Post # 1
Hi, I’m a regular user of the boards, but I’ve decided to go anon for this one…
I’m a medical student and I’ve just started my clinical placements (in my country the medical system consists of 3 years of pre-clinical training at university, then 3 years of clinical training in the hospitals – I’m 7 weeks into Year 4, my first year in the hospitals). Towards the end of last year I was definitely feeling ready to get out into the clinical environment – spending hours each day in a lecture theatre was starting to wear thin, and people always say that Year 4 is the year where students’ interest in medicine is re-ignited, and that they really enjoy finally being in the hospitals and seeing real cases.
The problem for me is basically that I was expecting to really enjoy this part of my training, but in reality I’m feeling pretty miserable right now. I don’t enjoy being on the wards – I’m always feeling over-whelmed, always tired, and given the choice I would much rather sit down and interpret ECGs or CXRs, rather than go and take patient histories (which is what I feel I should be chomping at the bit to do – we finally have the opportunity to see real patients! I should be relishing this, but I’m just not). I do enjoy seeing outpatients in clinic, which we have one afternoon a week, but I’m really not enjoying the other days, when we’re on the wards dealing with inpatients.
Part of me thinks that I might actually be enjoying myself if I wasn’t feeling so out of my depth and tired all the time, however another part worries that perhaps I made a mistake going into clinical medicine at all. I guess what is want to know is – do any doctor bees remember the first few months of their clinical placements? How did you find them? I’m particularly interested to hear from anyone who had doubts about their suitability for medicine during their training, but who have since graduated and are now glad that they stuck it out?
Post # 3
The first few months of clinical training can be overwhelming. It’s new, it’s different, it’s stressful. I don’t know how different your training is, because it’s obviously a different program than my own, but at the beginning of our clinicals we are literally the bottom of the ladder and everyone reminds you of that every minute of the day. It’s exhausting. I spent my entire first year of clinicals thinking I really didn’t love any specialty and wondering what I was going to choose. It wasn’t until my very last rotation that I found my calling.
Medicine outside an academic environment is very different; keep that in mind as well. There are so many different aspects of medicine that you can ultimately choose. Academia, research, inpatient, outpatient. You may choose to have no patient interaction at all. We are each different. That’s why there are psychiatrists versus surgeons. I personally have zero interest in anything procedurally oriented.
No one “enjoys” medical school. At least, not in my experience! Yes, we enjoy learning. We crave knowledge. But the point you are at now is the hardest you will experience. Honestly, it’s a test of character. If you can get through this, you will know your own strengths and weaknesses, and it will ultimately determine the type of doctor you are.
I hope that helped.
Post # 4
I would be very interested in knowing where your medical school is (feel free to pm me if you like). Personally, I found the first 4 (of 6) years of college boring and irrelevant. I considered dropping out after 2 years as I was totally uninterested in the science aspect. Then all of a sudden, in 5th Med – a lightbulb. I did my Obs&Gynae attachment and loved it – suddenly a specialty where I felt I could get a handle on it in a couple of months – discrete, contained, not never-ending like Medicine or Surgery. I felt the same about Psychiatry… Basically, once things became more manageable, my interest increased.
Hold on. I guarantee you will get there. Working as a doctor alas been nothing like my medical student experiences. And as Dr Diane pointed out, I truly believe that there is a specialty for everyone. How can you compare a pathologist with an interventional radiologist or a public health doctor?!
I must share with you something a very good friend said to me when I despaired over a Biology lab in 1st Med. Her off-the-cuff response to my despair was “If we’re good enough to get in, we’re good enough to get out”. It really stuck with me, and I’m a long time out now!
The very best of luck to you.
Post # 5
Thank you both so much for your comments, that’s definitely the sort of stuff that I needed to hear 🙂