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what specialty and why?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DarkChild, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member
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    i thought it'd be interesting to hear what people on this board are thinking about specializing in and why...
    I'd love to start, but I'm not sure what to say. If pressed, I'll say neurology and point to my interest in neuroscience and how the nervous system works.
     
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  3. Dr. Wall$treet

    Dr. Wall$treet Membership Revoked
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    ha funny you said neurologist because aas i was starting to read ur post i was thinking of the answer to give you about what to say if an interiveer asked you that... and i was going to say just be honest. I did in an interivew and said i had no idea cause i lacked the exposure really to a field as a doctor so i had no base to make a desicion and i hvae known soo many docs and none hav ever known going in what they wanted to be or atleast what they thought never turned out to be.. so bottom line i said i have NO idea.. he agreed and told me this story about how he intervies pople who say they want to be neurosurgerns and then he asks why, and the people say they find the brain interesting haha and he laughed. So ya unless you konw why then dont worry and just be honest.. if you really do have the desire to go into a field. great and just tell why. So either way honesty wins.
     
  4. UCLAstudent

    UCLAstudent I'm a luck dragon!
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    I want to do either pediatrics (or pediatric oncology) or Ob/Gyn. I am leaning toward pediatrics, I think.
     
  5. Green912

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    If nothing eles I'll be an MCAT, AMCAS, AACOMAS, LOR expert. Otherwise it's Emergency. :)
     
  6. ::Seabass::

    ::Seabass:: bringing burkas back!
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    ortho, although people always seem to think I'm crazy because it is so competitive. why work hard to get into medical school to just survive? the people I've interviewed with have actually brought up this speciality as something I might be interested in from reviewing my file. I'm an ex-jock who spent way too much time seeing ortho docs and have had two surgeries. I also am a civil engineer which gives me the structural engineering background and some mechanical. that, and I like working with arrogant men. :)
     
  7. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!
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    Hi all,

    Opthalmology, definetly! The eye is one of the most interesting organs. FYI, just by looking at the retina, you can tell whether the patient has diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV, etc. IMHO, ophto provides the best balance b/w clinic time and OR, its very clean (ppl usually dont vomit when they come to get their eyes checked), and not to mention the income (i dont care what ppl say, when you're in debt and you've worked so hard, income IS important).

    DOCTORSAIB
     
  8. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    Proctology is my dream. I've always been interested in human excretion, and my general love of the bung holes of humanity has motivated my drive through undergraduate and graduate studies. I also feel I will be able to get more substantial hands on and "down and dirty" interaction with my patients than in any other field of medicine :p

    in all seriousness, i'm thinking an internal subspecialty like nephrology since i'm interested in chronic disease management. but, i'm up for chaning my mind :)
     
  9. :rolleyes: well I was gonna say proctology...then my dream was undermined... :sigh:
     
  10. carmell1981

    carmell1981 Junior Member
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    Internal Medicine - it's the most challenging and you can get into so many things yet still remain primary care and treat the person as a whole.
     
  11. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member
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    Neuropsych.

    maybe. I leaning to maybe something like neurology/psych. But, psych can really turn into... who know what but an extreme lack of science.
    I like neurosciences, thus both the afore mentioned. Research can be very relevant and interelated in these areas.

    What i'm prettty sure is: I don't care for a surgical specialty (it's not worth the years, though I don't mind it if I really like a specialty), no matter what do NOT make me do ER. I'd rather be a PhD researcher, or teach or something.

    I'd want to treat chronic conditions. I like that psych shapes all aspects of his life. And, partly the mystery and strangeness to psych i like.

    I don't like the lack of science, that may be eminent with that. Not sure though.
     
  12. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!
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    Marakh,

    True, and Ob/gyn also has among the highest malpractice insurance of all specialities. Its great that as an Ob/gyn doc you help give birth, but did you know that when complications happen, YOU are usually blamed for it and that you can still be sued until the patient turns 18. Food for thought..:)

    DOCTORSAIB
     
  13. marakah2

    marakah2 Member
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    Yeah, I know that there is the risk of lots and lots of lawsuits, but i would rather risk that doing something i love than go into a field with more "safety" and be bored.

    I also believe that there is going to be malpractice/lawsuit reform coming sometime quickly, since although there is higher risk involved with certain specialties---ALL physicians are subject to being sued.

    Plus, I doubt that i'll ever get sued because I'll never make a mistake (haha)
     
  14. Joe Joe on da Radio

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    academic neurology/emergency neurology would be such a wonderful career for me.

    why? b/c neuroscience is the most rapidly expanding field and filled with intrigue and excitement. =D

    -joe joe
     
  15. JScrusader

    JScrusader Senior Member
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    otolaryngology- wide range of patients and disease, lots of cool surgeries, lasers and microscopes, one of the few specialties where objective data can be used to determine success, fairly easy lifestyle
     
  16. beamiestface

    beamiestface Member
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    Psych is a hugely broad field. I would say that some of the more social psych-ish divisions within psych have less of a scientific base, but neuropsychology certainly does not.
     
  17. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    Does anyone know where surgical oncology falls in the broad categories the AMA uses? Is it internal medicine or surgery or what? Or is it you first specialize in surgery in an area of the body and then learn cancer stratagies?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  18. JScrusader

    JScrusader Senior Member
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    AegisZero,

    I would guess that a general surgery residency would be required and then you would do a cancer fellowship. I guess it depends on what type of cancer you want to deal with. Head and neck cancers are usually dealt with by neurosurgeons and ENTs, etc.
     
  19. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Ophthalmology! I agree :).
     
  20. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    Income sure is, my cousin who is a specialist in glaucoma surgeries, is only working 2 days out of the week, and getting $80,000 that is $40,000 for each day. She does it like that now because she just gave birth and has little kids. 2days making $80,000 u cant beat that.

    Anesthesiology is for me though, you cant beat it, 4yrs residency, and i love the patient, and the OR atmosphere, and being the liason between patient and surgeon. Plus the 4days work week!!!!
    Plus my cousin in law, and prof's wife just got job offers starting at $350,000...hmmm, now thats something :clap:
     
  21. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    Money is almost a nonfactor in choosing a speciality. If you lack interest in the field and do it solely for the money, you will make extremely costly mistakes. Costly to the patient and to yourself. Think about a field of biology that interests you greatly, and think about what specialty demands that subcategory of knowledge. Trust me, you will be a lot happier and a lot better doctor. All doctors make good money, its the interest in the field that really matters. When you are making 200,000 and loving your job, does it really matter that your friend is unhappy making 275,000? I think at that level differences are trivial.

    So definitely, choose based on interest. You are your patients will be a lot happier.
     
  22. jenni4476

    jenni4476 Senior Member
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    Right now I'm thinking about ER for these reasons:

    1) I function extremely well in tense emergency situations-it's like a switch flips in my head and I go into high gear and am able to screen out distractions-this is where I'm actually at my best.

    2) The regular scheduling rocks!

    3) I have to have variety in the minute-to-minute, day-to-day tasks I do and I don't think I'd ever be bored with ER.

    Although what do I know, my only clinical experience so far is limited to subacute care. I'm not planning on making up my mind totally until I get to actually being able to function in those areas. I'm not opposed to doing a long residency even though I'll be almost 30 by the time I start medschool-the work is what's important to me.
     
  23. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**
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    Probably Pediatrics,Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases,or Pathology.Not sure.... even Emergency Pediatrics? The more I learn tho about a specialty the more my answers change.I have become interested in Infectious Diseases after doing some research.I am now concentrating on Clinical Science.(BS)
    (I am actually leaning more toward Emergency Pediatrics or Pathology.) I am so fascinated with the causes of disease; I like the idea of being given the specimen and trying to determine the existence (or absence of) disease. It's sad really; I've even made Advance my home page.....Now I can't wait to do the really cool stuff.
    :)
    (Ok medicine is soooo fascinating I try not to lock myself in to just one thing yet.Like to keep those options open.:D )
     
  24. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    i cant stop laughing at this. these statements are just dripping in naivete :laugh: :rolleyes:
     
  25. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!
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    DW,

    Haha....i was thinking the same thing. I agree, you should choose a specialty that appeals to you, but medicine is often such a huge investment (at various levels) that to think "money is a nonfactor" is IMO unrealistic.

    Ophto Mudphud, ophthalmology rocks! I work in an ophto clinic and basically do what the residents do...work-up and present patients to the attendings, train rotating med students/residents, attend lectures, etc. Ive learned a truck load about the eye since I started (3 months ago) and I know theres a ton that Ive yet to still see/learn. In conclusion, I know what im applying for when the time comes...:)

    DOCTORSAIB
     
  26. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    Wow, I didn't realize that 50,000 a year when you are already making 200,000 was worth not hating your job.

    Thanks for clarifything this! (with massive sarcasm) :rolleyes:
     
  27. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    Um...... $40k/day doing glaucoma surgery and she only works 2 days/wk? Even if she works 10hrs/dy that's $4000/hr.. opthy is good money but u r sayin u can make $4.2Million/yr workin 2 days/wk (~20-25hrs/wk) doing glaucoma surgery... hmmm :rolleyes:

    so she does surgery 1 day and sees pts for pre&post op evals the other day?
     
  28. Joe Joe on da Radio

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    i interpreted it as, her salary is 80K/yr for working 2 day/week.
     
  29. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    i think you're overestimating the great financial payoff of medicine these days. most docs DONT make 200K straight out of residency. if anything, closer to the 150 K range for their first few years

    also, lets say you're making 200 K somehow, as a ob gyn for example, right out of residency

    -uncle sam takes a third of that at least

    -you'll be paying a healthy chunk of that in malpractice insurance, which is getting worse and worse by the day (to the point at which some ob gyns have STOPPED delivering because they CANT AFFORD the insurance).

    -I'll give you a very lenient educational indebtedness estimate of 100K after 4 years of med school. a large part of that accumulates interest. then, you spend anyone from 3 to 7 years making peanuts as resident while that interest continues to accrue.

    -by the time you actually start working, its time to get married, buy a house, and raise kids for many people, life insurance, car insurance, homeowner's insurance, etc

    so, i'd tend to think that extra money would make a hell of a difference to many docs out there.
     
  30. solid snake

    solid snake Senior Member
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    Maybe something where there's minimal malpractice.
     
  31. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    which if you included this a factor in deciding your practice, you'd be making a financially conscious decision, further validating my point
     
  32. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    DW,
    There are definitely financial considerations when becoming a doctor, we are just arguing about the relative importance of them.

    First off, I am not talking about salaries immediately after residence. These vary greatly because they have not yet stabalized to a certain level.

    What I am saying is, that even despite all the factors you mention, the amount of money that differs between the average speciality (I'm not talking about the extremes of cardiovascular surgery and general practitioner, for example) is trivial. This is because as it is doctors salaries are for the most part very high, and thus a difference of a couple thousand dollars a year will not matter compared to liking the job. In other professions, the difference in salaries represents a much higher percentage than in medicine, and thus salaries matter more. I am arguing that since the percent difference in salary between most specialties is relatively low, liking your specialty becomes more important.
     
  33. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member
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    If an interview asks you this question. You must take into consideration your application and personal statement.

    For example, if you have no clinical exposure and tons of experience in research. You would be foolish to say that I want to go into internal medicine.

    During the interview, you have to know your application and not be incongruent with your comments.

    Similarly, i warn you if you say neurology. You better back it up with SOLID evidence. If you have never shadowed a neurolgist, you better describe something about the nervous system that fascinates you(i.e the passion better flow). If you are not sure, its okay to say that.

    Before an interview. Read over all of your secondaries and AMCAS application and say to yourself. If I say Cardiolgist will the interviewer believe me with my hospital experiences or can i back it up with something substantial.

    Just some food for thought. Good Luck
     
  34. badassy

    badassy Senior Member
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    Oncology interests me. I think its because most patients are actually motivated to get better. I remember reading a book called " My Year As A Doctor " and an oncologist put it the best way I could imagine. A person asks, Isn't it depressing to be around all these sick and dieing people all the time? The oncologist replies, I'd rather treat someone who is willing to get better and wants to, then a person who forgets to take his high blood pressure pills. I believe its also you actually get to form a bond with your patients and get to know them. You probably see the worst and best in humans.
     
  35. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    in your exact words from before "Money is definitely a nonfactor in choosing a speciality". since you spoke in absolute terms, i called you out on that one, so i'm glad you're backtracking now.
     
  36. me109cito

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    Good luck getting an optho residency spot.
     
  37. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member
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    sigh... my beautiful bastardized thread!!!
    :D :D
    keep the posts coming though!!
     
  38. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    DW,
    My first use of money being a non-factor was definitely an overexaggeration, because to say anything is a non-factor is ludicrous. But what you have done is taken one sentence out of context and used it to frame a poor argument.

    The fact is, and I will assume from your lack of addressing these points that you agree, that the percent difference in salary between high wage earners (doctors) and lower wage earners allows doctors MUCH greater flexibility in choosing a career. Since doctors spend so much more time weekly on this career, it would definitely be worth it to enter a specialty you like. This is because since the percent difference is so low, which makes choosing a specialty you like more important than salary.

    PS. In the future, instead of partaking in ad hominem arguments about naivate or whatnot, it might be good for you to actually address the argument. You are not gonna convince anyone of your point otherwise. :rolleyes:
     
  39. KatieJune

    KatieJune Senior Member
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    Family Medicine and I want to practice in a rural area. Anyone else interested in this?
     
  40. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    ok, thats great. I dont have to address this point cause, because all I did, again, was call you out on what you have admitted was a gross exaggeration. Its hard to blame someone I think for taking something "out of context" when I quote verbatim something they have written down in front of me.

    PS. In the future, instead of extending arguments unnecessarily, it might be good for you to concede a small correction to an admittedly gross exaggeration. You are not gonna convince anyone of your point otherwise. :rolleyes:

    end of "argument"
     
  41. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    r u sure u read the original post? read it again:

    Income sure is, my cousin who is a specialist in glaucoma surgeries, is only working 2 days out of the week, and getting $80,000 that is $40,000 for each day. She does it like that now because she just gave birth and has little kids. 2days making $80,000 u cant beat that.
     
  42. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    in response to ur post, i am considering surgery, general surgery for now, i am not knowledgable about the specialties.
     
  43. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Actually, the 150K take home is accurate and that is reported as AFTER business expenses. However, your assumption that malpractice insurance is payed from the 150K is incorrect. Malpractice is paid by your practice revenue and then what is left is reported as profit and your salary. Some OB-GYN have stopped to practice because they primarily serve the indigent and mal-practice insurance for delivering babies is sky high.

    There aren't many physicians quitting, however, because they can't pay malpractice insurance. Here's a list of what docs make:

    http://www.allied-physicians.com/salary_surveys/physician-salaries.htm
     
  44. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    thanks for correcting my error, optho, you're like a sage around here. i appreciate the information. hopefully though you do still see the minor point i was making :)

    i wasn't implyin that docs aren't able to do what they want or cant practice at all due to insurance, but its definitely influencing where and how docs practice. as an example, in my home state of PA, docs are leaving in droves to jersey to avoid the exorbitant malpractice insurance in both indigent and affluent areas of the philly area.
     
  45. Lebesgue

    Lebesgue Senior Member
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    Hmmm.
     
    #44 Lebesgue, Nov 2, 2002
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  46. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I do see your point, and it's a very good one. Insurance is outrageous. The AMA news letter featured a OB-GYN who was quitting because his insurance doubled in one year! It went from $80K to about $160K. He couldn't afford to take that much of a hit, so he decided to retire. I think he mainly served the indigent. His community raised money to help off set this cost so he could stay in practice another year. I see your point. If you're making, let's say, $150,000 because you're serving the indigent, and now you need to pay $80,000 more for malpractice.... then you're only taking home $70,000. That's dismal for the amout of work OB-GYNs must do.
     
  47. jori

    jori Junior Member

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    forensic pathology
     
  48. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member
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    lol - as far off topic as this thread got, thanks to optho I found the gold nugget I've been looking for without even realizing it...
    thanks for the link, I finally something which outlines all the different specialties in medicine.
    a godsend I tell you!!!
    THANKS!!!!!:clap: :love:
    PS: please forgive my ignorance :rolleyes:
     
  49. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member
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    I don't think that's what they're sayi ng. Yes, money is less of a factor than in many other careers. But, you can never say it is a complete, 100% non factor. Especially, after you have 100K debts. And, you are l ooking at 80K/yr in academia/Public Health vs too-many-hundreds of K as a surgeon.


    There are large differences, which should be considered. B ut, still, it will usually turn out less than positive (much much less), if you invest 4 (killer) years in m edschool, and another 5 (million times more unimaginably worse, desperately underpaid years) in residency to be in a place where you distaste most aspects of it. Especially, considering you've given prime years of your life, to make yourself there.

    It's a balance, as is all of life. Saying a non factor, means you wouldn't mind working for free. granted, you may enjoy it regardless of pay. but, you still need to make a living.
    Sonya
     
  50. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    I think most doctors in the US make a living just fine
     
  51. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I think my main goal is going to be keeping my indebtedness as low as possible, so I can keep my options open as to what specialty I choose.

    Having said that, my interest lies in the neurosciences (and yes, I can back that up with actual knowledge of medical practice in that area). But neuroscience is a broad topic, extending from neurosurgery to neurology to psychiatry. These are three VERY different kinds of medicine, and I don't know where I'll end up on the spectrum. I agree with what an earlier poster said about psychiatry being a little too non-scientific. That definitely bugs me. By the same token, I'm not sure I could handle the hours--not to mention the years--involved in a neurosurgery residency. Although I am probably as arrogant, direct and intolerant of incompetence and general bullsh!t as any surgeon. And then neurology is just very demanding diagnostically--from my uneducated perpective, two patients' symptoms can look so similar but then the underlying pathology turns out to be totally different. I don't know if I will ever have that kind of diagnostic skill.

    And I'm not crossing off internal medicine. It's a little less intimidating than neurology or neurosurgery. But perhaps that's because I've spent many more class hours learning about all the systems involved.

    So basically, I think I know, but I'm not 100% certain.
     

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