Practical Steps to Systematically Research Your Doctor - Part 1

Author : bufordday
Publish Date : 2021-01-14


Practical Steps to Systematically Research Your Doctor - Part 1

Sometimes you simply don't have a choice when it comes to the doctor who takes care of you. This might be the case if you're visiting the urgent care or emergency room, or if your doctor is the only one in a small town. But normally, you take ample time to research your doctor to make sure he or she is the one you want.

If you are interested in finding the best possible doctor for yourself or a loved one, this series of articles are designed specifically for you. When you are done reading, you should be an expert researcher so that you can help yourself, friends, and family members find a trusted doctor.

PART I - Understanding Your Doctor's Early Years

Just like sharing stories of your childhood years helps your friends appreciate who you are as a person, it's important to understand your doctor's early years.

Let's go back in time, before your doctor started his career, before residency, and even before medical school. To get a better idea about what being a doctor is all about, we need to look at the college years and the process to get into medical school.

Coursework in College

In college, students usually work toward a degree, such as a Associates of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Majors range from chemistry and engineering all the way to business or music. Unlike common misconceptions, there are actually no required majors to get into medical school. Instead, there is a set of required courses for medical school.

Most schools require:

1 year of Biology
1 year of General Chemistry
1 year of Organic Chemistry
1 year of Physics
English
Some schools also require Calculus and/or Biochemistry. All of these courses can be spread out during the college years.

So that means a concert pianist might work toward a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Performing Arts, take the required science courses, and apply for medical school.

The Entrance Exam

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In addition to coursework, most medical schools require an entrance exam, called the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). Administered by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test to assess problem solving skills, critical thinking, writing skills and knowledge of science concepts and principles. The test currently costs $230.

Interview Process

Like most job applications, getting into medical school requires an interview. Interviewers often ask questions about why the applicant wants to be a doctor, views on health care reform, and pose complex ethical questions.

The Final Selection

Obviously, the better the GPA and test score of the student, the more likely it is for him or her to get into medical school. For example, in 2008, someone with a GPA of 3.0 (B average) had only a 21% chance of getting in. Even amongst the students with GPA 3.8 and above, 26% were rejected for one reason or another-usually because of a lower MCAT score. Applicants who seem to have lapses in ethical decision-making are often weeded out as well.

According to the AAMC, for the 2007-2008 entering class, there were more than half a million applications sent to medical schools from 42,315 applicants. Contrast the number of applications to just about 18,000 available spots for students.

As you can see, by the time a student enters medical school, he or she has already started down the journey of establishing a proven track record. But this journey is a long one. In our next part, we'll go over the medical school training and curriculum.


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