So You are a Med School Graduate? Now What?

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Becoming a doctor or nurse or simply having a job within the medical field is often a dream for many young people. For many who choose to make this dream a reality, there can be many unexpected challenges. That doesn’t mean, though, that it isn’t a worthwhile pursuit or that it isn’t right for them. Becoming a part of the medical field can be a lot of work and require a lot of dedication, no matter what the job is, but it can be gratifying. How do you find success as a med school graduate?

If you have started down the path of getting a job in the medical field, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of work and requirements and may feel concerned about just making it to your goal at all, let alone succeeding. Though, the reality is that with enough patience and hard work, it can be possible to have a successful career in the medical field, no matter what it is. If you’re looking for ways to help yourself along your post med school path, here are some things to consider.

1. Take A Moment for Yourself

Whether you’re just starting the process of going to medical school or have just graduated, it can be important to take a moment for yourself during this process. It can be a difficult and stressful process, so taking some time to relax and focus on yourself from time to time can be important. Not only is this good for your emotional and mental health, but taking a step back and removing your focus from your goals in the medical field for a moment can help you get a better perspective about what’s important to you and where you truly want to head next. This can also be a great way to check-in with yourself and keep yourself motivated about taking the next step on your path towards your goal.

2. What Do You Want To Do Next

After you have taken some time to assess your plan, you should be able to decide what you really want to do next. When you study medicine, you have a lot of options for what you can do. Whether you see yourself doing something more general or getting into a more specialized type of medicine, your options can be limitless. Additionally, deciding whether to specialize in a particular vein of medicine can be an important consideration.

Some doctors may know right away that they have a particular interest that they want to pursue further and do so. However, others may not have a specific interest in mind and will go a more general route instead. While some may think that getting into a general practice may not be as lucrative in the long run, the reality is that this path can still offer a lot of benefits and career options. Not only that, but there is still lots of learning that can be done in this area of medicine. Further, there will always be a demand for general practitioners.

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3. Don’t Forget Your Own Health

Getting through med school can be tough on its own, not to mention all the work that comes after you begin a career. Because of tight schedules, high workloads, and long hours, many professionals in the medical field begin to let their own health slip. This can seem very ironic, since they should know better than anyone how important it can be to look after their physical health properly, yet it happens all the time. So, no matter how busy you are working in the medical field, taking time to eat healthy diets full of fruits and vegetables and leafy greens, working out regularly, staying hydrated, de-stressing, and getting good sleep should all be priorities for you.

Not only is it important for you to look after your health for your own sake, but it’s important for the sake of any future patients you may have as well. If you are not feeling healthy, you will likely not function at the top of your game. This means that you won’t give your patients the best and that you could potentially be more likely to cause them to harm in some way. Beyond that, taking care of yourself sets a good example. A patient may find it hard to take medical advice from a healthcare professional clearly not in good health. On the flip side, taking care of yourself can set a good example and help encourage your patients to take better care of themselves as well.

4. Seek Help

Many who seek careers in the medical field are ambitious and driven and are typically not the kind of people who like to lean on others or ask for help. However, no one can do everything on their own, and asking others for help when you need it can be an important part of being successful in your field. If you’re struggling to find the right path for you, there can be many who can counsel you and help you see what you should truly pursue. If you are struggling under the weight of the workload and the stress you have to deal with daily, seeking help for this is crucial. Jobs in the medical field can be high stress and can lead to burning out quickly.

Those in the medical field are also especially at risk for burnout because they have to spend their days helping others feel better. Taking care of others and putting their needs first continually can lead to burnout quickly and make it even harder for you to look out for yourself properly. This is due in part to the fact that taking care of others isn’t just a job, but it can take an emotional toll, as well. Knowing when you need to take a break or reach out for help can help prevent yourself from burning out or experiencing a crisis.

5. Make Friends and Network

While it’s important to reach out to others when you need help, it’s also important to reach out to others to make connections and to network, as well. Networking can be a great way to socialize, make friends, and get your name out there, but it can also be a great way to help advance your career as well. Keeping in touch with others and reaching out to make new friends within the field can be a great way to become aware of new ideas and job opportunities. Additionally, the more you network, the more you will be seen and recognized in your field. This can help you not only build up your list of contacts but boost your status within the field as well. Beyond that, the more that you network, the greater amount of resources you will have available to you, which can help you be more successful yourself and make you better able to help others along their path.

6. Be Realistic 

For many who recently graduate from medical school, landing a high-status job may be important. However, for many, this is not the case. When leaving medical school, you may feel that you have already put in a ton of work and are ready to reap the rewards at a high-paying or high-status job of your choice. The reality is, though, that you will likely have to work your way up first. Not only that but having high expectations about where your career will start may set you up for disappointment. The more you can be humble and realistic about where you will have to start your career, the more likely you are to feel content about where you land, and the better able you will be to learn from the opportunities you do get.

7. Find a Mentor

When you’re just starting on your path, it can help seek out a knowledgeable mentor. This can be particularly true if you are looking to get into a more specialized field where you may need more detailed guidance about reaching your goals.

While some may feel reticent about seeking out a mentor, the reality is that there are many experienced professionals in the medical field that would love to help guide younger professionals and share their wisdom with them as they embark on their career path. Finding a mentor early on can be important because the better they know you, the better able they will be to understand what’s important to you and counsel you on how to reach your goals. For instance, if you are a Baylor University grad, connect with mentors such as Christopher Sarofim, who will help you take that critical first step after graduation.

8. Be Professional

Just because you have gotten through medical school doesn’t always mean that you’re fully prepared for your next steps as a medical professional. While you may have a lot of knowledge, other areas are important when dealing with the public and becoming the kind of doctor that patients will feel comfortable with. One of the first things you should make sure that you have a grasp on is how to communicate effectively. Not only is it important to communicate with others that you work with, but you must be able to communicate with your patients well. This is because a miscommunication could lead to improper care of your patient, which could be harmful to them. Not only that, but you will need to be able to explain treatments and care plans to many different kinds of people in terms that are clear to them and that they can understand.

Something else that is a crucial part of being a professional is being able to have empathy for your patients. While it may not always feel easy, the reality is that it makes a huge difference for your patients. Many who are coming to you are not feeling well and in need of some understanding. Even though you may come across many cases within a day and see many more severe things than what they are showing you, their issue is likely significant to them, so being empathetic and showing them that it is important to you is important.

Along with being empathetic, knowing how to show respect is another key component of being a professional. Although you may not always understand everyone you meet, it is still necessary to show them respect. This can be particularly true when dealing with others with very different backgrounds, values, or cultures. At the end of the day, no matter how different they are from you, they are still deserving of respect, and as a professional, you must be able to extend it to them while you are on the job.

Lastly, responding quickly and thinking on your feet is another skill that you will need to be a professional. This can be true even if you don’t work in an emergency setting. If you are working with the public and have health issues of any kind, emergencies can still occur even in non-emergency settings. Being able to think quickly and attend to them is a necessary part of being a medical professional.

A Few Last Thoughts

Even though having a job in the medical field is a dream for many, seeking a career in the medical field can come along with a lot of challenges and can be exhausting even before you have graduated from school. That doesn’t mean, though, that it isn’t a worthwhile pursuit or that you won’t be proud of all of your accomplishments. By doing things like taking time for yourself and looking after your health, you can help ensure that you are physically and mentally prepared for the challenges ahead of you. By seeking out mentors, networking, and seeking out help when you know you need it, you can help develop important relationships and ensure that you have a safety net when you need others to lean on. Also, by putting in the effort to make sure that you are a caring and well-rounded professional, rather than someone with a lot of knowledge, you can help ensure that you will see the success you’re looking for in your career medical field.

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