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Choosing a medical specialty is a hard decision for every doctor for there is no undoing it. Some doctors know which specialty they are going to opt for even as a student based on their preference or interest in a particular field but when the time comes for making the actual decision, other factors like money, lifestyle and prestige have a significant impact on the decision.
Some fields like neurosurgery demand perfection. Neurosurgery comes with a lot of money and social respect but it is quite competitive. Besides, it takes a heavy toll on your family life, leaving practically no time for socializing and relaxing which might make a neurosurgeon question the worth of all that money and respect.
Still other fields like psychiatry come with a label and shaking off the stigmas associated with them is quite hard. Even though psychiatry is less competitive as compared to other medical specialties, it takes a lifetime to earn respect as a competent psychiatrist. Other fields like dermatology ensure a healthy family life along with affluence and respect. Yet others like oncology come at the cost of emotional exertion.
A study was recently carried out to assess the exact factors that influence the choice of a specialty amongst doctors, determining that personal interest and intelligence carried the highest weightage while electing a medical field. The research also pointed out a dearth of guidance for medical students and junior doctors for making the most important decision of their lives.
Another research showed that most of the doctors like to opt for a challenging and rewarding field. In general, surgery and medicine were equally selected by the medical students. Pediatrics, general surgery, and cardiology were amongst the top fields selected by the medical students. More students made this crucial decision during the clinical phase of their medical school, especially the internship period, than during the basic sciences years.
How to Make a Decision?
The foremost thing to be considered while making the choice of a medical specialty is-will I be as happy to work in this particular field forty years from now on as I am today? If the answer is yes, go for it.
Money is the next factor to be considered. Just like every other person, a doctor has to make money for his and family’s welfare. Shaming a doctor for wanting to make money exists no longer.
Do in-depth research about the field you are heading for. Compare its good attributes versus the bad ones. But most importantly, never settle for a money-making and respectable specialty if you have no personal interest in that particular field. Your choice of a field must be able to give you the urge to get out of bed to face yet another day at work even after years of practice.