades. We only gotten back mock test scripts and quizzes that weren't being added to CA.
    The whole thing is making me anxious honestly.
     
  24. Goro

    Goro 7+ Year Member

    No, I meant go see a mental health specialist. It's too early in the game to give up now. The reason I asked about your grades is to see how you're doing with the material. A truly hopeless case would be failing multiple courses. I'm not getting that read from you (yet). You should at least try to find out your class standing.

    But you are correct...medicine IS a service industry job. Didn't get that vibe when you volunteered? This IS why we make you volunteer...service to others and all that.
     
  25. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I know its still early on, and I may not have really given it a chance. But the last thing I want to do is pour my time and energy into this to go drop out towards the end. I don't think I'd be able to cope with that. We are gonna review our last test tomorrow so that will give me an idea or were I stand.
     
  26. Lannister

    Lannister 2+ Year Member

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    That's totally fair that you don't want to waste your time on something you're not going to follow through with. But it might be even worse to drop out without thinking it through and then regret it for the rest of your life. Ultimately you should make whatever decision feels right to you, but if I were in your shoes I'd give it some more time.
     
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  27. Dr G Oogle

    Dr G Oogle

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    The "clinicals" you get in the first and second year of Med school are not representative of actual clinical medicine. And 3rd and 4th year are glorified shadowing experiences where you mostly try not to be in the way as per the quote "show me a Med student who only triples my work and I will kiss [their] feet." That being said if you like the science you will probably like at least some specialties, like the ones you mentioned. And third year gives you a reasonable albeit myopic view (limited to 1 or 2 facilities) of clinical practice. Also an MD is a very lucrative/useful degreee even if you don't practice medicine. I've seen a handful of students who have come to Med school specifically just to get the degree and then get some consulting job (though that's not the norm). Basically the MD opens more doors then it closes so even if you decide all of a sudden you hate clinical medicine you can still put it to use, you can even get a JD or MBA after and believe me if you do that on top of an MD you will have a heck of a lot more marketabality then just those degrees alone. If I was younger I'd seriously consider going for a JD and doing something like patent law or consulting.
     
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  28. Forthefuture

    Forthefuture Endless Dreams 7+ Year Member

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    You should talk with your school's counselor and maybe even your dean. Whatever decision you make in the end, make sure it's without regrets.
     
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  29. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    Well I have decided that I'm definitely going to finish this semester and if need be the whole academic year so I can take the time to volunteer and really examine my other career options.
     
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  30. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    I've been thinking of seeking out staff members in the specialities I'm interested in and hearing what they have to say about them.

    I'm not sure about the without regrets parts (I believe that with every decision there will be regrets), but I do want to make sire that even with these regrets I'm still more than content with what I've chosen.
     
  31. Jojos

    Jojos

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    don't know man, even when i was most miserable in med school (and i was incredibly miserable at some points of it. really hit rock bottom) i always knew that it is what i wanted to do and couldn't quit....i really think you need a strong passion for this. i'm not saying quit, but i am saying take some time to really think about it.
     
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  32. Medstudent 98

    Medstudent 98

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    True, I mean each day I find a new problem to pile onto the list. It is now a mounting list of negatives. Logically this isn't the way to go. I guess you'd have to be crazy for medicine to continue with it till the end.
     

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