What It Means to Love Being a Doctor

love being a doctor

I stood and watched off to the side as the cart wheeled in through the wide double doors into Operation Room 1. It was my first day of shadowing a pediatric neurosurgeon, and so as I waited for the doctor to enter the room, I tapped my feet to the rhythm of an invisible beat and wrung my hands behind my back. A young boy with short-cropped brown hair lay propped against the pillows, his back straightening as he entered the room. He was young—he couldn’t have been older than 2 or 3—and he looked around with a gleam in his wide blue eyes. Clutching the edges of his blanket, he looked about the white room. He looked at me for an instant, just a second, just as long as he did for all the others in the room, and he tilted his head. So had I, I realized, as I straightened mine.

Read more

8 Ways to Make “Typical Premed” Activities Exceptional

Medical School

It’s hard to be a pre-med. There are high expectations for the types of experiences you need, the classes you have to take, and the quality of person you become through it all. But for how hard it is to be a pre-med, it’s pretty easy to come off as “typical”.

Here are 8 key activities, experiences, and essay topics that can make you read as a “typical pre-med”, unless you take the following advice:

Read more

5 Physical Therapy Settings to Explore Before Applying to PT School

physical therapy settings

When you’re planning to apply to physical therapy school, you may or may not have an idea of what you’d like to do once you actually become a PT. Sure, there are plenty of articles out there reminding you of what a great profession physical therapy is, and they’re mostly right! But the majority of the media paints the same picture of what a physical therapist is: a smiling, perky young lad or lady, absently stretching a faceless leg.

The reality is that the physical therapy profession is so much more than stretching people’s legs in a generic outpatient orthopedic setting. (Outpatient ortho is what those pictures represent, by the way, but the pics don’t come close to representing the actual excitement of clinic life). A PT can help to improve the functions—and the lives—of everyone from children with developmental disabilities to active older adults. Physical therapists work in schools, adult day care facilities, gyms, and nursing homes, and they treat people with everything from sprained ankles to acute heart conditions.

Read more

Preparing for Medical School as a High School Student

high school student

Looking to college and beyond is a major step for a high school student. You are about to embark on your journey into adulthood and establish yourself as a college student. For students considering a career in medicine, it is not too early to start exploring this path in high school. To give perspective, to become a physician, it takes four years of undergrad, four year of medical school and then three to seven years of post-graduate training. In essence, making the decision to become a physician is no feat to be taken lightly. If you are considering this path, you can start to solidify your decision in high school. Here is what you can be doing to determine if becoming a physician is the right career choice for you!

Read more

3 Ways to Explore Medical Specialties

Medicine is a vast field comprised of specialties so different that it’s hard to believe they stem from the same core training. Once you’ve made the important decision to pursue a career as a physician, you must then begin the process of sifting through various medical specialties to identify your own interests. But with limited or no training, you might ask what steps you can take to begin narrowing down your options. Whether you are in high school, college, or have already begun medical school, consider these options as you begin exploring the various medical specialties:

Read more

Ending Premed Naivety: Understanding the Realities of a Medical Career

The only real recollections I have of visiting the hospital before college were once as a child undergoing a tonsillectomy and once as a preteen to visit my newborn cousin. Fast forward ten years or so and suddenly I was a freshman in college shadowing a medical professional and trying to decide if I wanted to commit the rest of my life to medicine. It was the first time I really saw medicine for what it was, and it was nothing like I had imagined.
As someone without any relatives or close acquaintances in a health profession, I grew up with a lot of misconceptions about medicine as a career. Like many of you, I will be the first in my family to attend medical school. On many fronts, I have had to discard my preconceived notions about medicine for an understanding borne of proximity and experience. Before beginning the premed journey, I was blissfully unaware of two components of the medical field: the realities of daily work and the lifestyle demands.

Read more

5 Tips for Finding and Working With a Mentor

Do you know anyone who raves about their mentor? A mentor can offer you expertise and motivation as you work toward your goal of entering medical school and becoming a doctor. A medical student, professor, physician, or anyone with experience and knowledge in the medical field who is able listen, relate, and help invest in your future can be a mentor. For example, finding a mentor who is a physician can provide you with the perspective of someone currently in the profession. Whereas a medical student can give you the first hand perspective of someone who has recently gone through the application process and is currently working toward their degree.

Read more

4 Reasons First-Year Medical Students Should Reflect on Their Initial Clinical Experiences

Many medical schools are now enhancing their preclinical curriculum (which is typically taught in the first two years of the program) with mandatory and optional clinical opportunities. Though intensive clinical exposure is typically reserved for third- and fourth-year rotations and sub-internships, students whose early curriculum provides clinical experiences should reflect on the impact of these opportunities.
If you are in a medical school with early clinical exposure, consider evaluating these experiences for the following reasons:

Read more

How to Impress While Shadowing

shadowing

Shadow (verb shad·ow)1
· To follow and watch (someone) especially in a secret way
· To follow and watch (someone who is doing a job) in order to learn how to do the job yourself

Shadowing is clearly defined in the dictionary, but yet the role of the shadow is vaguely defined in the medical field. Some students may feel that shadowing is a medical school application requirement or an easy way to get a letter of recommendation. However, this attitude of going through the medical school application process like a checklist, fulfilling requirements, often mask the truly rewarding moments of shadowing. Shadowing can be the first experience for a pre-medical student in the medical setting, and can inspire and nurture the passion for medicine in a future physician. Each medically relevant experience, such as shadowing, inspired my passion for medical school in those darkest moments in my room studying for over 12 hours. They reminded me that at the end of my preclinical year journey, there were patients that I would eventually have the opportunity to help. 

Read more

How International Experiences Can Enrich Your Studies as a Pre-Health Student

You’ve volunteered. You get good grades. You’ve shadowed doctors. You’ve done everything you can to be a great student and ideal candidate for professional schooling. What more can you do to make yourself stand out from the crowd? For starters, you can participate in an international internship and shadow doctors in another country! Here are a few ways in which adding an international component adds value to what you are already doing:
Obtain Transferrable Medical Experience
Whether or not a program offers credit, participating in a pre-health internship abroad will be a unique experience that will give you plenty of subject matter to talk about in interviews. You will be able to see what life is like for a foreign doctor, and sometimes you may be able to observe more than you may see shadowing doctors back in your home country, such as observing a number of surgeries firsthand. Having this opportunity is a great way to get more direct observation experience outside of the classroom.

Read more

6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer

Summertime on your mind? You’ve worked hard this semester and have earned some well-deserved time to sit back and slow down for a change. While summer is your time to relax and recharge, it’s also a great opportunity to start focusing on rounding out your medical school applications. So how do you do that? We’ve come up with 6 ways to help you make the most of your summer.

1. Volunteer: Volunteering in a healthcare facility or organization not only enhances your medical school application, it’s a chance to see if you enjoy working a medical setting. It’s also an opportunity to network with peers and possible mentors, take on increased responsibility and leadership roles over time, and build your resume. Learn how to find a volunteer opportunity.

Read more

Navigating Your Future: A Roadmap to Specialty Exploration

Congratulations! You’re in medical school. What you will soon realize is that your answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is going to have to change. Simply saying “doctor” is no longer enough. You need to start to figure out what kind of doctor you want to be. And, although applying to residency may feel very far off, there are steps you can do starting in your first year to help you pick the specialty that best suits you.
Most of us have fairly limited exposure to different specialties as pre-meds; mine consisted primarily of shadowing cardiothoracic surgeons. Yet there is a huge diversity among medical specialties, some of which you may have never heard about. Physiatry, anyone? Others you know of can be quite different than what you had envisioned. A friend of mine recently shadowed an interventional radiologist and was surprised by the surgical nature of the specialty.

Read more