May 23, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
The thought of healing people and giving them a new lease of life can be immensely self-satisfying and rewarding, but in your quest for this ultimate prize you should not forget that a career in the medical field can also be very challenging. Becoming a doctor or a nurse is a huge commitment and it’s something you should decide to get into only if you have a true passion for medicine and for helping people. While hard work, grit and determination will get you far in the medical field, without the proper amount of passion for what you are doing, you’ll be likely to get frustrated and burnt out before long.
If you are considering a career in medicine, do a little soul searching first. There are several things you should take into consideration. Here are some of the most important:
A career in any medical field, whether it is as a doctor, nurse or academician, requires you to commit to several years of schooling, which is much longer than most other professions. If you are not driven to succeed in an extensive and rigorous training program, you are in a great hurry to start making money or your financial situation is uncertain, you will find it very difficult to reach your career goals in the medical field. Think hard about what kind of student you are and whether you can realistically commit to this kind of extended, rigorous education. Even before you get admission into medical school, you will have to work hard to obtain high grades in school, spend a considerable amount of time prepping for the UKCAT or BMAT. If you do get admission, you will have to go through four years of medical school and depending on the specialty you choose, you will spend another three to eight years being an intern and a resident. There’s a lot to learn before you finally acquire your certification to practice, and you have to honestly assess whether or not you are prepared to do what it takes to get there.
If your only goal is to make money, the medical field is not for you. Sure you can make a decent amount of money in this profession but it shouldn’t be your primary reason for getting into this field. Instead choose from the numerous other professions where you can earn big bucks. Being a good doctor requires dedication and a genuine passion for helping people. This should be the primary reason you enter the medical field. Your passion will ultimately be your motivation for doing your job well despite all odds and helping save lives on a daily basis.
Getting through med school or nursing school and then working as a medical professional will require you to be able to work under tremendous pressure and also have exceptional time management skills. From med school to the hospital, you will be working long, odd hours and you will have a lot of responsibility. Not just people’s health but also their lives are literally in your hands. If you do not have the coping mechanisms that are required to handle the persistent stress that is prevalent in this profession, this may not be the right fit for you.
No matter how good you are at your job, chances are that you will not be able to help every patient that you treat. You may even lose some of them, particularly if you are working in certain specialties. The medical profession can be emotionally draining. If you are not resilient enough and are not adept at bouncing back from these situations, you may find yourself struggling emotionally. While this profession can also enrich your life in ways that many other kinds of jobs cannot, it can also take a lot out of you and you have to decide whether you can handle the downs along with the ups.