To many, a career in the medical domain represents a dream.
It may be because they were inspired by the respect a doctor receives in society, a love for biology, or the zeal to be able to help someone in need. There can be no question about the value a career in the medical domain provides to the world, and no more vivid example than the recent pandemic where medical personnel across disciplines helped keep the world from spinning off its axis. Add to it almost assured financial stability, relevance that is bound to be future-proof, and the chance to positively impact society, and it is no wonder that students opt for BiPC subjects in pursuit of this goal.
There are certain ground realities that are part of nearly every career related to the medical domain, however. Here are 5 of the most relevant things you must know before embarking on this journey.
1. The Volume of Knowledge You Will Be Expected to Have.
The sheer breadth of information in a medical discipline, especially if you decide to become a doctor, can be quite a shock to someone making the transition from 12th-grade subjects. It is enormous in scope, very volatile, and unwieldy in nature. Some of the best medical professionals are the ones who can cross-reference a ton of data from various subjects that they learn in medical school and apply them to specific cases.
This process of learning does not stop even after becoming a full-fledged professional, as your knowledge base requires frequent updating and review to counter new developments in biology; something the Covid-19 virus demonstrated. As stated by a certain greasy-haired Hogwarts professor, “You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible.”
2. The Amount of Time It Can Potentially Take.
Regardless of which medical domain you choose to be a part of – whether it’s medicine, dentistry, nursing, or other allied health professions, the time you must devote to your field of interest academically and professionally remains on the higher side of the norm.
It is often frustrating for medical students to have very little downtime over the course of their (rather long) education, while their other STEM and non-STEM counterparts generally do. This extends into post-graduation (a must for medical professionals in the world of today) and can take from a minimum of two years to a maximum of six depending on the discipline you choose to pursue. It is true that there are some medical specialities that have a good work-life balance, but you are more likely to have less leisure time than in other careers.
Since we have established that it is a long road with plenty of hard work involved, it is paramount to ensure you are picking this path for the right reasons. When you’re working a difficult night shift, it isn’t parental pressure that will keep you going on less than 2 hours of sleep. When you make an error in judgment that leads to your patient worsening, it is not the thought of the prestige and adulation of society that will help you bounce back from it. When you have to turn down yet another social engagement because you have to study or work depending on which point of your career you’re at, the desire to keep at it will not be from something external.
Make no mistake, any career in the medical domain will be relentlessly demanding. At every point, whether it be the entrance tests to take your first footsteps in medicine, the strenuous hours of studying during MBBS, or your post-graduation and work, your resolve will be tested in numerous ways.
That is why it is crucial to really have to want to do this. Your desire to pursue a career in medicine must be intrinsic; you must really want to serve people.
4. It Can Be Immensely Fulfilling
One of the finest aspects of a career in any medical domain is the sense of accomplishment you feel when you are the salve to another person’s suffering.
Human biology is a discipline where everyone has an opinion, but few have expertise. Knowing you are one of a select group of people that can be relied upon to navigate difficult medical conditions and help alleviate someone’s discomfort is a unique feeling. There are multiple finish lines to chase because each patient represents a different sort of challenge, and the results of your labours are readily apparent. In between treatment algorithms and long working hours, there are many moments of gratification in the genuine thankfulness of a patient, the effusive praise of a peer, or your own recognition of a job well done.
5. The Virtues of Patience
Cultivating patience is one of the most underrated aspects of aiming for a career in the medical domain. Unlike the instant leap into professional life and being in charge of your own finances that most careers give you, medicine is a slow burner that might not see you established until you are in your 30s. You learn not only about the vagaries of the human systems and the amiable and not-so-pleasant characteristics of human nature, but also become acquainted with yourself in new ways. Patience helps you roll with the punches, and hope when the journey seems interminably long. You are compelled to evolve in the face of having to study or work more than you could ever imagine, and come back to do it the next day.
In conclusion, a medical career is one that will test you while rewarding you for persistence and resilience. It is undoubtedly a noble endeavour and will likely be so for the entirety of human existence. What really makes it worth it is the sprinkling of stardust that is attached to the honour of serving humankind.
To know more about pursuing a career in a discipline related to medicine, reach out to one of our career counselling experts here.
If you are still not sure if medicine is the right career for you, then you can try the Virtual Internship Program by Mindler.