How To Tell If A Medical Career Is Right For You

Deciding on a career path is an important decision. Some people know exactly which career is right for them. However, most people spend quite a lot of time considering their options to decide which path is best. 

If you’ve been considering a career in medicine, how can you tell if it’s the right choice for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide if a medical career is the right choice. 

Careers in Healthcare

Are You Fascinated With Medicine, Health, and Human Anatomy?

Careers in the medical field require knowledge of medicine, biology, and human anatomy. If you’ve always found yourself fascinated by these subjects, that may be an indication you should pursue a healthcare career. Conversely, if these subjects didn’t interest you in undergraduate school, then a different field may be better for you.

Most medical careers will require several years of education, with many advanced careers requiring over four years of college. In order to succeed, you will need a strong interest in the many subjects required as part of your education.  

Are You Passionate About Helping Others?

Careers in medicine, from phlebotomy to surgery, are patient-oriented. This means you have to be willing to work closely with patients. Having a strong sense of both empathy and compassion is an excellent motivator to help patients improve their health and wellbeing. In fact, medical schools and hiring organizations are seeking candidates with personality traits like empathy.

Additionally, you will have to work alongside fellow medical professionals. Finding enjoyment in supporting co-workers is another helpful trait in any medical career. 

Do You Enjoy A Fast-Paced Work Environment?

Regardless if you work in a hospital emergency room or small family practice, the medical field is fast-paced and demanding. Even in calmer settings, you will often have to see multiple patients. Certain careers or settings may even require you to be on-call for emergencies. 

Effectively handling stress and your emotions is an important skill for anyone in healthcare. If you thrive in the bustle of work and find meeting the demands of stressful work rewarding, then a career in healthcare might be right for you. However, if you’re uncomfortable with keeping up with the emotional demands of a fast-paced job, a medical career might be a poor choice. 

How Well Can You Handle Pressure and Stress?

It may seem dramatic, but it is no exaggeration to say that people working in the healthcare industry face life-and-death situations. Even when situations are less dire, medical professionals often work with patients who are sick or disabled. Healthcare professionals are typically more prone to burnout, with more than one-half of U.S. physicians and one-third of nurses experiencing symptoms because of the stressful nature of their jobs.

The ability to handle stress and emotions is necessary if you are thinking of beginning a medical career. Keeping your composure in stressful situations is important to deliver the best patient care. Many jobs in the medical field require individuals who are calm and able to work well, while both taking and giving orders, under duress. 

Additionally, you may be required to communicate with family members of patients who are very ill, seriously injured, or in the final stages of their life. The ability to present a calm demeanor is especially important when dealing with family in these situations.

Are You Excited About Education?

One of the most important facets of a career in medicine is education. Not only can certain career paths require years of education, but many also require you to undergo continued education to maintain your license. 

For example, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) requires physician assistants to take a recertification exam every 10 years and earn 100 credits every two years.

Continuing education is typically required for most healthcare professionals. This means that you need to consider if you are willing to put in additional time outside of the office.

In addition, the best medical professionals strive to provide the best care for their patients. Providing this level of care requires professionals to remain up-to-date on the latest medical developments and practices. Healthcare professionals often continue studying and learning long after their formal education has ended. 

Starting Your Medical Career

There are many entry points into careers in the medical field. There are a number of medical careers in demand, including physician assistants. Demand for PAs has been projected to increase 31% from 2018 to 2028.

If you have already completed your undergraduate studies in a related field and are considering a medical career, learn more about becoming a physician assistant.