“What do you want to go into then?”
It’s a question that I am guaranteed to be asked at least once a week, whether it’s seeing a friend or relative for the first time in a couple of months, or if it’s meeting a new consultant (the correct answer in that case is whatever field they work in).
At the end of the day it’s kinda important. We’ve been told quite often that your medical school selection (whether it ‘s a traditional interview or the more modern selection centres) is your job interview. Foundation placements guarantee F1 and F2 placements (some F2 jobs get interviewed, but you’ve got the job already so it’s a little pointless). You therefore have your clinical years at medical school and your F1 year to decide where you want to go. By half way through F2 you need to know what you want to do so you can apply for the specialty training program you want.
Consultants also ask it because I think it tells you a lot about a person. Stereotypes exist for a reason – Orthopods played second row and generally drag their knuckles along the floor and piss themselves at the first sign of a medical problem, GPs are lazy rich people that spend 3 days a week on the golf course, pathologists are pale blokes in glasses that sit in their offices and never leave. So it’s only natural that people ask you what you want to do, even if it’s just so they can slot you into one of their stereotypes – it’s expected that medical students have an idea of what jobs we want to go into.
Trouble is, I don’t.
My answer to this question is always “I know what I don’t want to do.” Which is the case. I have a list of jobs which is steadily getting bigger that I know I could not do. Rock bottom, and I mean rock weighted with lead bottom is psychiatry. I would rather spend my days looking at varying shades of pink mush on glass slides than engage in that voodoo. Again, I will discuss psychiatry later.
In fact no, while I’m on the topic I’ll give my reasons for not wanting to be a psychiatrist.
It scares the shit out of me.
I have a friend who is dead set on being a psychiatrist, absolutely convinced it is the only job in the world that he can do. I think he’s crazy. Pun intended. I spent 2 months working with a psychiatrist – he was a small quiet bloke that seemed to spend his ward “rounds” – one benefit of psych that I can see is the ward “rounds” take place in comfortable arm chairs in a room with windows. This bloke scared the crap out of me, he was really quiet and softly spoken until he saw a patient, then he would rip into them – telling them how unfair they were being to their families for putting them through it – was a bit harsh really. He also had the most terrifying laugh I’ve ever heard. Imagine a 1800s asylum patient with their manical laughter – it was that, but much higher pitched.
I really have got off topic.
To help people choose, the BMA and various other organisations have come up with these career quizzes – they’re sort of like these things you get on facebook, I think they’re about as accurate as well – “put your name here and your birth month here to find out what your Harry Potter creature is”. You spend half an hour clicking various options.
So I did one.
It gives you a whole list in order, I’ve cut the top (green) and bottom (red) specialties. Interesting how many of the psych specialties are in that red one..
I’ve made it quite clear that I like emergency medicine, so to see that at the top was good – I’m not that sure about the intensive care medicine – as far as I know they are all anaesthetists (another high scorer) – and I don’t think I’m cut out for hours of sitting in theatre watching surgeons cut things.
Maxfacs is out as I’m not going to dental school.
So, after slating the career tools, turns out they suit me quite well, but like everything it has to be a decision made closer to the time, nobody knows what their situation will be like when they graduate, the biggest disadvantage to being a graduate medic is that when you qualify you are the age when you are going to be having kids and getting married etc (though there are quite a few weddings going on currently – bankrupting me) so you have to take into account family life – some specialties (emergency medicine, surgery, acute medicine) are not family friendly.
Realistically I should probably accept that I’m going to end up being a GP.
Best buy some golf clubs then.