Today I heard some of the most insightful information throughout my time in medical school. This insight was told to my class by the dean of education in regards to selecting a specialty. Although we won’t be required to do so until the end of 3rd year, it was still a very encouraging concept. Obviously I am paraphrasing, but the general concept went as follows:
Don’t eliminate pursuing a certain specialty based on the idea that it won’t fit the type of lifestyle you want. You can modify your career to conform to whatever lifestyle you want to live. You can choose to work part-time, full-time, etc. No matter what, there will be times when your career as a physician interferes with your life outside of healthcare. The important thing is that you’re missing those outside moments of life to do something you love. If you miss out on things like family for a career you don’t have a passion for, you’re going to be miserable. Choose to pursue a specialty because you love it.
It seems that many physicians today have a propensity to focus their attention on the negative aspects of medicine. More often than not, people don’t like change, and medicine is a rapidly changing field. There will undoubtedly be both good and bad outcomes as a result of these changes. However, it is very encouraging as a medical student to hear someone discuss the ability to maintain a well-rounded lifestyle in medicine. Being a person who is family-focused in every choice that I make, this is especially meaningful to me. My wife and I have always known there will be times when I can’t be there for family events or activities. However, I also know that I want to be there as often as possible. If it came to choosing between my family and my career, it’d be my family every time. No questions asked. However, hearing an MD say that raising a family will not and should not restrict me from choosing a specialty I develop a passion for is extremely encouraging.