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Image by National Cancer Institute

Deciding on Medicine

🧠 Intellectual curiosity.

❤️Emotional satisfaction.

🩺Applying science directly to disease.

Reasons to go into Medicine

Good Motivations

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”

- Friedrich Nietzsche

🧠 Intellectual curiosity

Medicine is a lifelong career that requires lifelong learning. Technology is constantly evolving. Bacterial and viral DNA are mutating. Chronic conditions are increasing in frequency with an ageing population. As such, it is essential for doctors and for the healthcare profession to be constantly adapting to the healthcare demands of the population.

❤️ Emotional satisfaction

Medicine can be very fulfilling in being able to able to make a difference to people’s lives in a relatively short window of time. Whether that be through surgery, an early cancer diagnosis or prescribing statins.

🩺Applying science directly to disease

This reason is a combination of the above. Medicine allows you to combine your intellectual curiosity with your desire to help people. If this is something that motivates you, medicine could be for you.

🌈 Diverse people in terms of patients and colleagues

There is a huge range of people that you will see both in terms of patients as well as colleagues. Getting to meet and work alongside people from such a range of backgrounds can promise a very dynamic career in which each day is different.

🦠 Huge range of diseases and specialties

As well as the diversity in terms of patients, there’s a plethora of diseases. Having such a diverse range of specialties enables you to choose the skillsets and type of work that you find most fulfilling. 

Reasons to NOT go into Medicine

Bad Motivations

 “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

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.

Making an Informed Decision

Informed Decision
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