Why Medicine?

Deciding to Pursue a Career in Medicine

Entire books and websites have been dedicated to help you determine what profession would fit your passions. Nowadays websites can be quickly browsed that contain mountains of information concerning your future career.  Somewhere in the process you decided that medicine was a worthwhile career choice and you want to pursue pre-medicine studies at Truman State University. Regardless of your level of interest in medicine, it is important that you examine your reasoning for wanting to study medicine.

In some cases there are intense social pressures placed on you to make medicine a career.  Family members, peers, and other societal constituents often make their opinions clearly known. As a student that may have some interest in science, it is difficult to face such overt and subtle pressures from these important groups of people.  Nevertheless, it is important to make your decision based on criteria YOU deem important.  Although family opinions and societal pressures may influence your choice, it is important that you consciously accept these as elements in your decision.

By obtaining shadowing or work experience in the medical field, you are telling potential medical schools that you understand some (or most) of the chores in a typical day in at least one medical setting.  Medical schools are interested in students who have realistic expectations about a career in medicine (and not what is typically shown on popular television shows).  Have you observed physicians at work?  Do you know what medical doctors actually do on a daily basis?  It is important for you (and your chances of getting into a medical school) that you formulate your own opinions and justify medicine as YOUR career choice.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has organized some information that should make the decision a bit easier. Although some of these websites offer somewhat biased information, they do present issues that you should reflect on when considering medicine as a career.

  • Deciding on a Career in Medicine (Association of American Medical Colleges)
  • Is a Medical Career Right for You (Changing the Face of Medicine) (National Institutes of Health site that is geared toward women in medicine, but has good information for everyone considering medicine as a career). The book,
  • Planning a Life in Medicine (ISBN # 0375764607) by Stephen L. Nelson et al., 2005 (Princeton Review), is a good place to start exploring your decision about medicine.

-J. Herrera