November 20th, 2013
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A medical career can be very rewarding, but you have to earn it through gruelling and never-ending physician training. Physicians are some of the most highly trained and educated people there are. They have to be masters of biology, chemistry, microbiology, physics, anatomy, and a whole host of other very difficult subjects. And, just pure knowledge is not enough. They must also have a talent for medicine, and a dedication to selflessly helping other people.
How To Become A Physician – Physician Training
Preparation for future physician training should start as early as possible. In Middle and High School, many children key on science, and biology in particular. You should take all of the science courses you can, and make the best grades you can, because these will be important in the future (more on that later…).
The next step is to earn at least a Bachelors degree in a pre-med field, such as biology, chemistry, etc…and again, make the highest grades you can. To have any chance at all of being accepted to a Medical School, you will need to graduate in the top 1/3rd of your class. This is very important. It is also a good idea to start saving up, or looking into financing your Medical School, if you are lucky enough, and talented enough to be accepted.
OK. I’ve Got My Degree. Now What?
Once you have your B.A., or B.S., now the hard part starts. Getting accepted to a medical school is one of the hardest parts of becoming a physician. Of all the applicants to Medical Schools in the U.S. each year, only around 42% get accepted for physician training. Schools are very restrictive. For example, Harvard only accepts slightly more than 3% of their applicants annually. Yale…..6.5%. John Hopkins University…18.5%. Texas Tech University….8.3%….Texas A & M University….9%, and most other schools in the U.S. are about the same. The 42% acceptance figure is actually mis-leading, because it reflects the fact that many applicants apply to several schools before being accepted. It just means that 42% of all people that apply eventually get accepted somewhere. That’s still less than half of all the people who apply.
The acceptance procedure for physician training is is brutal. First, you must absolutely have a GPA (Grade Point Average) in the top 1/3 nationally. And the subjects you take are also important. It the reviewers think for one minute that you took easy courses to pad your grades, your app. goes in the circular file. Next will be a series of personal interviews. These are not so much interviews as interrogations that make a military Security Clearance investigation feel like a picnic by comparison.
The medical schools use many criteria in their selection process, many of which may not seem fair, but you are stick with it. They are trying to recruit a diverse range of students that reflect the diversity in the communities you will be working in. You can have the highest grades, and best attitude, and still be passed over. They will screen you for your attitudes on Public Service, problem-solving skills, communication abilities, good judgment, and yes, even your race, and gender is taken into consideration.
I Got Accepted. Now I’ve Made It…Right?
You couldn’t be more wrong with that assumption. Now you can look forward to 4 years of pure hell. Long hours studying for sadistically difficult tests, being ridiculed by your instructors, unbelievably tough classes, expensive school finance requirements, and little free time or social life. You will be put on the spot pretty much 24/7 for your entire stint in medical school. You will earn your grades, because the schools are completely uncompromising.
Nothing short of super-human excellence is acceptable. And unlike other schools, your last year is not an ‘easy’ year. Senior students are held to even higher standards than than their junior counterparts, and are put under even more pressure.
I’ve Survived Medical School. Now I am a Doctor….Aren’t I?
You won’t get off that easy. Now, you must complete a 3 to 6 year residency under the tutelage of a Senior Physician Instructor at a teaching hospital. Like medical schools, the residency programs are very selective, and it may be a chore for you to get accepted. Once you do get accepted, you can look forward to 3+ years of being treated as less-than-human, with very long hours seeing patients, treating disease, doing lab work, your instructors telling you how stupid and inadequate you are, etc….
And don’t forget, sometime through all of this, you also have to go through the licensing procedures.
After you have survived all of this, you can practice medicine on your own, go where you want, start your own clinic, etc… But don’t forget, you must complete so many hours of continuing education courses to keep your medical license, so you never stop learning.
If you are planning on undertaking physician training in order to have a career as a physician, start early, work hard ,and prepare yourself for a decade or more of very tough situations.