You know you want to be a doctor, but what kind of doctor? Or you are already a physician and want to center your focus on something new. Either way, it is important to consider the possibilities of working in the medical field. There are many opportunities for growth and advancement when working in medicine. Though some positions require years and years of work and training, it is possible to widen your options for a medical career.
It can be easy to base your decision on things that don’t matter. For example, you can look up to someone who is in a certain specialty and only desire that specific specialty because of them, and not because you actually are interested in it. Many people tend to do this when they are trying to decide what kind of career they want. Many people focus on money and how easy the job is instead of thinking about their interests and desires. Not using the right criteria to decide on a career can lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.
When you are contemplating about your medical career, you want to make sure you have the right tools to yield your decision. There are questions you must ask yourself and the factors you must consider about your life that can affect your decision. Here are some ways to help you figure the specialty that fits you.
1. Assess your skills and interests
The first thing you should think about when choosing a specialty career is what you are interested in. Consider the things you enjoy the most about your job and place more focus on that. Are you more sensitive to or interested in children patients? Then you should shoot for a pediatrics position. Those that may have more interest in the reproductive system of women should opt for an OB/GYN position. There are many different specialties that may appeal to your interests, like:
● Emergency Medicine
● Family Medicine
● Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine
● And more
You should also pay attention to your skillset. Where are your skills the strongest? Many people make the mistake of wanting a career for the money only and while that is important in your decision, it is also something you should rely on. The skills required for a specific field is important to actually get the job and do great at it.
Research and figure out what skills you already have and which ones you must learn. Some people may fear long years of education or extensive training, but if you want to get the physician position, you must have the necessary skills.
2. Decide how you want to interact with patients
There are many different specialties when it comes to medical physicians. You can determine which one is right for you by thinking about how you want to interact with patients. This means what kind of work you would like to do, whether it be surgery based or behavioral. Decide whether you want to interact with patients or perform procedures. Some positions involve both, like obstetrics and gynecology. Some people may feel inclined to focus more on hands-on work and shy away from interacting with others.
Decide how you want to interact with patients if you decide that is what you want. Do you want to build relationships with them, or would you prefer to keep a distance from your patients? Those that want to create relationships should take on family medicine or internal medicine practices. Specialties like radiology have less amount of patient interaction and aren’t required to build connections with their patients.
3. What does work-life balance mean to you?
Something that matters most and should always be considered as criteria for choosing a career is what you want when it comes to work-life balance. You have to think about how your career will affect your personal life and if that is something you appreciate or can work with. While some people work best when they aren’t overworked and stressed, others enjoy the pressure and long hours. Think about the workload you will be taking on, and if it fits your desires and needs.
Every medical specialty isn’t for everyone, so you must choose the one for you. Some specialties have high levels of burnout, and this is usually compensated by pay and benefits. The amount of work a doctor has to take on a daily can get extremely overwhelming. You want to make sure that you have the time, energy, and mental capacity to live your life alongside your career.
It’s always good to work hard, but if you are always working and don’t have time for your personal life, it can lead to internal issues and complications. It can also lead to burnouts which causes professionals to question their career and lack satisfaction. Work-life balance is important should be criteria that you place a little more focus on to ensure your happiness down the line.
4. What type of patients do you want?
The type of patients you want also helps determine what specialty fits you. You should also consider the work environment you want to be in to help you with your patient type. There are many different demographics that change from specialty to specialty. Patient condition or type is one of the demographics someone should consider when debating on a specialty. For example, if you are interested in treating cancer patients, then you should try an oncologist position. Or if you are interested in the mind and behavioral traits, taking a chance on psychology or neurology may be a field of study for you.
5. Research your options
Research is important in making any type of decision. You must gather your choices and research certain traits and factors to weigh your options. If you are only focused on one specialty and know what you want, you should do thorough research on that specific specialty. Otherwise, it can be beneficial to understand what the position entails and what education and skills are required. There are even websites, like PracticeMatch.com, that allow you to search for a specific specialty in different locations.
Take time to research and jot down the pros and cons of each position and notate which ones work for your work-life balance. Research reviews and blogs about certain specialties to get insight into what the position is really like. You can even ask around or request advice from your colleagues about your decision. Regardless of how you learn about the job, doing the proper research will save you from disappointments regarding your career.