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Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers!

Some General Questions

nikon50bigmanikon50bigma User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 204 Junior Member
edited November 2007 in Careers in Medicine
Hey Everyone,
I'm new here and thought this would be a good place to ask some questions which will lead me in the right direction.

1. I'm thinking about being an Oncologist primarily because many people in my family died of that. Does that justify me to pursue a career in onogoly?

2. Could anyone recomemnd any good schools on the west coast of the US for that?

3. What would I be going to college for- onology or premed?
Thanks!
Post edited by nikon50bigma on

Replies to: Some General Questions

  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    1.) Obviously not in and of itself. Combined with other factors, it makes for a natural impetus.

    2.) This is not a concern until you reach residency.

    3.) You would be a "premed". You would be majoring in any of the liberal arts disciplines: sociology, economics, English, math, biology, chemistry, etc.

    Being a premed simply means you're taking a few prerequisite courses (approx. 10-12). The rest of your college course selection is entirely unfettered.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,751 Senior Member
    damn...BDM beat me to the punch.



    1) I'd feel "better" about this if you were struck by the care they received (that you personally witnessed) not just because people in your family had died of cancer.

    2) Any undergraduate school you love will be perfect. Any school can be the best school for you if it's the right place for you. Look for a balance of academic, social, emotional, and physical factors.

    3) Pre-med is not a major, just an advising category. Since you'll need a bachelor's degree, you'll need to pick a major. This can be anything that interests you. For example, I was a sociology major pre-med. BlueDevilMike (another poster on this board) was an Economics major.

    4) Don't worry about medical specialty right now. If you're a HS senior, you're at a minimum of 10 years away from making that decision, on a path that is fraught with major hurdles. Focus first on getting good grades in HS so you can get into a college you like. Then focus on your college courses, your campus and community involvement, your clinical and volunteer experiences. Then you can prepare for the MCAT, begin the application process, interview, and hopefully get accepted. Once your in medical school, you need to study your ass off like never before to learn the things they expect you to know in your medical school classes. Then you spend 5 weeks preparing for Step 1 of the USMLE (United States' Medical Licensing Examination). Then in your third year, you'll begin clinical clerkships in standard fields like Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Psyc and Surgery. Then you'll have a better idea of where you're heading. But Oncology requires a residency in Internal Medicine which is 3 years. By this point, you'll have seen enough to feel decently confident that oncology is right for you, but you still won't have to begin making that decision final until the second year of your Internal Med residency when you begin applying for Fellowships...
  • sports61khsports61kh Registered User Posts: 1,025 Senior Member
    just for knowledge, how hard or easy is it to flunk/get kicked out of med school?
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,751 Senior Member
    Nearly impossible.

    Most schools have so much invested in your education that they will do what they can to keep you around. At my medical school, if you failed two classes in one year they would make you retake the year. If you failed one you just had to retake the single course you failed during the summer.

    In order to get removed, you had to fail the same year twice (which did happen to one kid who was a year ahead of me, failed M2 year, repeated with my class, and failed that). I'm not sure what would have happened if you failed M1, repeated successfully, gone on to M2, and then failed that...not sure what would happen. It would be expensive though.

    As far as USMLE Step 1. Most schools require you to pass this before going on to clinical clerkships. At my school, you have to attempt it, and then scores come back in about 6 weeks. If you failed, they allow you to finish the clerkship you are on (unless it is Internal Medicine since that's 12 weeks), then pull you out of your next clerkship so you can study for a repeat. If you fail the second try, they pull you out of the third year entirely, allow you to essentially audit the second semester of the M2 year, and try again, and will join the class behind you in the M3 clerkships. If you fail on the third attempt, then you are removed entirely from the school.

    All that said, professionalism is a big deal in medical schools and cheating/plagiarism/unprofessional conduct can result in serious consequences including expulsion.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    Flunking out of medical school is basically impossible. Getting kicked out for non-academic reasons is still rare, but not unheard of.
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