wannabemedic19
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Hi

So I finished my alevels and I'm taking a gap year to think about what I want to do in the future and I'm currently stuck between medicine and dentistry. I really like jobs that are hands on sooo I thought of surgery, but I swear you hardly have a life and you always have to worry about something in that training pathway? Also, when i volunteered as a patient befriender, I actually dreaded going to the wards and hated approaching people to the point I stopped going...but I really did enjoy coming home and telling my mum about my experiences there. I don't know if my distate was literally due to me being shy? I know that in dentistry you can be an oral or a max fax surgeon (with the med degree) so I thought that sounded cool.

Should my feeling towards wards stop me from applying to medicine? Because I thought if I go into medicine I could do maxfax even though I don't like the idea of becoming a GP or having a horrible lifestyle as surgeon......

Would I start liking wards eventually or idk?
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Democracy
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(Original post by wannabemedic19)
Hi

So I finished my alevels and I'm taking a gap year to think about what I want to do in the future and I'm currently stuck between medicine and dentistry. I really like jobs that are hands on sooo I thought of surgery, but I swear you hardly have a life and you always have to worry about something in that training pathway? Also, when i volunteered as a patient befriender, I actually dreaded going to the wards and hated approaching people to the point I stopped going...but I really did enjoy coming home and telling my mum about my experiences there. I don't know if my distate was literally due to me being shy? I know that in dentistry you can be an oral or a max fax surgeon (with the med degree) so I thought that sounded cool.

Should my feeling towards wards stop me from applying to medicine? Because I thought if I go into medicine I could do maxfax even though I don't like the idea of becoming a GP or having a horrible lifestyle as surgeon......

Would I start liking wards eventually or idk?
What didn't you enjoy about it?

Have you had any other experiences in other care environments e.g. a care home, hospice, GP practice, etc?

Being a doctor is obviously very different to being a ward volunteer but I think if there's a broader trend of disliking talking to people and being in clinical environments, then perhaps you need to rethink medicine (which is why I asked if you've had any other experiences).

A significant portion of your time in medical school and beyond will be spent on wards, but you will have much more of a clearly defined role than a volunteer so you may end up feeling differently. Or you may ultimately choose to go into a non-ward based specialty, which is also fine.

I wouldn't go into medicine with OMFS as your sole motivator and interest though.
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wannabemedic19
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(Original post by Democracy)
What didn't you enjoy about it?

Have you had any other experiences in other care environments e.g. a care home, hospice, GP practice, etc?

Being a doctor is obviously very different to being a ward volunteer but I think if there's a broader trend of disliking talking to people and being in clinical environments, then perhaps you need to rethink medicine (which is why I asked if you've had any other experiences).

A significant portion of your time in medical school and beyond will be spent on wards, but you will have much more of a clearly defined role than a volunteer so you may end up feeling differently. Or you may ultimately choose to go into a non-ward based specialty, which is also fine.

I wouldn't go into medicine with OMFS as your sole motivator and interest though.
I guess I didn't enjoy walking up to people, I felt very intimidated by them. I guess also I felt pretty useless as I was just there to keep them company. But when I sat with them I guess it wasn't all that bad? I was just shy? I would walk out feeling good. I've had other experiences in care environments but they were mainly to do with children. I do enjoy talking and meeting new people though.

I'm also very keen on the surgical environment, but I don't know if that means I would be sacrificing my life? Should I go into medicine even though I currently dislike the prospect of becoming a GP, but have a broad interest in the medical field?

I know someone who's almost completed a surgical care practitioner program after working as a nurse, he said he's basically a surgeon since he's operating and has his own patients...is that actually true? Seems a bit weird that people train for much less and can do the same roles as a surgeon no?

I thought if I go into medicine I could take my time as in, work for 2 years, perhaps teach for a bit, then go back to training or whatnot.

Only thing that worries is me is wards and the bad rep doctors get in terms of work life balance tbh.
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Democracy
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(Original post by wannabemedic19)
I guess I didn't enjoy walking up to people, I felt very intimidated by them. I guess also I felt pretty useless as I was just there to keep them company. But when I sat with them I guess it wasn't all that bad? I was just shy? I would walk out feeling good. I've had other experiences in care environments but they were mainly to do with children. I do enjoy talking and meeting new people though.
This sounds more like a volunteering thing (and possibly a med student thing sometimes ). I think once you're a doctor on the ward and you're there doing a defined job with actual responsibilities, you won't feel that way.


I'm also very keen on the surgical environment, but I don't know if that means I would be sacrificing my life? Should I go into medicine even though I currently dislike the prospect of becoming a GP, but have a broad interest in the medical field?
There are many other specialties aside from surgery and GP you know. I don't think it's very helpful to get bogged down in choosing a specialty before you've even started in all honesty. Make sure you're interested in medicine-in-general and the rest will follow.


I know someone who's almost completed a surgical care practitioner program after working as a nurse, he said he's basically a surgeon since he's operating and has his own patients...is that actually true? Seems a bit weird that people train for much less and can do the same roles as a surgeon no?
Well, no, that's not true. He sounds like a great example of the Dunning-Kruger effect though..."almost completed" = "basically a surgeon" :eyeball:

I thought if I go into medicine I could take my time as in, work for 2 years, perhaps teach for a bit, then go back to training or whatnot.
Yes, this is certainly doable and quite commonly done nowadays.

Only thing that worries is me is wards and the bad rep doctors get in terms of work life balance tbh.

Even within surgery there are specialties which offer better work-life balance, and like I said, there are lots of other non-surgical specialties too
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wannabemedic19
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(Original post by Democracy)
This sounds more like a volunteering thing (and possibly a med student thing sometimes ). I think once you're a doctor on the ward and you're there doing a defined job with actual responsibilities, you won't feel that way.

Well, no, that's not true. He sounds like a great example of the Dunning-Kruger effect though..."almost completed" = "basically a surgeon" :eyeball:
So what's missing from his career that a surgeon has? When I was volunteering I also saw that nurses can specialise as well, for example they would also have their own office in a GP like a doctor-so is there really a big difference? Also don't surgical registrars assist anyway until they're like well experienced in the field? I could say the same thing about the surgical thing the nurse is doing.

Also now I'm seeing all these threads about "Physician associate", is everyone having the same role as a doctor now lol?
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nexttime
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(Original post by wannabemedic19)
I guess I didn't enjoy walking up to people, I felt very intimidated by them. I guess also I felt pretty useless as I was just there to keep them company. But when I sat with them I guess it wasn't all that bad? I was just shy? I would walk out feeling good. I've had other experiences in care environments but they were mainly to do with children. I do enjoy talking and meeting new people though.
That sounds like it was just a volunteer/being young thing. As a doctor you can be a lot more confident around this as you are clearly doing your job!

I'm also very keen on the surgical environment, but I don't know if that means I would be sacrificing my life? Should I go into medicine even though I currently dislike the prospect of becoming a GP, but have a broad interest in the medical field?
As Democracy states, there are so many other fields lol. You mention practical skills - how about cardiology (putting in stents to save people from heart attacks), gastroenterology (operating endoscopes, doing endoscopic biopsies etc), interventional radiology (pretty much entirely practical, and rapidly expanding at the expense of traditional surgery), anaesthetists doing epidurals and central lines and tracheotomies... there are so many.

Only thing that worries is me is wards and the bad rep doctors get in terms of work life balance tbh.
The work life balance is an issue, especially in the initial years, but it is not all doom and gloom. It is increasingly possible to go part time - especially in anaesthetics, paediatrics, GP, but also others. Taking years out for your own ends is much more acceptable than in other professional careers. And people do tend to put their worst foot forwards - generally the 48 hours a week working hours are manageable. Its mainly when compulsory additional unpaid commitments - like mandatory exams and audits - get in the way that things can get very stressful, but its temporary.
(Original post by wannabemedic19)
So what's missing from his career that a surgeon has? When I was volunteering I also saw that nurses can specialise as well, for example they would also have their own office in a GP like a doctor-so is there really a big difference?
Those can be good rewarding roles but they are definitely not the same. Take for example a diabetes nurse sitting in a GP practice - they are often very good at managing blood sugars and far better than GPs at providing lifestyle advice and psychological support, not least because they are paid less therefore appointments can be longer. However, when they have a problem, they still go to the GP. When anything that isn't just 'diabetes' happens, they go to the GP. Many of them can't even prescribe common diabetic medications, so again: they go to the GP. To have the broad knowledge, flexibility and authority that a GP has, the only way is medical school.

My experience of surgical nurses is that they assist a lot, then some of them (not very many at all) do their own simple, non-emergency operations, and again: they go to the surgeon for help when they need it or if something goes wrong. They are very much not surgeons. However, I do acknowledge that I haven't too much recent experience with this role.

Also don't surgical registrars assist anyway until they're like well experienced in the field?
Registrars will be able to do their own operations, with the complexity depending how senior they are. For simple operations (appendectomies), I've even seen FY2 doctors operate alone (albeit closely supervised).

Also now I'm seeing all these threads about "Physician associate", is everyone having the same role as a doctor now lol?
Pretty much lol.

Basically the NHS is both desperately short on money and desperately short on doctors so it tries to farm out as many tasks to lower paid, quicker to train non-doctors as it possibly can. But as stated: it is really not the same role as a doctor, and the career progression is far more limited.
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Democracy
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(Original post by wannabemedic19)
So what's missing from his career that a surgeon has? When I was volunteering I also saw that nurses can specialise as well, for example they would also have their own office in a GP like a doctor-so is there really a big difference? Also don't surgical registrars assist anyway until they're like well experienced in the field? I could say the same thing about the surgical thing the nurse is doing.
To me, being a surgeon means having ultimate responsibility for the patient's care and one's juniors and knowing what to do when the **** hits the fan. The mere mechanics of operating (in a pre-selected patient) is not what makes someone a surgeon imho. Despite all the professional ribbing about surgeons' intelligence, having the clinical acumen to decide who needs surgery and who doesn't, taking into account their medical and social history, working out what to do when things aren't textbook or straightforward, etc - and then taking responsibility for that at any hour of the day is what sets aside a consultant surgeon from someone in a more limited technical role.

I don't think there is such a thing as useless education or superfluous clinical experience.

Also now I'm seeing all these threads about "Physician associate", is everyone having the same role as a doctor now lol?
Again, it doesn't take a genius to work out basic diagnoses in A&E, GP, etc - I don't think anyone is suggesting that these individuals can't do that. Indeed, they've been doing it for decades in China under Mao, sub-Saharan Africa, and the USA. The difference comes to light when things aren't typical, which is when all the extra years of clinical training, advanced exams etc come into play. But to the public, anyone who wears a stethoscope around their neck = doctor, and I certainly know of some non-doctors who are quite happy to not correct this assumption.
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Chief Wiggum
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Good advice and posts from others above.

I would also suggest OP, that it's possible that your current dislike is related to feeling a bit "useless" as a volunteer whereby you don't really have a defined role etc. I disliked doing volunteering (and actually also disliked being a clinical medical student on the wards) for the same reason. But I definitely enjoy being a doctor now.
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EllieO
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(Original post by wannabemedic19)
Hi

So I finished my alevels and I'm taking a gap year to think about what I want to do in the future and I'm currently stuck between medicine and dentistry. I really like jobs that are hands on sooo I thought of surgery, but I swear you hardly have a life and you always have to worry about something in that training pathway? Also, when i volunteered as a patient befriender, I actually dreaded going to the wards and hated approaching people to the point I stopped going...but I really did enjoy coming home and telling my mum about my experiences there. I don't know if my distate was literally due to me being shy? I know that in dentistry you can be an oral or a max fax surgeon (with the med degree) so I thought that sounded cool.

Should my feeling towards wards stop me from applying to medicine? Because I thought if I go into medicine I could do maxfax even though I don't like the idea of becoming a GP or having a horrible lifestyle as surgeon......

Would I start liking wards eventually or idk?
Being a patient befriender sounds like a difficult role to throw yourself into as the first type of volunteering so I don't think you should feel bad for finding it overwhelming! I didn't really enjoy volunteering on wards because I would do quite menial tasks, feel in the way all the time when asking for things to do and I'd have only very short patient interactions which didn't feel v valuable. You should check out this video (from 11:40 formost relevant part) from a med graduate + YouTuber, he gives what I think is a really good explanation of why hospital work experience isn't always the most valuable thing.

The best care experiences (where I think the people I interacted with go the most value out of my service and I felt good at + confident in my role) I had were volunteering as a youth camp welfare officer and giving well being support to intoxicated people at festivals. In both of these roles I had a defined purpose, training/ an awareness of what I could encounter and wasn't just doing random odd jobs that only have patient contact at arm length.

I think you should find a volunteering role with customer contact so you can get better at talking to new people but perhaps choose a role where your purpose isn't just to talk to people as I think that is quite a tricky task and I'm sure even your GP or dentist would feel shy doing that. If you volunteer giving people advice in seeking asylum or loaning out mobility aids (can do both with the British Re Cross) you have a process to take them through which gives you some guidance on what to talk about as well. At the end of the day a GP/ dentist need good people skills to take people through a process (filling a tooth, changing course of medication, removing gall bladder, etc.), they do not need charisma coming out of their ears to entertain hospital patients sat in bed.

I'm sure you;d make a great max fax (that's my new favourite shortening of a job title, thanks)
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