I’m thinking about going to med school but I feel like most med school students are just all around. Like I think I have the ability academically but I’m kind of shy and a bit more introverted. My people skills could use some work, you know? I’m hoping this is something I’ll just be able to get past with more practice but is that something that’s gonna hold me back in this field?
You have to remember that there are all kinds of doctors, and not all of them deal with live patients. Pathologists help patients immensely without directly interacting with them. Medical examiners also do a public service but have limited interaction with people. You could even be an anesthesiologist and only see people before you put them to sleep. That’s not even taking into consideration the non-clinical (i.e. administrative) jobs you could do as a doctor.
Doctors come in all shapes and flavors. Several of my classmates are introverts, as are many of the doctors I have worked with. The key will be overcoming that when you need to. If you deal with live patients they will need you to talk to them. They will need you to console them and to divulge the details of their diagnoses on a level that they can understand. You don’t have to be an extrovert, but you do have to be able to effectively communicate.
Being an introvert won’t prohibit you from going into medicine. It may help to work on your communication skills though. Medicine, regardless of field, is a team sport. That means even if you don’t deal with patients you will need to communicate with your colleagues. Luckily, it sounds like all you need is some practice.
Best of luck,
Excellent answer! Another great response from thenotquitedoctor!
Anonymous asked: Is common for the senior/veteran physicians to be rude, snobby,condescending, etc, to resident doctors/med students?
Intriguing question, Anon!
Great physicians have bad days, some senior faculty can just be real jerks, and some unkind docs can have moments of real kindness.
And honestly, we med students, as do residents and others, have our bad days, mood swings, and whatnot as well!
What I’m trying to say is that sometimes even the best of us can be real assholes even if we don’t mean it. And with the stress of medicine, it may happen more than some are comfortable admitting.
However, there is never a good excuse for rudeness or straight-up bad behavior. That’s unprofessional and can lead to serious consequences. But ‘pimping’ (putting students on the spot to answer questions in front of others), a type of brutal practicality that arises from clinical experience, or tough love is very common. Some people say it’s condescending, demeaning and unkind. Others say it is a necessary type of training to mold us into true professionals.
Most veterans in the field whom I have met are very kind, intelligent, and practical. Sure, there are jerks. But has there ever been a profession with only saints? I don’t think so.
And again, if a senior or higher-ranked colleague or physician is being rude, unkind, demeaning, do not be afraid to discuss this with them. If it is seriously out of hand, it should be reported.
Thanks again for the question!
Give a damn… about your appearance.
I get it. You study or are in class all the time. Sometimes you take a break to go to sleep or eat. Your roommate has been asked to occasionally check on you to make sure you’re still alive. You are too busy stressing and striving for a 4.0 to give any fucks about what you look like. Right?
I say UNACCEPTABLE!!!
One of the
manythings that really annoys me about American culture is the perception that smart people generally don’t know how to dress themselves or care about their appearance because they don’t know any better. Ohhh, look at that the cute nerd and his/her adorable fashion faux pas. Fuck that shit, guys!! You are really fucking smart, or else you wouldn’t be trying to do this whole doctor thing, correct? So spare a few neurons for how you look on a daily basis.
Then, there is the counter-sentiment that smart people shouldn’t care about appearance because it is trivial and superficial and for people who are also trivial and superficial. And smart people are above such low-brow wastes of time.
Again, I say UNACCEPTABLE.
As much as it sucks, people judge you in less than 10 seconds of first laying eyes on you. So, if you look like you don’t know how a flattering haircut from a flock of seagulls, or seemingly lack a basic grasp of how to select your clothing for your body type… what do you think they are going to deduce about your mental capacities?
Not to mention, confidence about your appearance will translate elsewhere, and be apparent to those around you. It’s a weird cool brain trick. If I’m having a really crummy day or feel sad I always take extra care to dress super awesome. And it usually helps me feel a little better.
You know how little kids will clamp their mouths shut and squirm and do everything possible to not eat that spoonful of pureed spinach their parents are trying to shove in their tiny gobs because it’s fucking good for the little brats? That is me with my rightness about this issue. I’m right and if you just open up and deal with it, it’ll be good for you.
I’m not saying you have to wear business casual every day (although there is a guy in my micro lab who does and goddamn he looks sharp all the fucking time! I love it!!). Just make a little bit of effort; this is one of those super cool instances where a little goes a long way. So what are my suggestions? I thought you’d never ask, you sweet thing, you.
#1: Sweatpants and oversized hoodies are not ok unless you have the plague or some serious issue. You can be comfortable and casual without looking like you sleep in a box under a bridge. Just say no.
#2: Wear clothes (especially releveant to jeans) that fit you and flatter you. Bigger is not better, nor is tighter better. If it looks like you could smuggle a few bricks of cocaine and no one be the wiser, or if people ask how you can possible move or breathe in your vacuum-sealed wrapping, then you need to reconsider how you approach the issue of fit.
#3: Buy quality clothes. You think $100 is a waste for a pair of jeans or a dress? Think about it a different way: that $100 price tag generally means the item of interest is well-made and will last a really long time. Also, it will continue to fit you even after many washings. So, if you have one pair of $100 jeans that fits you like a glove and makes your bum look like it came from Mt. Olympus, and you wear it 4-5 times a week, how long before it costs less than a dollar per use? It’s worth it. And this is especially true of shoes and any type of suit. DON’T BE A CHEAP ASS. EVERYONE WILL BE ABLE TO TELL.
#4: Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean it works for you. There are so many amazing retro-inspired ensembles I would love to rock 24/7, but I can’t because I am tall and skinny and shaped like a pencil. If voluptuous could have a negative, that would be me. BUT, there are lots of things I can work because of my shape: like the high-waisted pants and large loose boxy shirt trend? All fucking over that shit. And I can work it! It’s awesome. This rule also applies to color. Figure out what colors do and don’t work for you; for example, I looked awful in the bright neon block color stuff that was in vogue last summer because my people came from the north (melanin is really overrated, according to my phenotype). It just washed me out. But, a good friend of mine with a more olive-type skin tone and dark hair looked stunning in those clothes. On the other hand, for some reason I can wear salmon all day erryday and look swell. Note: I do not wear salmon every day.
#5: Ladies: invest in good undergarments. Make sure they fit you, and if they are cute then that’s super cool too! And wear the right type for what you are wearing! I’m sick of seeing panty-lines and garishly conspicuous bras. Get on that stat. Put a little effort into your face. Get a face wash and moisturizer that work for you. Pluck your eyebrows for the fucking love of god. Makeup is optional, but I find that I look 100x more awake if I at least put on mascara (my eyelashes are clear, essentially). Tinted moisturizer is the lazy girl’s best friend, it makes a huge difference.
#6: Guys: Get a suit that fucking fits. Seriously. A well-tailored suit is to women (or men) what sexy lingerie is to men. Also, take care of your eyebrows too!!! They don’t have to be sculpted, but at least fix any nascent unibrow-wannabes. A good face wash and moisturizer is also important and completely manly. Taking care of your nails is also awesome; gross toe and fingernails will get you nowhere in life. Basically, take care of yourself, practice good grooming habits.
#7: Get a decent haircut. It’s not difficult and can really make a huge impact in your perception of yourself and others’ perception of you. And, I hate to say it, but this is another instance where being a tightwad is going to hurt you. Go to a good salon. Maybe you have to pay $40-$50 for a haircut. So the fuck what? View it as an investment, not an expense. If done right, it will continue to look good as it grows until your next appointment (to those of you with long hair- you really need to go every three months or so for a trim; dead ends will end you). The same applies for hair products. To the 1% of people who have naturally amazing hair and never have to put anything in it to make it obey you, I am very jealous. The rest of us will have to get good product and use it properly to obtain such results. And there are a lot of awesome styles and products for lazy people with no time. You just have to ask.
No, go forth, and let’s change that stupid-ass notion that smart people aren’t hella sexy and fashion-savvy!!
Everything on here is ON POINT. BRAVO, ASPIRINGDOCTORS. I second her heartily. As a teenager, I didn’t think I deserved to dress well, let alone feel proud of my body. But upon entering college, I realized that dressing well was is one way to boost my self confidence, and that meant a lot in the long run as I learned to embrace myself and my quirkiness. Appearance seems like a superficial thing to think about sometimes but…appearance goes a long, long way to making oneself feel good! Do it for yourself, no one else :)
It seems that as Americans we are abnormally afraid of death. You will die. Your patients will die. You cannot save your patients from death. You can merely prolong the inevitable.”
— Geriatrician giving a guest lecture on treating geriatric patients. (via thenotquitedoctor)
It seems to me that physicians, more than most other professionals, carry egos the size of watermelons on their shoulders. In a sense, this is the type selected for by the career itself — confident, successful, achievement-driven people are the ones admitted to medical schools. As a group, we are predisposed to pride from the start.
Then we struggle fervently through training, each day acquiring another fragment of the physician’s fabled knowledge. The frenzy continues for several years until a day comes when we are considered capable of functioning independently, and this is a great triumph.
But when we finally arrive at our objective, the nature of our pride has evolved. We have now fulfilled the most monumental achievement of our lives, and we’ve obtained knowledge so powerful that many people will trust us with their lives.
So maybe our arrogance is justified. Maybe we’re entitled to some arrogance. Don’t you think?
It’s true that some patients actually prefer an extraordinarily confident doctor, and invite arrogance if it coincides with exceptional skills. Others have argued that the public may mistake a physician’s competence for arrogance. Nonetheless, as the public’s trust in our profession has declined in recent years, patients are increasingly put off by what many consider an exaggerated, unwarranted sense of self-importance and infallibility.
Now, I think this view of physicians is often unfair, but it’s probably a reaction that stems from decades of unchecked arrogance. In any case, arrogant physicians do more than just contribute to the eroding public opinion of our profession. It seems sensible to me that we also consider the potential dangers such behaviors pose to patients.
In today’s medical culture, the debate seems to be so often about who is right, rather than what is best for patients. The charge to care for people and ease suffering has been cast down by an egotist’s charge to be correct. This battle of egos is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as it leads to the best outcome for patients. In my view, however, it’s indicative of a system that has lost touch with its fundamental purpose.
As a physician-in-training, I mean only to urge my peers to take note of these tendencies as we progress through training. The arrogance we perceive in our role models need not be a model for our own behavior — this is another trap worth avoiding.
The Physician as the Devil
Allegorical figure of the physician as the devil standing among books and tools of the medical professions. Interior view, two scenes: the patients have recovered fully and the physician has come to collect his fee. [by Hendrik Goltzius, about 1600]
The Physician as an Angel
Allegorical figure of the physician as an Angel standing among books and tools of the medical professions. Interior scene: two views of patients in bed consulting with physicians; splint being replaced on broken leg; woman with small pot at fireplace. [by Hendrik Goltzius, about 1600]
I know which one I aspire to but which one will I be?
An interesting and honest depiction of Ali Binazir’s experience with and opinion of this profession. The article and especially its comments are worth a read for anyone interested in medicine.
Yes, the words are harsh and take them with a grain of salt. But Ali Binazir points out some VERY key things that I see in myself now as a second year student. Many of his points, whether med students or doctors care to admit it, do or have already come true. So the most important question is: how far are you willing to go, how much are you ready to sacrifice?
Definitely some food for thought for all the pre-meds, med students, etc. out there.
Women in Medicine from thenotquitedoctor
“Your thoughts? My dad doesn’t think I should become a doctor because I’m a “girl and it’ll be too hard” and I’ll “never find a husband” and I’ll be better off with a lower paying job and “marrying someone rich.” >___>”
Well, no offense to your dad, but that is some sexist bullshit. I may not have ovaries but for the remainder of this post I will tuck my testicles back in solidarity.
Apparently you are not privy to the myriad of recent studies talking about the changing face of medicine. According to the AAMC the medical school class of 2010-2011 was almost 50:50 in terms of gender. Some schools are actually accepting more women than men, though the recent averages seem to be about 50% of each. To say that women can’t hack it in med school is completely ignoring the factual data.
Now let me break it down for you. Don’t ever let anyone, and I mean anyone, tell you what you can and cannot do. I don’t care if you are a woman or a man with no legs (who just ran in the freaking Olympics!). No one is going to have your interests at heart better than you. If you want to be a doctor then do it! Will it make it harder to find a husband? I don’t know, several of my fellow classmates are either married or have boyfriends. Several of the upper class (wo)men have gotten married in the course of school (some even had kids!).
Med school will be hard, but your brain works just as well as any man’s. What will determine your success is your drive and determination, not whether or not you have a Y chromosome. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out these links.Viewpoint: Women in Medicine and Science in 2020: Beyond the Glass Ceiling
Bravo for this inspiring (and well-researched!) answer. THIS is how you can be a medical student and a role-model. Seriously, bravo!
Summer Edition Admission #5: Moments of Doubt
Hey there, imnotshallowyourejustugly!
Moments? I still have them now and then, even in medical school!
There are many fears to overcome if you want to be a physician. However, that can be said for any important decision. There’s nothing wrong with changing directions. Being able to change is not an act of cowardice; it’s healthy, wise, and normal. You are still in high school; there is so much to explore and see before you make up your mind!
You asked me how I overcame my doubts. It’s slow going and something I still address. For me, doubt is rarely conquered in one fell swoop, but chipped away by a growing body of evidence that subverts it.
I questioned and resisted pre-med until I was half-way into undergrad. After I tanked my first MCAT, I realized that doubt was distracting me from answering the REAL question at hand: how much do I want this? But these doubts dissolve gradually for me when I realized I can’t imagine doing anything else. Things once deemed ‘failures’ I now understood to be subjective; I could consume myself with fear and disappointment or see them as learning opportunities.
After getting into medical school, I’ve still had moments of doubt. I’m surrounded by some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. The course load and demands placed upon medical students seem insurmontable sometimes. I realized that I’ll be in charge of other humans when I can barely keep plants alive.
But as I passed my tests and mastered material, I gained confidence. I realized that doubt was again hiding the real question: how much do I want this? A lot. So I’m not afraid to admit I don’t know something, ask for help, try harder than I’ve ever tried. Doubt wastes time that I can be learning, exercising, spending precious time with family and friends, and in general getting ready to be the best doctor I can be.
If you are not sure how you want to proceed yet, it’s okay. You have so much time ahead of you to change your mind, make mistakes, come back, and do things over again! Yes, there are so many things to think about when it comes to medicine, but before you analyze, explore and enjoy life. Pay attention. Make mistakes. By living life and reflecting on your experiences, you’ll make the right choice for yourself, be it medicine or not.
No matter your decision, do what makes you happy!
Thank you to everyone who answered today!
I cannot tell you how fun, thoughtful, heartfelt, and amazing all these response were today! Thank you for sharing. :)