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Why I don’t think I will be a Primary Care Doc

I have nothing against primary doctors. Family physicians and front-line health care workers are important. They are severely understaffed. The shortage is a real concern. But the more I think about what I want as a career, what type of a balanced life I want to live and what type of things interest me in medicine, the more it seems as if becoming a specialist is for me.

While looking at how doctors choose their residency, I came upon a survey published in the CMAJ.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not the prestige and money that’s attracting me to choosing a specialty. I think it’s the academic challenge and ability to pursue intellectual interests is what appeals to me. I love teaching, I have tutored and taught science classes for the last 4-5 years. I enjoy research, as long as I get a fair bit of autonomy and responsibility.

Finally, I love academia. I’m pretty certain I want to pursue academic medicine, practice in a university-hospital setting, have teaching hours. If I didn’t pursue medicine, graduate school would have been my next choice.

I guess I still haven’t gotten any closer to deciding on what specialty I would like. More to come, as I find out myself.

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  1. ND the wannabe MD
    ND the wannabe MD July 10, 2009

    Hi Medaholic,

    I totally understand why you would be leaning toward becoming a specialist based on your stated attributes and likings, and i do believe you would be great at whichever specialty you decide to pick at the end. However, after reading some of your blog entries and witnessing how you are able to incredibly connect and communicate with a mass number of people through your writing, I think its a shame you won’t be the asset to the primary care sector of medicine I think you would be. Primary care is all about establishing a certain relationship with patients that enable them to truly feel comfortable with their doctors to express all aspects of their life, which would in turn, help their doctors make the most accurate assessment of their health and how to treat them. That relationship is something that is seriously lacking in today’s primary care system in my opinion. You possess that gift to connect with people even through your anonymity and vice versa, which is remarkable…so I could only imagine what you would be like in the hospital/office setting when you are with people face to face. Also, that connection with patients is something you don’t always achieve when you do a specialty and I get the sense that is something you admire or value when practicing medicine (well at least it is something I do)

    But, at the end of the day, you do know what is best for you and I wish you all the best. Good luck with making a decision =)

  2. Nicole
    Nicole July 24, 2009

    I just finished my first year of undergrad, and for the past few years have thought that I want to pursue a career in research. Over the past few months, I’ve started to consider a career in medicine. I’ve just started reading your blog (which I love), and multiple times you have referred to academic medicine. What exactly does this mean? How does pursuing research work after you’ve been through med school?

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