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[Mar. 10th, 2010|02:59 pm]


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Hi everyone :)
I am a undergrad freshman, and I am looking into possible career choices. I know that I am interested in healthcare, but I am not sure as to what kind of healthcare I would like to go into. Also, I am intimidated by the idea of medical school and becoming a doctor. Is medical school extremely stressful? And do doctors really have no time for lives of their own? I have thought about becoming a nurse, particularly a certified nurse midwife, but everyone tells me that if i am going to go into the medical field, I should not underestimate myself and be intimidated by the workload and stress involved with becoming a doctor.

I have also been told that if I were to pursue a career as a doctor, and decided I didnt like it, or failed at it, I could easily go into nursing. I was also told that this does not apply the other way around. Is this true? How did you know that a career as a doctor was right for you, and that you could handle it?

Any insight is really appreciated :)
Thank you.

[User Picture]From: indy_md
2010-03-10 10:03 pm (UTC)
i'm not in medical school but i can tell from your post that it isn't a good idea for you. yes, medical school is stressful. my cousin just went through it and he almost fell apart quite a few times and he's of more stable personality than i am. i think becoming a doctor is something you really have to want in order to make it through all the intensity and stress and it doesn't sound like you want it bad enough. it sounds more like you just don't know what to do with your bachelor's degree and think medicine is a possible avenue. it is, but without a true passion for it, well i doubt you'll get very far. if you really are passionate about nursing go into that. it isn't easy by any means though. so you'll still be stressed.
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[User Picture]From: indy_md
2010-03-11 12:37 am (UTC)
sorry, i misread and didn't notice you are in your first year. so i take back the bit about not knowing what to do with your bachelor's degree. you have lots of time for that and as you take more science courses you'll start to understand what you can do with your degree. what i said about med school being stressful is true though. i have family members who went through it and yes, they had no lives (or very little.) so you do have to really want it.
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[User Picture]From: goldenmelody
2010-03-12 03:19 am (UTC)
thank you for the advice :) i do sometimes feel that i am not as motivated as some other premed students I know. I'll keep it in mind, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: sevvy_o
2010-03-10 10:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, med school is extremely stressful even if you're a relaxed/laid back person. Yes, you have to say no to a lot of social events and miss out on stuff. I'd also say that med school can be fun and rewarding at times and your classmate are all going through the same things you are so it's not like you're alone.

Certified nurse midwifery is a great profession! I'm going into ob/gyn but if I knew that it was an option before I applied to med school, I probably would have become a CNM instead (although I do love the surgical aspect, you wouldn't be able to do that as a midwife).

That said, you're still a first year! You have so much time to think about all this and I wouldn't stress over it so early. You should try to shadow doctors or volunteer at a hospital to see what it's like. But mostly, enjoy yourself! I miss college. =)
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[User Picture]From: goldenmelody
2010-03-12 03:24 am (UTC)
my main problem is that if i want to go into nursing, I have to take the prequisite classes now so I can transfer in the my college's School of Nursing before my junior year. That way, I could take the alternate sequence curriculum and would get my BSN when I graduated...if I choose to do medical school, there are different classes I have to start taking :(

do you know anything else about certified nurse midwifery that you could share? like what kind of skills it takes, and what it involves? I am planning to volunteer this summer, but I am just really eager to find out about it.

Thank you so much!
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[User Picture]From: jerseyjess
2010-03-10 10:48 pm (UTC)
How did you know that a career as a doctor was right for you, and that you could handle it?

The short answer is: I'm still not sure and I'm graduating med school in 3 months.

Med school has been really hard. Really really hard. I'm pretty sure I cried more first year than I did in my life leading up to that point because i was always stressed and tired and nothing I did was ever good enough. And I had to give up doing a lot of things I loved and I never really saw people outside of class. So I was perpetually tired and lonely. There was one point in time I curled up on the bathroom floor at school and bawled because I was so overwhelmed. I cried when I was alone in the anatomy lab and got tears all over my cadaver because I didn't want to stop looking at him long enough to deal with it. I went to the supermarket once and I couldn't reach the salad dressing and even that pushed me over the edge and I sat in the middle of the aisle and started crying. It got better, though. By second year I had figured out a system and by third year, while I was still not a happy-chicky, there were some times when I didn't hate what I was doing.

If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't and I would have researched other career paths. At the time, I didn't really know about being an NP/PA, which in retrospect would probably have suited me better. That being said, I'm looking forward to graduating and to starting the next stage of my life, and I really hope that after I finish residency I can definitively say that yes, this was what I was supposed to do with my life. *fingers crossed*

My advice would be to shop around a little--go shadow different medical professions. Not just doctors and nurses, but physical therapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, PAs, midwives, podiatrists, chiropractors, acupuncturists...see what you like. Because you're still at the stage where it's not a big deal for you to change your mind. So be flexible to different ideas and if you still want to do med school by the time you're done with all that, then don't let my bitterness stop you :-)

The oldest person in my class when we started was 42. You have a lot of time to make this decision. Don't worry.

Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: goldenmelody
2010-03-12 03:38 am (UTC)
thank you so much. honestly, that was what i was afraid of haha. But I am glad to hear that the oldest in your class was 42! thanks
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[User Picture]From: roark28
2010-03-10 11:41 pm (UTC)
And do doctors really have no time for lives of their own?

I had written out a pretty long comment but it was taking too long to make it sound nice so I thought I'd just answer this question. I'm a second year medical student and I have very little free time. I'm acutely aware of every second/min/hour that I spend not studying (like right now!) and I feel guilty about it. Some people are really efficienty studiers and/or are super smart, but I am not one of those people. That being said, you'll still be able to find ways to have fun, those times will just be spaced more widely apart.

As for doctors, my mentor told me that being a doctor is like working really hard to climb up to the bottom of the next s***hole. That's true for some people, but as you get farther into your career I think you have more control over your schedule by picking what if any specialty you go into, if you want to do private practice or academic medicine, and where you want to live and work. There are even doctors who work part time and only come in 2-3 days a week. Getting to that point though is tough. Both medical school and residency are rigid and demanding and rough on your personal life, and that will take you anywhere from 7-12 years depending on specialty and subspecialty.

Anyway, good luck. I think it's great that you're looking into other jobs in the health profession because there are so many different things you could do that I didn't know about when I signed up for med school. Don't make any decisions now and don't let other people discourage you, it's too early for you to know one way or the other. And I agree with Jess, it is possible that you may never really know.
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[User Picture]From: goldenmelody
2010-03-12 04:28 am (UTC)
thank you for the help. i dont really know any med school students, so i really wanted to know if the "no life" thing was true. Thanks again!
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[User Picture]From: imyourbob
2010-03-11 01:28 am (UTC)
I have also been told that if I were to pursue a career as a doctor, and decided I didnt like it, or failed at it, I could easily go into nursing. I was also told that this does not apply the other way around.

I don't think this is entirely true. it is true that the prerequisites for medical school are fewer than nursing school (a second bachelor's, that is), but it's certainly not impossible to get those classes. but if you get to a certain point in your career in medicine, your student loans are often way too big to pay back if you go become a nurse instead. if I didn't have the scholarship that I do, I would be looking at about $300k in loans just from medical school. I sure as hell wouldn't be able to pay that back making a nurse's salary, even if I was an NP or CNM.

as for going the other route, nurses go to med school all the time. sure, it's not ideal to change careers midstream, but the debt load of a nurse is more manageable, and it can certainly be done.

that said, you're early in your education. get some experience in the field- follow a physician, shadow a CNM.

I am almost finished with my third year of med school, and am planning on doing ob/gyn. I spent about three years after college deciding between med school and nurse midwifery. it was three years well spent. I still have moments of thinking that I would be better off as a midwife, although that has more to do with my philosophies on childbirth than my dislike of medical school. if I had jumped straight into med school early on, I would probably be very unhappy right about now!

also, just a thought. if you do decide that nurse midwifery is a better path for you, switch to a nursing program. get your BSN as your first degree, and it's that much less school!!
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[User Picture]From: goldenmelody
2010-03-12 04:03 am (UTC)
actually, thats what i am trying to do! the reason i want to figure this out so soon is that if i get my prequisites done sophomore year, I can transfer into the nursing schools alternate sequence curriculum, and get my bsn in 2 years. i am just a little afraid of making the commitment of switching schools, in case i end up not liking it.

thank you :)
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[User Picture]From: mydocuments
2010-03-11 01:47 am (UTC)
Is medical school extremely stressful?

We've lost 39 students from my class since August. One of them even had a nervous breakdown and threatened to bring a gun to school.

Med school is fun.
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[User Picture]From: goldenmelody
2010-03-12 04:23 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: brim
2010-03-12 04:24 am (UTC)
> We've lost 39 students from my class since August. One of them even had a nervous breakdown and threatened to bring a gun to school.

Oh my god! By "lost" do you mean... that... they're dead? :(
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[User Picture]From: mydocuments
2010-03-12 04:35 am (UTC)
Oh dear, lol. That probably came out wrong, coming immediately before the story about crazy boy who threatened to bring the gun to school.

I mean lost like... dropped out, are taking a leave of absence due to medical reasons, or who are going to have to remediate the entire year due to class failures. We started with like... 230 students though, so it's not like losing 39 out of 80 or something like that!
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