Most college students have the wrong idea of what it takes to be a doctor. Maybe it’s because they watched too much “Grey’s Anatomy.” Or, maybe they assume most doctors are millionaires. The only way to find out what it’s like to be a doctor is to enter this profession. Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re studying to become a doctor.
1. Shadow Doctors in Different Specialties
Before you even consider medical school, you should interview or shadow doctors who work in different medical specialties. This will give some insight into what it really takes to be a doctor. You might even fall in love with a specialty while you’re at it.
You can schedule an information interview with a physician at the clinic or hospital of your choice. This allows you to get insider information about the field.
Create a list of questions before your interview. Ask them what lead them to become a doctor. Find out what a normal day in the life of a doctor is like. Find out how long it took them to become a doctor. Ask them about the MCAT. Did the MCAT change? Finding this out can help you better prepare for it.
Find out their likes and dislikes about the job. Most importantly, ask them if they would choose the same profession if they could do it all over again.
2. Don’t Do Too Much at Once
College burnout can happen. Most college students work while paying their way through school. But the wrong job can distract you from your studies. Instead of working a demanding job in retail, you can get a job at your local library or the student health center.
Not only will you learn some valuable skills, but you’ll also have some time to yourself. Time management is another important skill for aspiring doctors to learn. You’ll have to determine which activities are taking time away from your studies.
3. Physician Burnout is a Real Concept
That college burnout can transition to physician burnout later in life. Nearly half of physicians show the signs of burnout and studies have revealed that aspiring doctors are prone to this problem. It’s important for you to understand the signs and symptoms of burnout, so you can prevent it from happening. If you don’t have the right attitude and skills to fight burnout, then you’ll never become a successful doctor.
Thankfully, there are numerous solutions that help aspiring doctors combat burnout. And while it’s normal to experience some form of burnout, there are stress-reducing techniques to combat it. For example, advanced technologies such as telehealth are helping physicians avoid burnout from happening.
4. Stay True to Yourself
You want to become a doctor for all of the right reasons. You don’t want to be pressured into this profession by your family or friends. The most important question to ask yourself is why you want to become a doctor.
Remember, you need to pass the MCAT to enter medical school. Did the MCAT change? That’s another important question to ask so you can personalize your studying experience.
It has to be more than about taking care of others or to satisfy your parents. If you’re shadowing or volunteering to get a boost on your resume, then you’re in the wrong career. Why do you want to spend the next 12 years studying, taking exams, and working late nights in the hospital? You should think things through before making this big decision.
5. Knowledge Doesn’t End With Your Residency
The learning doesn’t end after your residency ends. You’ll learn a lot on the job as well. The first year after you graduate school and enter into a residency is when you’ll practice with little supervision. It’s not about practicing what you learned. It’s about making the right decisions that will lead you farther into your career.
You’ll receive the education and training you need, but nothing prepares you more for this career than practicing on the hospital floor.