The experiences you have and the professionals you encounter during your house officer runs will influence your eventual choice of career. Some people are able to make their decisions early on the basis of these experiences, but for many the decision is not straightforward.
This section gives you a guide to understanding more about who you are and what is important to you. (You can also take an online psychometric test and gather information on the many specialty options and their training pathways.)
Choosing a specialty is a three step process.
Understanding more about yourself and what is important to you is a good place to start when considering a specialty.
These are important questions to ask yourself and the answers are going to be different for everyone and will depend on the relative importance / priority of each question as it affects you. Think about and prioritise your answers into what is most important to you now and what you think may be important to you in the future. There are techniques for doing this and the best selling book "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Bolles is recommended for further reading and will provide information and guidance on how to prioritise some of these important questions and answers.
Having considered your personal profile as well as some of the specialty information, you may now be ready to apply to a a training programme. For most training positions you will need:
Choosing a particular career direction is not a one-off decision. Many people shift direction several times during their lifetime. Others choose to have multiple jobs, balancing their needs and interests around several roles. However, each time you reach a career crossroads you need to ask yourself some of the questions, outlined above, again. What is right for you in your 20s may not necessarily be right for you in your 30s or 40s, since personal circumstances can change, specialties develop in various directions and new opportunities arise.
As you go through the Career Med pages, you will see that many contributors have offered a range of perspectives about their specialty that indicate why they made their career decisions. Some have always known or had a fairly good idea of where they would end up. Others have started on a general path and gradually tended towards their eventual chosen area (or tended away from areas they disliked). Some were struck by a flash of inspiration.
However you go about making your decision and wherever you are on your career continuum, it is always useful to regularly re-evaluate who you are and what you want out of your job/specialty.
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