How to Choose a Medical Specialty

Medicine doctor hand working with modern computer interfaceHow do you choose a medical specialty? Once you’ve been accepted into medical school and have started your path to becoming a doctor, how do you, then, decide if you want to specialize and where? Medical school is already a long and intense process. You may be comfortable working as a general practitioner, and this is an excellent choice for many. However, many doctors have one or even more subspecialties. There are dermatologists in Washington DC, for instance, like this Vienna VA skin cancer doctor, who do residencies in both dermatology and surgery, allowing them to perform treatments such as skin cancer surgery in Washington DC a specialty of Dr. Steven Rotter. Also take for example Dr. Michael Kletz, pediatric allergist in Washington DC, who is board certified not only in Allergy and Immunology, but in Internal Medicine as well. Even within internal medicine, in fact, there are subspecialties. What you should understand is that all specialties and subspecialties require further study. With so many options and potential commitments, how does one choose a subspecialty? The following tips will help.

  1. Consider daily work- Do you envision yourself practicing medicine or surgery? That question is a starting point for many, however, do not assume that there is always a stark difference between the two. Even if you are not a surgeon, you may still work with your hands quite a lot, and many surgical fields require a lot of medical-based training. Fields where the overlap is most significant are gastroenterology, emergency medicine, cardiology, radiology and anesthesia. Remember if you are a surgeon, not all of your time will be spent in the operating room. There will be plenty of clinic time when following up with your patients.
  2. Consider how much you’d like to interact with people. Are you introverted or extroverted? Consider a field that will offer you the right amount of interaction: not too much to leave you drained or too little to leave you feeling isolated.
  3. Picture your ideal patient. Do you prefer elderly patients, children, or adults?
  4. Consider your setting. Your work environment makes a huge difference. Would you prefer to work in a private practice, or do research and teaching? Would you rather work in an emergency room? In this way, two doctors with the same specialty can have widely different careers. This is why you should follow this next tip:
  5. Talk to the experts. Speaking to a reputable Washington DC cosmetic dermatologist, or immunologist in Manassas VA, for instance, are great ways to learn about different fields. As you go through training, you will meet physicians in different fields, and this is the perfect opportunity to ask them questions. Ask them what their likes and dislikes are about the field, and what they were most surprised to learn upon entering it. Also, ask them to be realistic with you about sacrifice, which anyone who goes through medical school understands.

As you go through medical school, you will have plenty of time to figure out your likes and dislikes. Choosing a medical specialty may seem overwhelming, but you can always find trustworthy professionals with whom to speak. Start with the professors in your medical school and get to know your advisor. The better you know each other, the more helpful your advisor can speak to your unique needs, and the more questions you can ask about your future.