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    I understand this decision is mine to make, but I am asking here because I would appreciate the opinions of those who are older and more experienced than myself.

    Having finished my GCSE's, I have this summer ahead of me to contemplate about my future career paths. Since 3 years back, I have set my mind to do medicine because I wanted to be a psychiatrist. Why? I told myself the reason was because I was intrigued by mental disorder and the workings of the human mind, which is in fact true. Yet could I ask- is this the right reason to study medicine? Is it right to study medicine because I am fascinated by the scientific aspects of what a doctor has to deal with, and not the human side? Quite frankly, is this not a calling to study a purely scientific degree instead.

    Having finished a Medicine degree, I never saw myself as a solely hands on doctor. I want to research and share scientific findings in books etc, and be a doctor who focuses more on 'advancing' medical research in the field rather than treating patients daily. I should also admit that I am not very interested in the NHS and the organisational aspect of hospitals either, which I believe is not what a prospective medic student should think.

    If anything, all these point out that I should rather choose a course of Natural Sciences, studying pure topics of neuroscience, biology of cells etc. Yet from my understanding, a medical degree at Cambridge offers a more science based (rather than more patient based) course, which is one reason why I have not been tempted by nat sciences before.

    I have three work experiences this summer, which will help me reach my decision. Of course, I need to be set in my decision before the start of school because if I do decide to study Natural Sciences, I would ask to be put back into further maths (which I am no longer doing because of med).
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    (Original post by Chloe85)
    I understand this decision is mine to make, but I am asking here because I would appreciate the opinions of those who are older and more experienced than myself.

    Having finished my GCSE's, I have this summer ahead of me to contemplate about my future career paths. Since 3 years back, I have set my mind to do medicine because I wanted to be a psychiatrist. Why? I told myself the reason was because I was intrigued by mental disorder and the workings of the human mind, which is in fact true. Yet could I ask- is this the right reason to study medicine? Is it right to study medicine because I am fascinated by the scientific aspects of what a doctor has to deal with, and not the human side? Quite frankly, is this not a calling to study a purely scientific degree instead.

    Having finished a Medicine degree, I never saw myself as a solely hands on doctor. I want to research and share scientific findings in books etc, and be a doctor who focuses more on 'advancing' medical research in the field rather than treating patients daily. I should also admit that I am not very interested in the NHS and the organisational aspect of hospitals either, which I believe is not what a prospective medic student should think.

    If anything, all these point out that I should rather choose a course of Natural Sciences, studying pure topics of neuroscience, biology of cells etc. Yet from my understanding, a medical degree at Cambridge offers a more science based (rather than more patient based) course, which is one reason why I have not been tempted by nat sciences before.

    I have three work experiences this summer, which will help me reach my decision. Of course, I need to be set in my decision before the start of school because if I do decide to study Natural Sciences, I would ask to be put back into further maths (which I am no longer doing because of med).
    Do your work experience and then see how you feel - it is most important to get experience in a caring environment such as volunteering at a care home or community hospital.

    As you have pointed out, if you are not interested in the human aspect of medicine then not only would you be dissatisfied with medicine as a career, you may be frustrated by the long way round that doing a medical degree is to get into research; and in your application it may also be evident to admissions officers that being a doctor is not really what you want to do.

    If mental disorders are your true interest you may be more interested in a psychology degree. If research is where you want to end up then a lab science degree would be of far more use to you than medicine for teaching you the skills needed for a research career, medicine has much more of a clinical focus (even at Cambridge).
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    As a GP I'd say that if it's the science aspect of medicine that attracts you rather than the patient side I would do a science degree. Psychiatry is increasingly dominated by psychogeriatrics and dementia which is where the shortages are. It is a very practical speciality and I think many school students thinking of psychiatry have an airy fairy view of what they actually do. You don't spend hours studying the mind and often it's more managing an 80 year old in a care home so she doesn't smash the place up and get thrown out or hit the carers, or deciding if a young bloke with a personality disorder is really going to kill himself if you don't admit him because he wants a warm bed for the night.
    I think the Cambridge natural science degree sounds wonderful and to be honest is what I'd aim for if I was 18 again (but then I've had 30 years of being a doctor so have done that career pathway and would fancy a change). You get the degree and then do a Phd in the area that interests you (or a masters I'm sure you'll know near the end of the degree how best to advance your options.) When I was at med school it was the pharmacologists who were doing a lot of the neuroscience research. They weren't medical doctors. I think a lot of people go in to medicine who would be better off going in to pure science and research, often because teachers at school don't understand research science pathways very well.
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    Depends whether you want to see/treat patients or not.

    Remember that academic medicine is a possibility. It combines research with patient care.
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    (Original post by theresheglows)
    Do your work experience and then see how you feel - it is most important to get experience in a caring environment such as volunteering at a care home or community hospital.

    As you have pointed out, if you are not interested in the human aspect of medicine then not only would you be dissatisfied with medicine as a career, you may be frustrated by the long way round that doing a medical degree is to get into research; and in your application it may also be evident to admissions officers that being a doctor is not really what you want to do.

    If mental disorders are your true interest you may be more interested in a psychology degree. If research is where you want to end up then a lab science degree would be of far more use to you than medicine for teaching you the skills needed for a research career, medicine has much more of a clinical focus (even at Cambridge).
    Thanks for your response, I would agree when you say that I may be frustrated by doing medicine to get into research, which I believe unconsciously, is how I have planned it to be- is this not uncommon?
    Through breaking down the core inner beliefs which for so long I have believed could only be right, I have realised that perhaps I have becomes so obsessed over the fascination of human mind that it has blocked me from seeing the truth surrounding WHY I want to pursue medicine in the first place.

    I will take your advice and learn from my work experience- many thanks.
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    Depends whether you want to see/treat patients or not.

    Remember that academic medicine is a possibility. It combines research with patient care.
    Academic medicine is precisely what I have been wanting to pursue. Is it okay to enter with this mindset?
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    (Original post by Chloe85)
    Academic medicine is precisely what I have been wanting to pursue. Is it okay to enter with this mindset?
    Yes.

    In Cambridge when you finish 3 years undergrad you get a BA anyway. Some decide then that medicine is no good and they quit and jump ship to finance.

    You stick with clinical meedicine for 2.5 years more then you get your clinical degree.

    I supervise medical students and NatSci students at Cambridge. Both equally good canditates. Pretty much nearly same topics (Physiology, pathology, pharmacology etc), except that natsci physio include animal physiology and some plant stuff which I hand over to a plant specialist
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    (Original post by taysidefrog)
    As a GP I'd say that if it's the science aspect of medicine that attracts you rather than the patient side I would do a science degree. Psychiatry is increasingly dominated by psychogeriatrics and dementia which is where the shortages are. It is a very practical speciality and I think many school students thinking of psychiatry have an airy fairy view of what they actually do. You don't spend hours studying the mind and often it's more managing an 80 year old in a care home so she doesn't smash the place up and get thrown out or hit the carers, or deciding if a young bloke with a personality disorder is really going to kill himself if you don't admit him because he wants a warm bed for the night.
    I think the Cambridge natural science degree sounds wonderful and to be honest is what I'd aim for if I was 18 again (but then I've had 30 years of being a doctor so have done that career pathway and would fancy a change). You get the degree and then do a Phd in the area that interests you (or a masters I'm sure you'll know near the end of the degree how best to advance your options.) When I was at med school it was the pharmacologists who were doing a lot of the neuroscience research. They weren't medical doctors. I think a lot of people go in to medicine who would be better off going in to pure science and research, often because teachers at school don't understand research science pathways very well.
    The natural science degree at Cambridge does sound truly wonderful! ...looking at what the course envisages (alongside the flexibility of choice), sparks real excitement.
    Is psychiatry really the image I saw it as? Unfortunately I have been unable to gain work experience in this sector, which would have been useful. You are not the first to mention to me that the reality of psychiatry is in fact, dealing with the hardships of the effects of the disorder, rather than disorder in itself as I preconceived and hoped it would be like.

    You say you'd fancy a change if you had the choice, from doctor to nat science-speaking oppositely, I'm aware it's rather hard to aim for doctor again once the decision has been made at 18, although certainly not impossible. If I do decide to pursue study with mental health, I would also be limited in the knowledge I could gain from interacting with patients directly,

    Many thanks for opening up the discussion
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    It seems odd to jump from medicine to finance, but I guess they are the ones who went in to it for the money any way. Oxbridge degrees do seem a bit odd like that, in that any Oxbridge degree seems a gateway to finance. Probably confirms my biased view of finance folk as posh risk takers who don't really understand economics.
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    (Original post by GH)
    Yes.

    In Cambridge when you finish 3 years undergrad you get a BA anyway. Some decide then that medicine is no good and they quit and jump ship to finance.

    You stick with clinical meedicine for 2.5 years more then you get your clinical degree.

    I supervise medical students and NatSci students at Cambridge. Both equally good canditates. Pretty much nearly same topics (Physiology, pathology, pharmacology etc), except that natsci physio include animal physiology and some plant stuff which I hand over to a plant specialist
    If the topics are nearly all the same, then (out of curiosity) why is it not permissible to attain a NatSci degree from the three year course, then transfer to Medicine for 2.5 years more to get the clinical degree?

    Is an intention to study academic medicine a popular choice? Also, would it be a good idea to explicitly mention this in my personal statement?
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    (Original post by Chloe85)
    If the topics are nearly all the same, then (out of curiosity) why is it not permissible to attain a NatSci degree from the three year course, then transfer to Medicine for 2.5 years more to get the clinical degree?

    Is an intention to study academic medicine a popular choice? Also, would it be a good idea to explicitly mention this in my personal statement?
    The Cambridge clinical course is 3 years now, btw.

    Medical courses have to be very strictly regulated, so Cambridge can't just let you transfer onto the medical course from Natsci. Also the courses have important differences in some aspects, eg Natsci doesn't have anatomy. Still, being a medic and being a NatSci are very similar for the first three years at Cambridge.
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    (Original post by Chloe85)
    If the topics are nearly all the same, then (out of curiosity) why is it not permissible to attain a NatSci degree from the three year course, then transfer to Medicine for 2.5 years more to get the clinical degree?

    Is an intention to study academic medicine a popular choice? Also, would it be a good idea to explicitly mention this in my personal statement?
    Because the GMC limits the number of medical students which each university can take, so there's very little flexibility. And although some of the courses are very similar, there are still some significant differences between the modules (some e.g. anatomy are not available to NatSci students but compulsory for medics). The exams are also slightly different because of the GMC's requirements for how medical students are assessed on their knowledge.

    As a minor point, the Cambridge clinical course is now a full 3 years and has been for almost 10 years!

    I generally advise against pinning yourself to one particular specialty/discipline in your PS. It's fine to mention an interest in research but don't exclude anything else. And definitely do some work experience before you apply - you will still have to see patients in your day job as well as doing research for quite a long time.
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    (Original post by taysidefrog)
    It seems odd to jump from medicine to finance, but I guess they are the ones who went in to it for the money any way. Oxbridge degrees do seem a bit odd like that, in that any Oxbridge degree seems a gateway to finance. Probably confirms my biased view of finance folk as posh risk takers who don't really understand economics.

    Wholeheartedly agree
    Strictly based on experience of those that jumped ship
    They woudl either be bankers or end up in CQC/CCG!
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    (Original post by Chloe85)
    If the topics are nearly all the same, then (out of curiosity) why is it not permissible to attain a NatSci degree from the three year course, then transfer to Medicine for 2.5 years more to get the clinical degree?

    Is an intention to study academic medicine a popular choice? Also, would it be a good idea to explicitly mention this in my personal statement?
    Pretty sure they don't do this anymore (transfer into medicine)

    But in my year (many moons ago) - an Engineer did his 1st year in his Engineering course and then transferred into medicine for the rest of the years. They counted his 1st year performance as his Tripos result. Probably the only medic with a Tripos in engineering!!
 
 
 
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