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What are some important words of advice for an individual pursuing a career as an ER physician?

I am a senior in high school that plans on following a career path in the medical field. I plan to pursue a bachelors in biology and then following with med school with a concentration in becoming an ER doctor in the Cleveland, Ohio area. I have a passion for biological and the health sciences and look forward to this future path. er erphysician physician healthscience medicalfield cleveland ohio

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Raquel’s Answer

Hi Jaxon, pursuing medicine is a great choice! The medical field is a wonderful place to work. As was already mentioned, it is very important to keep an open mind throughout the process on what kind of physician you want to become. You will be exposed to many specialities and may fall in love with something completely different from emergency medicine, it happens to a lot of people! But going in knowing that you are interested in emergency medicine is also really useful.

It is a long process to become a doctor. You first have to get a bachelors degree, the major doesn't matter so long as you complete all of the prerequisite courses for medical school. Many students pursue a degree in biology or chemistry because the medical school prerequisites are built into the major. You will need 1 year of English, 1 year of biology with a lab, 1 year of general chemistry with a lab, 1 year of organic chemistry with a lab, 1 year of physics with a lab, and 1 year of math (statistics and calculus). Many schools also want psychology courses.
After completing these courses and getting a bachelors degree you will need to study for and take the MCAT which is the medical school entrance exam. It is an 8 hour exam that has four main categories: biology, chemistry (includes physics and math), psychology & sociology, and CARS. The CARS section assesses your critical thinking and reading abilities. It is very important that you score well on this exam, it will determine what schools you can go to, most schools require at least a 508. On top of schooling you will also need to have volunteer time preferably both clinical and nonclinical, research, leadership activities, and physician shadowing. It takes a lot of time and hard work to make yourself a good applicant for medical school so start as soon as possible. In the age of COVID a lot of online opportunities have emerged for volunteering and shadowing. While hours are important schools tend to look at duration of an activity rather than hours they would prefer something you did over 2 years and had 100 hours rather than 200 hours in 2 weeks.

Since you are interested in becoming an emergency room physician I would reach out to local hospitals about shadowing opportunities with both doctors and nurses. You will get to have a lot of cool experiences and learn a lot by shadowing both workers. You could also apply to become an ER tech or ER scribe if you are able to successfully work part time and do school at the same time.

Best of luck in your journey to becoming a doctor, the road is long but the end is worth it!
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Dimple’s Answer

OK well you may want to be an ER doctor now but you will get to do multiple specialty rotations as a medical student and may find that you want to specialize in something entirely different. I suggest you keep an open mind, get good grades, do volunteer work and good scores on your MCATs in order to get into medical school. Then after that you are looking at an intern year and then 3 years of residency in emergency medicine if that is what you choose to do. You could train to be an EMT and do that part time as you get through undergrad if you can handle work and school.