Is medical school really for me?November 4, 2013
No matter how keen you are to pursue a career in medicine, it’s only natural to have a few moments of indecision and wonder whether medical school really is for you. Becoming a doctor is a huge decision. Is it what you really want to do for the rest of your life? Here we take a look at what it takes to become a doctor and what you can do to make sure you are making the right decision.
The Path To Get There
Medicine can be an extremely satisfying and rewarding career choice but the path to get there is neither quick nor easy. You will first spend 4 years in college to get your Bachelor’s Degree, after which you will spend another four years in medical school. After you graduate from medical school, depending on which specialty you choose, you will spend another 3 to 7 years in residency. If you choose to specialize further you will have to spend another 1 to 3 years in a fellowship. Some specialties require as many as ten to 14 years in training.
Between college, medical school and residency training, you will spend at least eleven years in basic classroom and clinical training and more for specialties. During this time, you can expect that you will have to work extremely hard to get through each year.
How Much It Costs To Get There
Medical school tuition fees are higher than regular college fees and when you factor in the number of years of study, the total cost can be scary. Many medical students admit to graduating with over AUD 90,000 in debt.
You will start earning a salary when you reach residency but what you earn will be a very modest amount compared to the number of hours you put in. Residents spend an average of 75 to 80 hours a week in the and very often in addition to weekends too.
Making That Crucial Decision
As you can see, entering the medical profession is not easy but that does not mean you should give up your dream. The thought of helping people and saving lives can be a hugely motivating factor that will help you overcome all the hurdles of getting there. The important thing however is to know what you are getting into so that you are sure that you are following the right career path.
So how do you know whether it really is for you? In medicine, as with any other profession, the best way to find out is to get some firsthand experience in the field. There are two ways you can do this.
The first is by shadowing a doctor. Many doctors are quite willing to let premed students shadow them and get a close up look at what a doctor’s typical day is like. While you are shadowing, you will also get the opportunity to ask the doctor questions to get some more insight into this interesting profession.
The second way is by registering with an organisation that arranges medical placements in developing countries. During these placements, you will get a real behind the scenes look at what it is like to work in a hospital and dispense medical care. It can be the eye-opener you need to make that definite decision about whether or not medical school is really for you.