5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursuing a Career in Medicine

Charlotte Miller

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The healthcare industry offers some of the most secure and profitable careers out there. If you want to help others and make great money doing it, working in the medical field seems like the natural choice.

While medical careers have plenty of desirable benefits, they are also some of the most demanding and difficult jobs you can have. To get a job in medicine and do it well, you have to have a special set of skills and the determination to use them to their fullest potential. If you’re considering a healthcare career, ask yourself the following questions to decide if it’s the right path for you.

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What is your motivation?

While many people have ambitions of working in medicine, the field isn’t right for everyone. Healthcare jobs can be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing and their stresses are magnified when the professionals performing them aren’t happy. It’s important that you keep this fact in mind when considering your future plans and assess your reasons for wanting to enter the field.

To determine if your heart is in the right place, ask yourself why you’re interested in medicine. Do you want to help people, follow in a family member’s footsteps, or simply make a lot of money? Whatever your reasons may be, make sure that they are enough to help you make it through the trials that your studies and practice will bring.

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What level of education are you willing to earn?

Speaking of studies, it’s important to keep the educational requirements of your desired healthcare career in the forefront of your mind as you plan. If you hope to become a physician or a surgeon, you need to be prepared for over a decade’s worth of education and training

If you are committed to working in healthcare but traditional medical school doesn’t fit your desired timeline, try looking into related careers that require fewer years of school. Nursing is a wonderful option with varying education requirements. Depending on the type of work you hope to do, you can become certified in as little as a year. 

Are your skills compatible with your desired job?

Once you decide that you’re dedicated to a career in healthcare, consider if your skills are well-suited for your chosen role. While each position is different, all medical professionals need excellent communication skills, competency in math and science, and the willingness to put in hard work. If you don’t enjoy working with people or being on your feet for long periods of time, traditional medical careers like nursing might not be for you.

That said, there are plenty of other medical professions that suit different needs and preferences. Look into specialized medical fields like phlebotomy, anesthesiology, and radiology if you’d like to help patients in different ways.

Where would you like to work?

The healthcare industry offers job security and flexibility for its workers. No matter where you live, you’ll be able to find job opportunities in your field. To get the most out of your career, you may want to do extra research and find out which states offer the highest salaries for your position.

What are your other goals?

Finally, you’ll need to consider your other life goals before deciding on a career in medicine. Many medical professionals confess that they wish they had more time to develop their personal goals–like spending time with family, enjoying hobbies, and even just resting between shifts–because their jobs demand a lot of their time and energy.

If you have big ambitions outside of your career, a medical career could conflict with those goals. That said, medicine is a rewarding field with many other invaluable benefits. If you have the drive and the passion to balance everything, making your career and your life goals work together will certainly pay off.

With these questions in mind, you can determine whether or not a career in medicine is the best option for you. If you do decide to pursue your passion for healthcare, keep these values in mind to guide you through the process.