One of the hardest decisions in your career begins at the end of MBBS, when you have to start thinking about which specialty to pursue. With over 60 specialties and over 30 subspecialties to consider after MBBS, it can be a tough choice. Most people start narrowing down their preferences in third prof when you get to experience what actually happens in the various medical specialties. You rotate through Surgery. You rotate through Internal Medicine. You rotate through SPM. You rotate through Anaesthesia. You rotate through Psychiatry. During internship, you’re supposed to be narrowing it down to your most likely options.
It’s a tough process, full of uncertainty and soul-searching and fears about locking into the wrong speciality.
So here are a few things to keep in mind when you are doing your rotations.
- Pick for yourself.
It doesn’t matter if your father wants you to be an orthopaedic surgeon or your mother has been grooming you your entire life to take over her Gynaecology practice. This is your life and you have to be satisfied with your job. So make your own choice based on the several things mentioned in next points.
- What are you good at and enjoy?
Most people drop out the first condition. But think about it: If you pick something you enjoy but that you are not good at, it will be a disservice to your patients. If you pick something you’re good at but that you don’t enjoy, it will be a disservice to you. Look for something that will satisfy BOTH conditions, and you’ll be set. Never opt for the speciality that you don’t like nor you are good at, just because somebody told you it is better. Make the right choice delighting both you and your patients.
- When in doubt, leave your options as open as possible.
When in doubt Internal Medicine and General Surgery can be good options. They both have tons of sub-specialties that you can sample throughout PG, and either one of them will allow you to fine-tune a career for yourself out of the available options.
- Take lifestyle into account.
You must of course take lifestyle into account. If you want nights and weekends to yourself, go into Dermatology. You want a lot of money? Look at some of the surgical sub-specialties like Plastics. Want shift work with solid start and finish times? How about Emergency Medicine? You’re all right with staying at work late to stabilize a patient? Think about something like Internal Medicine. Take your personal preferences into account when picking what to do, because if you pick a lifestyle that won’t work for you, you’ll burn out.
Still if you are unsure of making a decision then ask yourself a few questions stated below. This definitely is going to be productive.
What do you value most?
What do you enjoy the most about medicine? Are you fascinated with research or do you love to treat complex cases? Consider what postings you excelled at and what ones you disliked. Sometimes you have to trust your gut when choosing your path.
How long are you willing to train?
After 5.5 years of MBBS and 3 years of PG, you may not want to commit to a super speciality. In this case choose an end branch, which lets you settle down and make a career after PG.
Do you need a lot of variety?
If you enjoy the unpredictable, you may want to consider a medical specialty, such as emergency medicine. ER doctors never know what will come through the door next. For those who like more of a structured workday, they may prefer to work in private practice in a specialty, such as paediatrics or family practice.
How do you perform under stress?
It is difficult to predict what specialty will be the most stressful. Lots of factors can contribute to stress, such as operating your own practice, long hours or supervising your staff. But there are certain areas of medicine, which tend to involve treating patients with life-threatening conditions. When the stakes are life and death, the pressure is on. If you do well under pressure, working in critical care or the emergency room may be a good fit. If you prefer a low-key specialty, consider ophthalmology or dermatology.
Are you a people person?
Certain medical specialties involve more patient contact than others. For example, if you enjoy a lot of patient contact, there are many specialties you may do well in. From psychiatry to family practice, you have the opportunity to spend time with your patients. If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and consider yourself an introvert, you may do better in radiology or pathology.
Do you have a patient population you want to work with?
Not all doctors have a certain population they want to treat. For others, they have an interest in working with children, the elderly or patients with mental health issues. If you have a strong interest in caring for a certain population, it may help lead you to a certain specialty.
How important is doing procedures?
Certain types of doctors are more likely to perform procedures while other medical specialties involve doing more diagnostics.
If you ask yourself the above questions, you will be able to make a right choice in choosing the best suited specialty for you. Other things that can help you out are take aptitude test or talk to the people already in that field. Do not make wrong choice based on any external influences. Make the right decision that keeps you happy, because whatever you choose will stick with you your entire life.
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