Shadowing a DoctorDecember 10, 2014
How pre-meds benefit on a personal level with clinical exposure
Clinical exposure is the best way for you to find out if medicine really is the right career for you. You may have decided to get into this field for a number of different reasons but if you do not actually test the waters, you will never know whether or not you are making the right decision until it is too late. Take a look at these three scenarios and you will see how clinical exposure can influence your decisions in each case.
You are considering pursuing a career in medicine but are not particularly pulled towards it. You are unsure and are sitting on the fence about your decision to apply to medical school. Putting together a med school application is a time consuming, laborious and expensive undertaking. You do not want to pay the UKCAT fees and spend hours on end composing your personal essay, getting the necessary recommendation letters, putting together your cover letter and going for the interview only to realise at the end of it that you’ve made a mistake in your career choice. Getting clinical experience will help you make up your mind one way or the other. On the one hand you may find out that the sight of body fluids makes you dizzy so a career in medicine is out of the question. On the other hand however, your clinical experience may help you discover your latent love for medicine and will clarify any doubts you previously had about applying to medical school.
You may love the thought of becoming a paediatrician and imagine yourself spending your working days with lots of cute babies and amusing little tots. But the big question is, can you handle the thought of one of your little patients becoming very ill or even dying? Nobody wants to think of it but that is part of the reality of becoming a paediatrician. Clinical experience by way of volunteering in an orphanage, shadowing a paediatrician or neonatal doctor or doing a medical placement in a paediatric ward will expose you to the realities of this particular specialisation and will help you make an educated decision. It works for any specialisation you may be considering.
You know you love helping people and are sure about your career choice. Your only indecision lies in the speciality you want to pursue. Should you pursue a faster paced speciality such as emergency medicine or are you better suited to a slower paced speciality such as dermatology? Is there any particular age group or a specific area of expertise that your personality is better suited to?
Obtaining clinical exposure is an excellent way for you to figure out your career options within medicine, learn what to expect and generally give your future career a test run. And by the end of it, if you decide that the medical field is not for you, at least you won’t have wasted seven years and a lot of money on medical school before coming to this realisation.