Friday, 7 December 2012

Career Choices

Sunday, 11 November 2012

I've been thinking about career choices a bit recently.

Firstly, whether I'm quite right in the head for even choosing to do Medicine in the first place. I love Medicine, but its reputation for being hard is true, and choosing this path means another 4 years of hard study, long hours, exam stress and being a poor student again. I have the option of working as a Pharmacist, what I'm qualified for, and seeing all my uni friends with impressive Pharmacist jobs, earning good money and being able to buy nice things/go on holiday/put a deposit on a house etc. does make me a bit jealous sometimes. I like money, I'm not going to lie. But despite all this, I try to remember that although it's hard work now, it'll be worth it in the end. Afterall, the career choice I make now is one I'm likely to be in for a good many years (35-40 years if I stay in Medicine until retirement). I'm pretty certain that I'll be far happier working as a Doctor than as a Pharmacist, and Doctors definately earn quite a bit more than Pharmacists. (In a 2011 table of average salaries, medical practitioner's salaries were 4th in the country (£69,952), whereas Pharmacist's were down at number 53 (£36,211)!). So even though it's hard work now, and I sometimes question my sanity, I just keep reminding myself that it'll be worth it in the end.

Secondly, even though I'm only in my first year I sometimes like to consider what speciality I might like to go into as I like thinking about it and it helps keep me motivated and to keep the light visable at the end of the tunnel. Recently we've also had to rank our top 3 specialities out of a list for a module where we get some time to go out to the hospital and do some patient case studies. This is likely to change as I gain more experience, but currently my top factors to take into consideration when looking at the different specialities are:
  • An area I think I'll enjoy and will be able to feel like I'm making a difference in. For this reason I don't think I want to go into a speciality which deals with mostly chronic conditions.
  • Variety and lots of patient contact.
  • I'm going to be 30 when I finish F2 and will likely be thinking about having children, so an area which doesn't involve too many unsociable hours and is more suited for taking time out/ training part time if required for a while.
  • Doesn't involve undertaking too much research to progress. (I understand the importance of research and I'd like to do a bit, but after my masters project and additional research projects at uni, I know that i) I'm not overly good at writing up research papers, and ii) I really don't enjoy doing it).
Baring these things in mind I've concluded that I don't think that I want to do Geriatrics, Oncology, Surgery or less patient based specialities such as Pathology and Radiology. This still leaves many specialities though! In the end I put down Obs and Gynae (I know this goes against the limited unsociable hours criteria but I think that I really like the idea of most other aspects of this speciality), Paediatrics and Dermatology.
I got linked to this BMA career psychometric test the other day:
You need a BMA number (student BMA number works) to do it, but it's quite interesting. I wouldn't say that I agree with the results and I think psychometric tests are only useful to a certain extent, but it was still fun to see what it said!
Talking of medical career choices, my Mum was updating me about 2 daughters of a family friend today. One of them did her F2 year abroad in New Zealand (apparently their training is very similar to ours so some UK Deanaries allow you to do this). Whilst she was there her husband, who works in finance, got a high paying job in Australia, and so, now that she's finished her F2 year, she's moving to Australia with him and taking a year out Medicine, and then I think they'll return back to England. The other daughter is currently doing her F2 year, after which, she's also taking a year out to pursue her hobby for a year! I wish I could take a year out to enjoy myself in Australia! It's nice to know that Medicine can be as flexible as this and that you do have options, should you want to use them.

In other news, my week's been pretty good. The course is going fine and I'm still enjoying it. We're mostly just learning the background science material this year though, and I think that I'll find the clinical years, where we're out learning in the hospitals, a lot more relevant, interesting and enjoyable. One thing that's really struck me about Medicine is the lack of coursework! My previous degree had loads of outside coursework, but here we get hardly any and most of our outside work is just extra reading, it feels strange!
Medical words I've discovered that I can't pronounce so far:
  • Abdomen
  • Obstretics

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