The time has finally arrived, you’ve reached the 3rd year mark of medical school and you’re ready to choose your specialty. This is a stressful decision for every medical student because it determines everything about your future career. From the patients you receive to the procedures you’ll be performing, deciding your specialty is a serious topic to really delve into. However, when everything is said and done the choice really comes down to your personality and what you’ll enjoy doing for the rest of your life. The right specialty is waiting for you; you just have to find it.
3 Important Things to Consider when Choosing Your Specialty
You’re Passionate about Your Specialty
The main thing you should consider is that it’s not about the organ systems you’re comfortable with or the fields you’ve excelled at academically. Young doctors don’t talk about a heart, liver, or brain when discussing their dreams and goals for becoming a doctor. They talk about their patients and how performing certain procedures can make them feel complete. It’s really about discovering what you enjoy doing. Forget the organs and the people. To find the right specialty you should try different procedures during rotations and see which one appeals most to you. This way you can begin to narrow down your search. After all, this is your career and you want to love every aspect of it.
Nothing’s Set in Stone
The next important thing to consider is that your specialty isn’t set in stone. There are plenty of examples out there of people changing their specialty well into their residency. Obviously this is a challenging endeavor to commit to, but it does happen and people don’t seem to regret their decision to lead a more fulfilling specialty. You should never be discouraged if your peers have had their specialty decided since day 1 of college. It’s reassuring to know that many people change their careers to find the right specialty and end up being quite successful to boot.
Finding a Mentor for Your Specialty
Another major factor that can influence your decision is finding a mentor in a field that interests you. Finding a great mentor in your field of interest will allow you to be immersed in the procedures and techniques associated with that specialty. These seasoned professionals can also introduce you to doctors and patients that will broaden your scope of the field. The key is finding someone that’s passionate about their specialty. Shadowing and performing their daily procedures with excellent mentors will give you valuable insight and a future resource when you finally decide on your specialty.
Choosing the right specialty is about finding your passion, surrounding yourself with mentors that love their specialty. Remember your decision is not permanent and you can be successful at whatever you decide.