A career in medicine is rewarding, fulfilling and challenging in the best way possible. But what do you do if your calling to train as a member of the medical field comes later in life? If you’re considering a change of career but unsure where to start, these are some of the top questions to ask yourself and the best ways to help your transition to medicine go smoothly.
1: Give it plenty of thought
What draws you to a career in medicine? Switching career paths shouldn’t be something you do on a whim, so make sure that you thoroughly consider all options before taking the leap.
It can help to jot down the pros and cons of switching careers, as well as talking to friends or family about your decision to see what they think.
It’s also worthwhile to consider the personality traits that you have and the qualities needed to work in medicine, such as the ability to collaborate, patience and empathy.
In this video, doctors explain why they decided to study medicine.
2: Research the application process
It’s important to be well-informed about the process of applying for medical school, and how your previous academic record and work experience might affect your success.
“UK medical schools are well known to provide some of the best doctors in the world – it is no surprise that getting into UK medical school is tough, complicated and confusing. The competition becomes even more fierce each year”Dr Hilton at FutureDoc.co
Do your research and ensure you thoroughly know what’s expected so you’re fully prepared, as the training for a medical career is intense and time-consuming.
3: Understand what draws you to medicine
In addition to thinking about the qualities needed in individuals to be successful in a medical career, you should also think about the aspects of the field that are appealing to you.
When you’re planning a career switch, it’s vital that you have an accurate impression of what the sector looks like and what you’d be doing day to day.
It can be helpful to have conversations with those already in the field to understand what the career is like, or to volunteer in a hospital or clinic to gain valuable experience. Alternatively, network on social media, which can also help you stay up to date with current trends in the industry.
In this video, medical students answer the question: why medicine? Hearing some of their responces may help you to understand what is drawing you to a career in medicine.
4: Assess your experience
If you’re transitioning to a medical career from another role, you’ll likely have gained valuable experience that you can bring to your new career. How can the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired be applied to the healthcare sector?
Even though you may need to retrain, depending on the healthcare role you want, you can still apply the experience you’ve gained to your new job to help you develop your career.
Perhaps you’ve gained the ability to problem-solve or you have excellent research skills that can be applied to your training. Or you’re used to working as part of a team and would relish the opportunity to apply those skills to a medical position that requires you to work with others. Soft skills such as communication skills are also just as valuable in a medical role as other industries.
5: Compare different roles
The medical field is broad and there are numerous options to choose from when it comes to specialising. From training to become a doctor to working as a paediatrician, you can tailor your career to your individual ambitions and passions.
6: Enjoy the process
The final step, once you’ve assessed the information available to you and determined the best route for you, is to make the leap and start the necessary training to begin your new career.
Medical school is challenging and requires grit and determination to succeed, but the rewards far outweigh the hard work required. So make sure you enjoy the process and soak up the experience. Retraining for a medical career can teach you a lot about your motivations, your ambitions and your ability to persevere, which can improve your confidence overall.
Written by Dakota Murphey