June 10, 2015
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
After deciding to become a doctor, you have a lot of choices to make. One of the biggest decisions you will make is choosing which specialty to pursue. It takes a lot of consideration to decide, which specialty is right for you.
In addition, to your interests, it is helpful to think about the type of lifestyle you want. Some medical specialties allow for more routine and predictable work hours. Other specialties, such as surgery, may require being on call and working unpredictable shifts.
Medical students should also consider their personalities and strengths when deciding on a specialty. For instance, some people do not do well with a hectic, chaotic environment, such as the emergency room. Other people thrive in a fast paced setting.
Be honest with yourself when deciding what feels right to you. If you are not sure what to choose, consider some of the most frequently chosen specialties and decide if one is right for you.
Internal medicine is one of the most common specialties. Internal medicine doctors treat a variety of patients with many types of illnesses. For example, they may treat people with common or complex diseases of the heart, lungs, brain and digestive system. Some people like the appeal of treating such a large variety of conditions. Internal medicine doctors often work in private practice, which allows for more predictable hours than some other specialties.
Surgery is another very common choice for medical students. Surgeons treat patients who have medical conditions, which require surgery as part of their treatment plan. Some surgeons choose to specialize further and focus on a specific organ or system, such as doing cardiovascular or brain surgery. Other doctors prefer to treat a broader range of patients and become general surgeons. Specializing in surgery can be very demanding. The hours can be long and unpredictable. Surgery can also be stressful and is not for everyone.
If you like working with kids, pediatrics may be one specialty to consider. Pediatricians treat children with both minor and serious conditions. They often work in hospitals and in a group or private practice. Some pediatricians complete fellowships and specialize in certain areas, such as pediatric oncology, critical care and adolescent medicine.
Most people are familiar with what a family practice physician does from their own experience of going to the doctor. Family practice doctors are involved in the total health and well-being of the patient. Similar to internal medicine doctors, they may treat several types of acute and chronic conditions. In some cases, a family practice doctor will care for patients over the course of many years. Most family practice doctors are in a private or group practice.
Emergency medicine doctors treat patients who require immediate medical care. Although some situations may involve life and death, emergency room doctors also treat a lot of routine problems. But because you never know what will come through the emergency room door, they job can be stressful and fast paced.