As a Caribbean medical student doing rotations in the United States, my schedule wasn’t quite “fitting” well with my Drexel University colleagues rotating at the same hospital. To solve the dilemma, we took a “pre-clinical” elective which was randomly assigned. As luck would have it I was assigned radiology. I showed up the first day with a minty crisp white coat, badge clipped to my upper right pocket, 8 pens (see my previous post on holiday wish list), and my copy of Felson’s in hand. The medical coordinator greets us and brings us to the main reading room.
When under the care of a physician, receiving treatment in the ER, or establishing care with a PCP, most people don't ask the physician what degree they have. In fact, many non-medical people and patients are entirely unaware that in the US there are two different medical degrees, MD and DO, and two different paths to becoming a physician. Here are the major differences (and similarities!) between the MD and DO degrees.
Congratulations! Your child has made an incredible, awe-inspiring decision to pursue their medical degree. The path to their MD, DO, PhD and more is longer and windier than most would expect from the outset.
Have no fear: We have lived and breathed medical education for 14 years now, working with countless students and parents in the process. We're here to help paint the picture for you of what you can expect, and how you can support your child in the process.
Settle in, get comfortable, feel free to take notes, and if you don't have a ton of time now, bookmark this page in your browser so you can refer to it as needed (or PRN, as we say in medicine) going forward.
Medical school is a challenging road that requires sacrifice and dedication. However, life outside of medicine does not stop in the course of your training and sometimes will necessitate taking time away for reasons that may be personal, professional, or both. When you decide to take a leave of absence from your curriculum, you may be unsure of how best to utilize your time; while there is no single right answer to this question, this article will outline some suggestions.
It takes some courage to reconsider a major life decision made long ago but for some of us it is a necessity. Many chose a career in medicine from a very young age -- sometimes childhood. As passionate as this may seem, it also begs the questions: “How thoughtful was this decision?” and “Have I changed as a person since this decision was made?”
After four long years of undergraduate education, and another four long years of medical school, it seems bizarre to even consider another year of school. Mix in residency and it all seems overwhelming. However, as you walk through the hospital looking at white coats you’ll realize there are a couple of prevalent degrees, besides the MD, held by physicians.
As I hugged his wife, Aunt Shelly, and expressed my condolences, she only had one thing to say. “Be a good doctor, Brian. Do it for him.” From all of the tributes of the day, these are the words that resonated most.
Everything we do in medicine is (or should be) for the good of the patient. The physician crafts a diagnosis and treatment plan so that the patient can get better. The nurse administers medications to improve the patient’s symptoms. The ancillary staff responds to patient requests, and keep the rooms tidy, all for patient well-being. “For the benefit of the patient” is the ethos that drives everything we are doing.
The search for a specialty during medical school is indeed a difficult one. Much like the newly engaged are constantly asked about wedding dates and venues, the freshly-minted medical student is grilled regarding their future career path. It seemed like the decision to become a doctor had some finality to it, but we quickly learn that other very important decisions lie ahead.
Every year, thousands of undergraduate students are preparing for medical school. Many hours are spent sitting in lectures and studying to earn high grades. Any remaining free time is spent participating in research, volunteering in the community, and shadowing physicians. Finally comes the MCAT and flying around the country for interviews before the first day of medical school even arrives.