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What is something you wish you knew before you entered the medical field?

I am planning to be premed in college next year, and I don't know any medical professionals closely. I would appreciate any input on what surprised you about medicine, and what one should be prepared for. Thank you!
stem women-in-stem medicine med doctor surgeon premed nurse pa ot pt do rn aprn lpn emt healthcare

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4 answers

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Norm’s Answer

It’s not so much something I didn’t know but it’s something you should know. You can’t save everyone. I’m not just talking about someone severely injured and doesn’t make it. But also the repeat patients. You may bring an opioid patient back a couple of times in a month. Or a week. Or a day. But at some point, you won’t be there. And that’s ok. Do what you’re trained to do. Do it well. Don’t linger on those who don’t make it. Be thankful for those who do.

Thank you! That's so helpful to know. Aleksandra B.

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Richard’s Answer

You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance. Go to class. Plan to spend 2-3 hours studying for every hour of lecture. Attend your professor's office hours and any TA review sessions. If there is a test bank, use that as a study tool to understand what your professor wants you to focus on for the test.

Try to find opportunities to pursue research.
Volunteer at your local hospital or low-income clinic. Ask physicians, PAs or other clinical providers if you can shadow them.
During college study for and complete the MCAT. Devote an entire summer to studying for the MCAT and consider paying for a prep course if you can afford it.
My son used MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2019-2020: Online + Book + 3 Practice Tests (Kaplan Test Prep) Kaplan Test Prep
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Aman’s Answer

  1. YOU DESERVE THIS. You worked hard and dedicated so much of your time towards this goal of yours. Don’t think you don’t deserve it for a second because you do!
  2. GO TO O-WEEK!!! O-Week was one of the best times of my lives and I met such amazing people during that week who will be lifelong friends. You have to go!!! If I could go back and relive that week, I would in a heartbeat.
  3. Condo hunting will be hectic, but you have time. I would also recommend waiting until you know which academy you are going to be assigned to OR pick something close to campus/subway line. Ideally you’ll want a move in date of August 1st to get yourself settled, but if that doesn’t happen please don’t worry because many people had to move in during class and it ended up working okay!
  4. Which brings me to the next point: YOU WILL USE THE SUBWAY. A lot. If you are a suburban girl/guy like I was, don’t think you can avoid transit! Get a presto card and consider living near one of the subway lines. FYI: there are student deals for the presto card that lower your fare, take advantage of that!
  5. No matter which academy or hospital site you get assigned to, you will have an amazing time and get an amazing education. Don’t be upset if you don’t get your top choice, all of them are great! I am in the Peters-Boyd academy, which was my last choice, and I love it! Knowing what I know now, I would have definitely ranked it first!
  6. Take time during yourself and enjoy living in the city! This is so important for you to understand. I know if might be hard since your premed brain has been wired to work day and night, but this is not undergrad. You don’t need a 4.0 GPA anymore! You just need to pass! I found it difficult to grasp too, but trust me on this. Please do things you love, get involved, and take time for yourself!
  7. Failure and mistakes are okay. If you fail a bellringer or fail one of your exams, don’t beat yourself up. These things happen and the most important thing you can do is be resilient and learn from your mistakes. Don’t ever think you’re not cut out for medicine because of a bad mark.
  8. Stay on top of your independent learning modules and pre-week learning modules. It is (so!!!!) easy to push those modules off until closer to the exam and just tell yourself that you’ll get to it later. Don’t. The worst is when you’re extremely behind and have to catch up/learn new material before an exam. Stay organized and follow the syllabus.
  9. You won’t touch your stethoscope until January… but you will learn how to use it… eventually!! Speaking of which, you don’t have to get the fanciest, most expensive stethoscope. The Littmann Classic III will work just fine. Save your money and don’t fall into the same trap as I did!

Thank you so much for the response!! You've given me so much information I wouldn't have heard otherwise. Aleksandra B.

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Carla’s Answer

Hi Aleksandra!

The biggest thing i wish I would have known before going to college is not to go to college! It seems like you are passionate about the medical field overall and the many paths you can take to being a health care professional. I would get licensed as a cna cma emt or pta so that you can get exposure to the field and gain some valuable direct patient care experience. If you land a job with great benefits you could get tuition reimbursement which will help you save some money on your education expenses.
Also take your first two years at a community college and save even more 🤑! I’m interested to see where you are in your decision especially given our current pandemic 😔 Please feel free to message me directly wit’s any updates or questions you may have!