To be premed or not to be…

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  • #47100
    PlainNtall10PlainNtall10
    Participant

    I am currently heading into my sophomore year of college and am debating whether or not becoming a doctor some day is the direction in life I want to take. I am worried about things like maitaining a marriage and family life at home during the years of medical school and residency. I have always had the idea of being a physician in my head (I like going to see the doctor!) However, the journey to get to that point seems difficult. I need advice because my own image of a mother is my mom and she stayed at home. I also want to find out about other jobs that exist in the health care field that allow for so much patient interaction. I am really struggling with this and have until the end of this school year to decide. How similar is the career of pharmacist to physician? (I attend a Universtiy tha has a college of pharmacy and am still able to get into the program) I get positive feedback from some and negative from others that I trust and I am really just looking for someone to help me sort it all out as I attempt to make a decision. I look forward to hearing from you all:)

    #47102
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    Well, it depends on what you want to do. Pharmacists have minimum patient contact if any at all, although they do get to *help* people as well just in another capacity. The road to become a pharmacist is not as long as the one to become a physician. Physicians have more patient contact but not as much that a nurse would, and with managed care the patient contact seems to be decreasing even more. I personally would recommend that if you are not totally sure about applying to medical schoool, then don’t do it. It is a very long and ardous process and if your heart is not 200% in it, it will be hell. You can always later go back to take the classes needed for med school if you change your mind.

    #47103
    glennvallyglennvally
    Participant

    I agree with efex101 to some extent. Certainly if you aren’t 100% (or 200%) positive about med school, don’t pursue it. You probably wouldn’t get that far anyway….However, if you are sure you want to do something medical, but you aren’t sure what, go ahead and take the pre-reqs anyway, I think they are about the same for many Pharmacy programs as for med school. To hedge your bets, I would suggest also taking Anatomy and Physiology, Psych 101 and Lifespan Psychology. With those under your belt, you’ll be set to apply to nursing programs, physical therapy, etc. There are plenty of options out there…Just keep plodding away at it, you’ll find your niche.
    Good Luck! Val

    #47105
    PaeanPaean
    Participant

    Nurse Practicianers and Physician’s Assistants (both are a master’s degree) who specialize in family medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc. often have their won patients within a medical group. This is one way to see patients, work in the medical field, and have a 2-3 year training. As the training is shorter, your debt is less, and there will be less pressure to work full time. If you see patients independantly, you will mostly work with straightforward problems, and refer the more complex issues to the MDs or DOs in the practice. This is a great field for someone who likes the caring side of medicine, wants to work independantly to an extent, but doesn’t crave puzzle solving or being the final opinion in an issue.

    #47107
    PaeanPaean
    Participant

    As to getting an MD/DO, I agree that if it is not your top priority, it may not be worth the sacrifices you and your family (current? future?) will have to make. But as long as you are considering it, keep your options open by taking the prereq’s and getting good grades. If you decide the NP or PA route is right for you, you will need anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and often psychology in addition to the MD prereq’s. You don’t have to decide this year, (unless you have a deadline for the pharm. program), so considering shadowing a doctor or NP, and talking to people in the profession about what their life is like.

    Sorry for the split post. Browser compatibility issue.

    #47108
    dr . suzdr. suz
    Participant

    When I was trying to decide whether to become a physician, I tried to figure out what I wanted in a career, in general terms. I wanted “to help people” (generic but very true), I wanted to work directly with people, I wanted some control over my hours (unfortunately, I’m not sure this is as possible as I perceived), and frankly, the issue of respect and the power to make decisions (as opposed to following other people’s directions) played into my decision. I did not perceive that nurses had as much of the latter objectives as physicians did. I also considered hospital social work. Recently I came upon the interesting career of Child Life Specialist – a person with a master’s degree who helps children through the hospital experience – which in retrospect I think I would have enjoyed and which would have given me more time for family. However, social workers and child life specialists are often overworked because HMO’s/insurance undervalue their work and don’t hire as many as are needed for a hospital. Just some thoughts. If you’re good at pharm, more power to you! We need more good pharmacists!!

    #47110
    eeh2004eeh2004
    Participant

    I struggled with many of the same issues that you mentioned when I was in college. Explore your options carefully. Find people in the fields that you are interested in, work with them, and ask lots of questions. The two things that solidified my decision to apply to medical school were volunteer work with a local indigent clinic and my work as a nursing assistant in a local hospital. Not only did I get significant patient care experience, but I was able to work closely with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, and many others in the medical field. It also provided memories that will last a lifetime and will help to shape my career as a physician. If you are able to pick up even a few volunteer hours a week in a hospital, nursing home, or clinic, go for it! It will boost your application to any field that you choose. These decisions are not always easy to make, but we’re all here to help you in any way that we can. I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

    #47112
    jaclynls28jaclynls28
    Participant

    hey girl! Guess what…I’m debating the exact same thing you are…just wondering if you’ve come to any conclusions yet or not! Right now I am leaning towards pharm, but still trying to take all the prereqs for med school. Everyday I feel differently though! This is so hard! I keep praying about it, but I am way too anxious for a response…I don’t think God likes to be rushed.

    #47114
    PlainNtall10PlainNtall10
    Participant

    Hello all, with a special shout out to my girl Jaclyn. (For those of you out of the loop, we go to school together) I just wanted to update you on what I have been doing this summer to further my career search. I work in the hopsital cafeteria as the swing person, so I get to serve trays to the patients as well as flip burgers for the residents who come through the line. I had never come into close contact with truly sick people before( the patients, not the residents)-it was frightening at first, but a good experience none the less. I also see the tired residents as I serve 2-3 meals a day to them. They all say the same thing, your heart has to be in it. I also know that some of the ones with kids are missing out in some ways-that’s not the life I want for myself. On top of my 40 hours a week in the cafeteria I am also volunteering 4-6 hours a week in the hospital pharmacy, I really like it! You still get to apply knowledge about the human body but in a different way such as planning TPNs. This experince in pharmacy has also shown me there is so much more out there besides the Walgreen’s and CVS’ of the world! Plus you can have a challenging career in a hospital setting while working part time, something that will one day allow me to stay home to raise my kids. All I can say is that volunteering and personal experience are surefire ways to discover a lot about yourself and what you want out of life. Thanks for your support ladies-and keep it coming for the other girls like me out there. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for all of you.
    Sincerely, Sarah

    #47116
    PlainNtall10PlainNtall10
    Participant

    Hey Ladies-So I have about a week before I meet with the dean of Pharmacy on Thursday and I really need to make up my mind. I am becoming less satisfied with pharmacy and the amount of patient contact I see in the field. I am terrified and totally stressed out. I like all of the course work I would be looking at taking to be premed. I think I may go back. I have talked to my personal physician about it-She thinks I should go for it. Any words of encouragement or advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, are any of you docs part-timers and do you receive any negative feedback from your colleagues because of this? I look forward to hearing from all of you… :confused:

    #47118
    tammytammy
    Participant

    It’s encouraging to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with doubt. A few months ago I was really struggling with doubt and was looking into a graduate OT program with the prospect of someday getting a doctoral degree, too (much easier, less risky, quicker, etc). I was really stressing over it, but just feel so led to try the pre-med path. If you think that you may want to go that path and you really like the coursework, then try it. If you never try, you may regret later. It is true that this will mean some sacrifice on your family but I believe that it can work out. Best of luck to you. 🙂

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