Doctors Essay

This essay has a total of 5198 words and 40 pages.

doctors







Many people think that becoming a doctor is difficult. Others have some sense that
becoming a physician takes many years and is expensive. Most people realize that being a
physician is difficult yet rewarding. All these people are correct. Becoming a physician
is a long, arduous, expensive process that can only be accomplished with great dedication.


























Before starting the process of becoming a physician (or any profession) you must do some
honest soul searching. First of all you must be aware of the time commitment involved in
becoming a physician. Medicine is a career that requires many years of preparation.
Generally most people graduate college at age 22 and medical school at 26. Then after 3
years of internship and residency, many physicians begin their career at age 29. However,
the training for some specialties can last until the physician's early to mid 30's.
Obviously this can delay plans for marriage and starting a family. Some people begin their
medical education after pursuing other careers, which can further delay the completion of
their medical training. You must decide early on if you are willing to dedicate the time
it takes to become a physician. As you can see, this is not a decision to be made lightly.

More importantly, you must decide if medicine is a field that is right for the kind of
person you are. I believe that there are three cornerstones of a successful career in
medicine:

,h A love for learning in general
,h A true intellectual curiosity about medicine in particular
,h A strong desire to help others.
Being smart and doing well in the sciences are obviously important components of being a
successful physician. However, do not fall into a medical career because you have done
well in the sciences. Although this is a necessary requirement, you must also be able to
relate well with people.

As a physician you have an opportunity to help others. Wanting to help others and enjoying
helping others are necessary attributes of a good physician. This is something that cannot
be taught. However, there are many other professions that can help others. Politicians,
religious leaders and social workers all have the opportunity to help others, perhaps in
larger numbers.

Medicine is a career filled with choices. In what other career can you choose between
delivering babies, taking care of children, handling emergencies, removing someone's
cancer, or talking to someone who needs psychiatric help? Better yet, you can teach others
any of these specialties, and while teaching have the opportunity to both practice your
profession and teach it. Alternately, you can do research in whatever specialty you
choose, with the potential to make a real breakthrough in preventing or treating illness.
In addition medicine is a career that is honorable and is held in high esteem, allows you
the ability to live just about anywhere, and provides job security.

However, all of this comes at a price. The many years of preparation, the discipline, the
awesome responsibility, the worry about malpractice and the long hours can take their
toll. Medicine is a unique field and it demands a unique person. Money should not be a
driving factor in your decision, for the sake of your patients and yourself, because it
will not sustain you. There are other careers in which you can make more money without the
responsibility and the effort it takes to be a physician.














A famous Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single
step. Well the same is true with the road to becoming a physician. While in high school it
is important to get a good general education. This is good by itself, but also prepares
you for doing well on the S.A.T. Taking a complete science curriculum in high school is
key to having a good science foundation for future science courses in college and medical
school. Take 4 years of science in high school, including biology, physics and chemistry,
plus 4 years of math (including calculus). It is so important to have a good foundation in
these sciences so that you can learn the subject matter in college well enough to earn
A's. It seems inconceivable that someone can do well in the killer science courses in
college without having been introduced to these in high school. Getting high grades is the
most important component in being accepted into a prestigious college. However, do not be
tempted to take easy courses that allow you to get high grades. This will not prepare you
for taking courses in college that are much more difficult than those in high school.

More importantly, high school is the time to learn about the real world of medicine (not
the one you see on TV). Do something that gets you in touch with the medical field to see
if it is right for you now, before putting in all that effort. Learn about other fields
that may interest you so that you may compare them to medicine. Also, for the same reason,
take elective courses other than sciences to see if these interest you more.




























When choosing a college, remember that there is no perfect college. There is only what is
right for you. Some of the factors to consider are:

,h Academic reputation
,h Size
,h Distance from home
,h Location - rural, suburban, urban
,h Cost
,h Academic programs - quality of faculty, facilities, advisors; choice of majors; number
of pre-meds, percent of pre-meds accepted to medical school.

You may want to select a college that has a medical school as part of the University. In
the end you will know what is right by what your gut tells you.











Having fun is very important. However, you must have the discipline to know when to stop.
Remember, chances are you have moved away from home and are living in a dorm and have more
freedom now than ever before. However, with this freedom must come the wisdom to act
responsibly for your own sake.

In college you must learn how to manage your time. This is a skill which will be
invaluable as a medical student and for the rest of your medical career. Some things that
are just deadly time killers such as video games and TV should be curtailed significantly
or banished altogether.

The courses you take in college (especially science courses in this case) are infinitely
more difficult than you can imagine. If you do not take the time to study you will not do
well enough to get into medical school. It's that simple. It is possible to do well and
have fun- I did. However, it is a balancing act that must be mastered. Going to the
library to study is not synomous with studying. Many people go there and waste time.

A major decision you must make early on in college is choosing a major. There are no
required majors for acceptance into medical school. The most common major is biology.
However, medical schools accept students from many backgrounds. Sometimes it is better to
have a major outside of the usual so that your application is more unique. Some medical
schools are looking for more diversity and want some students with liberal arts degrees.
However this places more emphasis on how well you do on the courses required for medical
school admission. Whatever major you choose should be something you enjoy. However, you
should also take a wide breadth of courses to experience other fields because it may be
your last opportunity.


























Here are the required courses for most medical schools:
,h 1 year of Biology with lab
,h 1 year of Inorganic Chemistry with lab
,h 1 year of Organic Chemistry with lab
,h 1 year of English
,h Many schools require 1 year of calculus or college level math
,h Some medical schools request a course in Biochemistry
Most pre-med students try to spread out the science courses required for medical school so
that they are not overwhelmed all at once. It is also helpful if some of the material is
fresh when taking the MCAT.















Needless to say, getting good grades in college is absolutely necessary. Your GPA (grade
point average) is probably the most important factor in being accepted into medical
school. Most medical students have GPA's of 3.5 to 4.0 (on the standard 4.0 scale used in
the U.S.). When you apply to medical school, the standard application requests your GPA
for your science courses, your GPA for non-science courses and your overall GPA. For those
students who entered medical school in 1998, the average science GPA was 3.52, the average
non-science GPA was 3.64, and the average overall GPA was 3.57. If you do poorly on one of
the required courses it is probably a good idea to take another course in that field to
improve your grades and show that you can handle that subject. It is also important to do
well in college from the beginning. After all, if you only get a 2.0 in your first year
and then get a 4.0 the next 2 years your GPA will still be under 3.5. However, medical
schools do consider the fact that you are improving. Doing well at a college with an
outstanding reputation goes a long way. Try not to fall behind in your class work. This
leads to cramming, poor grades and, more importantly, poor learning.

The sciences courses, in particular Organic Chemistry, are traditionally the "weed out"
courses that eliminate students who will not make it into medical school.





























Besides your college transcript, most medical schools require you to take the M.C.A.T. and
supply your score with your application. The M.C.A.T. (Medical College Admission Test) is
an all-day, standardized, multiple-choice test administered by the American Association of
Medical Colleges (A.A.M.C.). The M.C.A.T. is given twice per year (April and August) and
in 1999 cost $165. It is intended to assist admissions committees in predicting who will
do well in medical school. Almost all medical schools require it. This is a way for
medical schools to compare candidates from different schools and different backgrounds.
After all, one could argue that the same GPA from a more prestigious school means more.
However, the MCAT provides a common denominator to compare candidates from different
schools. This is a one of the most important tests you will take and you should study for
it. I studied for almost 2 months for it.


The MCAT has 4 sections - Biological Sciences (Biology and Organic Chemistry - 77
questions), Physical Sciences (Physics and Inorganic Chemistry - 77 questions), Verbal
Reasoning (65 questions), and Essay Writing (2 essays). Over 40,000 students take this
test. Of the students who matriculate into medical school the mean grades are: Verbal
Reasoning - 9.5, Physical Sciences - 9.9, Biological Sciences - 10.2. The essays are
graded on a scale of J to T. The 50th percentile is a score of P.































Before you apply to medical school you should know that there are two types of medical
training: Allopathic and Osteopathic. Allopathic medical schools are the traditional
medical schools that confer an M.D. degree to graduates. Osteopathic schools confer a D.O.
degree. They are very similar except that Osteopathic schools have additional courses in
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). OMTs are manipulative techniques to help heal,
relieve pain, and restore range of motion. There are approximately 38,000 D.O.'s in the
U.S., 57% are in primary care and 43% are in a range of other specialties.




















There are 125 Medical Schools and 19 Osteopathic schools in the U.S. In 1998 there were
41,000 applicants for 16,170 spots in traditional medical. There were 9,500 applicants for
2,500 spots in Osteopathic schools. Application is usually made towards the end of junior
year of college. There is a centralized application service run by A.M.C.A.S. (American
Medical College Application Service) for M.D. schools (cost - $55 for 1st school and
decreasing amount for additional schools) and A.A.C.O.M.A.S. (American Association of
Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) for D.O. schools. 113 of the 125 medical schools
participate in the AMCAS program. There is also the AMCAS-E which allows you to send the
application over the Internet. Basically you fill out the application, which includes your
grades, personal information and a personal essay and send it to them. They verify the
information and send it to the schools that you designate. This saves you from filling out
multiple applications and gives the medical school verified information in a standard
form. The essay on this application is very important and should be personal, interesting
and fun to read. It needs to set you apart from the other applicants.

Some medical schools require secondary applications and letters of recommendation. Many
colleges have a premedical committee that writes a unified recommendation letter about
each student. It is vitally important that your college send a good letter of
recommendation about you.

Pre-Med students apply to average of 13 medical schools. You should generally apply to all
the schools in your state, some that you feel are your safe schools, and some that you can
only dream of getting into. State supported medical schools take an overwhelming majority
of students from their own state. It is close to impossible to get into a state supported
medical school if you are not a resident of that state. Occasionally they will take some
students from neighboring states or states without medical schools (Alaska, Idaho,
Montana, and Wyoming).
















Being granted an interview is a big hurdle. Now your chances of being accepted increase
tremendously because only a minority of applicants are granted an interview to a
particular school. You have met their academic criteria for admission -- otherwise they
would not invite you for an interview. This is their chance to get to know you personally.
Some rules:

,h dress nicely
,h be on time
,h be polite and pleasant
,h make eye contact
,h don't interrupt
,h be yourself
,h and above all be honest.









Now you're in medical school. In 1998 there were 69,340 medical students in U.S. medical
schools (57% males, 43% female). Medical school is very difficult -- I'm sure you don't
have to be warned about that. In order to get through medical school you must be dedicated
to learning and have excellent study skills. If you can retain the information presented
to you, not just memorize and forget, you will be highly successful. You will need
unparalleled time management skills. Time is a luxury not to be wasted. Just as in
college, T.V. is an enemy. Learn to do several things at once. Also learn when to take a
break from it all.

Most of the day is filled with lectures, labs and small group activities. Some medical
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