Medical School Admission Monday: AAMC’s Guide to Career Paths in Medicine: Exploring Medical Specialties

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Medical School Admission Monday:
AAMC's Guide to Career Paths in Medicine:
Exploring Medical Specialties

The AAMC published a helpful description of various medical disciplines, highlighting the diverse career paths and specializations available in medicine, including the unique challenges and rewards each field offers:

  • “The satisfaction of long-term patient relationships is one attraction of family medicine and internal medicine, where the bulk of time is spent in direct contact with patients. Physicians who work under the umbrella of “primary care” often care for entire families and enjoy the challenges that come from treating a diverse population with varied backgrounds and conditions.

  • Other physicians, like cardiologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, endocrinologists, and other specialists, develop and apply detailed knowledge about the intricacies of a single organ or system.

  • Physicians interested in scientific exploration with the desire to break new ground in medical knowledge can be found in the nation’s private and public laboratories and research institutions.

  • Those with a commitment to social justice and an interest in fulfilling the health care needs of the underserved and disadvantaged can meet those challenges in urban and rural clinics, in public health, or as medical missionaries.

  • Careers in general surgery often suit people who have a desire to see immediate results of their interventions. Plastic and reconstructive surgery draws others with artistic skills and aesthetic interests.

  • Those interested in mind-body interactions and the emotional lives of their patients might find a home in neurology or psychiatry.

  • The fast pace of medicine draws some to work as emergency physicians or trauma surgeons.

  • Others motivated by national defense may use their skills as flight surgeons or in military medicine.

  • The economic and public policy aspects of health care guide some physicians to think tanks and health-related organizations, as well as to serve in the legislative and executive branches of government.

  • Those fascinated by issues facing groups of patients with age-defined illnesses and problems — from the risks in infancy and early childhood to the challenges of older life — find fulfillment as pediatricians and geriatricians.

  • Assisting patients in overcoming complex fertility and gestational problems is the hallmark of specialists in reproductive endocrinology as well as obstetrics and gynecology.

  • Those dedicated to reducing the incidence of birth defects and inherited diseases might find their calling in medical genetics.

  • The detection, prevention, and eradication of injury and disease draw people to the fields of preventive medicine and epidemiology.”

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