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So, here’s a few reasons why NOT to do medicine.
Money up there for being one of the worst reasons to do medicine.
While being a doctor offers excellent job security, the compensation is only decent a long way down the road after slowly building up. Even in that case, in this country, the pay for top doctors is measly in comparison to doctor pay in the US which is likely where the stereotype feeds from.
The truth is there are easier ways to make money. Considering how competitive the medical application process is with its multiple hurdles, if you’ve got the grit and wit to do what it takes to be a doctor, the chances are if money is your main goal your efforts would translate to greater earnings in another field.
Secondly, even if there was enough money, that probably wouldn’t be enough to bring you through the whole process healthily and successfully.
Another bad reason to do medicine.
Again, it probably won’t work out. Without an interest in medicine or the career it would make a hard process even harder. This would be bad for your health and affect your success in the field. Doing medicine will take up a sizable chunk of your life and will be torture if you dislike it.
There are other reasons not to do medicine but these will be addressed in the rest of this article about why to do medicine.
Why is your dedication to medicine important?
University interviewers want the best doctors and believe you need to be highly motivated to be successful in the course and as a doctor. Your job is to demonstrate your dedication and commitment to medicine and prove you will love it in sickness and health until death do you part.
One way of showing this is demonstrating that you were proactive and took the decision to choose medicine seriously. The best ways to do this are work experience (this may also involve trying a field that’s not medicine – did you enjoy it as much? Why not?), talking to doctors or medical and other research. This should help you understand why you want to do medicine.
The next thing to do is show how you actually understand the career and support how it matches up to your reasons for doing medicine. Here are a few common reasons why people would want to medicine:
You have an interest in Science, leading to an interest in Medicine as a component of Science.
You like to make a difference. You want to help people/patients and overall, make a good impact on society.
You like the idea of a professional that offers you life-long learning opportunities.
You want to be involved in a dynamic profession that is constantly changing and makes a significant impact.
These are just a few examples but should not be your reasoning just because you’ve read them here!
While it’s fine to have a common underlying reason to do medicine, it should be personal. This usually involves citing experience – see model answers which we’ll cover later.
It’s important to note that one of these reasons in isolation is not enough to enjoy medicine as a whole. Medicine is a really weird/unique career that you need to try fit like a glove.
Also, the actual reasons aren’t that important as long as they are somewhat sensible. What’s more important is the way you back up your answers.
In general, you need to show that you understand Medicine is a lifelong profession, and that you understand the pathway you’re about to embark upon.
Example common medicine interview dedication & commitment questions & answers
In this section, we’ll go through some example questions and answers that might come up in your medical interview.
#1: Why did you choose Medicine?
The classic medicine interview question – you definitely want to specifically prepare this one and use it as a framework for other ones.
There are many ways to answer this. In this example, I state a reason, explain it then support it with evidence. You can alternatively, for instance, base your whole answer around an experience, or multiple experiences.
Start with a direct answer to the question listing main points.
I like medicine because it connects science and art.
Explain your two points.
Medicine is a science – as a doctor, you use medicine to manipulate the body to respond effectively to disease. This requires knowledge and understanding of the way our body has evolved to work. Application of this knowledge (based on understanding) is necessary to make informed clinical decisions.
Art – there aren’t always clear rules dictating how best to treat a patient. A doctor needs to weigh pros/cons of treatments, treat patients with empathy, approach ethical dilemmas.
Medicine allows me to directly help people and make a positive difference while being challenged/mentally stimulated.
Medicine is a unique career that cannot be pursued based on anecdotal evidence or through reading the description of the job alone. Hence why I arranged work experience to find out more about the career.
Gives supporting evidence – being proactive. Evidence and experience are what makes your question more personal.
Be sure to use the STARR interview when citing experience. See this article on it if you’re unsure what we mean.
The job doesn’t only involve treating patients. It involves constant learning, teaching colleagues, supporting colleagues. [expand…]
This shows a good understanding of the career and is useful to mention.
#2: Doctor vs Nurse: Since you like helping people, why wouldn’t you consider being a nurse?
Remember to try address these concerns (not necessarily explicitly) in “Why medicine?”.
This question is about having a strong understanding of the role of a doctor and the role of a nurse. You can get this from work experience or research. Tread carefully, doctors and nurses both play different crucial, nuanced roles in healthcare.
You can approach this question by starting out by describing the differences and why both are crucial, then why you are more suited to being a doctor. As always, drawing on experience is a plus. Here are some acceptable differences to mention:
Nurses usually have greater intimacy with the patient / spend more time per patient (very emotionally rewarding).
Nursing has its advantages.
Doctors have ultimate responsibility for the patient. They drive the decision-making process. Although nurses contribute significantly to it, the final decision rests with the doctor.
Maybe you enjoy taking responsibility/making decisions – this is a good opportunity to back the statement with examples of you taking responsibility or making decisions!
While some nurses these days have taken roles traditionally held by doctors, this includes only a small minority in very specialised areas. Doctors are given clinical expertise of areas beyond that specialty. They are protocol-based.
It’s not acceptable to say you would rather be a doctor because you want to use science as both do.
Doctors and nurses have different responsibilities and it is important they work together towards one goal.
End with a concluding statement.
#3: Doctor vs Researcher: Since you enjoy science and making a difference, why wouldn’t you consider being a researcher?
Again, answering this question requires a good understanding of the role of a doctor and researchers in the wider healthcare system.
While I respect and understand the role researchers play in healthcare, I feel like I’d better fit being a doctor.
The responsibilities of doctors can be divided into clinical, academic and management. Doctors manage patients, learn, teach and work together / support each other to provide the best possible quality of life for their patients.
You can use this to argue you favour the variety. As a doctor you can conduct research as well as directly help patient contact.
While being a researcher would enable me to make a difference on a wider scale while applying science, I find direct patient contact to be fulfilling. [example of patient contact from work experience that was ‘fulfilling’]
The fundamental difference is wide vs direct. As usual, be sure to mention work experience to back up your answers.
#4: What aspects of being a doctor appeal to you?
This is another common question. The interviewers want to know you have a realistic perspective of the medical career. You can structure this like “Why medicine?” but with greater focus on the job itself. For this question it’s a good idea to mention specific experiences. Here are some reasons the career might appeal to you:
Helping people / making a differences
Explain how doctors help patients – give an example from your work experience.
Prove you like helping people – mention any voluntary work you have done or a situation where you have made a difference, then reflect on how it felt and why you enjoyed it.
Medicine as a science
Explain how doctors use science – with an example maybe!
Prove you enjoy science – mention any further reading you have done, or any extra-curricular activities you have done that involved science
Being able to be involved in research and academia / teaching alongside being a clinician
Explain why you would enjoy research and teaching – provide an example to show you enjoy teaching? Maybe you mentored a younger student with Biology or their medicine application, or gave a talk?
You enjoy teamwork, problem-solving and leadership / management.
Providing examples of doctors using teamwork, problem-solving and/or leadership will show you were attentive during your work experience and have a sound understanding of the medical career.
You get the idea – giving examples of you using teamwork, problem-solving or leading will seal the deal.
#4: What aspects of being a doctor DON'T appeal to you?
The key is to maintain a balanced view. You should be aware of the flaws while not making the profession seem all doom and gloom – justifying why it’s a fit to you. Maintain positivity without belittling these problems. Here are some drawbacks to being a doctor along with counter-arguments:
The job can be very stressful as being a doctor is such a great responsibility – stress can affect personal life, the time-commitment along can also affect personal life
Counter: It’s important to find a good work-life balance. A good coping mechanism could be not compromising hobbies / extra-curriculars.
You could mention how you are dealing with this currently – what extracurricular activities do you do?
Being too attached to patients – the burden of their life can be difficult to bear. Dealing with death can be hard.
Counter: It’s important to talk to people and not bottle up feelings. Thankfully there are plenty of support available for doctors.
Refer to the specific support available to doctors. You could mention an example of an occasion where you spoke out or helped someone else with problems they had.
Think about your honest answers to dedication and commitment and develop those reasons in your mind. Remember to use the STARR technique for interview answers referencing your past experiences (Situation, Task, Action, Results, Reflection). This strategy will help you construct a complete answer.
Finally, make sure you truly understand what it means to be a doctor versus the other related pathways you could have taken.
Our Final Commitment & Dedication Tips
In conclusion, the most important points to consider when answering “Dedication and Commitment” questions are:
Make it good!
Have a good reason for doing medicine.
Understand the profession.
Have a good understanding of the road to becoming a doctor and the career itself.
Structure your answers.
Structure your answers logically. Use the STARR technique when referencing experience.
Use relevant examples.
ack up points with examples of experiences – the way you answer can be more important than your direct answer!
Relax when answering.
Not specifically a dedication or commitment tip… but a very important one nonetheless. Relax and be your best self on interview day!
If you have an upcoming Medicine interview, at 6med we offer tons of useful support that can help you get prepared for the real thing.
Also, if money is a problem – don’t let it be! We offer bursaries that will either make our support free or very affordable, you can check out our bursary application here.