How to see multiple departments?/How did you know you wanted to be a doctor?

<p>I'm a college freshman who is still on the fence about becoming a doctor. </p>

<p>A big part of my uncertainty is that I've never actually been in any kind of hospital environment. I'm making plans to get some exposure this summer. Is there a way to see multiple departments of a hospital, or do I have to research, contact, and shadow professionals in each department? If I don't like my experience shadowing doctors, would I find experiences shadowing nurses to be better?</p>

<p>Another part of it is that I don't think I have what it takes to deal with sick/disabled people, be responsible for others, cool under pressure, very social (because I'm so shy), etc. Which of those skills come with practice, and which problems should just make it clear that I'm not cut out for a career as a doctor?</p>

<p>Here are the careers I'm interested in (my top interests are brain or psychiatric disorders, medical technology, and for sure working with children):</p>

<pre><code>neonatologist
neurologist
nurse
pediatrician
physical therapist
psychiatrist
radiologist
speech pathologist
surgeon
</code></pre>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Unless your local hospital offers some sort of summer internship program for pre meds/high school students, you’ll need to make all the arrangements yourself to shadow in multiple departments. </p>

<p>One of my daughters found that by being a long term (>6 months) volunteer/employee at a hospital that finding doctors/nurses/multiple depts willing to allow her to shadow got easier & easier. (She gained a good reputation as a reliable & diligent worker who “asked good questions” and didn’t get in the way so doctors/therapists were willing to allow her to shadow.)</p>

<p>Also most SLPs and PTs don’t practice in hospital settings. (Some do; most don’t.) You may get a better feel for those professions if you can shadow in both inpatient and out-patients settings.</p>

<p>BTW, I have to ask–given your stated interests, why are radiology & surgery on your list? They seem like real outliers.</p>

<p>Thanks for the response! </p>

<p>My in radiology pretty much stems from my experience with a medical imaging course I recently took, combined with the fact that I did well in the math and computer science courses I took during the fall and am thinking of majoring in applied math. And my interest in surgery comes from that being the field I’ve had the most exposure to through television, and that it doesn’t involve as much face-to-face interaction (I’m probably wrong about that, though).</p>

<p>Surgery does involve considerable face-to-face with patients. I used to think it didn’t, but my older D (currently finishing MS3 and planning on applying in a surgical specialty in the fall) say that’s not true. She says that general surgeons do have significant amounts of patient interactions, both before and after surgery. I have a friend who’s a transplant surgeon and he does follow-up care on some of his patients for years, even decades, afterwards. </p>

<p>FWIW, both my Ds (both now med students) were applied math majors in college. Both have done extensive research in either radiation studies (D1, second major in physics) or neuro-imaging (D2, second major in neuroscience). If you have any specific questions, PM me.</p>