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Is medicine for me?

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Is medicine for me?

Postby Mishka » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:50 pm

Ok so I have a dilemma... last year I did year 12 with the aim of getting into medicine and got an atar(Australian tertiary ranking score) of 99.60 but a poor umat (Australian medicine entrance test) score of 40. This year I am taking a gap year to mainly focus on umat prep as I'd rather not start a degree and a) lose my atar b) not be eligible to apply to certain universities.

Only now I am not so sure that I want to do medicine.

I am most interested the brain, particularly in the relationship between the brain and behaviour, probably with more of a psychology spin rather than being interested in neurology. But I am fascinated by Oliver Sacks' writing of neurological disorders and how they are intricately tied to the affected person's identity and their psychology. I am also intrigued by the idea of neuroplasticity and would like to research/practice in this area. I'm fascinated by the overlap of psychiatry/psychology with neurology and neuroscience, like when there are neural correlates to psychiatric disorders. I am also interested in neuroscience's exploration of concepts such as consciousness, memory and free will. I would like to have a career that involves most of this stuff, but am conflicted as to what university degree would be the best way to do this.

I'm not sure if medicine is the best way to develop my interests in these areas, or if I will be bored by the majority of other things in the degree. I would consider specialising in neurology or psychiatry if I did medicine. However, I couldn't imagine myself as a practicing psychiatrist as I am quite introverted and am not the most intuitive communicator.

On the other hand, if I did psychology or a science/health degree (with neuroscience focus) then I'm not sure if I'd be well equiped enough or gain such a broad understanding as I would get from a medical degree. And I am not sure where my career would lead from doing a psychology or science degree, other than research, which I'm not sure I want to do.

Any tips would much appreciated as I am feeling quite conflicted about my choices at the moment :)
Mishka
 
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Re: Is medicine for me?

Postby PG » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:06 am

Try to think about what type of position that you want to have, can you identify people who are currently working in positions that you would be interested in. What type of work do you want to do? You mention areas of interest but these can be studied from different aspects which may require different degrees.
For example I have a friend who has a degree in biomedicine (ie not a medical degree but more close to biology) who studies the neurological system and mainly the brain in people with various conditions both psychological disorders and also in for example drug addicts. She is working within a forensic pathology department. I know also know people who are focusing on the living with combinations of psychological evalulations (performed by people with for example psychiatrist degrees) and various electrical and chemical measurements which then includes laboratory staff, engineers etc.
PG
 
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Re: Is medicine for me?

Postby D.X. » Mon May 02, 2016 2:41 am

Hi Mishka,

Ok, key Points I take out of your post is that you're not interested in a career Research as you directly state, yet you want to have a Research-based understanding of those Points? My best advise is to become an arm-chair scientist, i.e. buy and read books.

Trying to understand any of the Areas you describe does involve Research,the question is at what Level and how much do you want to commit.

It may be very well medicine is for you - it will give you the broad Picture you're looking for. YOu don't have to do Research, you can be still be an arm-chair scientist, if you will, and take your learnings to the clinical as appropriate for the good of your patients. Good science-minded, evidenced-based, early knowledge physician adopters are a rare-breed save for oncology maybe.

If you do wish to do Research, know that you Research will be narrowed in Focus, you will get to have a top Level view of course, but by the nature of Research and narrowed Focus you will then develop an Expertise. From there maybe expand broader, as your crediblity is established. The only broad view you can get as a PhD Research is probabably in the area of epidemiology/biostatics where you can look at such correlates - you would Need that foundation - then apply that to the subject matter you're interested in (i.e. Neurosci to psycholic correalates). Very academic, very Research driven.

So what is it do you want? how do you see your day to day life? At the end of the day , there is no easy path or easy way, you will have to work pretty hard to get what you want but first ask..Research or arm-chair scientist..if the latter, go to medicine, see patients.

You can do medicine and do amazing research AND serve patients, and get some solid Expertise, don't get me wrong..but its Research and hard work. There is no wrong in being a good science based MD who just sees patients..there is alot of good with that path.

Good luck,

DX
D.X.
 
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Re: Is medicine for me?

Postby E.K.L. » Mon May 02, 2016 4:15 am

Mishka wrote:
I am most interested the brain, particularly in the relationship between the brain and behaviour, probably with more of a psychology spin rather than being interested in neurology. But I am fascinated by Oliver Sacks' writing of neurological disorders and how they are intricately tied to the affected person's identity and their psychology. I am also intrigued by the idea of neuroplasticity and would like to research/practice in this area. I'm fascinated by the overlap of psychiatry/psychology with neurology and neuroscience, like when there are neural correlates to psychiatric disorders. I am also interested in neuroscience's exploration of concepts such as consciousness, memory and free will. I would like to have a career that involves most of this stuff, but am conflicted as to what university degree would be the best way to do this.

I'm not sure if medicine is the best way to develop my interests in these areas, or if I will be bored by the majority of other things in the degree. I would consider specialising in neurology or psychiatry if I did medicine. However, I couldn't imagine myself as a practicing psychiatrist as I am quite introverted and am not the most intuitive communicator.


Keep in mind that a selection of interesting stories (I absolutely loved "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat") is not a good reflection of the reality of working with mentally ill patients every day. I'm not that familial with Australian education system, but my guess is that it is similar in that aspect - a specialization requires several additional years of training. Even if after obtaining it you would leave for research, you'd still have to finish that training first, and that means practicing as a psychiatrist/neurologist.

You already know you what research field you are interested in. Have a look at websites of scientists that work in it, and look at their CVs or biographies, that should give you some ideas on how they arrived at their jobs. And then make a list, comparing medicine/psychology /neurosciences etc. Write down what you would consider to be pluses and minuses of studying each. This should give you a clearer idea and help you choose.
E.K.L.
 
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