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How do I become a doctor?

I'd love to become a doctor and study science but don't know what the career path looks like.
To achieve my ambition what are the skills required?
While studying can I do to prepare beforehand?
What books should I read in-order to achieve my ambition and which colleges should I apply to in-order to achieve my ambition?

#doctor #educator #career #hospital-and-health-care #college #career-counseling

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Subject: Career question for you

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Segu’s Answer

Becoming a doctor can be a rewarding and challenging career path that requires dedication and hard work. Here are some answers to your questions:

Skills required:
Strong academic skills in science, particularly biology, chemistry, and physics
Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Excellent communication skills to work with patients and colleagues
Good time management skills to balance work, study, and personal life
High levels of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence to care for patients

Preparation while studying:
Take science and math courses in high school and college to build a strong foundation for medical school.
Participate in extracurricular activities that demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and community involvement, such as volunteering in hospitals or clinics.
Gain experience in healthcare by shadowing doctors, interning, or working as a healthcare professional.
Prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) which is a requirement for medical school admission.

Books to read:
"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
"Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande
"The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Siddhartha Mukherjee
"The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande

Colleges to apply:
Look for accredited medical schools that fit your academic and financial needs.
Research the schools' curriculums, faculty, and clinical opportunities to ensure they align with your goals and interests.

Remember that becoming a doctor is a long and challenging journey, but with dedication, hard work, and perseverance, it is achievable.
Good luck!
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Raashid’s Answer

Step 1 - COMPLETE AN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

Medical school admissions boards require all applicants to earn bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges and universities. While there is no specific undergraduate degree recommended for all medical school hopefuls, The College Board lists pre-medicine, biology and exercise science among potential majors.

Step 2 - PASS THE MCAT EXAMINATION

College juniors interested in a career as a doctor should register for and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination used by medical school admission committees to assess a candidate’s likelihood of succeeding in their program.

Step 3 - APPLY TO MEDICAL SCHOOL

There is no required timeline for applying to medical school. Students generally begin the application process during the summer after their junior year in college, but some choose to take a year off after completing their undergraduate degrees before applying. Most medical schools in the US use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), a centralized application processing service from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students select their target medical schools and submit a single application to AMCAS, which distributes the application to each institution.

Step 4 - COMPLETE TRAINING AT MEDICAL SCHOOL

The path to becoming a physician begins in medical school, which generally requires four years of full-time study beyond one’s undergraduate studies. Curriculum is divided between classroom-based instruction in the sciences and clinical rotations where students develop applied skills in various areas of medicine.

Step 5 - PASS PARTS I & II OF THE UNITED STATES MEDICAL LICENSING EXAMINATION (USMLE)

In order to practice medicine legally in the US, students must take and receive a passing score on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-part examination taken during and after medical school. Medical students must pass the first part of the examination, which covers basic medical principles, before entering their third year of studies. During their fourth year, students must pass the second part of the exam, which covers clinical diagnosis and disease development.

Step 6 - MATCH WITH RESIDENCY

During their final year of medical school, students start narrowing down their medical specialty options (e.g. pediatrics, anesthesiology). They submit an application for residency and are matched to open residency programs throughout the country.

Step 7 - GRADUATE FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL & START RESIDENCY

Newly-minted doctors transition from graduate school residency programs. These programs generally require at least three years to complete and provide in-depth training in students’ chosen specialties.

Step 8 - PASS PART III OF UNITED STATES MEDICAL LICENSING EXAMINATION (USMLE) AND FINISH RESIDENCY

The final step of the residency process is to complete Part III of USMLE. This examination covers clinical management and assesses the doctor’s ability to practice medicine safely and effectively.

Step 9 - EARN BOARD CERTIFICATION

Since their medical educations are complete, doctors may obtain certification in their chosen field. There are 24 specialty boards that certify physicians in hundreds of specialties and subspecialties. Board certifications require a written and, in some cases, an oral examination.

Step 10 - GET A STATE LICENSE

Medical licensure is governed at the state-level by state boards of medicine, and each sets its own licensing requirements and procedures. Trained and board-certified doctors must apply for state medical licenses before they enter the field.Step 11APPLY FOR JOBSThe final step to become a doctor is securing a job. Many doctors begin their search during residency. It is common for residents to transition into full-time positions after their residencies end. However, some doctors choose to go on the open market and seek out career openings. Other physicians are contacted by recruiters to fill a position.
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Heather’s Answer

Hi Deepa,

What a wonderfully ambitious career choice. Let me start out by saying, YOU CAN DO IT. You're going to want to remind yourself of this very true and important slice of encouragement throughout your many years of schooling.

If you have yet to begin your undergraduate degree, choose a major in the sciences (biology, chemistry, nursing, psychology, etc.) Whatever major you choose, make sure you take at least 6-8 courses in physical and social sciences. Taking these courses in your undergrad will eliminate the need to take them as prerequisites during your masters program. Also, tell your academic advisor about your goal of going to medical school as soon as you meet him/her.

After you finish your 4-year undergraduate degree, you will need to complete a masters degree. There are some pre-med programs out there that essentially segue you into medical school, but if you can't find one near you, you can certainly major in a science for your masters. A lot of students who know they are applying to med school major in biology. If you choose to major in nursing for your undergraduate degree, you can complete an MSN (master of nursing) degree program. This will also allow you to apply as a nurse practitioner if you decide that full-on medical school is no longer your ultimate goal. Nurse practitioners make excellent money and are currently in high demand because of the shortage in primary care physicians (in the U.S.).

During the last several months of your masters program, start studying for the MCAT exam. This is the medical school entrance exam. Connect with med school admissions counselors and they will help walk you through the process. They will alert you to any prerequisites you may not have covered that you will need to take prior to being fully admitted.

Once you start medical school, your primary years will be semi-reflective of your previous education in the sense that there will be classes and textbooks and papers, etc. Then, you will move onto your rotations and residency. This is when you finally start practicing medicine on real patients. Do know that residencies last multiple years. After you successfully complete your residency, you finally become an attending medical doctor.

Despite the extensive education, we need people like yourself ready to take on the incredible task of saving lives! Good luck!
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