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How did you pick what kind of a doctor you want to be?

I'm a 9th grader and I want to be a doctor but, I don't know what kind of doctor I want to be. doctor medicine

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Gerald’s Answer

There are lots of opportunities to explore the different fields of medicine. In high school, I volunteered in the hospital helping move patients to different parts of the hospital by pushing them in a wheelchair or a hospital bed, and I got to see how hospitalists worked. Others may shadow individual doctors for a certain period of time, sitting in and listening to them as they see patients in their specific fields, and in college, you can explore research opportunities in the medical specialties.

Once you attend medical school, you will get a chance to meet and interact with doctors in many fields, and based on your interests, your experiences, and what you learn about each specialty, the typical lifestyle and workload of each specialty, and obviously, potential salary. In your third and fourth year, you may have the opportunity to choose to gain more hands-on experience in a specific specialty with elective rotations, which would help you make a decision when you apply for residency training.

For internal medicine and family medicine, during your residency, you can gain further experience in specific specialties such that, after completing those residency training programs, you can apply for fellowships in specialized fields (cardiology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, sports medicine, etc). You can also apply for specialized fields within each specialty (interventional radiology vs diagnostic radiology, etc).

So you don't have to pick your specialty in high school. If you do, don't be surprised if it changes. I would just take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of fields, and make the best decision for yourself.

Good luck!
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YahJuana’s Answer

Let's look at this from a different perspective... do some self evaluations. Keeping in mind there are all kinds of doctors, not just the ones in the ER. For example, there are people who are called Dr. Floyd but they have an entire different meaning for Dr. This person has a Doctor of Management in Organizational leadership degree. So now, you have to ask yourself a few questions! Some of the most simple questions aren't so simple anymore....

1. What do doctors do?
2. Do I want to work on the human body? If so, what part of the body am I most interested in?
3. Do I want to work on animals?
4. Do I want to be someone who helps people mentally? (if so look up mental health)
5. Do I want to be a scientist?

Uncovering fields that house the title Dr. is Key. You are to broad with the "doctor" word. The word alone carries a lot of weight and a lot of schooling. So narrow it down by first deciding how long you want to be in school and do you have the endurance to handle it mentally and not just for the title!

Hope this helps