Becoming a doctor is a vocation as much as a career choice – we’re sure you’ve heard that before. However, what else should you keep in mind before deciding to go down the medical path – we take a closer look.
1. You have to be prepared to give up the life you’re used to. The time commitment it takes to be a doctor is even larger than you imagine — you’ll have to say goodbye to evenings and weekends for a long time. You’re not going to be able to decide what sort of hours you’re working or when you do, and you’ll often find yourself working at night, or find that the only available time for you to have a vacation is a quite inconvenient one. Even if, after residency, you decide you’ll become an in-office physician, you won’t be working precisely at office hours, you’ll probably be there from 9 to 8 or something of the sort (though you will get weekends usually, unless a patient calls with an emergency).
2. Its normal not to be sure what kind of doctor you’d like to become until you’re far into med school. Many people choose medicine because they’re into science or appreciate the idea of saving people’s lives and helping them — even though they aren’t sure of what exactly they’ll do. Some people don’t even know the field they’ll choose exists until they’re halfway through, so it’s perfectly fine not to be sure.
3. When choosing a specialty, you’re basically choosing for the rest of your life. Unlike most other careers, it’s hard to move within various roles within a field in medicine. If you’d like to switch to a different field, you’ll need a lot of time and schooling — only after spending various years and dollars on more education you’ll be able to go from one specialty to another.
4. A 24-hours shift will keep you up for much longer than only 24 hours in a row. Remember you have to commute to your hospital, take breaks to eat, and deal with paperwork and emergencies. This easily turns a 24-hour shift into a 30-hour one. And since you have to account for your life as well, on some days you’ll have to be awake for something such as 36 hours straight, if you happen to have some errands you must do. When you finally get to sleep, you’ll likely end up sleeping 20 hours in a row, or more.
5. it’s probably best for you to be type A. It’s important that you’re stringent and organized when you’re in med school, but once you become a doctor, you have to be even more. Good doctors need to be highly dedicated perfectionists in every single thing they do. You should try your absolute hardest, giving up all your time in order to be the best at what you do.
6. You’re going to be surrounded by very intelligent people — so regardless of how brilliant you are or how used you are to being the smartest person in a room, it’s unlikely that’ll be the case on your work environment. There will be plenty of people around you who are more experienced and know more than you do, and that’ll probably make you feel bad, especially in the beginning. Swallow your pride as soon as you can’t, and you’ll be able to learn from these people and quickly accumulate more and more knowledge.
7. You won’t ever know everything, so be humble. As you gain experience and time in a field, you’ll certainly pick up more and more knowledge as you go by, but there are always new treatments being created, and new discoveries being found. It can be daunting to keep up with new studies when you have such a limited amount of free time, but you have to do it. Even when you’re twenty or thirty years into your field, you have to be learning constantly in order not to be using outdated information.
8. Salary is hard to determine as it often differs for a number of reasons. As we said above, people don’t go into medicine for the salary – if they do they are in the wrong job. Becoming a doctor is a vocation, however you can find doctor salary information here and also if you ask in your university.