So you think you would like to be a physician…

Can you answer these critical questions?

  • Who in particular, or what activities or experiences have influenced you to consider a career in medicine?
  • What is it going to take for you to train?
  • What options will you have?
  • What is the best career path for you?
  • Will there be a place for you?

What you can expect:

  • A career where you to make a real difference in the world (communities, families, and individuals)
  • To be constantly challenged
  • To have job security
  • To serve others by improving lives
  • Apply the art and science of medicine

Choosing This Field

A recent survey of entering medical students found that 49% knew medicine was their career choice before entering college (20% even before high school, and 29% during high school and before starting college).

Another 39% made the decision during college (24% during the first two years and 15% during the last two years). The remaining 12% made the decision to pursue medicine after college (10% after receiving the bachelor’s degree and 2% after receiving an advanced degree).

Asked to identify the sources of influence, medical students identified several major contributing factors: being good at math and science in school (perhaps a specific science course like AP Biology in high school, having a health related experience), volunteering at a local hospital or clinic, experiencing illness through personal or family health issues, or observing parents or role models who are health professionals.

Your Path to Medicine

  • You might take a straight forward path (college, medical school, residency, and then a life of practice).
  • You might decide on a clinical practice spending most of your time in direct patient care in specialties such as internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychology, family medicine, or obstetrics and gynecology.
  • You might decide that you wish further specialization in a certain field.
  • You might decide that your talents best suit a career as a research scientist.
  • You might decide that your particular set of abilities best fits a career in public health. You can carve out a career as a medical illustrator or establish medical clinics for the underserved.

There are so many possibilities. Stay open to your options along the way.

The Future

A recent survey showed that 60% of entering medical students intend to pursue a full-time clinical practice and 10% intend to pursue full-time teaching and research, leaving 30% interested in pursuing some unique direction or combination of activities.

Looked at from the perspective of clinical practice intentions, 18% envision Internal Medicine, 14% Pediatrics, 9% Orthopedic Surgery, 9% Emergency medicine, 8% Family Practice, 5% Obstetrics and Gynecology, and between 3 and 5% envision such areas as Neurology, Radiology, Dermatology, Anesthesiology, and Ophthalmology.

Looking ahead to new trends and advances, you might decide to focus on genetics therapy, focused preventative medicine, distance surgery, portable medical records, and pharmacogenetics. A recent survey found there will be a shortage of 90,000+ physicians by 2020.