So, you want to work in the medical field?
Every day I receive questions from students asking about the next steps they should take in determining if they should pursue a Pre-PA track versus a nursing or Pre-medical track in undergrad.
My advice is this:
Write down/type up/make a mental note/whatever works best for you how you want to interact with others as a professional and the responsibilities you’ll be satisfied in performing; Do you want to communicate with patients daily? Does the thought of blood totally make your skin crawl? Do you prefer a research position without human interaction? Do you work well with others in stressful situations?
All of these questions should be an example of the first questions you should ask yourself when deciding if the medical field is a fit for you! There are endless positions within the field that may be a perfect match, the only thing standing between you and becoming the provider you’ve always imagined yourself being is to find it- find it by doing your research, let google be your new BFF.
Look up the details of each job and what’s expected of you: Growing up I thought I wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner until I discovered the Physician Assistant profession and the freedom of switching specialties if desired.
I talked to many family friends who had careers that interacted with physician assistants daily and listened to their perspective of the career choice.
After doing my own extensive research about the job responsibilities and the courses that stood between, I applied for both shadowing positions and volunteer positions at the hospital to see what the hype was all about.
Shadowing and volunteering in an environment that had all positions of healthcare working together gave me the best idea of what the job would entail.
Doing this will utilize your time efficiently and effectively to discover if this is a career you can imagine yourself performing in the future before spending time and money on courses you may or may not need.
Keep in mind: Every facility will have its own unique environment and may be a bit different; this meaning the team of providers functioning in different approaches or utilizing responsibilities differently- make sure you get a variety of experiences before making a concrete decision.
MAKE A PLAN
Life doesn’t always have to be a rock solid plan, but having one won’t hurt either. Make a list of classes you need to take in order to accomplish your pre-requisite requirements to be an eligible candidate to the schools you may be interested in attending in the future. If you’re still unsure of which profession to go in to, there’s a high likelihood that the pre-requisite courses will be quite similar- take those courses first while you find the path that’s meant for you.
And don’t forget- switching paths is always okay, too.