Is Med School Right for Me? | Deciding on a Career in Medicine

October 3, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs

Medicine is a great field but I am obviously
biased. While I do love medicine, it is not something
that I would recommend for everyone. It is very important that you are aware of
the pros and cons and carefully decide if it is the right profession for you. Stay tuned to find out how. What’s going on guys! This is Jay from Let’s get started with the path to becoming
a physician in the U.S. First you complete four years of college. You can have any major but must complete two
years of prereqs which are mostly science courses. For this reason, most students choose a life
science major, but again, you can study anything from mechanical engineering to English to
political science etc. After college, you go to medical school which
is another four years. After medical school you go to residency which
is at least three years but can be up to seven. Fellowship allows you to specialize further
which can be one or more years in addition to residency. Now, assuming you don’t take any years off
between all of that, you’ll be around your own late 20s or early 30s when you finally
finish training. Lots of people do take time off though, so
it is not uncommon to be a few years older than that. Now, let’s talk about the financial aspects
of becoming a doctor: the average debt for a graduating medical student is currently
at $180,000. In residency, you will make around fifty thousand
dollars per year, so you will barely make a dent in your debt and interest will accrue. Your salary will rise after finishing training
to a comfortable six-figure income but that varies depending on your specialty. Now that we understand the basic premise,
let’s talk about a few key deal-breakers. Going into medicine for the money is not a
good idea. While you will be making well into the six
figures after finishing training, you will be significantly behind the curve due to debt
and opportunity cost. If money is your main concern, look elsewhere. So, to go a little bit more into the opportunity
cost, if you started working after college and didn’t have to take on the additional
debt of medical school where you are not earning any more money, you would very likely be in
a much better financial situation. I’m not gonna go into a detailed analysis
in this video but I am gonna place some links in the description to pages I found that actually
do break down the numbers for a physician and show you the impact of debt and opportunity
cost on your lifetime wealth. Next, if you hate school and hate learning,
again look elsewhere. I’m not saying that you need to love every
single subject or love the annoying parts of being a student, but if you don’t enjoy
science and don’t learning about the human body, then a career in medicine is going to
be significantly more challenging for you. A big part of being a physician is being a
lifelong learner. This means you have to continually educate
yourself even after finishing training to stay up to date with your treatments. Next, if you don’t like working with people,
I again urge you to look elsewhere. There are certain specialties that have limited
contact with patients such as radiology or pathology. However, you still need to regularly communicate
with your colleagues. For example, in radiology, you’ll be reading
scans for surgeons, emergency physicians, hospitalists etc and in pathology, you also
still need to communicate with your colleagues. So, now I’ve told you a few things that are
deal-breakers; reasons that you should not go into medicine. It’s much more difficult to tell you the reasons
that you should go into medicine because those reasons vary wildly from person to person. One thing I commonly hear from pre-meds and
med students is their desire to help people. That’s a noble cause and I fully support it. I think it should almost be a requirement
to pursue a career as a physician. But at the same time it is not enough. You can help people in a variety of professions,
why not be a nurse instead? Firefighters help people, so do paramedics
etc. So there needs to be something else there
that draws you to this profession. There are additional qualities of a physician
that you should be aware of. First, they are leaders of the health care
team. You don’t have to already be a leader because
it is a skill that you can develop, but ask yourself honestly “is this something that
appeals to me?” second: being a physician is a very intellectually
challenging profession; do you have an inquisitive mind? Do you like problem-solving? Or would you rather follow protocols and not
have to think too hard? Next, do you like working with your hands? Now, there is a broad range of specialties,
some have little or no procedures like psychiatry and others are very heavy on procedures like
orthopedic surgery. Are you a hard worker? This is one of the most important factors
to being successful as a physician. I believe that most soon-to-be physicians,
current physicians and most of even the public believe that physicians are much smarter than
they really are. While you definitely do need to be smart to
be a doctor, it is much more important that you are a hard worker. Diligence, discipline and persistence will
overpower smarts. I have a friend who went to a top college
and was known for being a genius. He never studied, often fell asleep in class
and still crushed all of his tests. He went to college and did more of the same. But when he went to medical school, he really
struggled. From being in the top 5% of his class, he
was now in the lower third. And it’s because he never developed the
proper study skills and habits. The medical profession requires some critical
thinking and understanding of complex concepts, but it’s mostly memorizing vast quantities
of information. That’s why hard work trumps intelligence. One of the most important things you do before
either deciding on medicine or starting medical school is to shadow. Don’t just shadow one doctor either, check
out different specialties and in different settings. Learn what it means to be a primary care physician
out in the community clinic. Check out the operating room at the academic
center. Get some exposure to inpatient medicine in
the hospital. Medicine is an incredibly diverse field and
you will likely gravitate towards only a few select specialties that are suited to your
personality and interests. Before starting medical school, I was in love
with the idea of being a gastroenterologist motivated by a family history of GI illnesses. I thought it would be a great fit because
I loved nutrition, the science behind it, I wanted continuity with my patients, meaning
where you can build a relationship with them over time and I’ve always found satisfaction
from working with my hands and gastroenterology has a lot of procedures you can do. But once I actually got to medical school
and got exposure to GI in my second year, I realized that it was not the fields for
me. While I do love procedures, I didn’t find
the type of procedures in GI particularly stimulating or challenging. And while I did love learning about certain
diseases and pathologies within that field, there was a lot of it that also didn’t really
excite me. So, luckily after gaining exposure to multiple
specialties, I found a surgical subspecialties that is a perfect fit for my personality and
my interests, and I consider myself very lucky for finding something that was such a good
fit. But in hindsight, I wish that I would have
started shadowing and getting exposure before medical schools started. I did do volunteer research in the emergency
department, I did work with some neurologists and I even did a little bit of basic science
research but that only gave me a tiny glimpse of the medical field and what it means to
be a physician. So, knowing your areas of interest sooner
than later will only help you in the long run. At the same time, I don’t think that you need
to feel any pressure to decide on a specialty early but be sure you gain exposure and understand
the different parts of Medicine so that you have some degree of orientation going into
it. So, leave a comment below on why you love
medicine and what helped you make that decision. That is it for this video guys. If you liked the video, make sure you press
that like button. New videos every week, so hit subscribe if
you haven’t already and I will see you guys in that next one!