When I addressed this issue earlier in the post "How To Choose A Medical Specialty", the image was meant as a facetious commentary on just how hard it is to choose a specialty! The decision is so difficult for some physicians that there are some who have completed a residency, went into practice, only to go back and do a second specialty in something entirely different!
Now, some of that may simply be due to personality, but how does one avoid such a fate? While it may be cliche, I think the old idea that "Knowledge is power" applies quite well: the more you know about various fields, the more informed a decision you can make. The key is to start early. Don't merely rely on your third year rotations to expose you to everything. Some rotations will be much longer than you would like; some, too short; and some, you won't even experience at all. The latter group is the most worrisome: how can you tell if you would like something like geriatrics if you never rotate in it? If you have even an inkling of interest, it behooves you to either schedule a short elective in a field, or simply shadow a physician in that area on your day off. Now, I realize many of us may not be that self-motivated to take time on our days off to do that, but there really is no substitute for that kind of experience.
Okay, so you took my advice... and are still confused. Now what? Here are a few more resources to consider:
- How To Use FREIDA To Choose A Medical Specialty
- Medical Specialty Aptitude Test - A Tool To Choose A Medical Specialty
- AAMC Careers In Medicine Specialty Pages
I also highly recommend reading through Iserson's Getting Into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students. While the book does focus on residency applications, the first half of the book focuses on what you need to do in medical school to prepare for applying, as well as discussing practically *each* medical specialty and what type of applicant is ideal for each one.
Hopefully this post has been helpful in pointing out some resources to use. Have you come across any other resources that you found helpful in choosing your medical specialty?