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Medical School
Old 08-19-2012, 09:12 AM   #1
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Medical School

For the doctors and other medical field professionals here:

Looking for career advice for DS #2 who wants to go to medical school.

He has always wanted to be in health care, but stopped short of considering medical school. He's looked at everything from being a PA to Optometrist and spent time with people in various fields. Other than his continued desire to go into the field no particular occupation really fired his imagination and spirit until recently.

After spending time shadowing a surgeon he is convinced that being a physician is what he was meant to do.
"I felt like I was born doing this."
He brings notes to the dinner table so he doesn't forget details about the surgeries he observed, or as he says, "we took a huge tumor out a kid's leg, and then we observed Dr. Sanjay doing brain surgery..."

It's an unexpected turn of events, and I'm trying to advise him the best I can. So, for the docs, what would your advice be to a bright 20-year old who thinks he wants to be a physician?

Also, a lunch break conversation among the surgeons touched on concerns about the future of compensation in their field. What are your thoughts?

Thanks all.

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Old 08-19-2012, 09:22 AM   #2
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When I was 20 I was already in med school (European model) and I too thought surgery was cool. Then I realized how early surgeons have to get up in the morning, the brutal training, and the (at that time at least) narcissistic culture of surgery. I decided surgery was not how I wanted to spend my working life. Things have changed somewhat or the better in the last 35 years, though. DS might want to read some of Atul Gawande's writings.

There are of course many steps between where DS is now and becoming a surgeon. DS might go to med school and find he is more interested in something completely different.

Oh, have him see John Hurt's movie "The Doctor".

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Old 08-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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To be a surgeon you need to be passionate about the profession. Give him books written by surgeons about the work. I recall one by a general surgeon, "Behind the Mask". I think a hand surgeon in LA has written a book as well. There must be others.

As I mentioned on another thread Nurse Practioners will represent a large portion of our primary care providers in the future, but they don't do surgery.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
So, for the docs, what would your advice be to a bright 20-year old who thinks he wants to be a physician?
I don't know how often Rich_In_Tampa reads the forums these days, so you might want to send him a PM or an e-mail. He'll have good advice from his years with the teaching hospital.

Shadowing is good. Are there any other programs at Baylor or Texas Medical Center that will give him a better idea about medical school? It's probably worth spending $5K-$10K on two weeks of "So You Want To Be A Surgeon" (even if it's led by Howie Mandel of ER) than to drop out of medical school.

Our daughter gets discouraged by the freakin' brilliant kids she encounters at college. She's also dealing with some test anxiety. I tell her that she's developing mental toughness, and she's skeptical. I bet both of those issues are endemic at medical school-- how would your son feel about it?

You've probably already covered this ground, but is he interested in letting the military pay for medical school?

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Old 08-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nords
You've probably already covered this ground, but is he interested in letting the military pay for medical school?
That's actually a very good idea if his interest is surgery. Especially trauma surgery.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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Speaking from my sons experience who just graduated from his Emergency Medicine Residency, and from my experience following him closely through the whole ordeal.
As noted above, it all must begin with medical school which in itself is no walk in the park. Along the way he will experience all the major specialties, and actually get his hands dirty. From what I gathered from DS's class, nobody really had any doubts what they wanted to pursue after about the second or third year.
If he is not already on the "student doctor network" he should join. Lots of great interaction and info. When DS was deciding which school to apply to, I registered and ask many questions for myself.
Good luck to you and your Son.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:33 AM   #7
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For now, my advice would be to continue shadowing and complete medical internships during the summer (for the resume). Most importantly, keep up that undergrad GPA, and (based on his age) he must be preparing to take the MCAT this upcoming year, right? Admission into medical schools is SO competitive these days. I heard from a friend on a local med school admissions board that it's due to the recession and more older people coming back to apply to med school due to career change.

And I agree with the above. First things first, get into med school. His love of surgery may change when he goes through the third year specialty rotations. I am not in the field myself, but I come from a family of doctors and all three of my siblings are in the medical field. One entering third year, one going through the admissions process (taking a gap year), and one in PA school. Good luck to your DS!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:00 PM   #8
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I am a veterinarian, but the schooling is similar to "real" doctors!(As we like to say "Real doctors treat more than one species!")
I definitely vote for checking out the military option. I recieved a health professions scholarship through the military, which paid for two years of my vet school, and then got a loan repayment program that paid for $90,000 of the $140,000 I still owed in student loans after graduation. He really needs to do some research into what med school will ultimately cost. Yes, surgery is the glamorous specialty, but like others have stated, your son may not like the attitude and competition in the surgical world. Luckily he will have some time before making a decision on that. Just make sure he thoroughly understands the time, effort and money he will be putting in to this profession.
As long as he loves to study, and can handle having no life for 4yrs plus residency, I say go for it!
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second that
Old 08-24-2012, 06:46 PM   #9
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second that

I'm not a doctor or a med student, but I second the military suggestion. I just got out of AF "basic training" with a bunch of doctors and med students. It boggles the mind the incredible deal some of these folks are getting. Some of the osteopathic schools are in excess of $70k/ year tuition. The students are getting that covered plus a ~2k/mo stipend.

I would obviously investigate carefully, but in many ways, the military is an excellent place to practice medicine. Thus, it can be a win-win.


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