Is medicine a mistake in my case?

Considering that I'm not even in medical school yet, your first instinct is probably going to be to say that I'm getting ahead of myself and I should wait to ask the sort of things I am in this thread but I think I need to consider this carefully before going ahead with medicine and potentially realising that I made a huge mistake in career choice so I hope you bear with me here!

I'm currently in my first year of Physics and Philosophy at Oxford and want to go for GEM after finishing my degree. My dilemma is whether I'm going into medicine 'for the right reasons' or at least with the right mindset.
My ambition is to eventually work [as exclusively as possible] with cases with bizarre symptoms and where a diagnosis is an issue. I guess, in crude terms, you could say that I want to be the Doctor's Doctor... or, dare I say, similar to House MD (I am aware of unrealistic that show is, for the record). For that to realistically happen, I'd obviously have to be an excellent physician but do you think that other things like a PhD/MD would be sensible too? In the US, the NIH run a programme called the Undiagnosed Diseases Program... I wonder if this is a possible target and what sort of training/expertise they'd be looking for.

At the moment, I'm especially interested in pathology and infectious diseases though it seems like pathologists don't diagnose by symptoms but by the presentation on whatever slide is in front of them!
Renal architecture and the importance of the kidneys in critically ill patients is also pretty interesting and another area I'm looking at.
In both cases, there seems to be a load of uninteresting cases - HIV for ID and dialysis care for Renal - for each until you get to the top of the specialty and I wonder if you think it's worth the wait if you're not all that interested in that stuff.

Money isn't really a motivator for me nor is the prestige of the job/specialty but I do really like the idea of solving mysteries and following clues. Before getting back into education, I served in the Armed Forces in Intelligence and I think that the 'investigative' approach is something I really relish and could use for good in medicine even if my goals are a little less altruistic than what other potential medics claim their reasons for choosing the vocation are.

Sorry for rambling; Any help would be great.
 

anybeth

New Member
I'd encourage you. Chase after people in positions closest to what you're aiming for, ask around your local hospital and keep asking for the next rank up until you find the people who can answer with relevant experience. Search elsewhere too, such as that Undiagnosed Diseases Programme, contact them, they may give you links to UK equivalents. You're definitely right to ask these questions as early as this. Their surely must be a niche for your skills/interests, good start by asking here. Next you need a reply from and actual medic.....
 
I'd encourage you. Chase after people in positions closest to what you're aiming for, ask around your local hospital and keep asking for the next rank up until you find the people who can answer with relevant experience. Search elsewhere too, such as that Undiagnosed Diseases Programme, contact them, they may give you links to UK equivalents. You're definitely right to ask these questions as early as this. Their surely must be a niche for your skills/interests, good start by asking here. Next you need a reply from and actual medic.....
Hi, anybeth!

I didn't think of actually contacting the NIH program - that's a good idea! Thanks for the encouragement :)
 
Bump!

I'd love some reassurance, if anything, from doctors or medical students that I'm not being an idiot and going into a vocation like medicine with an idea of what I want which is not feasible! I think it'd be sensible to look at PhD/MBBS programmes if people with experience think that it'd be a good idea for the area of medicine I'm interested in.

If anybody could take a couple of minutes, I'd really appreciate it :)
 

Martigan

Super Moderator
If you are entering medicine to be "House" you will most probably be disappointed...

But as its not for money of prestige, your reasons may well be "right", but what is right?

I like you enjoy problem solving. I enjoy helping people. But in the end it could be said that both of those are about my enjoyment and self image, so isn't that still about me?

With the right work and dedication you can probably get to about any niche you want, eventually. But here will be a lot of routine work-ups and paper work between the start and where you want to be...
 
If you are entering medicine to be "House" you will most probably be disappointed...

But as its not for money of prestige, your reasons may well be "right", but what is right?

I like you enjoy problem solving. I enjoy helping people. But in the end it could be said that both of those are about my enjoyment and self image, so isn't that still about me?

With the right work and dedication you can probably get to about any niche you want, eventually. But here will be a lot of routine work-ups and paper work between the start and where you want to be...
I used House as a loose analogy. I know that it's not something worth aspiring to.

I guess I see 'right' as the stereotype of ;love people, want to help people get better' etc. That seems like the ideal, anyway. On the other hand, I think fixing people would just be a cool side-effect of using my education to do something I find interesting. Since I'm a philosophy student, your admission of wanting to help others possibly being a selfish goal at its roots is an interesting one. I suppose everything we do is selfish at heart!

I figured that'd be the case. I hate paperwork :(

Thanks for the response; you changed my perspective, for sure.
 
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Martigan

Super Moderator
I'm not saying it's not good to want to help people or problem solve! You can only truly excel at things you enjoy!

It was just as you said a philosophical point about how "self sacrifice" can also have an element of self service...
 
Just an update:
Recently, I was researching and came across the ACCS route which I could take before a traditionally (internal) medical specialty like cardiology, ID or renal. It would allow me to work exclusively with intensive cases - this sounds ideal!

As such, I've decided to go ahead and start getting my application together :D
 

anybeth

New Member
Just an update:
Recently, I was researching and came across the ACCS route which I could take before a traditionally (internal) medical specialty like cardiology, ID or renal. It would allow me to work exclusively with intensive cases - this sounds ideal!

As such, I've decided to go ahead and start getting my application together :D

GOOD! Enjoy. And for the bits (as there are in ANY job) not so enjoyable, take satisfaction in being anally meticulous and accurate and proper. Makes boring things less tedious - somehow. I guess it precludes the job-dissatisfaction that arises from the combo of banal paperwork PLUS doing it poorly.
 
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