From the moment you enter medical school, you will be asked, “What specialty are you most interested in?” Determining your specialty – the specific area of medicine in which you intend to practice – is the most important step in your career. Yet it’s no easy task.
In your third and fourth years of medical school, you will go through clinical rotations, which provide you with experience in various areas of medicine. This is usually the best time to explore your interests and begin to narrow your specialty choices before you apply to residency programs. To make the best decision, you’ll need to know both the ins and outs of the specialty you’re considering, and know what you want from your career.
In the increasingly fragmented world of health care, one thing remains constant: family physicians are dedicated to treating the whole person. Unlike other specialties that are limited to a particular organ or disease, family medicine integrates care for patients of all genders and every age, and advocates for the patient in a complex health care system.
Family medicine is for you if you want:
Get an in-depth look at what it’s like to be a family physician.
Once you have identified what specialty you’re interested in, consider how that specialty aligns with your personal and professional desires, needs, and goals.
To get clarity on what it is that you want for your medical career, reflect on the questions below. Answering these questions honestly takes a great deal of maturity and insight. It can be helpful to seek feedback from people who know you personally and professionally. Mentors are a good resource.