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    Choosing a Specialty

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    Choosing a Specialty

    (This post was copied with permission from Infiri in an e-mail to Doc)

    Infiri wrote:
    Hey everybody tell me that in your clinical years is when you really know what kind of doctor you really want to be...
    Because almost everybody enter med. school with a residency in mind and in clinical they dont like it.. how often do you think this happens

    your friend, Carlos

    Doc wrote:
    Carlos, I agree with you completely on that one, most people decide during clinicals because a specialty in reality might be nothing like what you expected. I think it is best not to have a specialty picked out and to try to have an open mind. You are going to have to go through lots of different rotations anyway, so why not test the waters to see what you like best. Also, don't pick a specialty based on salary. I would rather make less money (it is still alot) and be happy everyday than to have lots of money in the bank and no time to enjoy it cause I'm stuck doing something that I don't even like. If you truely enjoy what you do and you are good at it, your patients will notice and the money will follow. On the other hand, if you hate what you do because you are motivated by money, it will reflect on your work and business will suffer. So bottom line...do what makes you happy and the rest will take care of itself. Wow...I'm starting to sound like my dad?!?

    Doc

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    Selecting a Specialty

    (copied from Kaplan)

    Selecting a Specialty

    Some people enter medical school certain that they want to become pediatricians and never waver from this decision. Others fall in and out of love with one specialty after another as they do their third year rotations. Most students, however, feel that the decision about specialty choice is one they are forced to make too soon, and on too little information. If you feel that way as well, here are some suggestions for gaining more information about specialty training and opportunities.

    There are several books available that can give you a quick overview of the range of medical specialties. You can find them at most medical bookstores or or other book retailers.


    Getting Into A Residency by Kenneth V. Iverson, M.D., Camden House, Inc.

    How to Choose a Medical Specialty by Anita D. Taylor, Saunders Company

    Choosing a Medical Specialty, Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), PO Box 70, Lake Forest, IL 60045, Phone: (708) 295.3456

    Medical Graduate's Guide to US Medicine: Negotiating the Maze by Louise B. Ball, Galen Press

    Surf the Web
    Most specialties now have their own websites, which can be valuable sources of information about manpower trends, specialty board information and medical issues related to practice within the specialty. Many of these specialty websites also provide information about residency programs or provide a list of links to residency training programs. Use one of the many powerful search engines to find the sites of interest to you by typing in initial key words such as "science and health," "medicine," "medical education," then narrowing down to the specialties of interest with successively narrower key words such as "residency training programs," "pediatrics," or "internal medicine."

    Talk to People
    Current fourth year medical students who have already matched (Match results are announced in mid-March) are great sources of information about residency programs and the details of the application process. Current residents are also great sources for information about what training is really like. Physicians currently practicing in the specialty can also be helpful, particularly if they are willing to put you in touch with colleagues who help train residents.

    Assess Your Own Competitiveness
    An honest review of your academic performance in medical school, licensing exam scores and clinically related credentials is critical to making a decision about specialty choice. Specialties that are very popular will be harder to get into, and residency programs in desirable locations will be competitive even in the less sought-after specialties. While it's important to go after a position in a field you really want, it is also important to be realistic in assessing how you will match up against others who will be applying for positions in the same field or program. This is especially true for International Medical Graduates. Ultimately, you may have to make some compromises based on a rank-ordering of the factors that are most important to you. Seek out individuals who can assess your credentials and give you honest feedback about your competitiveness as a residency applicant (medical school deans, residency program staff, current residents).

    Think About Specific Skills and Daily Activities
    Each specialty has a unique set of demands and challenges. You might find it helpful to make a list of the kinds of things you want to be doing, such as using medical technology, hands-on procedures, patient education and counseling, dealing with patients over a long span of time, etc. Compare your list to the descriptions of the specialties you find in written, human and internet-based information sources to see what fields best overlap your list. You may find that a specialty you never considered offers more of what you want to do daily than the specialties you were initially inclined to pursue. Consider the employment trends for the specialty-will the US need more or fewer doctors in the field five or ten years out? This will impact your satisfaction level down the road, so it's important to look at in your decision process now.

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    Follow this to the specialty quiz

    Follow this link to read a post from Neilc about a specialty quiz:

    http://www.valuemd.com/viewtopic.php?t=228

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