Being a medical professional is not just a job, it’s a passion. Students who find themselves drawn to medicine are often well-suited for a career in this field, but it’s important to take the time to consider the factors that make up this profession. These eight issues should help a student narrow down whether or not a career in medicine is right for them.
1. Commitment to Serving Others
The first question any student should ask themselves before entering into a career in medicine is whether or not they want to commit themselves to serving others. Because medicine is geared towards saving lives, students must be passionate about making a difference in this way.
Service-oriented fields like medicine are perfect for students who want to make a difference in other people’s lives; however, not everyone feels the need to contribute to society in this way. That’s why students must first sit down and consider if a career in medicine is the best path for them.
Entering the medical field requires a great deal of education. With 14 years being the average time a student spends in school and residencies in order to become a doctor, and with other positions taking between six and eight years, the time it takes to become educated enough to earn a position must be taken into account.
Students who want to specialize will often be in their 30s before they begin their careers as a licensed professional. Even then, these professionals are required to continually learn, evolving their practice as technology advances the field.
Salary is often one of the major factors in a student’s decision to enter the medical sector. With large salaries available for most jobs, it is easy to understand why. Surgeons and physicians can easily make over $100,000, while other specialties can earn more, even at the start of their career.
However, there are some factors that influence the salary of a plastic surgeon, physician, or other medical professions. This includes the cost of living in a certain region, education level, accreditation, licensing, previous work experience, and more. It’s also important to remember that many students enter the workforce with debt, meaning that much of their salary could go towards paying off what they owe.
4. Job Opportunities
Job opportunities in medicine abound, with the average annual growth hitting roughly 400,000 new jobs every year. That number is only climbing and the medical sector is the number one employer in the United States.
With that said, opportunities for specific jobs will remain competitive. Specialized fields often call for extra certifications; students should remember that when it comes to getting licensed for their profession.
All medical professionals have a stressful, busy lifestyle and often suffer from work overload. From physicians being on-call at all hours of the day to surgeons and nurses preparing and carrying out operations, to even technicians who have the job of ensuring medical technology is accurate, the lifestyle of a medical professional is not without challenges.
6. Cost of Training
Students who go into a medical career often need to attend medical school or other graduate programs prior to getting a job in the field. Because of the extra training, students in America often accrue a debt of $100,000 or more. This number is expected to rise with the annual increase in tuition.
Training for a medical profession is costly, but there is good news: there are a variety of loan forgiveness programs, scholarships, and grants to help ease the cost of schooling. Most students will still incur debt, however. That’s why the cost of training is a factor for students looking to specialize in the medical field.
7. Teamwork Scenarios
Becoming a professional in the medical field is about teamwork. Every professional in a hospital, clinic, or healthcare facility is a valued and integral member of a team that saves lives.
This means that students should think long and hard about whether or not they want to be a part of a team. Collaboration with others is critical, and medical professionals need to have a good working relationship with their colleagues in order to save lives, so a career in medicine is not for the independent-minded professional.
8. Personality Fit
Does a student’s personality fit really matter? In medicine, it can make a real difference. That’s because a student’s personality, goals, interests, and values can mold the kind of profession in medicine they decide to pursue.
Students who are compassionate, hardworking, and analytical make the best candidates. Health care is a person-oriented profession, so it’s important that a student can manage their temper, deliver news in a compassionate way, speak professionally and accurately with colleagues and patients, and more. By understanding their personality, a student can determine whether medicine is the right choice for them as a career.
Medicine is a challenging and rewarding career. Students will find themselves in a field that has a lot to offer them, both in personal and professional development. But it takes research to understand if this is a great fit for a student, so introspection is necessary before moving forward.
This article was contributed by guest author Jennifer Clarke.