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Leona Gunasekera

If you are concerned about the years of training, medicine may not be the right field for you. Surgery, in particular, is a time intensive field, not simply in terms of years, but also in terms of day to day. Surgery residencies are notoriously grueling, and have very long hours. My advice is to find a surgeon whom you can observe or "shadow," in order to get some insight into what life as a surgeon is like. Medicine is a demanding field but it can also be very rewarding. In terms of cost, you can attend medical school for free through the U.S. military. While financial aid is a bit sparse, pretty much everyone at my medical school is on federal loans, and there are various jobs once you finish your medical training which can provide you with loan forgiveness.

Answered 1 year ago

Leona Gunasekera
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Ann Lozier

I would recommend getting as much exposure to the field as possible. Try to set up job shadowing and volunteering at a hospital and I would probably consider getting exposure to multiple fields in medicine besides neurosurgery so that you have a good idea of what the medical profession is like as a whole.

I don't want to discourage you, but you need to understand that becoming a doctor takes years, and years (12+) of training, so you really need to be sure that you understand the good and bad parts of the medical field so that you can make an informed decision about whether to apply to medical school. You should also note that just getting in to medical school does not guarantee that you can become a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgery is one of the most competitive residencies to match in to, so you have to have be an outstanding medical student to have chance at getting in to that specialty.

Again, I don't want any of what I said to discourage you. I made the decision to go to medical school and I am only excited about the prospect of becoming a physician. I will also be taking on lots of debt, which is scary, but I will eventually be able to repay it (it's just going to take years)

Answered 1 year ago

Ann Lozier
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Jessica Immonen

If time and cost are a serious concern for you become a neurosurgeon may not be the appropriate field. You will spend approximately 12 years training for this field (4 yr BS, 4 yrs MD, at least 4 yrs residency, maybe more). Not to mention getting into an MD program with only a bachelor's degree is becoming increasingly difficult, many applicants have master's degrees and in some cases even doctorates in other fields. Cost is high, although I find many friends and colleagues in the field were able to pay off their debt in a reasonable amount of time.

Don't be discourage though! There is an awesome field known as Physician Assistant that may be right up your alley. PAs are able to work in surgical settings and specialize in fields such as neurology. Schooling is about 2.5 years and tends to be more affordable than medical school. Many patients say they love their PA and have questionable feelings about their physician because the PA really has the time to interact with patients and take time getting to know them and writing up a clinical history. It is definitely more of a people person's job so those that like the social aspect of the workplace really thrive in this field!

I am a professor of anatomy at Rocky Mountain University in Provo, Utah and we are developing a brand new PA program. Our inaugural class will arrive in the summer of 2015 and our accreditation process is on target. It is a great field and a great university to get training at so look it up if there is interest!

Answered 2 years ago

Jessica Immonen