Choosing a Medical Speciality

There are many different medical specialities (one of the advantages of medicine)! I know that I haven't even started medical school yet so it's a bit early to be deciding on a speciality, but, after deciding to become a doctor, choosing a speciality will be the most important career decision I make so it deserves a lot of thought. Additionally, as competition for the specialities becomes fiercer it's important to at least narrow down which specialities I'm interested in early on in order to undertake extra experience, attend conferences and do research/audits to enhance my speciality application when the time comes. Four years will go fast (it did for my last degree!) and I don't want to suddenly find myself starting final year and doing FY1 applications without a clear idea of which speciality I'd like to go into. Some people seem to know from day 1 that they want to be, for example, a cardiothoracic surgeon but I'm not like that. There are some things that I'm pretty certain I don't want to do, but apart from that I'm just waiting to learn more about the different specialities at uni and on placements. I thought that I'd list the specialities here so that I can document my thoughts on each of them as I go through university which will hopefully focus my decision!
  • Accident & Emergency - would be exciting, but from my experiences working shifts as a carer I know that I don't cope very well with shift work!
  • ACCS (Acute Care Common Stem) - what is this???
  • Acute Medicine
  • Anaesthesia - initial thoughts is that this would just be boring, but I haven't really had any experience of anaesthetics other than from what I've seen on TV (hospital TV dramas are a reliable source of information surely?) so I'll wait and see what it's like on placements.
  • Audilogical Medicine - again I'm not entirely sure what this is. Something to do with ears?
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Clinical Radiology - staring at a screen all day doesn't really appeal, but again my thoughts on radiology are purely based on TV hospital dramas.
  • Clinical Oncology
  • Core Medical Training - do you choose to do core medical or surgical training first and then sub specialise or are these stand alone specialities?
  • Core Surgical Training - I'd like to be a surgeon as I think I'd like the hands on work, my dream is to be in Grey's Anatomy, and it kinda just seems cool! However the reputation surgery has doesn't really appeal and I don't know how practical the lengthy training and intense dedication required would be given that I'll be 30 when I finish FY1/FY2 and thinking of starting a family in the not too distant future.
  • Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)
  • Endocrinology & Diabetes
  • Gastroenterology
  • General Practice - I like the idea of being a GP; the variety of the work and patients, no out of hours commitment, ability to specialise in a certain area if you desire, easier to work part time if I want to when I have kids. However, I don't know if I'll find it a bit boring and the business side of it might drive me crazy.
  • General Surgery
  • Genito-Urinary Medicine
  • Geriatric Medicine - I know that working with elderly people can be very rewarding, but I know that I wouldn't be able to do it all of the time. I just find it incredibly sad seeing patients who are depressed because of their multiple illnesses and failing bodies are preventing them often leaving the house, lonely because most of their friends and possibly husband/wife have died, and add in dementia/alzheimers and I know I'd just go home in tears most evenings.
  • Haematology
  • Histopathology - again not a 100% what this involves, is it just pathology/working in a lab?
  • Immunology
  • Maxillofacial - No. I've already done a Pharmacy degree, I'm not going to do a Dentistry degree on top of my Medicine degree!
  • Medical Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Nuclear Medicine - no! I dislike, and I'm not good at, physics!
  • Obstetrics & Gynaecology - obstretics appeals as I like babies and this speciality seems like a really good balance between medicine and surgery.
  • Paediatric Surgery
  • Paediatrics
  • Palliative Medicine - no. Too sad.
  • Psychiatry - I find psychiatry extremely interesting but I don't know if I'd enjoy the minimal hands on work.
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Public Health - probably not as I enjoy working with individual patients, but being able to make changes on a larger scale would be full filling.
  • Renal Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Trauma and Orthopaedics
  • Urology

(Taken from

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