When considering which specialty is the right one, there are many important factors to consider:
1. Does the specialty interest you?
2. Could you do this for a living, rather than just shadowing or spending a couple weeks on a rotation?
3. Is the lifestyle what you want for yourself?
4. Are you fine with the hours worked by physicians in this specialty?
5. Are you fine with the compensation offered in this specialty?
6. Are you fine with the length of training for this specialty?
7. Are you fine with the intensity of residency training for this specialty?
8. Are you interested in Academic Medicine?
9. Is this specialty going to change significantly within the near future?
10. Are you competitive for the specialty?
Probably the most important factor on this list is specialty interest (item 1). Make sure you are truly interested in the specialty. Don’t choose a specialty just because it pays well or is the most prestigious. Physicians who are miserable in their specialties most often made decisions due to those 2 factors, rather than focusing on what they would have most enjoyed to practice.
Your medical career will most likely last a long time and you don’t want to be stuck in a specialty you hate. At the same time, realize that you can still change specialties even if you have already begun or completed residency once. So, it’s never too late. But it’s painful to start over again.
Also, spending some time shadowing or rotating in a specialty may give you a false impression, depending on where and who you rotate with. Often, your experience can be much better or worse than it should have been (what you would see if you were in practice yourself) and may influence your decision in the wrong direction, so keep that in mind.
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