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How do I know if the medical/medicine field is right for me and how do I prepare for a good college during high school?

In my opinion, I believe that a field in medicine/medical is right for me, but I'm not completely sure so I want advice on deciding!

Thank you comment icon If you're interested start small. Emt is a good place to start. It gives a foundation in medicine that you can build on. If you find that's not what you are looking for you have the skills for the rest of your life. Tara Sharpe

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Subject: Career question for you

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Frederica E.’s Answer

Hi Julia, the best way to see if something is good for you is to ask a person already working in your desired field. You need to see if there is a health care professional that has the time to let you job shadow them, that means that you will get a firsthand account of everything that they do. You will also get to witness the ups and downs of your career choice.

This is also a perfect time for you to ask them this very important question: "What made you want to have a career in this field." The answer may overwhelm you, but it will definitely enlighten you to your own strengths and weaknesses. If you can't find someone to job shadow then do research at your local library, and look up specific job titles related to the fields you're interested in.

Another great opportunity for you also exists in that yearly health check-up that you may need for school. It's a great time to talk to the nurse, and doctor taking care of you and ask them, "Why did they choose the health care industry?" You should also ask, "How did you know that this was the right decision to make, as well as what classes should I be pursuing in high school and college to be as successful as you are?"

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Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Since my dad works in the hospital, I can try to ask him if I could visit his hospital and see his work! Julie
Thank you comment icon Yes Julia, that sounds great! I am here to help you find the answers anytime! Frederica E. fredericavlogs
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Daphney’s Answer

Great question! Remember, the medical and healthcare sector isn't for the faint-hearted.

Consider participating in medical conferences, workshops, and health expos, browsing YouTube, or having discussions with healthcare professionals from a range of fields. One of the most wonderful aspects of healthcare is the limitless career possibilities, whether it be at the patient's bedside, in their home, in a healthcare facility, or even from the comfort of your own home.

Moreover, it's important to stay grounded in reality. For instance, I initially aspired to become a pediatrician. However, I later shifted gears and chose to become a nurse practitioner, as it better suited the lifestyle I desired. Even though I adore children, my pediatric clinical rotation wasn't enjoyable, which confirmed that pediatrics wasn't the right fit for me.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Keep going, and remember, the sky's the limit!
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! If you don't mind me asking, what exactly does a nurse practitioner do? Julie
Thank you comment icon A nurse practitioner is a Master's prepared registered nurse or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. We are healthcare providers similar to medical doctors. I can prescribe medications and conduct rounds at any healthcare facility. I can teach and open up a private practice. The options are endless. Nurse Practitioners can focus on a specialty as well. I chose to be a family practitioner so I could be well-rounded; however, there are pediatric and adult tracks. Daphney Sydney, FNP-BC
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Karen’s Answer

Fabulous question! The healthcare field is vast, and there are many ways to combine your desire to help people and your interest in health science. You can be as hands-on as those in nursing and medical practice or as hands-off as in scientific research or biomedical engineering. Each has its part in helping to improve care through evidence-based science, and each requires a different path (and length) of study and financing.
The college you attend should be accredited, ideally with a good pass rate for whatever professional exam is required at graduation, if applicable. The "name" of the school is less relevant unless it is a medical school, as residency programs do rely heavily on reputation.
AP classes in the sciences will help most in HS, and any exposure possible to healthcare. Many work as either patient care technicians (nursing aides) or EMTs after doing some basic coursework. You can become a nursing aide at 16 yrs. old and an EMT at 18 (the EMT exam requires an HS diploma, though). As mentioned earlier, even volunteering in the hospital can provide some exposure. It can be challenging to arrange shadowing opportunities due to HIPAA privacy regulations, which protect patient information.
The great news is that you can start an undergraduate program in something like biology and figure out where your heart lies as you go. Head for somewhere that offers options such as a nursing program and pre-med as well as potentially public health if that is something that interests you, and think about continuing some form of either PT work or volunteering in healthcare during college to help you decide. Don't fret; not everyone has it all figured out right away ;)
You sound as if you have a pretty good idea of the general direction you want to head. If I can be of further help, please don't hesitate to reach out!
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! I'm taking AP bio next year and I'm also planning to join some clubs for medicine/biology. What exactly is a shadowing opportunity at a hospital? Julie
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Julia,

Determining if the Medical Field is Right for You:

Deciding whether a career in the medical field is the right path for you can be a significant decision, considering the commitment and dedication required for success in this field. Here are some steps to help you evaluate if the medical field aligns with your interests, skills, and goals:

Self-Assessment: Begin by reflecting on your interests, strengths, and values. Are you genuinely passionate about helping others? Do you have a strong desire to learn about the human body and its functions? Assessing your motivations and interests can provide valuable insights into whether a career in medicine is a good fit for you.

Research: Take the time to research different healthcare professions within the medical field. Explore various roles such as physician, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist, or medical researcher. Understanding the responsibilities, educational requirements, and daily tasks associated with each role can help you narrow down your options.

Volunteer or Shadow: Consider volunteering at a local hospital, clinic, or healthcare facility to gain firsthand experience in a medical setting. Shadowing healthcare professionals can give you a realistic view of what it’s like to work in the medical field and help you determine if it’s something you can see yourself doing long-term.

Talk to Professionals: Reach out to professionals working in the medical field to learn more about their experiences and insights. Ask them about the challenges they face, the rewards of their profession, and any advice they have for aspiring healthcare professionals.

Education and Training: Understand that pursuing a career in medicine requires years of education and training. Evaluate your academic strengths and consider if you are willing to commit to rigorous coursework and continuous learning throughout your career.

Passion for Science: A strong interest in science, biology, chemistry, and anatomy is often essential for success in the medical field. If these subjects captivate your interest and curiosity, it may indicate that a career in medicine is well-suited for you.

Preparing for College During High School:

If you are considering pursuing a career in medicine and want to prepare for college during high school, here are some steps you can take:

Academic Excellence: Focus on maintaining high grades in challenging courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English. Strong academic performance will not only prepare you for college-level coursework but also demonstrate your commitment to excellence.

Extracurricular Activities: Participate in extracurricular activities that showcase your leadership skills, teamwork abilities, and passion for healthcare. Consider joining clubs like HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), volunteering at local health fairs or hospitals, or conducting research projects related to medicine.

College Preparation Programs: Explore college preparation programs or summer enrichment opportunities specifically designed for students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare. These programs can provide valuable insights into the medical field while strengthening your college application.

Standardized Tests: Prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT by taking practice exams and seeking additional support if needed. Strong test scores are an essential component of college applications.

Seek Mentorship: Connect with teachers, counselors, or mentors who can provide guidance on navigating the college application process and preparing for a future in medicine. Their advice and support can be invaluable as you plan your academic journey.

By following these steps and actively engaging with opportunities to explore the medical field during high school, you can gain clarity on whether a career in medicine aligns with your interests and goals while preparing yourself for success in college.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

American Medical Association (AMA): The AMA provides valuable resources on exploring careers in medicine, educational requirements for aspiring healthcare professionals, and insights into various specialties within the medical field.

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC): The AAMC offers guidance on preparing for a career in medicine from high school through undergraduate studies to medical school admission.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH provides information on biomedical research opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare-related fields.

GOD BLESS YOU!
JC.
Thank you comment icon Oh wow, thank you for the response! I'm pretty passionate about helping others, honestly, it makes me happy when I can help someone. And yes, I have an interest in biology and the human body. For preparation, are there any other programs that you would recommend other than HOSA, since I'm not sure if my high school allows me to join HOSA (based on my research that I just did its a program available in certain schools?) Julie
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Carl-Emmanuel’s Answer

This is an interesting question.
Some people will tell you that the medical field is a calling, others will consider it a job like any other, in which you apply and follow-up.
But I would like to insist on the compassionate side of it, as if you are the type to want your actions, your discipline and your hard work to have a direct impact on someone's health, welcome to the medical field.
Compassion is what makes us want to leave our bed to stay a full night taking care of someone sometimes we never even met before.
Discipline is what makes the best of us being able to keep up our effectiveness throughout tough emotional days.
Hard work is what makes the best of us stay focus on maintaining and improving the quality of life of all those who depends of us.

That path have is line of sacrifices and struggles but seeing a patient smile after a life-threatening situation is worth all the difficult days building to this career.

Thank you!
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for responding! And yes, I do think that I would like my work to have a positive direct impact on someones life. I may not be the most compassionate person out there, but I'd say that I'm pretty compassionate compared to other peers. Julie
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Martin’s Answer

Great question! It's important to remember that the ultimate decision will come down to what you feel is right for you. Start by exploring what aspects of a career you might find enjoyable and which ones could potentially put you off. For instance, if the sight of blood makes you uncomfortable, it might influence your decision. But if helping people with their health needs brings you joy, then that's a plus.

If you love working with numbers and inputting data, you might want to consider a career in accounting or IT. Being a lawyer requires a keen eye for detail, particularly when it comes to written documents and advocating for specific legal points. However, if you're not fond of debates, law might not be your cup of tea.

Architecture involves a lot of detailed work and it's a field where you can let your creativity soar. If you prefer hands-on work, engineering or construction could be a good fit. As you can see, the possibilities are endless, even within a single career field.

The key is to find something that sparks your interest and that you can envision yourself doing in the next 5 to 10 years. Focus on what motivates you, not on what others think you should do or how much you'll earn.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Julie
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Muhammad Hassaan’s Answer

During high school focus on biology and try to explore your interest in different branches of biology i.e zoology or botany. If you think you want to study about humans then try pathway is pretty clear go to college get a degree of your choice then prepare for MCAT ace it and get into medical school. You can also join veterinary medicine after college if you love to study about animals. If you want to learn about health system then go for public health in college you can do bachelor as well as Master in healthcare.
If you have any further query you can ask me
Thank you comment icon I see, thanks! If I take AP biology what other classes can I take that'd be useful Julie
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Karen’s Answer

First, are you good with science? Do you find Biology, Chemistry and subject like that interesting? If you do that's the first step. If you don't PLEASE reconstruction your career choice. A "good" college is not one with a big name. A good college is one you can afford. Servings is one with a high graduation level at it compared to admissions. You want a place that has support systems for students in place such as student mentors and counselors.
Next look at the program and what students say about it. Stay clear of organs that purple say are easy. Violence IS somewhat difficult. It's easier when you like what you are studying. As an instructor with experience in many schools, the EASY pregame are also those with high failure rates on bird exams. They are there for the money and could care less if you make it or not.
Don't worry about it if you see things that may make you afraid or nauseated. I was like that for the first 2 years. We joke about it to this day. How well do you handle stress? The medical field is stressful. Most importantly do you REALLY care about people? ALL people. Every race. Every religion. Every sexual preference? Again if you truthfully can't answer yes, reconsider. We are ethically obligate to care for all who seek our help without regard for our personal feelings about them or their lifestyle. What matters is bringing them to optimal health or proving commodus comfort to them and their family at the time of their death.
This field is broad and fascinating! It can be everything you want it to be. If you can try to shadow and volunteer at a hospital. Some VA Medical centers have volunteer programs in the summer.
Thank you comment icon Hi, thank you for responding!!! Honestly, my grades for science aren't extraordinarily great, but they're all above 90. I do enjoy learning about the human body and other things during biology since I find it interesting. I think that I handle stress pretty well, even though my stress levels have definitely not reached as high as someone who works in the medical field might. Also to answer your third question, I do care about people and honestly, I think that I would be able to care for people despite having personal feelings about them. Although I'm not sure yet if I can 100% truthfully say yes to that question, I can say that I care and am truly interested in the medical field. Julie
Thank you comment icon Only one thing to do now. GO FOR IT! Don't worry too much about grades. Make sure you ate learning the concepts. Some students work high grades get them by cheating or their parents are pushing them including doing some of their homework. 90% is more than good enough. Karen Spencer DNP ACNP-BC
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Do you have anything else that you recommend for me to do other than volunteering at a hospital? Julie
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debra’s Answer

Deciding whether medicine is the right field for someone involves considering a variety of factors, including personal interests, values, skills, and lifestyle preferences. Here are some key aspects to consider when evaluating whether medicine is the right career path:

Passion for Helping Others: Medicine is a service-oriented profession that involves caring for individuals during their times of need. A genuine desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives is essential for success and fulfillment in medicine.
Interest in Science and Biology: Medicine is rooted in the sciences, particularly biology, anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. An interest in these subjects and a curiosity about the human body and how it functions are important for thriving in medical school and beyond.
Commitment to Lifelong Learning: Medicine is a constantly evolving field, and physicians are lifelong learners who must stay abreast of new research, technologies, and treatments. A willingness to commit to ongoing education and professional development is crucial for success in medicine.
Emotional Resilience: Medicine can be emotionally demanding, as healthcare professionals often deal with sickness, suffering, and death. Emotional resilience and the ability to cope with stress and adversity are important qualities for physicians.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Effective communication and strong interpersonal skills are essential for building rapport with patients, collaborating with colleagues, and working as part of a healthcare team. Empathy, active listening, and the ability to convey complex medical information in understandable terms are all critical skills for physicians.
Problem-Solving Abilities: Medicine involves diagnosing and treating complex medical conditions, often in situations with limited information and resources. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are essential for physicians to navigate these challenges and make informed decisions.
Work-Life Balance Considerations: Medicine can be demanding in terms of time and energy, with long hours, on-call duties, and potentially high levels of stress. Consider whether you are comfortable with the lifestyle demands of a career in medicine and how it aligns with your personal priorities and goals.
Exposure to the Healthcare Field: Seeking opportunities to gain exposure to the healthcare field, such as shadowing physicians, volunteering in hospitals or clinics, or working as a medical scribe or healthcare assistant, can provide valuable insights into the day-to-day realities of a career in medicine.
Ultimately, deciding whether medicine is the right field requires careful self-reflection, exploration, and consideration of both the rewards and challenges associated with a career in healthcare. Speaking with healthcare professionals, mentors, and advisors can also provide valuable guidance and support in making this important decision.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Julie
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