Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Carry On Doctor....

When people hear I’m finished med school in April they invariably ask what I’m going to specialise in. I have no idea whatsoever, which after 6 years is a little pathetic so I mutter incoherently about clinics, surgery, general practice and forensic pathology.
I just did the Medical Specialities Aptitude Test which despite having 130 questions, just repeated the same few about listening, working hours, being part of patients’ lives and manual dexterity.  

So, my top 10 options for my future career in medicine are -
preventive med     
occupational med     
allergy & immunology     

The top 5 specialities are the things I hate the most. If I was a pathologist I would gouge my eyes with my microscope by the end of my first day. I can’t see the difference in slides to save my life, let alone anyone else’s.
The other speciality that, in my estimation is all about imagination, is radiology. I would hate that too – living in a dark room, pretending to consultants that you too see that tiny slightly-different-shade-of-white line burrowing its way into some indistinguishable anatomical dead end .
Theoretical medicine (preventive and occupational) is dry, boring and inhabited by people who feel way too passionate about it and tend to give really long lectures. No way.
The next option is neurology, which I thought I would love as I really love neuroscience and Oliver Sacks, but when I did it I was underwhelmed. It’s all about grey area, maybes and infighting (the Dublin neurologist case conference is the bitchiest event I’ve ever been too)
Cardiology is becoming a real possibility – I heard a murmur today and came up with the diagnosis of aortic stenosis with my trusty stethoscope. Given that yesterday, I believed stethoscopes were the implements of the Devil and my one was especially cursed – I could never hear anything with the blasted thing. Now, I feel all warm and fuzzy toward my little green Littmann.
The derm/immuno route is quite interesting and involves lots of new and exciting science and patients that can be cured.
Aerospace medicine came in at 26 which sounds like so much fun, but the likelihood of getting a consultant job in Ireland depends on the future of the Irish Space Programme. I don’t think even Soldier Willie’s Moustache dreams about that.
The one I return to again and again is GP (which came in at 33), mainly because the hours are less than 100 hours a week – unlike all specialities mentioned above.

There is another way to help choose a speciality – this algorithm. I like the simplicity of the first criteria – crazy or sane???
And if you are medically inclined, you will get a giggle from this – If you’re not into medicine, you’ll probably think we’re all bad, mad or just very sad.



Anonymous Sinéad said...

Where did haemotology come it at?

January 06, 2006 12:51 a.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

30something as well.

It's a fascinating field and as you know yourself, Sinead, as a doctor in it you can really change people's lives.

I did enjoy my rotation in James - the National Bone Marrow Transplant Centre. At the time, I found most of the stuff went way over my head - it's very technical and not all that clinical. It's also hugely lab based. I hate microscopes and dyes and images of little colouredy dots that I'm apparently supposed to be able to distinguish as blood cells and diagnose things from.
While in Crumlin, in the haematology lab, i was there when a blood sample came in from the cutest little Nigerian boy who I had saw earlier that day in A&E and I was able to see the malaria parasite in his blood cells and connect his symptoms and disease. That only happened becuase, like all medical students, I'm a bit of a medical slut and we go to where the action is.

And there ain't too much action behind a microscope for the rest of my life!

January 06, 2006 1:06 a.m.  
Blogger planetpotato said...

Perhaps you could combine some of the specialisations and create a new field. Dermatology and a little bit of Neurosurgery at the same time could be fun for all concerned.

January 06, 2006 12:17 p.m.  
Blogger Dealga said...

What about becoming an anaesthetist. First it's very hard to say with alcohol in you and second you get to put people to sleep...


January 07, 2006 4:49 p.m.  

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