Five questions to ask yourself before choosing a medical career

March 21, 2016

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So you want to work in the medical field. Sure, it looks pretty cool on TV and in movies, but there’s more to working in medicine than saving lives and dating cute coworkers.

When it comes to working in medicine, you have a lot of options. There are well known medical jobs, such as doctors and nurses, but there are also dozens of allied health professions and support services that may be a good fit.

With all the jobs there are to choose from, it can be overwhelming to make a career decision. One good way to narrow down your choices is by considering your personality and your strengths and weaknesses. Let’s face it; not all jobs are a good fit for all people, and it’s best to be honest with yourself about what feels right than to force yourself into a career that is not good for you.

Start by asking yourself a few questions to determine what medical job may be right for you. Consider the following:

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Do you enjoy interacting with people? Certain medical jobs require more patient contact than others. For example, nurses often work directly with patients. But other professions, such as lab techs, don’t interact as much.

Are you squeamish?

The human body can be gross. As a medical worker, you will have to deal with blood, urine, and other body fluids. Do you feel weak at the site of blood or feel like you want to throw up if you see a broken bone? You might get used to some things. But if you are extremely squeamish, you may want to consider jobs that have less of a yuck factor, such as speech therapy or pharmacy.

Do you work well under pressure?

If you handle stress well, you’ve come to the right profession. Dealing with people’s lives can be high pressure. But certain medical jobs may be more stressful than others, such as ER doctors or surgeons.

Are you a leader?

Many positions in healthcare require leadership skills. For example, if you want to be a doctor, it’s helpful to be someone who can take charge of a situation, delegate responsibilities and lead a team. You might have leadership qualities without even realizing it. For instance, effective leaders are confident, approachable and treat people equally.

How long are you willing to attend school?

The amount of time you need to spend in college and training will vary based on what medical career, you’re interested in. For example, most registered nursing programs are two years. But some careers require much longer training, such as doctors or dentists, which both take about eight years of schooling.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.