Choosing A Medical Specialty To Match Your PersonalityMarch 14, 2014
Becoming a physician can be a lengthy process with a lot of decisions to be made at every turn. Making the choice to go to medical school is just one part of it. At some point during your journey through medical school, you will start having to make choices about your specialty. For some medical students, the answer may come readily but for others, it may take a lot of internal debate and discussions with mentors to arrive at a right decision. So how do you know which field of medicine is right for you? Your personality and individual preferences play a crucial role in determining which medical specialty is best for you. You need to take into consideration your reasons for wanting to be a physician, along with how your personality fits with different responsibilities and patients’ needs in the various specialties.
Personalities may differ but the goal stays the same
Although every field in medicine may offer a different experience for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, the goal ultimately remains the same: to protect, heal and serve patients. Within this, it is important to consider your own unique disposition and how it would be an asset in specific situations or when trying to connect with different types of patients.
These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself while trying to decide on your specialty:
1. What are your motivations for pursuing a medical career? Are you driven by the thought of the prestige, money or other more personal reasons? What drove you to choose this path in the first place?
2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? If you prefer minimum human interaction, you should consider a specialty that involves little or no face-to-face communication or interactions with patients. If you are an extrovert, you will want to choose differently.
3. Do you love challenges? Are you unafraid to take risks? You would do very well at helping victims of natural disasters or those in war zones or developing countries.
4. What would you consider as your favourite type of vacation? If you love adventure and excitement, you may want to choose a fast-paced specialty. However, if you enjoy more relaxed trips, you might prefer a quieter, more solitary position.
Once you recognise your personal and professional drive, you will find it easier to determine which specialty is best suited for you. Making the right choice is the key to being able to serve patients to the best of your ability.
Orthopaedic surgery, family practice, psychiatry and emergency medicine are some of the fields that lend themselves to specific personality types.
- Orthopaedic Surgeons are typically extroverts who have the natural leadership ability to run an operating room. The most successful surgeons tend to be self-disciplined and competitive.
- Family Practice: Because family physicians often treat children from infancy through adulthood, this field is best suited for you if you are patient, good with kids and prefer forming long-term relationships.
- Psychiatry: As a psychiatrist you need to be compassionate and sensitive to others. This is the ideal specialty for someone who is highly perceptive, has a analytical mind and is a natural problem solver.
- Emergency Medicine: Working in the emergency room is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a certain type of personality to be able to maintain a calm demeanour, even in the most difficult situations. This is a specialty for those who thrive in high-pressure situations and can handle patients who are panicked, disoriented, or in severe pain.