Choosing a Specialty

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    You’ll see me in various forums asking questions!! Can anyone share their thought process/experience in choosing a specialty?


    Hey Sethina! 🙂

    The process varies from person to person.

    I know some who hated every rotation… others hated everything except the one thing they decided to go into (typical for surgeons).

    Others, like me, enjoyed some part of every rotation. I even liked psych, which is saying a lot. I guess you look at those you liked the best, where you felt most in your element.

    That being said, the quality of residents and attendings in a given rotation can strongly affect your perception of it.

    For example, at ETSU the gynecologic oncologist is absolutely awesome – a true example of a compassionate, competent physician. I think she was a strong influence on my class and I believe 8 people (out of 60!!!) decided to do OB. Several of them know they want to do gyn onc. It should be noted that most of those who decided on OB did their rotation at UT Knoxville and not in Johnson City.

    But within the same department there are, umm, uhh, people you would not want to model yourself on. I was told by two of the laziest residents at the time that I had to do “extra” to really show the department I wanted to do OB. (I had already been the only one in my rotation to give a presentation, and received a letter from the hospital CEO complementing me because of a thank you letter he had received from one of my gyn families, naming me specifically.) There was gossiping about students in front of other students, etc. When I didn’t kiss the asses of those two residents (though I did every piece of scut they asked), they talked badly about me and made my last two weeks of OB hellish.

    The point I guess I am trying to make, is that I still loved OB… even with all the extra negative crap I went through. It was the only rotation where I didn’t find clinic totally boring, and though my sleep during call nights was practically non-existant, I didn’t mind being on call (much less sleep than even on my surgery rotation!).

    But I am also still considering pediatrics and will probably apply in both specialties. I loved my peds rotation – especially the wards and NICU. I got along well with residents, attendings and staff and enjoyed myself. I didn’t like the way they ran clinic, but I spent every other Thursday afternoon during my second yr of med school working with an outstanding pediatrician in her office (she also took care of my kids). So going into 3rd yr, I was thinking “peds”, and I still really love it.

    So as you can see my decision isn’t quite over yet. I am deeply concerned about the liability and malpractice insurance issues in obstetrics, which are rapidly coming to a head. OBs are choosing not to deliver babies anymore all across the country, and I really don’t want to work for 4-5 months out of the year just to cover my insurance costs. I don’t need to pull in the $500K OBs used to make, but I do want to be able to make a living.

    Hope this helps a bit… at least you can see what this med student is going through…


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