Residents: it is time to choose a path and abandon others

Paulo Coelho said: “he was not afraid of difficulties: what scared him was the obligation of having to choose a path. Choosing one path meant abandoning others. This is choosing a place for specialization, knowing that choosing a path means abandoning others. So It is difficult on many occasions to make a choice like this.

We are in the decisive moments in the professional life of our future specialists, all kinds of doctors. Go
to focus a little more on doctors, a vast majority and fellow professionals.

These days, thousands of newly medical graduates, allow me to continue calling them that, I am from that era of “graduates” and I can no longer change what we have always been. I studied medicine between 1974 and 1980, 6 years of bachelor’s degree, the same ones that continue to be now, 6 years of the same, but calling it “degree”, an exception only for Medicine. Therefore, a “degree and a half” that should have special consideration. I do not want to go into this topic now that generates certain blisters.

Well, these young doctors, they began their studies at school a long time ago, many of them already knew that they wanted to be doctors, that to do so they had to make a lot of effort, have very good grades, be the best students. They knew that in order to enter medicine they needed some of the highest grades in school and in selectivity (whatever it is called now). I started medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1974 and then there was still no selectivity, we had a “medical access exam” as a filter to limit the number of students. Adult stories.

These young students they finished their studies, they entered medicine, they spent 6 hard years of study, with many teaching hours, practical classes, a lot of work. They finished their careers and started, some even started before finishing, the preparation of the MIR, they dedicated practically a year to it, day after day studying 10, 12 hours, doing eternal drills, and the big day arrived, the appointed day, that day that you face hours of examination, the assessment of knowledge, an exam that can decide your whole professional life.

But this does not end there. After a long and tense wait, the exam notes come out, you already know what number you have, you do your calculations comparing with previous years, you know that since you don’t arrive when it comes to choosing certain specialties. It’s time to meditate, assess the pros and cons of each possible choice, see possible teaching units, where to choose, investigate the different centers, talk to older residents, make your list. Does a specialty come first wherever you have to go? Do you value the city and hospital, family closeness or maintaining a relationship more? Each one has their concerns and doubts, each one has their expectations.

In the end you have to choose and there come some criticisms that I don’t understand. In social networks, information such as “game time and result” appear quickly. Number 1 chooses specialty X at such hospital; number 6 chooses specialty Y in the hospital which, the most chosen specialties on the first day are…, hospital Z takes first place, etc. We see at the moment the evolution of the election. The same specialties of years ago sweep first place, they also keep their lockers to zero the first days. The first ones who opt for the specialty of family medicine appear and are the subject of news, that if the number 35 has chosen family, that if the first day they have already chosen this specialty 8, … Every year the same gibberish, the same news.

The first critical classics also appear on the reasons for choosing the first specialties; that if they look more for their exits in the private sector, that if this and that. The truth is that there are also those who are critical of those who choose thinking about whether in that service of “free the guard” or if there are too many. I am left with the manifestations of joy of those who are exultant with their choice.

Whatever it is, the choice must be respected. Each one chooses freely and thinking about what each one wants. More would be missing. They are older to make their decisions and we must respect it. If you are looking to make teaching quality compatible with respect for their labor rights and at the same time do what you like the most, then great. That what you want is a specialty that guarantees “comfortable” work, too. That what you want is a specialty that has a private outlet, well, perfect. That you want a specialty more closely linked to the world of research, a laboratory, with a certain distance from the patient, because it is your decision. Fortunately we live in a free country, we can do what we want or can, Medicine has many paths that we can choose.

Term. Choose what you want, without fear, without any shamedo what interests you the most, think that you have 40 years ahead of you and it is not always easy to make a change if you make a mistake. Good luck in the election and good luck.