I got some interesting advice from one of my interviewers for medical school:
"Choose the specialty you aren't the best at. It's easy to fall in love with something you excel in, but 10, 20, 30 years down the road it loses its luster. There is no challenge in it for you, nothing to keep your interest. But the specialty you struggle with, the one you grow into, the one that always has room for improvement is the one that is going to become the love of your life."
It was a bit of a heavy hitting interview.
Advice from the many residents I have met amounts to: "Doesn't matter what you like now; that'll change in medical school."
Well, I ,for one, have no idea what I'll end up doing. But I definitely have my predilections towards certain specialties based on my non-extensive experience. At the risk of embarrassing myself, I will share them with you now and we'll see how things shape up in the next four years.
In alphabetical order:
(+1) Anesthesiology - 95% of the time watching monitors and the patient, 5% of the time fighting with every fiber of your being to keep the patient alive. Sounds awesome to me.
(0) Dermatology - Meh. Skin diseases and alopecia just don't excite me the way trauma or the operating room do.
(+1) Emergency Medicine - Probably the most similar to waitressing, lots of multi-tasking, dealing with crazy and teamwork. Sign me up. (Also, trauma surgery is win!)
(0) Family Practice - I'm open to liking this, I just have no experience with it. Maybe it will be a puzzle I need to figure out in the 15 minutes allocated to see my patient. We'll see.
(0) Internal Medicine - Lots of options for practicing with this choice, but nothing exciting jumps out at me.
(-1) Neurology - A lot of these maladies are so grave that I think it would be difficult to maintain my optimism. My time shadowing a neurosurgeon was a bit depressing; few people left the hospital and those that did were under hospice care (most likely for the rest of their lives). Makes me sad.
(-1) Obstetrics and Gynecology - Holy cow bells are there a lot of women in this specialty. Coming from an almost all male college major and engineering firm, I'm not sure I could handle the estrogen.
(0) Orthopedic Surgery - As far as surgical specialties, I think digging around in the abdomen is a little more my speed, but I don't have my experience with broken bones having never broken one myself. Again, we'll see.
(0) Otolaryngology - Could be super neat? Although I don't really like working in the mouth. I hate going to the dentist. Hate. Not sure how this will translate to ears, nose and throat.
(0) Pathology - I like science and this specialty seems very science-ey? More data must be gathered.
(0) Pediatrics - I like kids, but I'm not so sure I'd want to work with them all day every day.
(-1) Psychiatry - Ha, I get enough of crazy from my husband, family and friends. Did I mention myself in there?
(+1) Radiology (diagnostic) - I know what ya'll are thinking: "She's an engineer, of course she'd choose this." Hear me out though. It's actually negative points that radiologists often spend their time holed up in a little dark room speaking softly into their little dictate machines. However, there are parts of radiology where you get to operate on a patient using real time imaging to figure out where to put your instruments. That's what I would like to sign up for. Not the dark room thing.
(+2) Surgery (general) - Alright, if I had to be honest, this would probably be one of my top choices. Surgery just fascinates me. No, this doesn't have anything to do with Grey's Anatomy or Scrubs. I like the idea of a team working together to save someone's life. I like the pressure and stress of it, the unpredictability of this. Let's see if my interest stays the same in four years.
(+1) Urology - I know, it seemed weird to me for a girl to be interested in urology. Like a male gynecologist. But a few months ago, I met a female Urology resident in the gym locker room (don't ask how that happened). She described a bit about her job, and I have to say, it sounded awesome. She does a lot of procedures on an equal mix of men and women. It's a good pace and quite a challenge from her description. So into the mix goes Urology.
So there you have it: a pre-med almost medical student's view on specialties she knows almost nothing about. While I am leaning more towards certain specialties, I still have the utmost respect for all specialties and what they do. They are all valuable and needed, I just think my skill set will fit certain specialties better than others. But what do I know?