My top medical specialties so far
Before I started medical school, I had no real idea about which speciality I wanted to go into. And for the most part, this is still true. However, as I’m now half-way through my degree (yikes) I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital and had exposure to many different specialties, so I’m starting to get an idea of which I prefer. Here are my current top 3 medical specialties (in no particular order) and why I’m leaning towards them.
General practice was a speciality I had considered before starting medical school, and my experience so far on placement at GP surgeries has been good. I enjoy the broad range of conditions that you see in primary care – anything from acute problems such as appendicitis to management of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. One thing unique to primary care is that you’re able to establish good patient-doctor relationships through the continuation of care over time which allows patients to trust their doctors and ultimately receive the best standard of care possible. It also cannot be denied that the work-life balance associated with a career in general practice is appealing – no night shifts, very few (if any) weekends and no working on Christmas day!
Despite having not spent a lot of time in A&E yet, emergency medicine is a speciality which has piqued my interest. This has taken me by surprise as, prior to starting medical school, I did not think I would be suited to a career working in A&E. I thought seeing a lot of trauma and “gore” would bother me but as time has passed I realised it doesn’t bother me at all. What I like about emergency medicine is being faced with an acutely unwell patient and using clinical reasoning and skills to diagnose and treat the patient in front of you. It’s really satisfying to see how quickly a patient’s condition can be improved with the right interventions.
Although I said these specialties were in no particular order, I’ve probably saved the best until last. Similarly to general practice, I had an interest in paediatrics before starting medical school and my exposure to paediatric medicine so far has only made me more interested in the specialty. Children can be a diagnostic challenge as they don’t give you all the information you need easily but I really enjoy the process of trying to figure out what’s going on through interacting with children, talking to their families and using adapted skills and techniques to assess the child. While children can deteriorate quickly and often present to the health service acutely unwell, youth is on their side and they can often bounce back just as quick which is amazing to see. It’s a privilege to be able to help children who are unwell and it’s hugely satisfying to see the impact it has on both the child and their family.
What I’ve realised from my time in medical school so far is that I’m definitely leaning towards a career in a generalised medical speciality, where you see a wide variety of patients and conditions, rather than a more specialised career such as cardiology. Surgery isn’t one of my preferred specialties at the moment, however I definitely find it interesting and I’ve seen some amazing life-changing surgeries so I haven’t completely written it off at this stage. I’m keeping my options open and I’m excited to see which other specialties may interest me as I progress through my training.