4^10 Ways to be in the Health Field

By Rahul Nachnani | Blogger | SQ Online (2013-14)

So lately I have been spending a lot of time on BuzzFeed, which was the inspiration for my title and theme of this week’s blog, but I also did not want to leave any open ended questions for my readers who read last week’s blog and were thinking “okay, well what do we do then?”

Honestly, it is up to all of you to find out what you’re interested in, what you are passionate about, and what career in the health fields is appealing to you; HOWEVER, I have prepared “4^10” (more like 4, but if you count the specialties within all of these professions it’s probably more than 4^10) ways to be in the health field, along with quotes from people who are in this field or who people who want to be in this field. If any of the readers have any additions, please comment below so I can add them!

1. Doctor (Physician)

How to get there: Undergrad -> Med School -> Residency -> Specialty
Time to get there: 8-12 years after undergrad depending on specialties.
What not to do it for: Money, Free time
What definitely to do it for: Helping people through physical and emotional evaluations, Immediate (or close to) satisfaction of seeing people get better!

From the people whom I have asked “why do you want to be a doctor?” the responses have definitely been mixed. It’s a hard question to ask, and honestly not every doctor will have a straight answer. Some have stories of personal experience with medicine or health issues, while others have situational reasons (in the military, etc.). But most, if not all, tell me that they love their job and they have no regrets on what they decided to be.

2. Dentistry & Ophthalmology

I added this under a separate category because of what I call “The Stu Factor.” What is it? If you have ever seen the movie hangover; one character, Stu (played by Ed Helms), is a dentist who talks about his struggle of introducing his occupation. He says “When I tell people I’m a doctor, they ask what kind, and I say dentist. They tell me I’m not a real doctor.”

Well, Stu, that’s a real problem because Dentists and Ophthalmologists (another profession with the same problem), ARE real doctors. And, while not in the traditional definition of a doctor, still must complete almost the same prerequisites as a doctor must.

Ophthalmology (almost exactly the same as a doctor’s training):
How to get there: 4 years undergrad, 4 years medical school, 4 years residency, +some years specialty

How to get there: 4 years undergrad, 4 years dental school, 2-4 years residency, + some years specialty

3. Nursing

Yes, Nurses are “pre-med”! I won’t go into much detail for this one, but I would hope that it sparks interest in those of you who have ever considered nursing!

How to get there:
Unfortunately, UCSD does not have a BS-Nursing (BSN) program like a lot of schools, and so to get a degree in nursing you must take a few classes at a community college or another college with a nursing school to complete all your prereqs. Even so, the time it takes to get there is around 6 years with an undergraduate degree.

Other professions not mentioned that are somewhat related: Veterinarian, Therapist, Physician Assistant, Technicians of different specialties, and Pharmacists.

4. Public Health
So since UCSD has a newly fashioned Public Health major, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little about it!
For those of you who do not know, a Public Health specialist or one who is in the Public Health field does not focus so much on the giving care part of medicine, but instead focuses on the prevention before you have to give care part of medicine. Also, for all you big picture people, public health is definitely more holistic than the other health fields!

Also *sneak peek into a future blog post* for those of you who like math, Public Health is probably one of the few health professions that will involve math (see: Biostatistics).

Other professions include Epidemiology (Study of the spread of diseases), Health Policy and Management, Occupational Health and Safety, and Global Health.

Since that description was pretty condensed, please feel free to read more: http://www.whatispublichealth.org/careers/index.html

If you have any suggestions/comments/concerns/questions, please leave a message in the comments below!