As the economic situation continues to struggle in a financial turmoil, more and more people have transitioned their career paths to the ones in medical field. For instance, an Associated Content writer Jennifer Budd explained her change from headphone to stethoscope of nurse here, and another AC writer named Jonsey discussed how she made changes to nursing even after graduating from undergrad with a different degree as mentioned in this article.
Certainly, they are only two examples out of many who have chosen different careers in medical field. It’s no wonder why people are leaning towards them because we regularly come across articles that include careers in medical field like “10 Careers that Top $30 per Hour” or “The Best Jobs for Making the Leap to $100K.”
I have taken many courses that overlap for these careers in medical field, so with this article, you will be better prepared on how to study for the courses for these careers.
Advice 1: Be prepared to study a lot (I mean, A LOT).
When I first came to my undergrad, majority of my classmates were self-declared pre-meds. Soon, after a weed-out course or two in biology or organic chemistry, they dropped out, switched majors, or decided to continue after a year or two. This issue of changing careers can apply to other jobs like nurses, x-ray technicians, dental hygienist, and so on. Everyone will start off with high level of confidence but may not be able to reach the finish line.
Why does this giving-up happen so frequently in the careers in medical field?
Think about it for a minute. The answer: failure to keep up. Many people who have never taken science courses at undergraduate level sometimes fail to realize the sheer volume of materials that they need to learn for an exam. I tend to think that there are three “phases” of learning information for these science courses: memorization, recitation, and application. You need to first read everything and memorize definitions, pictures, and other relevant texts. Then, you must repeat this to the level of being able to recite them like the lyrics of your favorite song. Finally, before the exam, you should be able to apply the learned information by having the ability to relate the information to each other.
All of this can be done only if you are prepared to study a lot. Unfortunately, some people do not realize this until it’s too late and give up. There are many ways to ease the workload of studying such as using flashcards or rewriting the lecture notes, but in the end, you need to sit down, open up that book, and study for hours.
Advice 2: Think about reasons other than money.
This advice may seem contradictory to the introduction I provided for this article, but even though most people step into the realm of medical field careers because of money, not many will survive if they are only propelled by monetary desires. Here is why: careers in medical field do not have an end to their studying just because you received that certification or license. These careers require lifetime of studying and keeping updated with the latest technology.
This is different from say, being an accountant or a teacher where the information used in the job itself is static. It is true that as an accountant or a teacher, you will be required to sharpen your skills and maintain the accuracy of your work for the rest of your life. But, as in the case of a math teacher, the fact that 1+1 will always equal 2 will never change. You may be asked to change how you deliver the information, but the information itself does not.
I don’t think that the same can be said about careers in medical field. Especially with the growing emphasis in preventive medicine, anyone involved in medical field should realize that what he/she is doing now may be considered as improper and incorrect in the future. So, I highly advise that if you are jumping in just for money and nothing else, do not even begin your journey. It will be very painful for you as the studying in those science courses will only mark the beginning of more learning to come.
Advice 3: Find Yourself an Escape.
You will be surprised how some people who are perfectly capable of becoming good nurses and amazing medical technicians cannot reach the finish line. Assuming that these people are no fearful of blood (or faint at the sight of blood, which should automatically prevent you from jumping into these careers) and have good study habits, they should be able to finish the education.
But, not all manage to do it. Why? The answer is: burnout. I am a strong believer that even the most hardworking individual can burn out if he/she studies all day – and this is coming from a pre-med student who indeed studies all day! Personally, I listen to music, watch a movie (if I have a block of time for 2-3 hours), or just take a time to sit down and relax when I am tired of studying. It does not matter whether I have an exam next day. If I feel extremely tired, I know that I must stop and take a break, or I will eventually burnout and have even more difficult time recovering.
Some people who do not know the overwhelming stresses of careers in medical field just constantly study, study, and study, and remain shocked when their exam scores come out relatively low. Or, they may have scored decently, but still lower than what they would because they just blanked on some questions. All of these are symptoms of burnout.
Mental burnout is like physical burnout. Just like you cannot run miles after miles without giving yourself much needed break and hydration, you will not be able to retain all the information no matter how hard you force them. This is probably the most important academic tip for studying in science courses in these careers because if you do not take breaks, you will soon forget what you have already read and cannot understand the new materials.
Will These Three Advices Really Help Me?
Whether they will or not will depend on you. I once watched a documentary called Doctors’ Diaries by PBS. In this documentary that followed lives of seven Harvard Medical School doctors, one of people named Tom Tarter said something that I completely agree with for any career in medical field. He said, “People think of medicine…like to think that you have to be exceptionally smart to do medicine. It’s really not the case. What is the case is you can’t be stupid and do medicine, you can’t be a klutz and be a surgeon. But if you are reasonably well-adept or you are reasonably bright, then you can do either one.”1 That’s how I believe for other careers in medicine, but you are the ultimate judge of that.
My Words to You
To anyone who is considering to go into careers in medical field and who is already in this field, I have tremendous respect for both of you. Regardless of politic view and personal opinions, the ability to relieve people of sicknesses is a very admirable action. In your journey, you may end up making sacrifices and wishing that you weren’t doing what you are doing at the moment. But, I assure you that the pleasure of seeing someone better is something that cannot be replaced by any kind of money, fame, or other types of materialistic happiness.
1 “NOVA | Transcripts | Doctors’ Diaries | PBS,” PBS, Accessed 29 Aug. 2010, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3608_doctors.html