Published On: Tue, Aug 8th, 2017

Researching Medicine: Choosing A Medical Career

From a very young age, we are asked what we would like to be when we grow up. You may have wanted to be a nurse as a child and found yourself in the footsteps of journalists. You may have wanted to be in the police force, protecting the people around you. Instead, you’ve decided teaching is the best path for you. Obviously, the career goals of a kindergartner aren’t always going to be set in stone, but there are many who know from very young that they want a career in medicine.

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Nurses and doctors are – for the most part – born young. The nurse costume with the stuffed animal surgery. The plastic stethoscope for checking the heart of a parent. All of these tools are evident that children imagine a future of caring for someone else. The thing is, not everyone who wants a career in medicine means a frontline job in cardiothoracic surgery or as a paediatrician. For some, the interest in medicine goes far beyond being at the bedside of a puking patient on a Saturday night. You could study to become an RN and absolutely hate the job in practise. The choice you make in a medical career will largely depend on your personality and the type of person you are. Generally, those who embark on a career in medicine tend to love a challenge, love to care for people and are curious about what science can do and how far it can be developed.

Not every educational path you take to work in medicine will see you bedside and doing patient workups. Your medical interests may take you into the far reaches of research. For example, someone who initially studied as an RN, then got their MSN, and decided they were hungry to learn more would take on further graduate education. A doctor of nursing practice may decide to work as a nurse executive in a hospital or clinic. And before you go ahead and Google ‘what can I do with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree’, we’re going to tell you. A DNP puts you above and beyond a standard RN and means, you have achieved a higher level of education that an MSN does. These programs take nursing and science education to a higher level, meaning that even if you haven’t gone down the path of a surgeon or a psychiatrist, you will still have advanced your own knowledge. The choices you make in high school and college may take you in a different direction than you anticipated, but thanks to online courses that are available, you can now get more of an education without having to actually attend school.

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Choosing a career in medicine means years of dedicated study. Science is a complex enough subject to study, but medicine has something else. The study of the human anatomy and how people respond to certain medicines is causing breakthroughs across the globe. Research has advanced to the point that we now can halt certain diseases in their tracks, develop vaccines and cure some of the illnesses that once plagued the human race. Someone who chooses to take the path of a general practitioner may later become so interested in medical research that they want to make the switch. There are many courses that are available that can help you make the right decisions in your medical career, but a lot of medical professionals find that updating their education with courses and further study is important. The medical field is changing all the time and for every new advance, researchers urge doctors and nurses to further their learning and develop new ways of practice that are advanced.

Careers in medicine go beyond the standard doctor and nurse positions and the options available are far greater than they ever have been before. You could choose to work in hospitals, the community, science institutes and even be a part of a medical department in a whole other field. Working in public healthcare on a council board, for example, still requires a depth of medical knowledge, but you won’t need a stethoscope! The path you choose in medicine requires you to pick the right study path, but know that you can diversify later on and change. You have six years of medical studying to change your mind, so if you started out studying for paediatrics and prefer elderly medicine, you could change.

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The primary reason for most people to work in medicine is two-fold: working with people, and science. You need to have a great deal of understanding and patience, and the want to work with people from all walks of life and all ages. The common denominator in the medical field is that judgement has no place. It’s also a field that is globally recognised, meaning your work in medicine can take you global should you wish it to. The world has a huge demand for new doctors, researchers and nurses, and certain specialisations of medicine are becoming insufficient in certain communities. It makes sense that when it comes to choosing your career in medicine, you should also think about where in the world you would like to take yourself. Some people like to go to deprived countries where their skill is more needed.

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Medicine offers a stable job and a career that is safe from stock market crash. The world will always need doctors, nurses and people to study how science can change our current medicines. This means that when you graduate, you can be fairly certain of the job stability in your future and not have to panic about whether you will lose your job in a recession. You can read here about the salaries that nurses can command upon graduation, and you can look here in more detail about the salaries that are available in medical research.

A career in medicine isn’t one to be taken lightly, but it is one to consider. The choice you make early on can determine how the rest of your life plays out, so be wise!