People choose careers in medicine because of its rewarding nature and assured surge in demand. According to the US bureau of labor statistics, demand for healthcare occupations will grow by 13% from 2021 to 2031, which equals 2 million new jobs. Besides helping alleviate people’s suffering, people pursue careers in medicine because it is financially rewarding. Moreover, a career in medicine is intellectually stimulating. It provides diverse opportunities in 60 different specialties, including roles in neurology, cardiology, research, nutrition and sports. Healthcare facilities include medical research, hospitals, pharmacies and business organizations having medical departments that a professional can choose as per their preference.
Although pursuing a profession in medicine has many benefits, it is no walk in the park. A career in medicine requires a strong commitment and passion, and you must be aware of all the benefits and the inherent challenges before pursuing the field.
You must research and gather information about what to expect from each medical field.
To assist you in selecting a field in which you can thrive, we have provided a few facts below about different careers you can pursue in medicine.
A Nurse Practitioner is a healthcare professional who is an advanced practice registered nurse (ARPN) with a master’s degree and has undergone advanced technical training. Nurse practitioners assist the doctor in treating the patients, provide patient care, counsel, and educate patients and their families on all related matters. You can be a general nurse practitioner, but most nurses pursue advanced education to earn a specialty. You can specialize in a variety of fields, from pediatrics to dermatology. For example, if you are inclined towards individual and family care, you can pursue a 12 month FNP program online and become a family nurse practitioner. You can also go towards treating mental health by specializing in psychiatry and becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner. The daily nurse practitioner can work autonomously or independently, depending on the state. They can ask for consultation from doctors if they require it.
You can also become a physician’s assistant. A physician‘s assistant is a licensed healthcare professional who practices medicine under the supervision of surgeons, physicians, and healthcare professionals. They perform various duties, from taking patients’ medical histories to treating them for their illnesses under the doctor’s supervision. Besides this, their practice may also include educating, conducting research, and providing administrative services. To be a PA, one should have specific skills. For example, they should be team players, remain calm under pressure, have excellent communication skills, be compassionate, and be flexible to changing scenarios.
A physical therapist treats the injuries of the human body and helps manage pain and improve muscle mobility. They treat people of different ages, illnesses, and injuries. They also help people become healthy and prevent future health problems. The physical therapist works in hospitals, schools, clinics, and athletic facilities. Physical therapists are usually referred by the physician or the surgeon to treat, prevent or manage pain through medical equipment, exercises, and therapy. The physical therapist must be determined and compassionate, as the recovery process is long and hectic for the patient, and have good communication and problem-solving skills.
A physician is a doctor who has a medical degree. Their prime job is to interpret diagnostic tests, treat and cure illnesses by prescribing medicine. Physicians can work in different specialties, from dermatology to oncology. To be a physician, one must complete specific educational requirements. Firstly, one must earn a 4-year undergraduate degree in a health-related field like biology or chemistry, then go to medical school to earn an MD (Doctor of Medicine). After medical school, one must go through training in a residency program. The residency program duration can last from three to eight years, depending on the specialty. In addition, every physician must continuously pursue education throughout their career through conferences or reading medical journals and online medical material and keep updated with the current trends and advancements. Most importantly, every physician must hold a state license to practice.
Pharmacists are medical professionals that look after the quality of medicines and storage of drugs and ensure that the medication prescribed to patients is right for them. In addition, they must advise the patients on how to take medicine, the effect of the medication and answer patients’ queries regarding prescriptions. They also must ensure that the medication supply is within the bounds of the law. Pharmacists work in different workplaces like hospitals, pharmaceutical production or sales in the pharmaceutical industry, and community pharmacies. To be a pharmacist, one must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) degree and a pharmacist license. Besides required education, pharmacists must also be team players, adaptable, and problem solvers.
A surgeon is a healthcare professional with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. They specialize in diagnosing and treating patients who require surgeries. Surgeries can be carried out to diagnose, remove or repair diseased organs and treat injuries. A surgeon can specialize in 14 different specializations, including general, cardiothoracic, urology, pediatrics and neurological surgery. To be a surgeon, besides exceptional medical knowledge, one must also possess soft skills like good leadership qualities, efficient communication skills, empathy, performance under stress, and attention to detail. The educational process of becoming a surgeon is the same as becoming a physician; their career path diverges at selecting a residency program. Surgeon spends their residency learning surgical techniques suitable to their field, while physician spends their residency practicing medicine.
Podiatrists specialize in problems that affect the feet, ankles, and lower part of the leg. They take a medical history, diagnose ailments or injuries and provide medical and surgical solutions for the affected region. They also collaborate with doctors from other fields, including pediatricians and surgeons. Podiatrists go to podiatry schools which are different from traditional medical schools, after completing a 4-year undergraduate degree. In podiatry school, they learn about how nerves, muscles, and bones work and the illness and injuries affecting feet. After graduation, they work in the hospital for three years as residents.
To be a veterinarian, you need to have a Doctor of Veterinary medicine (DVM) degree. Veterinarians look after the health and well-being of animals. They diagnose the pets’ and cattle’ illnesses and treat them through medication or surgeries. Veterinarians also play an essential role in protecting public health and the environment by dealing with issues involving food safety and diseases that transfer from animals to humans. Their employment opportunities include working at clinics, conducting research, and regulating medicine. To be a veterinarian, you must have empathy and compassion for animals, critical and analytical thinking, passion, and problem-solving skills.
Medicine is a growing sector and offers a variety of career paths. Some jobs in medicine and healthcare have a few specific educational requirements. At the same time, most require training and multiple years of education. So, besides evaluating the monetary benefits of each field, think about which field you are the most passionate about and will enjoy with the passing years. Because pursuing a career in medicine is a long-term commitment and will require you to work hard and continue your education for the entirety of your job. Therefore, research each field thoroughly and choose the area that is the right fit for you.