Is becoming a doctor right for me?

October 25, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Wondering if medical school is right for you? How do you know what you want if you have never experienced it first hand? College teaches us how to be organized and teaches us that we can do the coursework but very often, it’s the lifework that has us stumped. 

You think you would like to join the medical profession but you have the teeniest bit of doubt about whether or not it is right for you? The first thing experts recommend is doctor shadowing. This involves following a doctor around in a healthcare setting for a couple of days or even more. 

How do you find a doctor to shadow? 

Talking to your own physician can be a good start. If they are unwilling or for whatever reason, unable to have you shadow them, they may be able to get you in touch with other physicians, or the volunteer liaison at the local hospital. You should also speak with your guidance counselor/career office to see what they have on file. 

Students on ward rounds at the Regional Hospital Most students complete some sort of internship in order to graduate, but that internship may not have answered their questions about the medical field in general and being a doctor in particular. Johns Hopkins University offers a clearinghouse of information to students entering college or medical school at Obviously, this site is geared towards Johns Hopkins students and potential students, but the advice is sound, and plentiful. 

Taking a year off, commonly known as the “gap” year, is becoming popular for many reasons, one of which is being able to find a program that can help you decide your future. has 556 different kinds of healthcare internships in several different states, but their definition of healthcare includes “Special Event Coordinator” for a non-profit company, and “Product Development Engineer”. Keep in mind, these internships could show you a different side of healthcare that you might find as interesting as they complement your curiosity in doctoring.

There are also several internships and volunteer opportunities abroad in developing countries. The experience that you will get at these placements is invaluable. Gap Medics offers short and long term medical placements in different countries including Africa, Thailand and Central Europe. Doing a placement in a developing country can be a real eye opener and can be hugely instrumental in helping you make up your mind about whether or not becoming a doctor is right for you. Here you will see medicine being practiced like you’ve never seen it before with sparsely equipped hospitals and overworked doctors overcoming all odds to dispense medical care to seriously ill patients. After a stint at any one of these placements you will know for sure whether this is the right calling for you and whether becoming a doctor is ultimately right for you.