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How can I decide exactly what kind of doctor I want to be?

I'm considering jobs such as cardiology, neurology, etc. but I can't figure out exactly what I want to be. How can I fix that?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Michel’s Answer

When I was a student in college I was so excited to become a doctor and I wanted to work in the Emergency Room. It seemed like the perfect fit for me. It was fast paced and I loved all of the aspects of it. Seeing it in practice made me rethink this. You don’t have to pick a speciality until your third/fourth year of medical school. Many of my classmates are still open to what they want to do. Having an idea of an interest is a great thing and there is nothing wrong with that, but I also want to let you know that you don’t have to make that decision just know. Getting into MD/DO school is the goal and once you start seeing the different specialities you can make a much more informed decision. Luckily for the specialities you are exposed to them before you are stuck with one and this is one of the coolest things about the medical field.
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Shauntrell’s Answer

Hello and Good Afternoon

I want to tell you that you are going into a great career. I would first do research and see where the programs are like and ask others who are in the field of Cardiology.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. Rida
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Shivani’s Answer

I would add that you would probably want to talk to doctors from a large range of specialties and see if medicine is a good fit for you. Its generally easier to first make the decision of going to medical school or not. Then once you get into rotations you will get to meet all the different specialties and see what their lifestyle is like. Try to see which lifestyle, earnings, inpatient vs outpatient vs telemedicine etc is the right fit for you.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Rida
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Mindy’s Answer

One of the other things to consider is that when you are medical school and doing your rotations you will have a chance to shadow doctors from several different specialities. You might find that the speciality that you have always wanted to do isn't something that you really want to do or you could find that you have an even larger passion and drive for that speciality. The best advice that I would give you would be to not rule anything out or in until you have had a chance to really see what that speciality is like. Dream big and keep an open mind.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your advice and support!!! Rida
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Colleen’s Answer

Hi,

The great thing about going into the medical field is that you have plenty of time, and will have plenty of experience, to guide your career path. You will build all the foundation in medical school to start any field of medicine from neurology to oncology to cardiology. The first years focus on general medicine that every physician starts from. The latter years you will rotate through different in-person experiences in a wide range of specialties. Even after graduating from a four year medical school you still need have at least two more years in residency before you focus on a specialty. The only decision you really need to make when going to your first residency is if you want to pursue adult care or pediatrics. Trust me, by then you will know. During residency you will get even more experience in variety of specialties before you begin to narrow down your education path to any certain specialty. So you have PLENTY of time and future experiences before you get to that point. Even if you do narrow your choice down to a specialty, such as cardiology, and change your mind, you still have all of the foundation you need to change pathway without starting over. Remember, each specialty also has a variety of physician roles within it. You don't have to work in a hospital and be on-call, you also don't have to work in a clinical/office setting. Don't stress about future decisions right now. Focus on the present and meeting short-term goals like applying for medical school.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Rida
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George’s Answer

In my case, I decided to pursue my particular Specialty of Podiatry because I was encouraged by a Doctor to look into it. I visited several offices and learned what it would be like to work day to day in this field. It turned out I enjoyed attending a Podiatric Medical School and the Residency that followed. Very recently, I retired after 40 years of running two private practices and holding various part-time positions in large Medical groups. In your case, try to select an area of Medicine that you think you will like and be challenged by. Do some research about that field (for example, Family Practice, Endocrinology, Orthopedics and the other Specialties you mentioned) and try to visit and obtain permission to shadow (follow around) Medical professionals. Most doctors, like myself, are very willing to talk to and encourage young students thinking about the medical field. Do not be discouraged if some doctors are too busy to do this but I was able find some that allowed me to visit. Good luck!
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