Changing Your Mind—And Your Specialty

I’ve written about choosing a medical specialty throughout the third and even fourth years of medical school, but further discussion is warranted regarding the students who don’t choose a specialty in this “typical” timeframe. It is worth mentioning first of all: many people change their minds for many different reasons. I continue to be impressed by the students, residents, and attendings I meet who took circuitous and sometimes truly fascinating routes to become physicians. The same is true for finding one’s niche as a certain type of physician. Many students feel like everyone else has things figured out, but the truth is the path is not always clear cut. Even when the majority achieve a certain stage (e.g. practicing physician) by the standard route, there are always exceptions, and students may be surprised and encouraged at the myriad ways they can reach their career goals.

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What Really Matters When Choosing Your Medical School

choosing your medical school

Many students don’t realize that residency match should be top of mind when choosing their medical school. Even though residency is several years away, your time spent as a medical student will determine the fate of your residency. This is because residency directors have various criteria that they look for in their future residents, and this criteria comes from specific factors acquired in medical school.

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Choosing a Specialty: Taking a Second Look

fourth year

By Brent Schnipke

As I have spoken with physicians, residents, and other medical students about the process of choosing a medical specialty, the near-universal reply has something to do with the fact that third-year rotations barely offer enough exposure to each specialty to make an informed decision. Third-year medical students move quickly between specialties, and are often granted only a few weeks to examine a given career choice and decide whether they like it or not. Because of this, major decisions about how a medical student will practice as a doctor are largely based on brief experiences that can be easily biased by particular patients, residents, attendings, hospital systems, and even external life factors. To control for these variables, most students will finish their third year and use the first part of their fourth year to take a “second look” at the specialty they are planning to apply for and to help those students who remain undecided.

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The Future of MD/DO Residencies Under Single Accreditation

Recently, the Accrediting Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced that by 2020, all allopathic and osteopathic residency programs would come together under one umbrella accreditation system. This is a significant shift away from the historical separation between MD and DO programs. DocThoughts’ Host, Nirmal Gosalia, invited Dr. John Potts, Senior VP of Surgical Accreditation at the ACGME and key leader in the implementation of the Single GME System, to clarify the decision and its future impact on graduate medical education. 

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Residency: The Interview and Selection Process

Medical Spouse

Residency applications! The light at the end of the tunnel, and the process that will chart the course for the next 3+ years of your life and your spouse’s medical career. No big deal, or anything! It is an incredibly exciting time, while also being quite unsettling. Here’s what to expect and how to make it as joyful of a process as possible.

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Popular Specialty Areas – and What Med Students Should Know About Them

popular specialty areas

For medical school students, perhaps one of the most difficult choices to be made in the course of their education is what area of medicine to specialize in—or whether to go into general practice. Part of this problem is the wide variety of specialties to choose from: the AMA lists around 200 medical specialties and sub-specialties.

Part of it also may be that there are a variety of factors–from expected income to the demand for certain specialties to the personalities and preferences of the individual medical student–to be taken into consideration before a decision can be made. Understanding all of these factors can take some time, but it can also make this very important decision a little easier.

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