The career in the medical sphere requires a lot of skills, knowledge, and specific personality traits such as responsiveness or self-possession. But, the industry is pretty diverse as it includes different specialties from pediatric dentists to neurosurgeons and therapists.
Choosing the right specialty defines your whole career path as it may be extremely difficult to go back upon your decision later. Obviously, it may also be complicated to opt for the appropriate specialty when you are a first-year student or school graduate.
By the end of this article, you will be able to define your own attitude to the industry and navigate through the medical professions better. Let’s look at the overall scheme of specialties as it’s presented in the USA. This information should be helpful for all students regardless of their location, though. Check the specialties of practicing physicians:
- Direct patient care:
o Surgical (general, CT, neuro, vascular, plastic, etc.)
o Medical (internal, pediatrics, family, psychiatry, PM&R, etc.)
o Mixed (ENT, urology, gynecology, anesthesia, dermatology, etc.)
- Indirect patient care:
Apart from these points, medical students can opt for side occupations like bioinformatics and biotechnology, public health, laboratory research, and so on. It looks impressive even if we don’t dive into the detailed description, right? Thus, you may want to figure out what exactly influence your choice and how to find the best specialty. Let’s begin with the latter question.
Methods and tests for choosing a specialty
Different tests and quizzes are the best way to explore your own tastes and preferences, which may be hidden deep in the subconscious. Simple game-like tests and graphically presented progress – these components engage participants and help them to find out what they like. You can begin with general tests and proceed to the more comprehensive stuff from medical communities.
Since all tests are based on a few blocks, you can also evaluate your attitude using a simple questionnaire:
- What are your areas of interest? Here, define your medical field of interest, which includes specific clinical aspects, illnesses or body organs.
- What activities do you prefer? Additionally, think about non-medical interests and try to find a specialty which relates to them.
- Which patients would you like to deal with? For instance, go in for pediatrics if you like working with kids or choose oncology to cure cancer-like diseases.
- Would you like to work with people directly? Family practitioners, pediatricians, and therapists interact with patients regularly, while pathologists do it rarely.
- How important is free time? Look at professions in radiology or dermatology if you want more free hours. Traditionally, emergency doctors are the busiest.
- How important is salary? Usually, surgeons are the highest paid specialists. Check reports and lists of salaries to figure out the distribution.
Try to answer questions as honestly as possible. This will help you to define the directions so that later you will be able to consult experts in this field.
Is the choice of specialty influenced by your personality?
Literally, everything in your life is influenced by specific personality traits, so the future career is no exception. Looking through the aforementioned questions and answers, we can conclude that people who love kids will opt for various pediatrics specialties, and high-empathy students interested in social interactions will choose psychology/psychiatrics, most likely. Certainly, there are tons of other factors.
For instance, you can choose a surgical specialty because of high salary even if you prefer curing minds than bodies. Or, you could possibly look at PM&R for flexible hours and more free time. Generally, the specialty choice is based on several points including your personality, current needs, ambitions and future plans, opinions of the close ones, and so on. Just don’t forget that the chosen occupation is lifelong, most often.
Useful tips for choosing a specialty
As a conclusion, read through five key recommendations which should help you to build a more successful and efficient career:
- Talk to experts. Ask teachers, colleagues, heads of department and nurses, practicing doctors and assistants. Get involved in the life of different physicians.
- Improve your skills. Know yourself and know which requirements you meet. If you want to become a surgeon but don’t have enough skills, foster them!
- Think about lifestyle. The chosen profession will be with you for a long time, so look at other doctors and talk to them about their daily schedule.
- Be competitive. Try to stand out from the other candidates; offer unique expertise, so you will be considered a desired employee.
- Explore all options. Last but not least, be sure to make the most of opportunities during your study at the university or medical school.
The medical industry is huge and diverse, as it includes dozens of different specialties. It comes as no surprise that young students feel lost in this variety. Remember about proper questions and convenient quizzes, learn about different occupations, and do what you really love to become the best specialist!