Do You Have What it Takes To Work in the Medical Profession?
If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us something it is how hard the medical professionals such as doctors and nurses work in order to look after their patients. It is not a profession you go into unless you are truly dedicated and the way they cope in such difficult and stressful times is commendable.
So what does it take to enter this profession you may ask? If you have ever wondered what qualifications you need to become a doctor or nurse and whether you possess the correct qualities then look no further.
How Do I Become a Doctor?
If you have a keen interest in the medical field and want to help those in need then you would need to be prepared to study for quite a few years. From the moment you start studying to when you are fully qualified the average length of time would take you around 8 years, but could be longer if you decide to specialize in a particular field.
A general path of study could look something like this.
- Apply and complete an Undergraduate Degree
- Pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
- Attend Medical School
- Pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
- Complete a Residency Program
- Apply for State Medical License
- Begin working
The more experience you can acquire leading up to your first full time job working in a hospital or clinic the better. It is one of those professions that the more you practise the more confident you will feel dealing with patients, and prescribing the correct medications. There is only so much a textbook can teach you, the rest you will acquire through actually doing it.
Once you are all qualified then you are certainly going to need several Uniform Advantage's surgical caps, so that you have enough for the various shifts you will be doing. It will also be worthwhile wearing comfortable shoes as you are going to be spending lots of hours on your feet.
What Sort of Qualities Would I Need?
Apart from being fully qualified in the medical sense there are certain qualities you will need to work in this profession.
Prepared to Work Long Hours
One of the first aspects you will need to be fully prepared for is the notion that you will be working very long hours the majority of the time so you need to be able to cope with being on your feet all day long and potentially not having many breaks either. It will likely affect your social life as you will be expected to do shift work so your hours will vary each week.
Ability to Communicate Effectively
Your role will include talking to patients and working as part of a team with your colleagues. So ideally you need to be confident in explaining in easy to follow language a diagnosis to a patient and their family members and providing them with various updates, whilst still being professional. You will also need to communicate effectively with your colleagues so you will need to be able to inform them of the relevant information regarding the patient's care. It can also help if you provide empathy and reassurance to a patient when they are going through a difficult time.
Listening and Working With Other Colleagues
It is not a solitary role so you will need to be good at working alongside other colleagues and have the ability to discuss and share medical opinions in a professional manner, even if you do not agree with them. You have to be prepared to think about what is best for the patients welfare overall as that is what truly matters.
Positive and Happy Attitude
No two shifts will ever be the same but starting the day with a positive mentality and happy personality can certainly make the patients feel more at ease. This could be particularly useful if you work in Paediatrics to brighten up the day of a child patient.
Average Salary I could Be Earning?
Depending on which area you decide to specialize in could influence your yearly salary. In 2020 the average salary for physicians and surgeons was over $208,000. So although the path to become a medical doctor is long and hard working you could also be earning a decent wage in the end.
According to the US Bureaus of Labor Statistics these were the average yearly salaries for each type of doctor.
- Anesthesiologists $271,440
- Surgeons $251,650
- Obstetricians and gynecologists $239,120
- Physicians and surgeons $218,850
- Psychiatrists $217,100
- Family and general practitioners $214,370
- General Internists $210,960
- General Pediatricians $184,570
Entering the Nursing Profession. What Qualifications do I Need?
Much like becoming a doctor there are certain qualifications you will require if you are thinking of becoming a nurse. There are slightly different paths you can take when you become a nurse so it will be useful to think about this before beginning. If you prefer the idea of working in a hospital environment then you would need to begin as a Registered Nurse. Whereas if you like the idea of working in a nursing home then it will be useful to be qualified as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
The path of study can expect to look something like this.
- Obtain Nursing Degree
- Pass National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX)
- Obtain License
- Take exam by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or Nurses Credentialing Center
- Pass the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) or National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists
You are then all set to get going and enter the professional world at this point.
What Qualities Will I Require?
Certain qualities will be similar to that of becoming a doctor, but the jobs that you will be doing will vary too with a lot more emphasis on patient welfare.
Ability to Care For Others
You will be spending a lot of your time caring and communicating with the patients so being able to provide empathy and the ability to look after someone else will be important. Being vigilant and understanding of a patient's needs will be essential as it can be quite a distressing time when a patient is in a great deal of pain or not coping very well. So you want to demonstrate that you do care about their wellbeing and want them to get better.
Being Able to Multitask Efficiently
It is a non stop job and at moments you could be looking after several patients at once in a hospital setting so you will need to be able to keep on top of the workload and ensure you manage to care for all the patients equally. There might be moments where you will need to prioritize a certain patient but also keep track of what you need to do for the other patients as well.
Ability to Cope with the Unknown
Each day is going to be completely different so it is not like working a typical 9 to 5 job where the tasks are monotonous. Each patient is going to be different and you will probably have to deal with both difficult patients and those who are quite dependent on you. You need to be able to cope with the unknown in these sort of scenarios and be able to get through it without feeling overwhelmed. So the ability to adapt will be important.
Physically Fit to Deal With Long Days
It can help if you are physically fit and eat healthily to be able to cope with the long and tiring days that lay ahead of you. It is unlikely you will be able to have breaks when you need them as anything can happen in a hospital setting and you are just too busy caring for the patients to be able to get away. So you need to be prepared to be on your feet for many hours a day for each shift.
How much Could I earn?
Although the role is a demanding one, in 2020 the average salary for a registered nurse was $75,330, so not a bad salary overall.
With projected growth between 2019 and 2029 expected to be around 7% there is certainly going to be a demand for qualified nurses over the next few years so there will definitely be opportunities to enter this profession.
Overall if you have the capability to study hard, have a passion in life to provide the best care you can to patients and really want to make a difference in the world then working in the medical profession is definitely suitable for you and you should think of starting your career in this field as soon as you can.