Welcome to Premed Pathfinder: a site for people exploring physician careers. Here you will find guidance to the best on- and offline sources of information on choosing a medical specialty, the MCAT, salaries, etc. Compiled by a librarian-premed.
This web site began construction June 1, 2001. New content continually is being added.
Every effort has been made to provide information on the Internet. However, because of copyright laws, I can only list and/or abstract some articles that could be of immense value to you. It may be worth your shoe leather to visit your academic library to find these sources in electronic databases or paper form.
SuccessTypes Medical Education Page talks a bit more about connections between a medical student's MBTI and academic performance. John W. Pelley's also has a book, SuccessTypes for Medical Students
Personality Type and Medical Specialty
Here's an online quiz, offered by Peter M. Filsinger, M.D.,
Anita D. Taylor M.Ed., Spencer B. Gay, M.D., and Haiyan He. Taylor authored How to Choose a Medical Specialty. I did not find it helpful, since there's no category for medical informatics and that's what I'm heading toward. Anyway, the results showed that I might be suited for allergy/immunology.
Myers-Brigg Type Indicator
Which personality types settle into which medical specialties? This question has been intensely studied and more studies will come out. Many use the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator. If you don't already know your four-letter symbol, take the free test at:
Dr. John Holland theorizes that people and work environments can be loosely classified into six different groups. Different personalities may find different environments suit them best. Check if your college career center can help you determine your two- or three-letter Holland Code for free. The test is offered online for $8.95 at:
A typology system with a strong spiritual component. Enneagram literature first sparked my interest in medicine. I am a perfectionist, and that's a good thing for doctors to be. But, this system also pointed out negative aspects of perfectionism and recommended I convert these 'vices' to the virtue of serenity through spiritual practices. You can determine your type at the following web site:
The Enneagram Advantage: Putting the Nine Personality Types to Work in the Office, 1997, by Helen Palmer and Paul B. Brown.
The Enneagram in Love & Work: understanding your intimate & business relationships, 1995, by Helen Palmer.
Remember, you don't have to buy into typology! Especially if it's in conflict with your gut feelings or heart's desire. It's just a tool to help you think in a more detailed fashion about which specialty might bring the greatest personal and professional satisfaction.
For a current and extensive list of articles about personality and specialty choice, try a PubMed search using the terms "medical students career choice personality."
"Who Does What in Medicine," Suzanne Brue, SuccessTypes for Medical Education web site. Available free online, this excellent article is written for the lay person.
"Medical Specialty Choice and Personality," Archives of General Psychiatry, Jan. 1969, pp 89-99.
"Interest and Personality Factors as Related to Choice of Medical Career," Journal of Medical Education, Nov. 1963, pp 932-942.
"Personality Profiles and Specialty Choices of Students from Two Medical School Classes," Academic Medicine, May 1991, pp 283-287.
"Personal Characteristics of Student Choosing Different Types of Medical Careers," Journal of Medical Education, Mar. 1964, pp 278-288.
"New Results Relating the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator and
Medical Specialty Choice," Journal of Medical Education, Apr. 1988, pp 325-327.
"Personality Types of Family Practice Residents as Measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator," Family Medicine, Jan./Feb. 1985, p 8(3).
"Physician Personality Types in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as Measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator,"
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sept.-Oct. 1994, pp 308-312.
"Surgeon's Personalities: the Influence of Medical School,"
"Physician Pay Back Up, But Two-Year Trend Still Shows Loss,"
American Medical News, Jan. 6, 1997, p 1(2). Available on InfoTrac.
"How Much Are Physicians Making?" Modern Healthcare, July 11, 1994, p. 43(5). Commentary: This excellent article gives salary ranges for anesthesiology, radiology, noninvasive cardiology, emergency medicine, family practitioners, internal medicine, neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, ob/gyn, urology and general surgery. It also talks about the outfits compiling this data for healthcare employers. The wide ranges are due to different methodologies and samples! Your best bet for understanding where those salary figures come from.
"Doctors' Pay Regains Ground Despite the Effects of H.M.O.'s," New York Times, Apr. 22, 1998.
Career Satisfaction: Who Are the Happy Campers
"Are Younger Physicians Less Unhappy With Medicine? (The changing face of medicine), American Medical News, Jan. 4, 1993, p 27(3). Available on InfoTrac. Summary: Yes, most younger physicians in this survey would choose medicine again.
"For a New Doctor, the Old Dream Lives On," Medical Economics, Oct. 19, 1998, p 251(5). Available on InfoTrac. Shirlene Knudtson Smook tells how she went from being a hospital lab tech to a doctor, while also being a wife and mom to three kids. This is an unvarnished yet inspiring account of her studies, family life, early diagnostic successes and how she begins and ends each day with prayer. She also has a nugget of useful advice when selecting that first professional position: hire a lawyer versed in medical employment.
"Managed care, time pressure, and physician job satisfaction: results from the physician worklife study," Journal of General Internal Medicine, July 2000, pp 517-518. PubMed abstract: OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between HMO practice, time pressure, and physician job satisfaction. DESIGN: National random stratified sample of 5,704 primary care and specialty physicians in the United States. Surveys contained 150 items reflecting 10 facets (components) of satisfaction in addition to global satisfaction with current job, one's career and one's specialty. Linear regression-modeled satisfaction (on 1-5 scale) as a function of specialty, practice setting (solo, small group, large group, academic, or HMO), gender, ethnicity, full-time versus part-time status, and time pressure during office visits. "HMO physicians" (9% of total) were those in group or staff model HMOs with > 50% of patients capitated or in managed care. RESULTS: Of the 2,326 respondents, 735 (32%) were female, 607 (26%) were minority (adjusted response rate 52%). HMO physicians reported significantly higher satisfaction with autonomy and administrative issues when compared with other practice types (moderate to large effect sizes). However, physicians in many other practice settings averaged higher satisfaction than HMO physicians with resources and relationships with staff and community (small to moderate effect sizes). Small and large group practice and academic physicians had higher global job satisfaction scores than HMO physicians (P <.05), and private practice physicians had quarter to half the odds of HMO physicians of intending to leave their current practice within 2 years (P <.05). Time pressure detracted from satisfaction in 7 of 10 satisfaction facets (P <.05) and from job, career, and specialty satisfaction (P <.01). Time allotted for new patients in HMOs (31 min) was less than that allotted in solo (39 min) and academic practices (44 min), while 83% of family physicians in HMOs felt they needed more time than allotted for new patients versus 54% of family physicians in small group practices (P <.05 after Bonferroni's correction). CONCLUSIONS: HMO physicians are generally less satisfied with their jobs and more likely to intend to leave their practices than physicians in many other practice settings. Our data suggest that HMO physicians' satisfaction with staff, community, resources, and the duration of new patient visits should be assessed and optimized. Whether providing more time for patient encounters would improve job satisfaction in HMOs or other practice settings remains to be determined.
"Career Satisfaction of US Women Physicians," Archives of Internal Medicine, July 12, 1999, p 1417. Available on InfoTrac. Summary: A large majority of women physicians are generally satisfied with their careers, but many wish they'd chosen another specialty or that they hadn't gone into medicine at all. Complaints: stress, harassment, lack of control in work environment.
"Primary care physician job satisfaction and turnover," American Journal of Managed Care, July 2001, pp 701-713. PubMed abstract: OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship of personal characteristics, organizational characteristics, and overall job satisfaction to primary care physician (PCP)
turnover. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A cohort of 507 postresident, nonfederally employed PCPs younger than 45 years of age, who completed their medical training between 1982 and 1985, participated in national surveys in 1987 and 1991. Psychological, economic, and sociological theories and constructs provided a conceptual framework. Primary care physician personal, organizational, and overall job satisfaction variables from 1987 were considered independent variables. Turnover-related responses from 1991 were dependent variables. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted. RESULTS: More than half (55%) of all PCPs in the cohort left at least 1 practice between 1987 and 1991. Twenty percent of the cohort left 2 employers. PCPs dissatisfied in 1987 were 2.38 times more likely to leave (P < .001). Primary care physicians who believed that third-party payer influence would decrease in 5 years were 1.29 times more likely to leave (P < .03). Non-board certified PCPs were 1.3 times more likely to leave (P < .003). Primary care physicians who believed that standardized protocols were overused were 1.18 times more likely to leave (P < .05). Specialty, gender, age, race, and practice setting were not associated with PCP turnover. CONCLUSIONS: Turnover was an important phenomenon among PCPs in this cohort. The results of this study could enable policy makers, managed care organizations, researchers, and others to better understand the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover.
"Rural general practitioners' experience of the provision of out-of-hours care: a qualitative study," British Journal of General Practice, Apr. 2001, pp 286-290. PubMed abstract: BACKGROUND: Published research into the provision and utilisation of out-of-hours services shows long-term trends towards decreasing personal commitment among general practitioners (GPs). However, the on-call commitments of rural GPs remain especially onerous. There has been little research relating to either rural out-of-hours
services or the implications of such services for the families of the providers. AIM: To explore and describe how rural GPs in Ireland perceive and experience out-of-hours care provision. DESIGN OF STUDY: A qualitative study was conducted with 10 rural GPs and their spouses in their homes or practices using one-to-one in-depth interviews. SETTING: Ten general practices in rural Ireland. METHOD: The interviews were guided by an interview schedule that was based on pertinent themes that had emerged from previous relevant literature. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed for themes and issues. RESULTS: Results indicated that rural GPs experience a wide variety of satisfactions from work related to the provision of out-of-hours care. However, the large proportion of time committed to out-of-hours care greatly infringes on their social and family life. The key stressors identified related to organisational system difficulties, especially with regard to locum cover, and unrealistic patient expectations. The stressors were mainly expressed as lack of time off, restrictions on family life, and interruptions. CONCLUSION: System difficulties, such as difficulty with obtaining locums and rota extension, need to be addressed at an organisational level. Patient expectations of the role of the rural GP have significant implications for practitioners and their families.
"Beyond the malaise of American medicine," Journal of Medical Practice Management," Mar. 2001, pp 227-230. PubMed abstract: Over the past two decades, physicians have suffered declines in real income, community standing, and of collegiality. Physicians must not view themselves solely as victims of the sweeping changes in current medical care delivery. They have both the opportunity and the duty to reassert their true role as compassionate conveyors of the science and the art of medicine. This article explores the historic trends that have led to our current state. It also explores the exciting possibilities open to doctors to assume a renewed elevated status that both they and their patients yearn for.
Numerous web sites list health-care jobs. It's the best way to gauge the market for your skills. Michael W. Ecker wrote a nice article, "Remedy Your Medical Career Online," available free online in Smart Computing, June 1999, listing the best ones, complete with hyperlinks.
"Managed care outlook. How regions differ in projected demand for primary care doctors in 2000," Managed Care, May 1997, 5.
"Physician supply and the shifting paradigm of medical student choice,"
JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 1, 1997, p 70. Available electronically through InfoTrac.
"The Impending Physician Surplus: Is It Time to Quit?" JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 1, 1997, p 69. Available electronically through InfoTrac.
"Market influences on internal medicine residents' decisions to subspecialize," Annals of Internal Medicine, June 1, 1998, p 915(7). Available electronically through InfoTrac.
Keeping up with Medical News
Medical literature is a bottomless pit. As a premed, how do you keep current on general trends and new developments, as well as identify emerging opportunities?
For a daily newspaper, I recommend the Wall Street Journal. These folks do an excellent job of covering the business end of medicine: biotech, pharmaceuticals, health technology, federal and state health laws.The excellent personal "Health Journal" column runs Fridays on the front of the Marketplace section. The Wall Street Journal is at your academic library or available through a low student rate that WSJ doesn't advertise widely of $98/year or $34/15-week semester. The student rate lets you into the online version as well. A business-political perspective also will help you understand the forces behind health-care issues.
For a monthly review of quality information for premeds, try MSJAMA, a special section in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), published the first week of the month, September-June. A subscription is $48 for students/residents, or it's available at any good-sized library in paper, or electronic form on InfoTrac and ProQuest. MSJAMA Online is free year-round and includes monthly MSJAMA print articles, Web-only articles by MSJAMA editors and authors, selected reports from JAMA, the AMA's Archives specialty journals, and American Medical News, and resources compiled in collaboration with the AMA Medical Student Section.
The New Physician, the American Medical Student Association's magazine, is also good, but not much of its content is free and online. You have to subscribe.
Take a speed reading course or read Remember Everything You Read : the Evelyn Wood Seven-day Speed Reading and Learning Program, by Stanley D. Frank, 1990. Medical and science textbooks are too complex to speed read, but a lot of other reading material you'll encounter in life will lend itself to this method. Use it to save time.
Which MCAT test prep. materials are the best? To my knowledge, this issue has not been studied scientifically. Even if it has been, well, new editions come out every year. Quality can rise and fall. Conventional wisdom holds that Kaplan and Princeton Review are decent, and test-takers should use more than one brand of prep. materials. Used prep. materials are advertised on eBay and, skipping eBay's fee, Student Doctor Network Lounge.
Kaplan. These folks (Kaplan is a subsidiary of the Washington Post) generally sell MCAT prep. info and materials, but the site does offer free info, like an overview of how the last MCAT went and what was on it. Also has schedules and locations for their cram courses. Premed Pathfinder Commentary: Kaplan, which bills itself as "the experts," ought to include an area on its web site reporting corrections to MCAT prep materials such as its MCAT Workbook, 2nd ed. For example, the drawing for Biological Sciences Test 1 Question 9 is incorrect. The two compounds the answer says are tautomers are not properly drawn. How nice it would be to have a web address on the book to report any errors or check for corrections.
Examkrackers. The former editor of Flowers and Silver MCAT and the ex-National Director of MCAT for Princeton Review team to offer classes and prep. materials. After listening to Audio Osmosis dozens of times during my long commute, I've decided to buy their five-manual prep. package, $150 plus shipping on the company site, but $120 plus shipping on walmart.com. However, when ordering from the Examkrackers site, you'll get a free full-length practice exam. (I'd rather focus on the AAMC practice exams, because they'll be filtered through other mindsets.) I like the Examkrackers focus on the most likely stuff to be tested, basic science concepts, on confidence building and common-sense strategies. For example: Kaplan suggests that during the verbal portion you should bounce around to sections with the most questions. Although K. warns us to be careful about bubbling errors, this still seems an unnecessarily complicated approach to take during this high-stakes test. The Examkrackers guys advise taking the questions as they come, spending only so much time on each one, making your best guess and moving on. You can always go back if you finish early. This approach minimizes the risk of bubbling error. The only other manual I've purchased is Kaplan, but it seems, well, like McKaplan, an average and bland approach to MCAT prep.
com.Walmart.com has it for $180. I listened to the biology and physics sections of this and it's pretty darn good. Found only one small error: the narration had Coulomb's constant to the negative ninth power. It's the positive ninth. Otherwise a lively, humorous (even bawdy) and concise overview of key science concepts. I saw one copy of this advertised on eBay after the April 2002 MCAT.
AudioLearn : MCAT,
by Shahrad Yazdani, 2000. Available on audio cassettes at
amazon.com for $124.99 or try to get a used one on ebay. Some nasty remarks about errors and mispronunciations appeared previously on amazon.com's reviews for this product. These negative reviews (not good for sales) have since disappeared and been replaced by suspiciously glowing comments. If ya want fresh opinions on this, post a message on the pre-allopathic bulletin board at Student Doctor Network Lounge.
The Silver Bullet (Audio Cassettes)
by Brett L. Ferdinand. This has a publication date of October 2000. I assume it's a companion to the prep book of the same name. Don't recall hearing this one mentioned on any of the discussion boards. Listed on amazon.com for $115.
If you've got the time, you could record your choice of prep. materials for your personal use.
Getting Into Medical School, Sanford J. Brown, M.D., 1997, 8th edition. Commentary: Not a 19-year-old science geek who grinds out a 4.0 GPA? This book's for you! Brown talks generally about preparing for medical school, finding a good premed advisor, the value of having doctors from all walks of life and from widely varying majors--and advises not overloading on extra science courses unless you love science. Brown also is available as a paid consultant for nontraditionals trying to get accepted.
MD/RN: Nurses that Become Doctors, by Neff Rotter. An e-book available free online from Belgrave House. An interesting collection of narratives from women and men who went over to the 'doc' side.
Old Docs Advise New Docs
Physicians for the 21st Century, Lawrence E. Stevens, M.D., 1997. Review:
Reading this short book is like sitting down for a long conversation with a wise, weathered and positive retired surgeon. His common sense sticks in my mind: upholding medicine's noble traditions gives your life meaning, look at medicine realistically, determination to be a physician can be a greater asset than high intelligence, be nice to other health professionals, minimize personal debt, money is a secondary reason to go into medicine, don't have an extramarital affair. He also advises making research a part of any medical career: "I was intrigued by the first successful human kidney transplants as they were reported in the early 1960s," he says. "Scraping together some used surgical equipment and dogs from the local pound, I began transplanting kidneys in dogs, studying how best to preserve these organs before transplanting." He went on initiate kidney, pancreas and liver transplant programs as a surgeon. When this guy states that his "hope is that bold and bright young students" will tune out medicine's naysayers and opt for a career he found intellectually exciting and emotionally rewarding, I want to jump and say "Me, me!" Order from the author at: 2932 St. Mary's Way, SLC, Utah 84108 (801) 583-0719.
What Medical School is Like
Surviving Medical School, Robert Holman Coombs, with insights from medical humanist Bernard Virshup, 1998, 197 pages. Review: I read this book for the down-and-dirty and does it deliver. The title and content make medical school sound like an ordeal only a masochist would undergo. Chapter titles: 1. Anticipation: Are My Expectations Realistic? 2. First Year: Am I Smart Enough? 3. Student Diversity: Who Are All These People? 4. Second Year: Do I Really Want to Do This? 5. Relationships: Am I Married to Medicine? 6. Third Year: Who's the Real Doc Here? 7.
Challenging Issues: What if I Make a Mistake? 8. Fourth Year: Will I Ever Know Enough? 9. Graduation: What Happens Next? Coombs' post at UCLA may color his perceptions. UCLA would be a very competitive school. I hear that smaller, less-prestigious schools have greater cooperation and camaraderie among students. Still, this is a fascinating, detailed and thorough book, based on in-depth interviews with medical students at different levels of training. Coombs has chaired the UCLA med school's Student Affairs Committee and published extensively on physician socialization. He even goes into the sex lives of medical students--many don't have them! "Shortage of leisure time, unpredictable schedules, physical exhaustion and general tension all contribute to a common plight summed up in the term 'deferred sexuality.' " Oh, great. By telling you how bad things might get, this book prepares you mentally. That in itself may make your medical school years less stressful. The late Bernard Virshup's commentaries remind us that doctors are allowed to be human and being a physician is a unique invitation to understanding humanity itself.
The Successful Medical Student: Achieving Your Full Potential, John R. Thornborough, Ph.D., and Hilary Schmidt, Ph.D., 1993. For those that have gotten in and want to be prepared to do their best. This book is basic andblessedly brief at 151 pages. Especially practical are the sections on financial aid (there really is some help, but often it comes with strings) and time management for those married and/or kidded.With good time management, the authors declare,"There is absolutely no reason why a medical student cannot 'have a life'--at least one evening per week to relax, one day per weekend free of academic concerns, and sufficient time to do the laundry, buy groceries, watch TV, exercise, etc."
Chapter titles: 1) What to Expect in Medical School;
2) A Time Line for the Next Five Years;
3) Curricular Content;
4) Financing Your Medical Education;
5) Basic Supplies for Your Study Desk;
6) What to Bring from College;
7) Time Management;
8) Study Management;
9) Getting the Most Out of Your Classes;
10) Knowledge Organization;
11) Stress Management by Janice N. McLean, Ph.D.;
12) The Medical Specialties;
13) Medical Ethics by Rosamond Rhodes, Ph.D.;
14) A Summing Up of Ideas.
This books also recommends D. Shain's Study Skills and Test-Taking Strategies for Medical Students, 1992, as a "detailed treatment of individual differences in personal learning styles." Thornborough and Schmidt also have authored books on preparing for USMLE exams. Highly recommended.
My Mother, the Doctor, Joy Daniels Singer, 1970. Review: Singer writes of her extraordinary mother, Anna Kleegman Daniels, who came to the United States as a poor Russian Jew, got into Cornell and became a doctor. More of a story about home life than professional achievements. A fun, fascinating read.
Engineering research materials cataloger, November 2001 to present -- currently organizing and cataloging the 10,000+ items in the South Dakota Transportation Department's research engineering library.
Mom, Premed Student, Creator and Webgal for the Premed Pathfinder web site, September 1999-present -- studying chemistry, biology and physics while managing an innovative, free web site for premedicine students that includes an annotated index of premed sites, specialty choice information and other content useful to American and Canadian students interested in regular and osteopathic medical education.
Project Manager, South Dakota Newspaper Project, State Archives, Pierre, SD, June 1994-August 1999 -- established and managed South Dakota's part in the United States Newspaper Program, a National Endowment for the Humanities effort to preserve and provide access to the local history contained in American newspapers. Created original serials catalog records and local data records on OCLC as sole project cataloger. Wrote two successful grant applications covering costs of the inventory and cataloging phases. Hired and trained project assistants. Created multi-table Access 2.0 database for use as project management tool and source of newspaper information after project was done. Participated in the assessment and upgrading of state microfilm unit. Gave talks, papers and wrote press releases and articles promoting South Dakota newspaper preservation. Created text for Newspaper Project's Web page. Handled equipment purchases and hiring of appropriate consultants.
Reference Librarian, South Dakota State Library, Pierre, SD, January-June 1995 -- answered reference questions from walk-in patrons and phone callers using on-line resources, CD-ROM databases, the library catalog and traditional reference tools. Compiled information on academic libraries for federal report. Reviewed library improvement plans for school libraries. This was a temporary position taken while the Newspaper Project awaited grant approval and was not operating.
Practicum, Dayton Daily News, Reference Library, Dayton, OH, July 1993 -- Used Dialog, Lexis/Nexis and DataTimes to answer reporters' questions. Reviewed electronic text of news stories to make sure the database versions were the same as those printed in the newspaper, then enhanced the database records before adding them to the newspaper's database.
Journalist, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD, January 1986 to June 1990 -- gained extensive knowledge of South Dakota issues, businesses, places, people and institutions while covering the South Dakota Legislature, Sioux Falls City Commission, Minnehaha County Commission, political races and environmental matters for state's largest newspaper. Researched government documents for news stories. Wrote in-depth series of stories on threats to the underground water supplies South Dakotans depend on for drinking water and industrial uses. Lobbied for and helped reorganize the neglected newspaper library.
M.S., Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 1994.
B.A., Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, December 1985.
"Introducing Otto Doll, State Commissioner of Information," Book Marks, 50/4 (July/August 1999), p. 1.
"In the Internet Age, South Dakota Libraries Can Offer More Than Ever," mbc inews, Jan. 9, 1998.
"Research Instruction for Undergraduate Students," Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 51/1 (Spring 1996), 15-22.
"U.S. Newspaper Program Toasts a Decade, Plans Project Conclusion," News Library News, 18/1 (Fall 1995), 1.
"News Librarians + New Technologies = New Career Paths," News Library News, 16/1 (Fall 1993), 1.
"Have You Seen the News? The Newspapers that Link South Dakota Communities from Past to Present," Dakota History Conference, Sioux Falls, SD, May 31, 1996.
"Lost Newspapers of West River, South Dakota," West River History Conference, Keystone, SD, Sept. 13, 1996.
Chosen in 1998 by fellow South Dakota Library Association members to attend the Snowbird Leadership Training Institute at Snowbird, Utah. This program helped me identify and develop leadership skills.
Chair, Public Relations Committee, South Dakota Library Association, 1998-2000. Created phone tree for use in lobbying state Legislature, wrote press releases that generated positive coverage of libraries and librarians, coordinated association award program.
"Finding South Dakota newspapers using SDLN," workshop at South Dakota Library Association Annual Conference, Pierre, SD, Oct. 2, 1998.
"PublicizingYour Library," workshop at South Dakota Library Association Annual Conference, Spearfish, SD, Oct. 10, 1996.
Unique and Emerging Physician Careers
Mutual fund manager
Performing arts medicine
Trauma Surgeon, U.S. Air
Other Jobs: General
"Medical career choices: traditional and new possibilities," msJAMA, May 2, 2001, pp 2249-50. Available electronically on ProQuest. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Fewer medical school graduates are choosing clinical careers and more are pursuing nontraditional jobs. While the Association of American Medical Colleges surveys of 1990, 1995 and 2000 did not ask exactly what those nontraditional jobs were, the article did describe an increasing demand for physicians in the pharmaceutical industry, bioengineering, health care management, medical supply business, consulting, medical journalism and public health. New doctors interested in being academic faculty held steady. Those interested in working for state and federal governments increased. Students not going into academia or clinical practice also were earning additional degrees such as a master's, PhD or JD.
Other Jobs: Biopharmaceuticals
"Everywhere and Then Some: Physicians Making Careers in Biopharmaceuticals," JAMA, May 6, 1998, p 1401. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies turn to MDs to provide specialized knowledge and experience in patient care. Subspecialist
internists are particularly popular hires. Gerontologists will be in demand as drug companies focus on aging baby boomers. An entry-level MD at a pharmaceutical firm can expect a salary of $110,000-$120,000, plus bonuses and benefits. Career pluses include: ability to do research with ample resources, opportunity to use special knowledge, travel to medical and scientific meetings, regular hours. Minuses: bureaucracy, profit coming before ethics, favoritism, restrictions on intiative and responsibility, negative perception of the field by tradition-minded doctors.
Other Jobs: Consumer Advocate
"Oh, the places you'll go: Peter Lurie, M.D., M.P.H, deputy director, Public Citizen's Health Research Group," The New Physician, Sept. 2001, p. 23-24. Premed Pathfinder Abstract: Peter Lurie grew up in apartheid-era South Africa but moved to New York at 17. Halfway through his studies at Albert Einstein School of Medicine, he interned at Public Citizen's Health Research Group, a watchdog of federal health-related agencies. Research he conducted there regarding the carcinogenicity of blue dye no. 2 was used by the group in a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration. After a residency in family practice and a stint in academia, he returned to activism at Public Citizen's Health Research Group.
Other Jobs: Epidemiologist (Disease Detective)
"Tailing Disease: the Epidemic Intelligence Service finds renewed support from Congress in a bioterrorism world," The New Physician, Sept. 2002, pp 14-22. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Dr. Scott Harper tracks the Ebola virus in Uganda. Dr. Daniel A. Singer gives polio vaccine shots in Bihar, India. Dr. Marc Traeger has gone after West Nile virus. As a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Epidemic Intelligence Service officer, your job is to find and prevent the spread of highly infectious microbes. Rewarding, exciting and sometimes dangerous work, but pay sinks below private sector: $80,000 tops.
Other Jobs: Hospitalist
"Hospitalists: just a flash in the bedpan?" The New Physician, Oct. 1999, pp 23--28. Hospitalists are doctors who spend their time in the hospital taking care of other doctors' patients. Internal medicine training is supposed to be good preparation, but additional areas of helpful expertise include: end-of-life care, geriatric hospital medicine, perioperative consultation and palliative care. The market while this article was being written was described as "booming." Some physicians like the set schedule offered by these jobs. Others are concerned that hospitalists interfere with the continuity of care provided by primary care doctors.
Why be a medical editor?" msJAMA, May 2, 2001, p. 2253. Available electronically on ProQuest. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Underneath medical journalism--all journalism--is the Miltonian ideal of a free marketplace of ideas. If you want to direct the traffic and ponder endless style issues (healthcare or health care?), medical editing is for you. However, only 20-30 full-time journal editing jobs exist. Thousands of other medical journals are part-time jobs for doctors in clinical practice, research or academia. Articles can affect patient care: editors must have a deep concern for content quality. Article indicates journal editing is a labor of love. No salary info. Strangely, this article does not talk about editing Web-only health information sites, which would seem to be where the growth and need (and given the incredible no. of factual errors) for medical expertise are.
Other Jobs: Law
"Legal medicine: a professional option," JAMA. May 2, 2001, p 2251. Available electronically on ProQuest. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Increasing complexity in both medicine and law over the past half century have created a demand for people with medicolegal expertise. Several thousand individuals now hold MD/JD degrees, and several medical schools offer dual-degree programs. The author suggests the majority of these choose to be doctors or lawyers, but not both. Physicians with a legal background consult for lawyers regarding medical malpractice. Lawyers with the MD work for plaintiffs or as members of the defense bar. They also help doctors and other health-care professionals with licenses and credentials; work in insurance companies and managed care companies; and at thinktanks. This article offers no figures regarding future demand for MD/JDs or salary ranges.
Other Jobs: Locum Tenens
"Paging Dr. Nomad: young doctors are increasingly joining the ranks of locum tenens physicians, temporary docs with an appetite for travel and an aversion to paperwork. While on this unique career journey, they may just discover what they want for their future full-time practice," The New Physician, Sept. 2001, pp 27-33.
"So you want to be a locum?" The New Physician, Sept. 2001, pp 28-29. Tips on becoming a locum tenens physician.
Other Jobs: Management Consulting
"The war for talent: physicians in management consulting," msJAMA, May 2, 2001, p 2252. Available electronically on ProQuest. Premed Pathfinder abstract: MDs are just another pool of high-powered talent for management consulting firms like McKinsey and Co. Business is not hard to teach these folks, McKinsey says. Some MDs find opportunities in these firms to influence the processes of curing disease and promote health. No mention of salary ranges or the legendary amount of travel required. Wanna rack up frequent flyer miles?
Other Jobs: Media/Entertainment
"Oh, the places you'll go: Andrea Pennington, M.D., medical director, Discovey Health," The New Physician, Sept. 2001, pp 25-26. Premed Pathfinder Abstract: Doctor is just one of Andrea Pennington's many occupations. She models, acts, sings. Her current full-time job is medical director and spokeswoman for the Discovery Health Channel in Washington, D.C. She continues to see patients on Saturdays and a couple of days a month at a free clinic. Her story tells us that we can create fascinating, unboxed lives for ourselves.
The Wall Street Journal published four articles on technology in medicine in its June 10, 2002, e-commerce section: 1) "Health care goes digital: doctors and hospitals find they can't stay offfline any longer;" 2) "Both sides now: John Halamkas is both a doctor and a techie--and part of a new breed of physicians who are changing health care;" 3) "Who leads the online race: a look at the hospitals that are out front in the drive to bring information technology to health care;" and 4) "Where the money is: a handful of foundations are providing the seed capital for changing the health-care system."
"Career confusion: informatics execs unsure about continuing medical practice," Modern Physician, Aug. 20, 2000, p. 10. Available electronically on InfoTrac. Premed Pathfinder abstract: A new survey shows many physicians with medical informatics responsibilities are thinking about leaving practice altogether to focus on IT. The issue may not be frustration with medicine, but
love of IT, says one informaticist.
Other Jobs: Mutual Fund Manager
"Fund managers bring a dose of medicine. (physicians who stop practicing to run health-care mutual funds)," The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2001.
Other Jobs: Performing Arts Medicine
"Oh, the places you'll go: Alice Brandfonbrener, M.D., physician, performing arts medicine," The New Physician, Sept. 2001, p. 21-22. Premed Pathfinder Abstract: Alice Brandfonbrener's expertise in ensuring that actors, singers, musicians and dancers can do their jobs without injury began developing when she was staff doctor at the 1983 Aspen Music Festival. Comedian Steve Martin has been a patient. Brandfonbrener founded the Performing Arts Medicine Association and is part of Northwestern University's Medical Program for the Performing Arts.
Other Jobs: Politician
"Oh the places you'll go: Donna Christian-Christensen, M.D., cngresswoman (D-U.S. Virgin Islands)," The New Physician, Sept 2001, p. 24-25. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Congresswoman Donna Christian-Christensen says politics and medicine are about solving people's problems. She is the only woman physician in the U.S. Congress. Although the Virgin Islands representative has no vote because the islands are not a state, she influences health-care issues on Capitol Hill as chair of the Black Caucus Health Braintrust. She has helped increase funding to fight AIDS in communities of color and secured the creation of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Insitutes of Health. Leaving practice was an issue in her campaign for the seat. An opponent argued that she was needed as a doctor, not a politician. Christian-Christensen said her patients gave her permission to serve others.
Other Jobs: Prison Doctors
"Healing behind bars: When your patients are prisoners, and your practice is under high-security surveillance," The New Physician, April 2003, p. 22-26. The benefits of working as a prison doctor are many: regular hours, freedom from the hassles of insurance companies and treating the uninsured, interesting cases. But there are downers: patients often few prison doctors and prison health care negatively and prisons can be depressing places. Most prison physicians have a background in family practice, internal medicine or emergency medicine. Interested? To learn more, visit the web site of the Society of Correctional Physicians: www.corrdocs.org.
Other Jobs: Space Medicine
"Space, the final (medical) frontier; physicians find their place among the stars," The New Physician, March 2002, pp. 11-17. Premed Pathfinder Abstract: Joe Kerwin read science fiction as a kid. Eight years after medical school, he became part of the U.S. space program. He studied the effect of zero gravity on the human body, conducted biomedical research in Skylab, became the first American physician in space. Dr. Drew Gaffney was an associate professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before joining the space shuttle Columbia's 1991 mission. He studied venous pressure in zero gravity. Dr. Bernard Harris talks about meeting the everyday health-care needs of astronauts. Yes, you can get diarrhea in space.... The National Space Biomedical Research Institute, established by NASA, is a group of 12 schools doing NASA-backed life science research. It is based at Baylor College of Medicine. Vanderbilt University has a Center for Space Physiology and Medicine. The Johnson Space Center has a Space Medicine and Life Sciences Directorate. This article accompanied with sidebars on space-related health changes, space medicine career paths and preparation, how NASA's robotics research is being used in surgery.
Other Jobs: Trauma Surgeon, U.S. Air Force Reserves
"Oh, the places you'll go: Jay Johannigman, M.D., trauma surgeon," The New Physician, Sept. 2001, p. 22-23. Premed Pathfinder Abstract: Dr. Jay Johannigman joined the Air Force's Medical Health Professions Scholarship Program after graduating from Case Western Reserve University's medical school. After his required years of service, he decided to stay on with the Air Force Reserves in Cincinnati. When the president travels to remote places, Johannigman joins a team of four other medical professionals that carry lightweight operating room essentials in their backpacks. He also has been at the scene after terrible events such as the Oklahoma City bombing. He practices and teaches trauma medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Suckoid Textbooks? Here are some alternatives....
Of all my science textbooks, only one was exemplary: Brown, LeMay and Bursten's Chemistry: The Central Science.
Bruice's Organic Chemistry was better than the text I had to buy. I am using it as a supplement to my MCAT prep. manual for organic.
The Childers and Jones Contemporary College Physics textbook is reputed to be above average.
I never found the perfect bio tome, but Examkrackers mentions Biological Science by Keeton and Gould as a good text for MCAT prep. This is a difficult book to find, and probably out of date as well.
BTW, the Examkrackers folks have a different good-textbook list than mine, including: Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker; and
Organic Chemistry by Wade. They recommend Chemistry: The Central Science, too! Thinking Physics by Lewis Epstein is recommended as a book to help you learn to intuit science.
Institute for Career Research Monographs
The Institute for Career Research in Chicago publishes some excellent large booklets with in-depth info, including salary ranges and first-person narratives from working professionals, of the usual, unusual and newer specialties.
Here's a list of what's available. Give the ISBN or OCLC number to your librarian to help her get it for you.
Or, ask her if the library subscribes to the Institute's database service.The Insitute for Career Research's web address is: www.careers-internet.org.
Wanna get these monographs without a librarian's mediation? Contact the institute:
Institute for Career Research
1911 W. Barry
Chicago, IL 60657
Healthcare careers in arthritis and rheumatology: physicians, pediatricians, nurses, physical therapists, 2006, 20 pages. ISBN no. 1585114286.
Careers in osteopathic medicine, 2006, 20 pages. ISBN no. 1585113387.
Career as a surgeon: medical doctor, general surgery, 2006, 20 pages. ISBN no. 158511104X.
Careers in pathology: anatomical and clinical, medical doctors, 2006, 20 pages.
OCLC no. 68132413.
Career as a surgical technologist: become an important part of the surgical operating room team: these in-demand healthcare professionals can become certified with a two-year associate degree, 2006, 20 pages. ISBN no. 1585113417.
Your career as a pediatrician: medical doctor providing primary healthcare to children, teenagers and young adults, 2006, 20 pages. ISBN no. 1585112941.
Career as a neurologist, neurosurgeon, neuroscientist, medical doctors and research scientists: healthcare for the brain and central nervous system, 2004, 20 pages. ISBN no. 158511359X.
Careers in occupational and environmental health nursing: providing a safe workplace and keeping workers healthy, 2004, 20 pages. ISBN no. 158511392.
Career as a pharmacist, 2004, 20 pages. OCLC no. 55494213. ISBN: 1585110442.
Career as a family practice physician, 2004, 20 pages. OCLC no. 55494234. ISBN: 1585110264.
Careers in public health, 2004, 20 pages. OCLC no. 55493304. ISBN: 1585112348.
Career as an optometrist: doctor of optometry: respected vision healthcare professional, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 53218196. ISBN: 1585110272.
Career as a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), certified midwife (CM), obstetric and neonatal nurse (RN) : Ensuring safe and healthy pregnancies, deliveries and afterbirths, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC: 52093939. ISBN: 1585114014.
Career as a hospitalist, inpatient physician: fastest growing healthcare specialty: these doctors provide total acute care management for patients while they are in hospitals, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 52093358. ISBN: 1585114006.
Careers in emergency medical services: EMT--paramedic, care, rescue and transportation: helping people in their worst hour of need, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 52093133. ISBN: 1585113069.
Certified Registered Nurse anesthetist--RN/CRNA: demand for these primary providers of anesthetic services far exceeds supply in today's healthcare, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 53250381. ISBN: 1585113220.
Careers in medical research: finding cures for paralysis: spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: unlocking the mysteries of the brain and fixing a broken body, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 52063006. ISBN: 1585111481.
Healthcare career as a geriatric care manager: public health social work : professionals helping the growing population of elderly and their concerned relatives, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 52093013. ISBN: 1484113174.
Career as a psychiatrist: Medical doctors, helping people help themselves, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 53225965. ISBN: 1585111163.
Laser technology: careers in medicine, science and the military, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. : 53256824. ISBN: 1585114049.
Careers in health information technology: medical records specialists, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 52076950. ISBN: 1585112003.
A career as a cardiovascular technologist: healthcare technician assisting physicians: diagnosing and treating heart disease, 2002, 20 pages. OCLC no. 49756885. ISBN: 158511393X .
Careers in complementary and alternative medicine: chiropractors, traditional Chinese medicine, biofeedback technicians, naturopaths, neuromuscular massage therapists: holistic approach to disease prevention, 2003, 20 pages. OCLC no. 52089801. ISBN: 1585113115.
Career as a corrections officer: prison teacher, nurse, drug treatment specialist, 2002, 20 pages. OCLC no. 51050506. ISBN: 1585113085.
Career as a dentist: increasing demand reported for these high prestige, high earning healthcare professionals, 2002, 19 pages. OCLC no. 49757255. ISBN: 1585110108.
A career as a registered nurse (R.N.): helping others by combining science with compassion, 2002, 20 pages. OCLC no. 49757364. ISBN: 1585110256.
Healthcare careers for doctors specializing in allergies-asthma immunology, asthm health educator, respiratory therapist: critical need to treat over 17 million Americans with asthma and 150 million with allergies, 2002, 20 pages. OCLC no. 51173277. ISBN: 1585113980.
Careers in genetics research: cell biology-genetics work in laboratories, hospitals, biotechnology firms, and private practices around the world, 2002, 20 pages. OCLC no. 51051172. ISBN no. 158511300X.
Nursing careers in critical care, acute care, high-tech home care, 2002, 20 pages. OCLC no. 51173274. ISBN: 1585113972.
Careers for medical doctors, nurses, technologists in reproductive healthcare, 2002, 19 pages. OCLC: 49762803. ISBN: 1585113042.
Career as a podiatrist: doctor specializing in foot healthcare, 2002, 19 pages. OCLC: 49762824. ISBN: 1585113107
Career as a biomedical engineer, bioengineering : integrating principles of engineering, medicine, and the sciences to contribute to the health and well-being of all humanity, 2001, 19 pages. OCLC: 46831163. ISBN: 1585113743.
A career in geriatric nursing: taking care of America's elderly, 2001, 19 pages. OCLC: 48389564. ISBN: 1585113875.
Careers in clinical research management in the pharmaceutical industry: helping develop medicines and treatments that will save countless lives: discover new genetic therapies to cure disease, 2001, 20 p. OCLC: 46832756. ISBN: 1585113778.
Career as an anesthesiologist, 2000, 20 pages. OCLC: 45346761. ISBN: 1585111058.
Career as a physician assistant : high level professionals working directly with doctors in delivering healthcare, 2001, 19 pages. OCLC: 48455939.
Careers in Emergency Room Medicine: Trauma Center, 2000, 20 pages. ISBN: 1585113670.
Career as a surgeon, medical doctor (M.D.): Your Goal in Health Care Can Be This High Prestige Professional Specialty in General Surgery, 1998, 19 pages. OCLC: 40412666.
Career as a Pediatrician: Doctor for Children, There Is a Tremendous Need for These Primary Healthcare Providers, 1998, 20 pages. OCLC: 40412270.
Career as a Medical Surgical Technologist, 1998, 24 pages. OCLC: 38995068.
Career as a Doctor of Osteopathy, Osteopathic Physician, 1998, 24 pages. OCLC: 38994995.
Career as a Pathologist, Medical Doctor Specialty, 1998, 24 pages. OCLC: 38994834.
Career as a Dermatologist, Medical Doctor (MD), 1998, 24 pages. OCLC: 38994734.
Careers in Medical and Scientific Illustration, 2000, 19 pages. OCLC: 45299218. ISBN: 1585112283.
Neuroscience: Neurology, Medical Doctors, 1999, 20 pages. OCLC: 42801304.
Careers in Medical Research Technology, Clinical Laboratory Jobs: Help Make Breakthroughs to Defeat Disease and Save Lives, 1995, 24 pages. OCLC: 32341718.
"Premediations: So, you want to be a doctor? So does everybody else," Glenn Altschuler, dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University and a professor of American studies, New York Times Education Life supplement, Aug. 4, 2002, p. 13. Talks about the irrelevance of undergraduate majors to admission committees and the "unwritten requirement" of intensive paid or volunteer experience in health care.
Series on medical specialties, The New Physician. The May/June 2000 issue looked at family practice, internal medicine, ob-gyn and pediatrics. The September 2000 issue covered psychiatry, general surgery and emergency medicine. Find at your academic library or order back issues at www.amsa.org/tnp/sub.cfm
"New Doctors Step Into a Turbulent World," was the first installment of a four-part New York Times series called Life, Death and Managed Care. It ran Nov. 14, 1999 and started on page 1.
Selected Article List on Choosing a Medical Specialty
(Some of these articles have PubMed abstracts or are available free in
full text). From PubMed Searches using the terms "medical students
specialty" or "medical students career choice."
"Is medical school the right place to choose a specialty?" Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), June 6, 2001, pp 2782-3. Available in full text free at msJAMA. Premed Pathfinder abstract: Making a good decision about your specialty can save time and grief. This article explains why: at least one in three doctors leaves or changes practice within five years of completing training. Many women physicians are dissatisfied with medicine or want to change specialties. "Choosing a specialty has been described as assessing one's fit with the perceived attributes of potential specialties, which might include personality, income, lifestyle, intellectual challenge, technological orientation, clinical skill, geographic options, and potential for research or leadership," the authors write. They also cite advice given in Vital Signs: Working Doctors Tell the Real Story About Medical School & Practice, to familiarize ourselves with routine tasks of a particular specialty. Would we enjoy doing this, day in and out?
"Gender equity in undergraduate medical education: a status report," Journal of Women's Health & Gender-based Medicine, April 2001, pp 261-270. PubMed Abstract: This status report summarizes recent data on and studies of women's experiences as medical students. Women medical students in the United States now number over 29,000 - 44% of enrollees. Despite large increases in the numbers of women students, harassment and gender stereotyping continue to detract from their education and opportunities. Moreover, specialty choices have remained remarkably stable, with comparatively few women entering surgery and most subspecialties. Because equal opportunity has not yet been achieved, medical schools need to monitor the experiences of their trainees and to target interventions where problems still exist in order to ensure that progress toward gender equity continues.
"The virtual adviser program: linking students to mentors," Academic Emerging Medicine, May 2001, p 585. PubMed abstract: Emergency medicine (EM) is a popular specialty for medical students who are choosing a career. Many attend medical schools without an affiliated residency in EM and lack both the formal and informal guidance provided by an advisor who is involved in an accredited training program. Others may desire specialized advice based on geographic or specific academic interest. OBJECTIVE: We developed a web-based resource that matches medical students aspiring to a career in EM with faculty mentors, thus creating "virtual advisors." METHODS: Prospective users access the system from a link on the SAEM home page. On the initial visit, demographic information such as gender, medical school, and year in school are collected. Faculty and student guidelines for use are provided this two-tiered system consists of a "just-in-time" resource page that provides short answers to standard queries and links to relevant sites for in-depth analysis of topics relevant to all EM applicants. Students desiring individual advice may register for a "virtual" advisor who can assess career goals and qualifications. Together, they can plan interview and match strategies. Volunteer faculty mentors are assigned based on the student's geographic and demographic preferences and career aspirations. Encounters rely primarily on electronic and/or voice correspondence to suit the needs of the pair. A quality improvement survey is administered at the conclusion of the match cycle. The "Virtual Advisor" web site will be available for an interactive demonstration at this exhibit. CONCLUSION: The implementation of the "Virtual Advisor" program enables all medical students to have access to an appropriate EM faculty career mentor.
"Understanding and improving medical student specialty choice: a synthesis of the literature using decision theory as a referent," Teaching and Learning in Medicine, Spring 2001, pp 117-29. PubMed abstract: Background: As emphasis in medicine has shifted to increasing the number of physicians who choose primary care specialties, many studies of medical specialty choice have been conducted. Although researchers have approached the topic in a number of ways, most approaches have tended to focus on narrow elements of the choice, such as the effect of programs or curricula. A more comprehensive approach is possible by fitting the process to a preexisting broad theoretical framework. SUMMARY: This synthesis of the literature examines specialty choice from the perspective of decision theory--with its aims of understanding how decisions are made, providing information about the quality of decisions, and improving the decision-making process. CONCLUSION: This approach has the potential to not only help deconstruct the process of decision making regarding specialty choice but also uncover information about the best ways to help medical students learn to make wise decisions.
"When do medical students identify career-influencing physician role models?" Academic Medicine, April 2001, pp 380-2. Available free in full text at www.academicmedicine.org. PubMed abstract: Purpose: To identify when medical students gain physician role models relative to when they make their specialty choices. METHOD: The 1998 graduating class of one medical school was surveyed about when and where they had made contact with their role models and whether they had made contact before or after making their specialty choices. Students also provided data about their demographics, curriculum pathways (problem-based or traditional), and specialty choices at matriculation and graduation. RESULTS: Of the 89 graduating seniors who responded (62%), 21 had role models they had known prior to matriculation, 51 had encountered their role models in medical school, and 51 had met their role models before making their specialty choices. Of the 51 students who had encountered their role models in medical school, 33 (65%) had done so before making their specialty choices. The mean time from matriculation to meeting a role model was 24.9 +/- 11.6 months, and students on the problem-based learning pathway had met their role models earlier than had students on the traditional pathway. CONCLUSIONS: Most medical students have physician role models at graduation, and many of these students identify their physician role models at a point when the interactions can influence their specialty choices.