If you're considering a career as a doctor, there are a few things you should know before you dive in. As a resident physician whos has been mentoring premed students for years I've learned that there a variety of factors you should consider when deciding if pursuing a career as a doctor is the right career path for you.
First and foremost, you need to gain experience in the field. Watching medical shows or having a family member who was sick might be what sparked your interest in medicine, but it's not enough. Shadowing doctors or working in a clinical setting will give you a better understanding of what being a doctor entails. This will help you determine if you can envision yourself pursuing this career for the long term. Clinical and shadowing experience is also important when applying to medical schoo because it shows you understand what you are getting yourself into. It’s not alwasy sunshine an rainbows and thats ok but you need to know that going in.
Be a Lifelong Learner
If you want to be a doctor, you must be willing to be a lifelong learner. The science is constantly evolving, and you must keep up with the latest research to provide the best care to your patients. You need to read academic journals, attend conferences, and strive to practice evidence-based medicine. Continuing education is also a requirement as you will need to earn CME credits to maintain your license. Being a physician means constantly learning and growing, both in and outside of medicine. If this does not fit with your personality type then being a doctor might not be for you.
It's essential to enjoy working with people and helping them in their most vulnerable state. Coming from an empathetic point of view is crucial as you will be dealing with patients who are sick and scared. Being a doctor means you will be working with people from all walks of life, and you should be able and want to connect with them on a personal level. If you are in it for the money and not because you truly want to care for people, you will quickly burn out and likely be unhappy with your career choice.
Being a doctor requires you to be adaptable to different situations. You never know what might walk through your door, and you need to be prepared for anything. Medicine is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you must be willing to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. You also need to be able to adapt to new technology and treatment options as they become available. Also, whenever you are working with different attendings as a medical student or resident they will each have different expectations for you and want things done in different ways. Being adaptable will be a great trait that can help you persevere through these times.
Have a Strong Work Ethic
As you may know, the life of a doctor is not a 9-5 job. It at times requires long hours, dedication, and a strong work ethic. You will need to be able to handle the stress that comes with the job and manage your time efficiently. You will also spend countless hours studying for exams, and you need to be dedicated to your craft.
In conclusion, becoming a doctor is not an easy task, but it can be a rewarding career if you have the right mindset. It's crucial to get experience in the field, be a lifelong learner, have empathy for your patients, be adaptable, and have a strong work ethic. If you're passionate about caring for people in their most vulnerable state and are willing to put in the work, then becoming a doctor might be the right career path for you.
Adam Nessim, MD