As you begin your medical school and become engrossed in classes and clinical work, it is important that you start to evaluate what path you want your medical career to follow. As daunting a task as planning decades down the line, there are many resources to help you make the best decisions possible.
Where to start?
Choosing the correct specialty should only happen when potential fields you are interested in have been thoroughly researched, and a great place to start the search is at the AAMC website:
Here, specialty information, career information, and other related resources are available for you to explore. To log-in, simply use your AAMC log-in and password that you used for registering for the MCAT, submitting your primary application for medical school, etc.
Attend as many interest group meetings as possible. This will expose you to fields not on your radar. Most students make their final career decision in the latter half of the third year (some even in the first half of the fourth year), so don't feel like you have to commit to any field right now. Shop around.
Specialty Speed Dating
With nearly 100% attendance, first-year students participate in an opportunity to learn about different specialties through a “Speed Dating” event. Residents and attending physicians from many different specialties – encompassing representatives from both Vanderbilt and community practices - are invited to the medical school to present their respective specialties. This year's event is scheduled for February 7, 2017.
Where do you fit?
Perhaps you have no idea where to start exploring, or even what types of specialties would appeal to you! Many students take personality tests to evaluate potential fields. A common one is the Jung Typology Test:
To understand your score, go to http://www.capt.org/mbti-assessment/type-descriptions.htm.
This test could help you understand your personality better, and as you meet physicians from different fields and hear about the lifestyle and characteristics of various fields, assess if that specialty is right for you. Other similar resources to understanding both your personality and how specialties fit into your goals, visit:
The Pathway Evaluation Program for Medical Professionals
The University of Virginia Medical Specialty Aptitude Test
Building your CV
As you continue through your medical journey here at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, it is important to document your accomplishments and activities you have participated in, so that when residency applications and job interviews come around, you are prepared with a complete and up-to-date curriculum vitae. Here are some helpful resources to compiling a strong CV and application.
CVs section of this Website
This section has CV samples from previous Vanderbilt medical students.
This is a free service open to all Vanderbilt students, but often under-utilized by Vanderbilt students. CV editing, consultations, and general guidance are offered free of charge.
This website has excellent resources for all of the things discussed earlier, as well as residency advice and application resources.
Hopefully, these websites and resources have given you just a taste of where to start. Remember, you have plenty of time to think about all of the choices you will have to make, but it’s never too early to get started and have an idea of where all you can go, what you should do, and how to make all of that happen. Good luck and have fun!