Many factors play a role in choosing a medical specialty, including your personal history, your clinical interests, your experience during rotations, the duration of the training involved, the financial and lifestyle considerations of each individual student.
The fact is; Some students know what specialty they will choose even before medical school, while others usually decide after completing a rotation they feel passionate about or if they feel they can make the most money in that particular specialty. Whatever your reason may be, the following steps will guide you to choose a specialty, and learn what needs to be done during medical school to enter the training program of your choice after graduation.
CHOOSE A SPECIALTY FROM YOUR AREA OF COMPETENCE
Every student knows their weakness and strength, find out what you enjoy doing or what rotation you did best and build on from there, because if you are already doing well in a particular field as student, there is likelihood that you will succeed as a resident or a consultant.
NARROW DOWN YOUR OPTIONS TO A FEW
A good way to start deciding on a specialty is to choose between surgical and medical specialties. You can narrow your other options further once you have made this distinction and know which one you have more interest in. Actual clinical rotation experience is crucial in providing an opportunity to see first-hand what day-to-day life is like in that specialty. Also remember to keep an open mind and to be objective during this process, examine all aspects before reaching a final conclusion.
HAVE A MENTOR
Having a mentor in a specialty you like can help you understand the specialty better and the future outlook of practicing in that specialty. A mentor is like a coach and he can coach you, advice you and help you towards selecting a specialty that is best for you, but remember a mentor should serve as a guide and not the sole decision maker for your career.
EXPLORE OTHER SPECIALTIES
Explore by reading from resources available in the library to help you learn more about the specialties. And if your school has groups for different specialties, you can join those groups and get more understanding and insight on what it takes or how to be in that specialty.
UNDERSTAND YOUR PERSONALITY AND THE KIND PERSON EACH SPECIALTY NEEDS
Most students will choose a specialty based on what suit their personality and allow them to do the activities which they enjoy. Knowing what each specialty require and the type of person each specialty need will help you strike out and narrow down your options.
BE HONEST WITH YOUR SELF
Money matters and so is the job, we know that all specialties are not equal, some pay way more than the others and others are less demanding, ask yourself what is really driving you towards a particular specialty and be honest with yourself.
In conclusion choosing a medical specialty could be one of the hardest decision you will make as a medical student, but also finding one that suit your personality is as important as choosing based on interest alone.