Shadowing a Doctor

December 6, 2013

Deciding whether or not to become a doctor can be a tough decision with several variables that you need to take into consideration, all of which are equally important. Getting into the field of medicine takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and money and there are family and other personal commitments that play a huge role too.

If you are looking at a career in medicine, it is crucial that you consider all the possible aspects of this career before getting into it.

Students Edward and Matt with mentor Doctor Mekel at Liberec Regional Hospital. When do you make this important decision?

Some students just know that they want to be doctors right from the start, when they are in school. When you are this focused, you can make the decision easily and go straight into pre-medical school after high school. After finishing your pre-med, you head straight into medical college and onto your degree and certification to practice.

However, not everybody knows exactly what they want to do while they are still in high school. Some opt to go to medical college after their graduation while others even decide to get into medicine after they are 30.

There is no right time to make this decision. What is important however is that you take the time to explore all aspects of time, money and family commitments before you make that decision.

Is medical school right for you?

The process of becoming a doctor is a very long one. After four years of graduation, medical school takes another four years, followed by your residency which can take anywhere from three to six years. Only after this will you be a full-fledged doctor. If all you want to do is to stop studying after your graduation, this is not the field for you.

Another thing you need to think about is just because you love science does not necessarily mean you will enjoy being a doctor. Becoming a doctor is a long, tough route so you need to love what you are doing or it is going to make it even more difficult for you.

You also need to take into consideration the expenses involved with attending medical school. Medicine is an expensive field to study in and it needs to be worth the investment. Moreover, with so many specialties to choose from, it is important to choose carefully so that you end up in a specialty that you enjoy and are good at.

Getting into the medical profession does not mean that you only need to be in a hospital or have your own practice. A number of qualified doctors also teach side by side in medical institutes or get into research in the medical field.

Is there any way to know for sure?

If you considering a career in medicine but are not sure if becoming a doctor is really for you, there are a few things you can do to make this decision easier for you. Spending some time shadowing a doctor, volunteering at a local healthcare establishment or doing a medical placement abroad are some of the activities that allow you to get a real feel of what this profession is all about and what will be expected from you as a doctor.