10 Things No One Tells You About Pursuing a Career in Medicine

Dawn Pascale


Ask a practicing doctor or nurse if they would have pursued their clinical practice had they known the difficulties inherent in medicine.  It’s likely that you’ll hear a mixed response with a higher percentage of “No’s” than you would have guessed.

That’s because pursuing a medical career is a significant undertaking with rewards and pitfalls. Healthcare is still the healing profession designed for people intent on helping others. But healthcare is also full of complicated delivery mechanisms, technology evolutions and even reimbursement challenges. While you may have dreamed about studying for a career in healthcare your entire life, knowing what to expect will help prepare you for the journey.

Top 10 Secrets About Pursuing a Medical Career

1. The academics may be harder than you imagined.

Medical school is competitive, attracting some of the brightest talent. While your undergraduate work may have flown by, medical school is more rigorous in the first two years than anything you will have experienced in the past.

2. You’ll have to draw a line between personal and professional.

Medical school requires censorship between clinical training and your discussions with the layperson that may be shocked you were elbow-deep in a cadaver that day. Learning to craft a careful response to, “What did you do today,” will be a necessary part of your learning curve.

3. Deciding on a specialty area must happen quickly.

Give some thought early on about the specialty area you’d like to pursue. Pre-med students are often so busy studying for their MCATs that they’ve given little thought to what area they’d like to focus on.

4. You may make less than you imagined.

The rumor that all doctors are rich isn’t as true as you might imagine. While it’s true some of the more in-demand specialties earn up to a half million annually, primary care, which will be highly in demand over the next decade, will make considerably less.

5. By graduation, you will be a changed person.

Medical school is intense and it tests endurance right along with intellectual knowledge. 24-hour shifts and intense pressure will change your perspective and perhaps your personality.

6. Sleep deprivation is normal even after licensure.

Clinical professionals are challenged by a lot of late nights, from college and med school through residency and even in their practice. In medicine, working an overnight shift is the standard.

7. Healthcare will break your heart.

Healthcare clinicians take up the trade to help people and the truth is sometimes you simply can’t. This is a hard lesson to learn.

8. Med school doesn’t make you a doctor.

The practice of medicine comes after med school, where your clinical skills will really be honed. Med school gives the foundation for clinical practice but it is during actual care delivery the doctor or nurse practitioner fully emerges as competent.

9. You will never stop learning.

Embarking on a healthcare career means the decade you devoted to learning is just the beginning. From new clinical protocols and best practices to technology changes, a healthcare provider never stops learning.

10. Your skills will help your family and loved ones.

Healthcare is complicated. Having a medical professional on the team to provide counsel on even the most mundane ailments will be extremely beneficial.

Eliminate any surprises before taking on a career in healthcare. One conversation with a healthcare recruiter could better prepare you for the next steps on your career path.

We know that making the move to a career in medicine is a huge undertaking. Talk with the professionals at MedSource Consultants to find out more about a career in the field today.