What to do after a degree in medicine?

What to do after a degree in medicine?

You may think that studying for a degree in medicine is one-dimensional with a single career outcome. There is so much more to a medical degree than becoming a doctor.

Most of us would feel we have a good idea of the options after studying for a degree in medicine. We’d likely imagine white coat wearing doctors or a surgeon in standard operating scrubs. However, the truth is that studying for a medical degree can lead to several opportunities and career paths other than becoming a doctor. Are you interested? Well, then read on as we explore potential career options and what you can do after a degree in medicine.

Medical specialization

Studying a degree in medicine exposes you to a variety of specialist areas. One of these may spark your interest. That would mean further study after completing your medical degree and serving your medical internship. Bear in mind that becoming a specialist doesn’t happen overnight, and you’d need four to six years to be fully qualified.

Finding your medical niche can involve speaking to professionals in the field, conducting research and evaluating your potential career path. Some of the more prominent and well-known medical specializations include:

  • Anaesthesiology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Paediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedics

Medical research and academia

You may find that conducting research and teaching in the field of medicine are more to your liking. There are several avenues you can take to do so. You may wish to become a medical research scientist at a university or in the private sector. Here you would research diseases, pharmaceuticals, and possible new treatments. Becoming a medical research scientist also involves earning a master’s and Ph.D. degree in a relevant area of specialization.

If you have always liked teaching and facilitation, then completing academic degrees in medicine could be for you. An academic path would allow you to join a university faculty or institute, which will be necessary. You could end up teaching undergraduate students in topics such as pathology, anatomy, or chemistry. As you progress further, this may develop into the supervision of research projects and dissertations. 

Medical and healthcare management

Having qualified as a medical professional, you can turn your skills towards the management and operations side of healthcare. You may wish to augment your medical degree with an academic qualification in management or finance as well. As a medical or healthcare manager, you could work in hospitals, laboratories, community health services, pharmaceutical companies and even GP practices.

Healthcare management encompasses several specialist areas including:

  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Strategy
  • Supply chain and logistics management
  • Healthcare law
  • Epidemiology

Technical and medical writing

Medical expertise is in high demand, especially knowledge of the technical and clinical aspects of the field. Organisations, governments, universities, and companies need this to be easy for non-medical professionals to understand and interpret. This is where the role of a medical and technical writer comes into its own. You become a translator of sorts presenting complex concepts, ideas and information into more understandable language.

As a medical writer, you could work on clinical trial documents, research papers, medicine inserts, grants, regulatory frameworks, advertisements, and manuals. In some cases, you may even be writing documentation and working up research results for other medical professionals. Becoming a medical or technical writer requires attention to detail, research skills, and excellent written and verbal communication.  

Insurance, law, and public health

Graduates with medical degrees are also sought after by both the legal and insurance sector. Medical law is a natural home for a medical graduate. Law firms, governments and companies require those with knowledge of the medical field to consult and advise on laws related to medicine and medical professionals.

The health insurance industry creates policies and packages for both clients and organisations to address risk, medical needs, and the cost of healthcare. Insurance companies need to consider a complex interaction of factors when structuring their policies. As a medical graduate, you could provide input on the complexities of healthcare management, pathologies, disease, and risks. Further, a medical degree equips you with excellent research and data management skills. These skills are often useful when working out how to create effective insurance policies.

Lastly, there is the field of public health. You could work as a professional in the field researching and promoting public health initiatives. This may include, designing policies, regulations, campaigns, and interventions to ensure the health of the general population. You’ll be creating effective health strategies and doing so to improve the efficiency of health services.

So, there you have it. Studying for a medical degree doesn’t only mean becoming a doctor. 

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