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How do you choose your specialty/career in Health Care?

Hi, I am a rising senior in high school. I was wondering how people decided on what specific specialty to pursue in the health care. I have always known I wanted to work in something related to health care, but I just don't know what to choose from all the options. If you could please share some tips or your experience with choosing, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

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Martin’s Answer

Great question! Remember, you're the only one who can truly answer this. It's all about what comes from your heart. I realize this doesn't directly answer your query, but let's think about what really sparks your interest. Are you drawn to leadership roles? Or perhaps you enjoy the precision of a mechanic, where you get to fix what's not working and ensure everything is running smoothly by using your hands. . Maybe you thrive on problem-solving, puzzling over various scenarios until you find the right solution. Or, do you prefer focusing on individuals and addressing their specific nursing needs? What motivates you? Conversely, consider what aspects of your studies you dislike and would rather not deal with again. There are so many factors to consider here. It might be helpful to jot down your likes and dislikes, and then try to steer in a particular direction. Even then, making a decision might still be tough. But remember, it's all part of the journey.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Martin for the advice. Lizeth
Thank you comment icon You are most welcome anytime Martin Schoen
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Kathleen’s Answer

Great topic! Healthcare is a field with something for everyone. The best path is one that aligns with your personality, interests and abilities. Do you like working closely with people? Do you like being in the spotlight or prefer behind the scenes? Do you love technology? Working with your hands? Solving puzzles ? I am an introvert who likes experiments and puzzles and working with my hands plus instruments. For me the lab was a perfect fit with many different options and always a steady, interesting job. If you're more nurturing and compassionate, nursing might be the direction to explore. The technology field of Healthcare is wide and always changing, so if you like working with tech there are a lot of options. You might want to find a career counselor who can connect you with people working in the fields to interview and shadow. We need dedicated Healthcare workers and it is a great, rewarding field! Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Lizeth
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Reema’s Answer

Deciding on a health care career or specialty requires self-evaluation, exploration, hands-on experience, and guidance. Start by pondering over your hobbies, talents, and ideal work setting to pinpoint fields that match your passion and abilities. Dive into different health care specialties to comprehend their educational prerequisites, job prospects, and potential earnings, using helpful tools like the American Medical Association and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Acquire real-world experience by shadowing professionals, volunteering, or participating in internships or externships to gain a genuine perspective of various roles. Connect with mentors and network with professionals in your fields of interest for valuable insights and advice. Lastly, think about personal aspects like your desired work-life harmony and long-term career ambitions to make a well-informed choice that suits your dreams.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Lizeth
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Hauwa Sandra Ibrahim’s Answer

Choosing a specialty in healthcare is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of your interests, strengths, and long-term goals. Here are some tips to help you decide:
1. Understand the different health care specialties: Research the different healthcare specialties to understand what each entails. This includes the types of patients you’ll see, the common procedures or treatments, and the work environment.
2. Personal Strengths and Preferences: Reflect on what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at. Do you prefer fast-paced environments or more predictable routines? Are you interested in surgery, direct patient care, research, or public health?
3. Real-World Experience: Gain clinical experience through shadowing healthcare professionals, volunteering, or internships. This hands-on experience can give you valuable insights into what a day in the life of a particular specialty looks like.
4. Networking and Mentorship: Connect with professionals in the field to get advice and learn from their experiences. They can provide guidance on what it takes to succeed in their specialty.
5. Stay Updated: Keep up with the latest trends in healthcare to see how different specialties are evolving.
It’s perfectly fine to be uncertain at this moment. As you continue to learn and gather experiences, your preferences and interests are likely to change and become clearer.
All the best
Hauwa Sandra Bitmuk (B.Pharm)
Thank you comment icon Thank you for giving me advice. Lizeth
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Nikolaos’s Answer

Hi Lizeth,

You can start by considering what areas of healthcare motivate you more such as working directly with patients, conducting research, advancing technology, or focusing on a particular specialty. Shadowing professionals in different fields can also give you a good idea about the day-to-day realities and challenges involved in each one and allow you to see which resonate with you the most. Similarly, volunteering at various types of healthcare facilities can expose you to many different specialties and the roles they can play. Let your gut be your guide during this process, by paying attention to what excites you along the way. Keep in mind that it’s normal not to have all the answers right now. Just stay flexible, find mentors who can offer support and advice based on their own experiences, and let your passion steer you toward the best professional fit for yourself.

Best regards,
Nikolas
Thank you comment icon Thank You! Lizeth
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Rita’s Answer

I also did not know what I wanted to do. I went into medicine thinking I wanted to be a pediatrician but changed my mind during medical school. During med school, the first 2 years are in the classroom learning. The second 2 years, you go on rotations. At my school, each rotation was 6 weeks. While I worked as a preceptor, their rotations were 1 month. During that time, you get a chance to work in each field and that's when you decide.

I did not have anyone in my family who was a physician and I think this was a disadvantage. If you want to be in a competitive field like surgery, you need to be at the top of your game and know pretty quickly because you will be applying for residency after you finish medical school at the end of your 3rd year of medical school. You may also need to "audition" at certain residency programs. This is when you do one of your rotations at their program.

I recommend every student interested in medicine to work as a medical scribe. This allows you to learn the language of medicine, see what physicians do, interact with physicians, and experience how it is as a physician. This also gives you a chance to maybe work in different fields of medicine. This allows you more exposure.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Lizeth
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