When I Grow Up – Exploring Medical Careers

The healthcare industry is a large and ever-growing occupational field. There are over 14 million healthcare workers in the US alone.
The healthcare industry is a large and ever-growing occupational field. There are over 14 million healthcare workers in the US alone.
The healthcare industry is a large and ever-growing occupational field. There are over 14 million healthcare workers in the US alone.

Generally, the first time we’re asked what we want to be when we grow up, we have our futures completely planned out in our heads: “I want to be a Powerpuff Girl and live in a castle with The Professor and Pikachu!” While it’s not exactly realistic, it’s specific, detailed — we just know in our pure, innocent hearts that that’s what is going to happen.

Most people’s career choices derive from influence and inspiration. At one time, we were inspired by the Powerpuff Girls and Pokemon; now, we draw inspiration from a variety of places.

Emily Yoo, senior, drew her inspiration from a personal encounter with a medical issue in her family. “Over the summer, I found out that a family member had cancer,” said Yoo. “I was like, I can make a difference and maybe study medicine.” Besides being vice-president of medical club, Yoo has taken advanced science classes, makes visits to the hospital and occasionally works on research.

It takes dedication such as Yoo’s in order to pursue a career in the medical field. The healthcare industry is highly competitive and takes an extensive and thorough education in order to be successful.

Preparation for a career in the medical field starts in high school. Taking fours years of advanced science classes is definitely a must. After college, three to four years of college is required for at least a bachelor’s degree.

After attending an undergraduate school, next is medical school. But, before medical school, an entry exam — the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) — is required. It is an extremely difficult test that measures whether a medical school applicant qualifies for admission.

Becoming a doctor is a long and expensive process. Medical school can cost anywhere from $50,000 – $150,000 depending on the location and the school. Before someone decides that they want to specialize in a healthcare field, they should consider the different careers and types of doctors there are.

There are several general career paths in the healthcare industry. According to AOL, the highest-paying medical career is that of a surgeon — up to $500,000 a year. Because of the complexity of the human body, most surgeons tend to focus on one area and become an expert in that area. Different surgeons include cardiac, oral, trauma and neuro surgeons.

Dylan Gottlieb, freshman, hopes to become a surgeon one day. After fracturing his arm when he was younger, he was treated by an orthopaedic surgeon and his interest in the field of orthopaedic surgery has been growing ever since.

“An orthopaedic surgeon changed by life,” said Gottlieb. “How fast my arm healed amazed me. I’m going to job shadow a doctor soon and I am hoping to take Sport Medicine next year.”

Another growing occupation in the healthcare industry is nursing. Gabrielle Anne Rivera, junior, is already preparing herself for a future career. “[I’m] taking extra science and math elective courses and looking for colleges that offer nursing programs,” said Rivera. “I think Duke will be a good school because of their very accomplished medical program.”

Nursing school is slightly different from medical school. Many schools offer accelerated nursing programs. Unlike medical school, it is much quicker to receive certification as a nurse than to become certified as a doctor. Aspiring nurses can enter an accelerated program that can take about 12 to 24 months.

A traditional nursing program can take much longer. In areas where nursing is a relatively high-paying profession, nursing programs can take five to six years. At least a 3.0 GPA is required for entry into the majority of these programs.

Just like with any other profession, nurses can have many different specialties. The nursing specialty with the highest earning potential is a Certified Registered Anesthetist (CRNA). The basic job of a CRNA is to collaborate to with a variety of doctors to make sure that anesthesia is correctly and safely administered to patients.

Medical careers can be daunting and stressful; healthcare professionals can work upwards of 60 hours a week. However, those with the right dedication to the profession will have no problem with a little sacrifice in order to do with they love most.



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