Choosing your medical specialty it’s hard because there is a broad and diverse offer and you have a limited experience from your rotations of what a specialty is really about and how it shapes your life. You could start listing your options by putting what you loved to study in Med school on top, but one negative experience with a rotation could make you misjudge a specialty that could be your perfect fit. There could also be an outside pressure to make a certain choice based on the length of your residency, hours spent at work or how much you will earn. Even if your family loves you and wishes you the best, the only right choice is yours!
I could never stress enough the importance of knowing yourself by having diverse experiences during your studies (including outside of Medicine). This is how you will be able to acknowledge not only what you do at work, but also how it shapes and impacts you and your patients, including understanding what lifestyle your job provides for you. Hoping that this post will help, I will list some tricks on how to choose and share with you why I chose Urology. You can also check out another article of mine written for you, the Medical student.
I always thought that people from one specialty have something in common, be it because of their personality that made them choose it or because of the way they were formed after they made the choice. I incline to believe it is the first option, so a simple advice would be to pay attention at the doctors’ personalities in different fields and see where you would fit in, with whom you would get along. There is a certain vibe that comes out from each specialty and I advise you to shadow a lot to find the one you resonate with. Many residency programs use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in the process of resident advising. Here are some studies that associate different types of personalities described by MBTI with medical specialties:
- Influence of personality and learning styles in the choice of medical specialty 
- Myers-Briggs Type and Medical Specialty Choice: A new look at an Old Question 
- Assessment of personality type and medical specialty choice among medical students from Karachi; using Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool 
There are a lot of things that you should take into account, here are some- put them into a YES | NO category:
– work schedule | night shifts | personal life – work balance | controllable lifestyle
– technology | gadgets | prospects of research and upgrading
– contact with patients – on a short | long-term
– the same patients | new ones each time | profile of your ideal patient
– out of the O.R. | in the O.R. – spatial visual working memory
– prolonged orthostatisme | prolonged sitting
– more doing | more talking – abstract | hands-on
– acute | chronic diseases – quick results | small progress | life and death situations
– detail oriented | the big picture
– private practice | available job offers on the market
I want to help you pee, get rid of cancer and even have an erection, with a combination of medicine, surgery and advanced technology!
It doesn’t matter if you are a child, a parent or a grandparent, male or female, I could be your doctor and help you with a broad spectrum of diseases such as urinary-tract infections, erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia, including surgical conditions such as bladder or prostate cancer, kidney stones, stress incontinence, congenital abnormalities and traumatic injury. Being a female urologist helps me support my female patients by offering them a comfortable woman to woman relationship to treat their intimate problems.
The subjects I loved the most during medical school were Psychiatry, Oncology, Gynecology, Gastroenterology and Surgery. Urology is closely related to them, offering a beautiful diversity and requiring different skills combined with rapidly evolving techniques. Even if the genitourinary pathology we deal with is somehow targeting a few organs such as adrenal glands, kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra and the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, and penis), the treatment is complex. I love Urology because it offers both the surgical and the clinical part of a treatment and we can have great patient interaction and follow up our patients for an extended period of time. So I won’t be stuck in the O.R. as I have short/ long interventions that I can alternate with ambulatory care.
Urologists can work both in a state hospital and a private practice, the specialization offering us satisfaction, as we can identify the problem and have quick visible results. This is how I see it now, but it is known that surgical specialties in general are at a higher risk of burn-out. Regarding the work/life balance, the medical and physical burden, the studies I found show there is a higher risk of burn-out in Urology comparing with other surgical specialties, especially for the young urologist in training- one quarter of the French urologists in formation suffer from burn-out. On the other hand, if I think about the urologists I know, they are mainly extroverted people, fun and easy-going, they like to fix things with their hands and they seem enjoying their job.
- Fatigue syndrome: Stress, Burnout and depression in Urology 
- Urologist burn-out: frequency, causes and potential solutions to an unspoken entity 
- Does the urologist in formation have a burnout syndrome? Evaluation by Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) 
- Burn-out of urologists in the county of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany: a comparison of hospital and private practice urologists 
- Meta-Analysis of Surgeon Burnout Syndrome and Specialty Differences 
Minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgery, laser-assisted surgeries, and other scope-guided procedures are helping us treat our patients and improve our results in enhancing their life quality. To have a perfect match for our job, we can subspecialize in a broad spectrum of subdisciplines such as: endourology, laparoscopy, urologic oncology, neurourology, transplant urology, pediatric urology, reconstructive urology, female urology, androurology and sexual medicine.
I have 3 months since I started my training as an Urology Resident and I can’t wait to tell you my feedback in a future post. Until then, I will leave you with an article that stayed in my mind for a while: Choosing a specialty- A letter to a medical student by Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPI .