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So, You're a Premed Passionate about Medicine?


Alai

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Here's a serious question, not a troll post, and it's a question I've asked myself for a long time.

 

But how can you really know if you are passionate about medicine?

Volunteering, reading books and watching documentaries, listening to anecdotes, being addicted to medical TV shows, can only get you so far. The actual experience of studying medicine, practicing medicine, of being a doctor and living through it, will almost definitely be different for everyone and more importantly, not in a way that is predictable.

 

So when I hear people aspiring to be doctors give me a long speech about how passionate they are about medicine as a profession, I am skeptical by default.

 

So, you want to help people? That does not logically lead to medicine, because you have to add a lot to that equation, narrow it down a lot more, before you will ever end up with medicine. You could be any number of professions which all help people and are all science-based, that are not medicine.

 

Even more puzzling are people who already know what Specialty they would want to do 10 years down the line. This girl in my high school told me she wanted to be a cardiologist specializing in bypass surgeries, WHAT? How do you know? The obvious answer is that you don't know. That all your research on the profession of medicine, all your viewing the action from the sidelines as a volunteer, will be worth very little when you are really exposed to medicine, to being a doctor, to the responsibility, not the perceived responsibility.

 

Yes, you are more likely than the average person to ultimately enjoy medicine, but you shouldn't delude yourself into believing that you want to be a doctor because you know you will like it.

 

TL;DR: You don't really know what medicine is like, you only think you know.

 

Thoughts? Criticisms?

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Yes, I find the whole "I wear medical lab coats in my freetime reason pretty unsatisfying," although I would think one so passionate could make a good doctor, just like the kid fantasizing about being a pilot for 25 years before getting his license could make a great one. This type of passion is uncommon though and that's why I think we could focus on other cases.

 

I think people should see choosing medicine as it having the most intersection with their interests and aptitudes. Simply wanting to help people is not enough, as you said Mr. OP. If the only way you can think of to help people is to be their doctor you haven't been out of the house or hospital much.

 

There is one type of case that I really don't understand: it is those who say that were they not chosen for medicine, they would engage in another profession as long as it is in the health field. I am the total opposite, my package of interests and aptitudes would probably lead me to being a professor or artist or politician or whatever, before a nurse or technician, were I not to be accepted in medicine.

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The things you have mentioned in your posts are what I have always believed in. The worst answers that I gave during interviews were to the question "Why medicine?" because I knew that my real reasons would not be seen in a positive light - I probably seemed like I was trying to dodge the question. Although it took me 2 cycles and a lot of tears to get admitted to medical school, I think that it is probably one of the easier routes of getting somewhere post-undergrad. I have no idea whether I will like medicine or not, but I have realized that as long as I am doing something that is challenging, has some relevance to what I have done in the past (studied etc.) and I do reasonably well - I will not be unhappy (more likely to be happy).

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The system and process works and produces licenced, competent physicians, and in the end, that is all that matters - for society and for the individuals who who are accepted into med school and become physicians.

 

I'm not sure how that's relevant to this thread, but I'll pretend it is. I think that's an awfully complacent view. The question should never be whether the process works, but rather if there is room for improvement, though some would contest even the the prior.

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I'm not sure how that's relevant to this thread, but I'll pretend it is. I think that's an awfully complacent view. The question should never be whether the process works, but rather if there is room for improvement, though some would contest even the the prior.

 

It's relevant b/c society represented by med schools selects from amongst those who seek to become doctors individuals who go forward and become licenced physicians.

 

There is always room for improvement in any system or process, and there are constant improvements or changes in the process, e.g., CaSPER for MAC, no Essay for U/T being some recent examples of tinkering.

 

As to what turns us each on as individuals to even seek to become physicians, we are each unoique and select and strive for our own goals that are hopefully realistic and for which we have the requisite aptitudes and attitudes. Many of us change our mind, our weeded out or give up after trying or change our mind.

 

Noboy really knows what is involved in any undertaking except when you get there - and even then, you may not truly understand what you have let yourself into. However, does it really matter to society if you are trained and competent? And does it really matter to the individual who can find so many areas of interest in 3rd and 4th year?

 

Bottom line, it is extremely rare for someone to walk away while in med school or after obtaining a medical degree. So, I repeat - it all works for society; and for the individual.

 

And, if you care to suggest improvements, and they are implemented, that's great too. :)

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The system and process works and produces licenced, competent physicians, and in the end, that is all that matters - for society and for the individuals who who are accepted into med school and become physicians.

Problems with this statement:

 

Society: Some physicians could get in just based on this false passion, get through med, become docs, and find out they hate it. Some will quit. This means that there will be one less doctor available to the general public (and they're already in short supply). Physicians who don't quit but aren't passionate may do their job ineffectively, not trying hard enough to figure out diagnoses or treatment options for their patients, compromising their care.

 

Individual: If the individual finds out they hate medicine, you think all that matters to them is that they got into med school and became a physician anyways? Answer should be obvious.

 

Maybe you don't need to be overly passionate to be a good doctor, but I think you still need to have some, in whatever form of motivation you have, to effectively care for your patients.

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The system and process works and produces licenced, competent physicians, and in the end, that is all that matters - for society and for the individuals who who are accepted into med school and become physicians.

 

As if being a good doctor depends simply on being licensed...

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Problems with this statement:

 

Society: Some physicians could get in just based on this false passion, get through med, become docs, and find out they hate it. Some will quit. This means that there will be one less doctor available to the general public (and they're already in short supply). Physicians who don't quit but aren't passionate may do their job ineffectively, not trying hard enough to figure out diagnoses or treatment options for their patients, compromising their care.

 

This is conjecture and not evidence. You say, "Some will quit." There must ber statistics as to how many actually leave medicine. :confused: I doubt there are many but this too is conjecture.

 

Individual: If the individual finds out they hate medicine, you think all that matters to them is that they got into med school and became a physician anyways? Answer should be obvious.

 

Maybe you don't need to be overly passionate to be a good doctor, but I think you still need to have some, in whatever form of motivation you have, to effectively care for your patients.

 

For someone to get through the system comparable to a salmon swimming upstream and successfully going through all those obstacles to span and suddenly discover he/she is not a salmon is incredible. Having gotten into and through med school, through licencing and into practice, you shall have found your niche and now are making your contribution to society as a physician or in medical administration, etc. I cannot see that many if any discover they hate medicine and want to be a lawyer, but if that happens, his/her legal practice will likely be involved in defending or going after physicians in malpractice suits. The system works for society and the individual and is an improvement over what exists in North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia or most other countries.

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This is conjecture and not evidence. You say, "Some will quit." There must ber statistics as to how many actually leave medicine. :confused: I doubt there are many but this too is conjecture.

You can't deny that some people will quit medicine. I don't see how you can reduce my statement to conjecture.

 

For someone to get through the system comparable to a salmon swimming upstream and successfully going through all those obstacles to span and suddenly discover he/she is not a salmon is incredible. Having gotten into and through med school, through licencing and into practice, you shall have found your niche and now are making your contribution to society as a physician or in medical administration, etc. I cannot see that many if any discover they hate medicine and want to be a lawyer, but if that happens, his/her legal practice will likely be involved in defending or going after physicians in malpractice suits. The system works for society and the individual and is an improvement over what exists in North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia or most other countries.

 

What if I discover that I want to be a commercial pilot? What if I find passion in painting and dancing Irish jigs? Am I only supposed to paint hospitals and health care professionals? It's possible that you'll discover you really love something else a decade from now that has nothing to do with medicine.

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Bottom line, it is extremely rare for someone to walk away while in med school or after obtaining a medical degree. So, I repeat - it all works for society; and for the individual.

And, if you care to suggest improvements, and they are implemented, that's great too.

 

I'm sorry, I still don't see how your initial comment was relevant to my initial post, which was about the question of being passionate about medicine before experiencing it. I feel like you're going on a huge tangent. I said nothing about criticising the selection process, only about the individual motivation for becoming a doctor that people have. You eventually did go on to talk about something relevant here, but it doesn't have anything to do with the 'bottom line'.

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This is conjecture and not evidence. You say, "Some will quit." There must ber statistics as to how many actually leave medicine. :confused: I doubt there are many but this too is conjecture.

You can't deny that some people will quit medicine. I don't see how you can reduce my statement to conjecture.

 

 

 

What if I discover that I want to be a commercial pilot? What if I find passion in painting and dancing Irish jigs? Am I only supposed to paint hospitals and health care professionals? It's possible that you'll discover you really love something else a decade from now that has nothing to do with medicine.

 

Life offers no guarantees other than death and taxes.

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This discussion rings a faint bell from the past.

 

No, no one can truly know what medicine is like until they are immersed in it. But this holds true for any other career as well.

 

If you've determined that medicine seems to be the best fit for you at this point, then from a practical standpoint, it is relatively advantageous to convey a sense of passion and knowledgeability about the career you are seeking to enter.

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This discussion rings a faint bell from the past.

 

No, no one can truly know what medicine is like until they are immersed in it. But this holds true for any other career as well.

 

If you've determined that medicine seems to be the best fit for you at this point, then from a practical standpoint, it is relatively advantageous to convey a sense of passion and knowledgeability about the career you are seeking to enter.

 

+1

 

I don't even see the point of this thread. Obviously you won't know what anything is like unless you get exposure. If you say you are passionate about medicine for whatever reason (hospital volunteering, shadowing, etc) good for you. As Lactic said, it could be advantageous if anything.

 

I actually do agree with f_d as the end result is what is more important.

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Maybe that's why a lot of US schools really want to see some shadowing experience in applicants' resume. Shadowing a doctor certainly gives you a taste of what medicine is like. And from that, you can get a vague idea of whether you'll like it or not.

 

Medicine is generally a good career to go into because it's so diverse. There are so many different specialties. You can do clinical work if you like people. You can do pure research if you love that stuff. You can do pure admin if you like leadership. It pays well and it's stable. You do make a difference to someone's life at the end of the day if you try your best. You feel good as a result of self-fulfillment.

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Medicine is generally a good career to go into because it's so diverse. There are so many different specialties. You can do clinical work if you like people. You can do pure research if you love that stuff. You can do pure admin if you like leadership. It pays well and it's stable. You do make a difference to someone's life at the end of the day if you try your best. You feel good as a result of self-fulfillment.

Inspiring post!

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This discussion rings a faint bell from the past.

 

No, no one can truly know what medicine is like until they are immersed in it. But this holds true for any other career as well.

 

If you've determined that medicine seems to be the best fit for you at this point, then from a practical standpoint, it is relatively advantageous to convey a sense of passion and knowledgeability about the career you are seeking to enter.

 

+1

 

That said, for many other professions, it's possible to do at least small internships in those industries to get a taste of the profession (e.g. co-op).

 

The barrier to entry to medicine is huge, and by the time you can do any sort of "internship" (e.g. clerkship), it's not really feasible for many people to quit even if they realize it's not for them.

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This discussion rings a faint bell from the past.

 

No, no one can truly know what medicine is like until they are immersed in it. But this holds true for any other career as well.

 

If you've determined that medicine seems to be the best fit for you at this point, then from a practical standpoint, it is relatively advantageous to convey a sense of passion and knowledgeability about the career you are seeking to enter.

 

+1

 

You can't know about all professions before getting into them. So you have to look at the careers that match the most your interests. You can't sit at home because you don't know which career to do, or change majors/programs every year.

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personally I think two main reasons are: you'd enjoy it, and you'd (as far as you can tell) be good at it.

 

passion might give you a means to enjoy it or be good at it. or desire for power/money. or being challenged. but in the end, it will form the basis to satisfy those two reasons.

 

this holds true for any career in medicine. after all, medicine is just one of many careers isn't it?

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I'm really not questioning the practical benefits of having a career in mind, I just question the idea of being passionate about something when you're not sure what it's going to be. It's analogous to setting yourself up for an arranged marriage: yes, it's a good thing if you're optimistic and excited, but it doesn't really make sense to say you're in love with you've never met before.

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I was very passionate about a career in med while in premed and was completely sure of my decision. Arranged marriages statistically do much better than other marriages in terms of stability and longevity.

 

This allows me to extend the analogy: most arranged marriages last longer due to the circumstances and cultures in which they are carried out—namely familial pressures, economic pressures, and so on, and many of them end up as abusive relationships, but you'd be right to call them 'stable'.

 

This can also be easily extended to someone who, as medhopeful.com put it, got into medicine but now finds that it's too late for them to quit, so they carry on with a job they basically hate (with a stable income, no doubt).

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This allows me to extend the analogy: most arranged marriages last longer due to the circumstances and cultures in which they are carried out—namely familial pressures, economic pressures, and so on, and many of them end up as abusive relationships, but you'd be right to call them 'stable'.

 

We will agree to disagree upon your so-called (and unsubstantiated) alleged facts.

 

 

This can also be easily extended to someone who, as medhopeful.com put it, got into medicine but now finds that it's too late for them to quit, so they carry on with a job they basically hate (with a stable income, no doubt).

 

I'm sure this hypothetical person does exist and would have left med rather than do a job they hate.

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