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Medicine or something else?

Hello, I'm a year 12 student hoping to complete a degree in medicine at university. However, I do have some concerns that I'd like to ask about before I dedicate the rest of my life to healthcare.

First, I'm worried about the state of the NHS. Can anyone see the NHS to be in a better state in the next 5-10 years?

Second, I'd like to ask if there are alternative careers that won't require additional qualifications that I could choose if I finish the medicine degree, but being a doctor doesn't work out?

Third, I'd like to ask about work life balance, especially during university. Is medicine really as unsociable as so many people portray it to be?

Finally, (this is probably my biggest concern) should I even do medicine if I'm worried I'll lose passion for it? I have many little passions all around but I find it difficult to stick to one thing for too long and I'm afraid I'll end up regretting what I pick.

If anyone could give me some advice then that would be really helpful, thank you all :smile:
Hey there, thanks for posting a question in the Medicine forum. :biggrin:

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Megathreads
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The "Which Medical School Should I Apply To?" Uberthread
The Ultimate 'Am I Good Enough For Medicine?' Angst Thread
Medicine A-Level subjects queries
Work Experience and Voluntary Work

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Official Undergraduate Medicine 2023 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2023 Entry
Medicine 2023 entry for resit / retake / gap year applicants
A100 Medicine for International Students 2023 Entry
Medicine Interview discussion 2023 Entry
2023 entry A100 / A101 Medicine fastest and slowest offer senders
Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

2024 Applicants :
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2024 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2024 Entry
GAMSAT 2024 / 2025 entry discussions megathread
UCAT 2024 Entry Discussions Megathread

Other application years:
Graduate Entry Medicine 2025 Entry
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2025 Entry

Useful Articles:
GCSE Requirements for Medicine
Everything you need to know about the BMAT
Work Experience as a Graduate or Mature student
Medicine Personal Statement Advice
Medicine Personal Statement Advice (Graduate Entry)
Interview Frequently Asked Questions
MMI Medicine Interview Tips
What to do after an unsuccessful first application

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Reply 2
i'm a y13 who is an offer holder for medicine, but i do have a brother in his 4th yr of med school and a cousin who's an fy doctor. i can't really comment on or predict the state of the NHS in the foreseeable future, but yeah it's quite in shambles atm..
i do believe there is a very wide range of graduate opportunities if you don't want to work as a doctor after you graduate, this could be research, pharmaceuticals, idrk much though but there are definitely options. there are people who graduate and then just don't start to work as a doctor. but i wouldn't recommend doing that knowing from y1 you don't plan on working as a doctor, it just seems like a waste of time, but if you've changed your mind by final year it could be a safety net to fall on i suppose

there is always the option of moving countries after a bit though if the state of the NHS in the UK is a big concern

i obviously can't say much about work life balance from personal experience, but i have spoken to a lot of med students about this and my brother - who all seem like they do have time to do the things they enjoy yk, it is obviously gonna be quite intense but it's definitely not just work, eat, then sleep if you're efficient with what you do and disciplined. working as a doctor especially in the first few years will undoubtedly by tough though, there's no denying that, and med school is still very hard.

the passion thing is a very personal thing that will be different for everyone, especially for me as someone who hasn't even begun med school yet it's hard to answer, i do feel like a lot of people feel similarly though, it's normal to have doubts, especially when it's such a big step to take. take your time before september/october to fully decide, try getting as wex if its a hospital or GP, so u can shadow people and it might help make you decide whether you can see yourself in this profession in 5-10 years time. definitely go to open days too, even just for the sake of speaking to lecturers or current med students! you still have time to decide, i do like watching vids of current med students and even doctors doing vlogs & stuff, though i do think sometimes they're portrayed in a more glorified way than a day in their life may actually be, lol

i know i'm definitely not qualified to answer most of these questions and half the stuff i said could very well be wrong LOL so take what i said with a pinch of salt but i just wanted to give a little insight & my personal opinion since no one has answered yet, i hope this helps a bit! if you have any other questions about anything that could be within my scope of knowledge, lmk :smile:
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 3
Original post by hpxna
i'm a y13 who is an offer holder for medicine, but i do have a brother in his 4th yr of med school and a cousin who's an fy doctor. i can't really comment on or predict the state of the NHS in the foreseeable future, but yeah it's quite in shambles atm..
i do believe there is a very wide range of graduate opportunities if you don't want to work as a doctor after you graduate, this could be research, pharmaceuticals, idrk much though but there are definitely options. there are people who graduate and then just don't start to work as a doctor. but i wouldn't recommend doing that knowing from y1 you don't plan on working as a doctor, it just seems like a waste of time, but if you've changed your mind by final year it could be a safety net to fall on i suppose
there is always the option of moving countries after a bit though if the state of the NHS in the UK is a big concern
i obviously can't say much about work life balance from personal experience, but i have spoken to a lot of med students about this and my brother - who all seem like they do have time to do the things they enjoy yk, it is obviously gonna be quite intense but it's definitely not just work, eat, then sleep if you're efficient with what you do and disciplined. working as a doctor especially in the first few years will undoubtedly by tough though, there's no denying that, and med school is still very hard.
the passion thing is a very personal thing that will be different for everyone, especially for me as someone who hasn't even begun med school yet it's hard to answer, i do feel like a lot of people feel similarly though, it's normal to have doubts, especially when it's such a big step to take. take your time before september/october to fully decide, try getting as wex if its a hospital or GP, so u can shadow people and it might help make you decide whether you can see yourself in this profession in 5-10 years time. definitely go to open days too, even just for the sake of speaking to lecturers or current med students! you still have time to decide, i do like watching vids of current med students and even doctors doing vlogs & stuff, though i do think sometimes they're portrayed in a more glorified way than a day in their life may actually be, lol
i know i'm definitely not qualified to answer most of these questions and half the stuff i said could very well be wrong LOL so take what i said with a pinch of salt but i just wanted to give a little insight & my personal opinion since no one has answered yet, i hope this helps a bit! if you have any other questions about anything that could be within my scope of knowledge, lmk :smile:
Thank you so much for the response, if I may ask, what's your reason for studying medicine? I think one of my biggest apprehensions is not being able to be as motivated as my peers and burning out before I can even finish the degree 😭
I am a doctor and I wouldn't say it is an awful job.

Pay is okay and whatever people say about the NHS problems day-to-day you get in a swing of things and it can be fun diagnosing patients. You do see pockets of great practice ... but yeah morale can be very low

However, there are lots of jobs you learn about at University and lots of them will be fulfilling (some more than medicine) with similar or better pay
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 5
Original post by EmyY692
Hello, I'm a year 12 student hoping to complete a degree in medicine at university. However, I do have some concerns that I'd like to ask about before I dedicate the rest of my life to healthcare.
First, I'm worried about the state of the NHS. Can anyone see the NHS to be in a better state in the next 5-10 years?
Second, I'd like to ask if there are alternative careers that won't require additional qualifications that I could choose if I finish the medicine degree, but being a doctor doesn't work out?
Third, I'd like to ask about work life balance, especially during university. Is medicine really as unsociable as so many people portray it to be?
Finally, (this is probably my biggest concern) should I even do medicine if I'm worried I'll lose passion for it? I have many little passions all around but I find it difficult to stick to one thing for too long and I'm afraid I'll end up regretting what I pick.
If anyone could give me some advice then that would be really helpful, thank you all :smile:

I've been a doctor for some years. I will answer your questions as best as I can:

First, I'm worried about the state of the NHS. Can anyone see the NHS to be in a better state in the next 5-10 years?


It will probably get a little better if Labour are elected but I wouldn't expect things to be amazing. Right now things are really quite bad though.

Second, I'd like to ask if there are alternative careers that won't require additional qualifications that I could choose if I finish the medicine degree, but being a doctor doesn't work out?


The same things you can do with any bachelor's degree without further qualifications. Grad schemes and other forms of employment but your options may be limited. It will be difficult to enter other professions (law, teaching, accountancy, academia etc) if you get no further qualifications at all. But if you want to apply for grad schemes it should be okay.

Third, I'd like to ask about work life balance, especially during university. Is medicine really as unsociable as so many people portray it to be?


Work is when things become unsociable not university :p: Even work unsociability can be a temporary thing and improves depending on your specialty.

Finally, (this is probably my biggest concern) should I even do medicine if I'm worried I'll lose passion for it? I have many little passions all around but I find it difficult to stick to one thing for too long and I'm afraid I'll end up regretting what I pick.


Well you can't predict the future. The worst case scenario is that you realise it's not for you and study something else or work in another field. If you've got into medical school or completed a medical degree you'll have a strong CV so it won't be difficult going into something else. People change their minds all the time (even doctors).

As a consultant or GP your job is varied between different responsibilities like clinical commitments, teaching, management, special interests and so on. That can give you the ability to make your timetable varied so you don't feel like you're doing the same thing everyday.

Ultimately all forms of employment become routine after a while. The key is to be doing something that's interesting even when it's routine and I think medicine allows for that, mainly because of how many different options and ways of working there are.

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