Dedication: Why Study Medicine?

Training to be a doctor is a rewarding yet extensive commitment to undertake. Having the motivation and dedication to complete your studies is essential, and being able to prove this in your Interview is crucial.

Looking for guidance?

The road to becoming a doctor is both long and arduous, which is why it’s important you’re motivated enough to reach the end of it.

This article will help articulate your motivation to interviewers but first of all, it’s important to make sure you actually want to do Medicine. This should come from an understanding of what it’s like being a doctor and what it takes to be one.

So, here’s a few reasons why NOT to do medicine.

Money

Money is 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, if money is your primary 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.

Family Pressure

Another reason as to why you should not do Medicine is family pressure.

Familial pressure to become a doctor may actually be burdening students. 

Medical students who are coerced by parents to pursue a medical profession because of family or cultural values are more likely to express uncertainty or signs of burnout in pursuit of their degree. 

Greater parental expectations were associated with more negative student attitudes towards their career after their first year of school. 

Studies show that Medical students who believe their parents have expectations of them to choose a career in medicine due to family to cultural values may be more susceptible to ambivalence surrounding their career choice. 

Why is your dedication to medicine important?

The next thing to do is show how you actually understand the career and support how it matches your reasons for doing Medicine. Here are a few common reasons why people would want to medicine:

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 way to do this is through 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 your reasons for doing Medicine. Here are a few common reasons why people would want to medicine:

1

You have an interest in Science, leading to an interest in Medicine as a component of Science.

2

You like to make a difference. You want to help people/patients and overall, make a good impact on society.

3

You like the idea of a professional that offers you life-long learning opportunities. 

4

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 they 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 unique career that you need to try to 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.

common medicine dedication & commitment questions

In this section, we’ll go through some example questions and answers that might come up in your Medical Interview.

Q1: 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.

Q2: 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.

Q3: 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.

Q4: 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:

1

Make it good!

Have a good reason for doing Medicine.

2

Understand the profession.

Have a good understanding of the road to becoming a doctor and the career itself.

3

Structure your answers.

Structure your answers logically. Use the STARR technique when referencing experience.

4

Use relevant examples.

Back up points with examples of experiences – the way you answer can be more important than your direct answer!

5

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!

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