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how do you pick the best medical field ?

I have always wanted to be in the medical field, but do not know which one to pick. How do you pick the best medical field and what are your tips on picking the best

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Carolyn’s Answer

A variety of different career options exist within the medical field. First, you may want to identify specific areas that interest you. If you are unsure of exactly what interests you (or if several areas interest you!), I would recommend identifying areas that you feel may NOT be a good fit and begin to eliminate career possibilities.

For example, I found myself in a similar situation during my first year of college. I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, I just didn't know what or where to begin. I identify as more of an introvert, so I knew that nursing was probably not a good fit for me. I also knew that going to medical school would not be a good fit for my life situation, so I ruled out becoming a physician. I found I had a particular interest in biology, microscopy, laboratory work, and epidemiology. After researching careers and engaging in a few shadowing opportunities, I found that I wanted to become a medical laboratory scientist. This path only required a bachelor’s degree (associate degrees to become a medical laboratory technicians are an option also), would provide some sort of work-life balance, and appealed to my scientific inquiry. Additional careers I had considered that fit my criteria included epidemiologist and genetic counselor (these typically require master's degrees), clinical data scientist, medical research technician, and clinical trial coordinator.

Identify your interests, your strengths, and your dislikes as they pertain to the medical field and/or health care setting. From here, research careers that align with these attributes. Rule in and rule out potential career options. If you find a few careers you are interested in, I recommend interviewing and shadowing the position(s), if possible.

I hope this is helpful!
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Michel’s Answer

The nice thing about the medical field is how many branches and pathways there are in it. You can go to become a doctor MD/DO and look into solving the problem that brought someone into the hospital. You can become a nurse and work directly with the patient and carry out plans. You can become a PA and typically work under a doctor in some states you may have independent practice, but i’m not versed enough to comment on that, and don’t want to mislead anyone. You can be a physical therapist and help people heal from injuries. You can become a respiratory therapist and help people with breathing in the hospital. You can become a tech and help out with other jobs. The jobs are endless and I think it can be helpful to volunteer and really determine what aspects of medicine you enjoy.
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Marlena’s Answer

Maci, great question! There are a number of things to consider when choosing a medical profession. Several factors to think about: money, time commitment, independence, home/work balance, what you want to do.
Money: the higher up, the more money you earn but there are things to consider. Do you want to sacrifice time at home for money? On call, endless hours, all for your patients well-being.
Time commitment: Healthcare in general takes a lot of time. Time commitments needed vary on your role, place of employment, and employer expectations. For example, a supervisor in a hospital has designated days off as other supervisors work during the other times but in long term care, it can be a 24/7 possible commitment due to the needs of the facility.
Independence: some roles allow you to be fully independent while others require direction and tasks. There is some independence with all roles but in some states, a nurse prac can function independently while in others, a medical doctor must approve their decisions, etc.
What is it you are wanting to do in the medical field? Care for others, provide holistic care, solve problems, perform sonogram, x-rays, help a person with mobility/functions, help with oral health, perform or assist with research (studies or written), informatics of Healthcare, laboratory work or phlebotomy, respiratory care, emergency medicine (first responder or ER), work with all kinds of patient types, kids, babies, older adults, Developmentally disabled, laboring moms, postpartum, rehab, mental health? So many avenues. A lot to think about but research different roles, what school commitments are required, and what their roles look like and see which is the better fit. Narrow down your options and ask more questions to determine the best path for you!

Marlena recommends the following next steps:

Medical school
Nursing school
Physical therapy
Phlebotomy
EMT and Paramedic
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Kay’s Answer

As a retired registered nurse, my journey in this fulfilling career took off right after I graduated from nursing school. If you're considering this path, a summer job in a nursing home could be a great way to get a taste of what it's like to help others with their everyday tasks. If this piques your interest, starting with a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program could be an excellent first step.
Nursing is a truly remarkable career, offering you the opportunity to explore a wide range of specialties. Personally, I found my passion in the operating room, which became my main area of focus. Here's wishing you the best of luck on your journey. Remember, every step you take brings you closer to your dream.
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Warren’s Answer

figure out which one interests you the most, if you don't have a passion for it than it won't be a long term fit for you - build your social circle and ask others in the field how they chose it as their path - other factors to consider are where you are located as specific locations are known for the best specialty in a specific medical field
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Audrey’s Answer

Hi Maci,

I agree with Warren that the best medical field is the best medical field for you. Every area and specialty of medicine has pros and cons, so what's important is to reflect on your priorities and interests and find what types of medicine work best for you.

One way to get some experience is by looking into any local hospitals or clinics in your area and seeing if they have a screening program for teenagers. Many have shadowing or volunteer opportunities where you can get some firsthand experience and observe different types of medicine to see if anything stands out to you.

Another recommendation for anyone pursuing medicine is to take basic first aid and CPR classes or even EMT or wilderness medicine if available in your area. Other classes that might be good if you're in high school are advanced math and science classes or any classes in anatomy. They help expose you to medicine and science and might give you a clearer idea of your interests.

I hope this helps!
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