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How did you know you wanted to do clinical work/treat patients?


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Hello everyone,

I am unsure if this is the right section to post this. But I was wondering: how did you know that treating patient is what you wanted to do? It seems to me that it's hard to know until you're directly in it-- even in the context of shadowing a physician, it seems to be a very polished version of what the day to day actually is like.

Just wanted people to share their thoughts and/or experiences!

Thanks :)

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The best way is to spend as much time in the clinical setting as possible, preferably in a wide variety of clinical settings.

The first question is do you actually want to see patients in person? If your answer is no then proceed to radiology, public health, pathology, biochemistry, microbiology etc

The second question is do you want to see patients quickly or briefly or follow them over time? If you only want quick encounters, proceed to anesthesia, ER, derm etc.

If you want to follow them longitudinally, then FM, psych, neuro, etc.

The third question is what patient demographic do you want to see? IM is mainly older adults, peds self explanatory, genetics is mostly peds, EM mostly adults, ob/gyn females, uro more males than females etc.

Another question is do you want to see stable patients? somewhat ill patients? extremely ill patients? Anything oncology is mostly ill to very ill patients. FM and ob/gyn mostly stable patients. 

Also can you stomach decline of your patients? If poor prognosis breaks your heart then avoid oncology, palliative, neuro. 

Do you get frustrated with chronic diseases that don't respond well or are difficult to manage? Then avoid neuro, pain medicine, palliative, psych

also how much psycho-socio-economic stuff do you want to get involved in? ER, FM and psych a lot of this stuff. If you want to run away from it as fast as you can, go into path, rad, anesthesia etc.

just my 2c

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On 6/7/2022 at 8:28 AM, petit cerveau said:

Hello everyone,

I am unsure if this is the right section to post this. But I was wondering: how did you know that treating patient is what you wanted to do? It seems to me that it's hard to know until you're directly in it-- even in the context of shadowing a physician, it seems to be a very polished version of what the day to day actually is like.

Just wanted people to share their thoughts and/or experiences!

Thanks :)

Honestly it was a bit of a gut instinct. I worked in a completely unrelated field that had a lot of direct human contact with people, often under a bit of stress, and I realized I really liked that part of my job. And intellectually I was much more interested in medical/health sciences problem solving. So I just had a feeling that I would enjoy a combination of the two, and it turns out I do.

But it’s definitely not exactly what I expected, and I’ve been surprised by the things I enjoy I never expected to (i.e. acuity), and the things that I don’t enjoy that I really expected to (I.e. primary care obstetrics). To a great extent you’re right, it is hard to know until you’re in it. And when you’re in it you might not be the same person that you were when you imagined it either. If I followed all the dreams of my teenage self I would be in a very different place and likely not as satisfied with my career. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to learn what you want by doing, you just have to be realistic with yourself that that’s what’s happening and adapt as you go.

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You're right, it can be hard to know without doing the job. Even on the job there are so many variables that contribute whether you like the job (e.g. even if you love treating patients, you might not love your patients or interacting with small number of particular patients might ruin your day, also your colleagues, or the environment that you practice in etc). 

Personally I knew I wanted a "people-facing" job because I was-am- very introverted and shy and awkward as a teenager, then started working in customer service out of necessity which then led to some health promotion roles that I really enjoyed, despite my introversion, and I felt it challenged me in a good way to develop communication skills. 

I also figured out I wanted to be in healthcare after realizing I did NOT want to use my skills and knowledge to help old rich men get even richer (had a moment in my mid 20s when I thought I'd want to go to business school. The corporate world would not have been a good fit for me). Sounds corny but really wanted to do something that helped instead of profiting off of people, and healthcare is something everyone is supposed to have access to in this country..so, here I am. 

 

 

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