Reasons To NOT Go Into Medicine

"There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder and discovering that you’re on the wrong wall" - Joseph Campbell

Medicine is a lifelong career path that will have many challenges from the application process to a university student to being a junior doctor to being a consultant. It is important to identify you would like to go into medicine and ensure that you are going in for the right reasons and not on the pressure of parents, expectations of teachers or by the myths about doctors.


“I want to make my teachers and family proud”

Medicine is undoubtedly a well-respected profession and you’re virtually guaranteed a job at the end of your degree. However, there are of course so many other career paths that you can be successful in and it’s about finding a profession which you will find fulfilling. Admissions tutors are very keen to see that you have a realistic understanding of medicine and have really understood how long and arduous studying medicine is.


“Doctors make loads of money”

If money is your sole focus, you could work hard get a Maths/Economics degree and then go work in the city in investment banking to get your 6 figure salary. It is true that medicine is a stable profession with good job prospects but if money is your sole motivation then you won’t be able to overcome the challenges of medical school, working nights in the hospital or the stress of being a doctor. Information on the exact salary of a doctor can be found here


“I’m good at science so medicine will be for me”

Although it’s true that medicine has a strong scientific foundation, this should not be the only reason for why you would be suited to medicine. Medical schools are looking for all-rounders, their selection criteria can be found here. Even at a very academic medical school such as Oxford University, 8 of the 11 qualities that they look for are personal qualities not academic qualities.

In fact, the best doctors tend to be the masters of both interpersonal skills as well as scientific understanding. We can all remember the GPs that were kind, empathetic and understanding. There’s more to medicine than just knowing your science.

Useful Links

Oxford University Selection Criteria

Cardiff University Selection Criteria

Medical Schools Council Selection Criteria

NHS Constitution 

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