Female Doctor

“Guide to Becoming a Physician:” We actually wrote the book on what to do at each stage

September 21, 2015

For those who want to seek a career in medicine, they can now learn from the experts at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and Baylor University. The second edition of Guide to Becoming a Physician was recently published, and serves as a comprehensive guide through the processes of applying to medical school, what to expect in medical school and in residency/fellowship, and various other factors that impact being a physician.

Leila Diaz, assistant dean for admissions and instructor in Medical Humanities at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Bobbie Ann White, adjunct assistant professor in Medical Humanities with the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and Richard Sanker, pre-health director at Baylor University published Guide to Becoming a Physician for individuals who are considering a career in medicine no matter their age or career status – there’s even a new chapter for non-traditional and veteran applicants, and want to know what each step of that process entails.

“It’s written for anyone who is thinking about a career in medicine but may not know all of the aspects that go into getting into medical school, as well as getting through medical school, residency/fellowship, and what factors to consider in practice,” Diaz said. “Many people idealize the life of a physician but do not realize all that it entails and we wanted individuals to be able to make an informed decision. I can only advise so many prospective applicants directly, so this text was an important way to allow me to reach many more by sharing in great detail the various ways to navigate this pathway.”

Most chapters include a reflection from an applicant, medical student or physician regarding their personal experiences from each stage. These reflections include candid and encouraging perspectives further helping an aspiring physician consider the realities of this career.

“In truth, one’s intelligence is only half of the equation, and being afforded the privilege to study medicine is more a function of self-belief, discipline, and desire,” said Matthew Vassaur, Texas A&M College of Medicine student and Army veteran. “Self-belief leads to the removal of the invisible chains and limitations that we place on ourselves, and allows us to envision a dream that is worth pursuing.”

Chapters also include worksheets to help individuals apply the material to their life. Kendall Hunt, the publisher, is also building a companion website with additional resources and online lectures covering the chapter information.

Sanker, one of the authors, created and teaches a course at Baylor University entitled “Foundations in Medicine” for all pre-medical undergraduates. Guide to Becoming a Physician serves as the text for the course.

“There are many students that start their undergraduate careers in the premedical program, but only a fraction of the students are able to advance into medical school,” said Sanker. “I wanted to write a book that would help students to recognize and know both the emerging and current responsibilities of the medical doctor so they can better understand their professional ambitions.”

White brings her expertise of working with medical students in the residency application process, curriculum development, and medical education research. “Students seeking a career in medicine spend so much time studying, taking tests and jumping through their required hoops that they often miss important self-reflection time,” White said. “Without this, students have a difficult time making a specialty choice, writing a personal statement, preparing to interview and making large life decisions. My hope is that this text will encourage students to be introspective at an earlier point in their training, which will allow them to be more intentional about their exposure and education. This self-awareness will ensure informed and confident decisions that positively affect the trajectory of their medical practice.”

The authors are also particularly excited to impact non-traditional and veteran applicants through the decision making process. During one of the reflections, a graduate of the Texas A&M College of Medicine offered personal advice.

“I envy those who have known their purpose in life from a young age, but do not despair if you are not one of those few,” said Danielle Black, Texas A&M College of Medicine student “My best advice to all premedical students, or anyone at all, is to mine your life’s gem and polish it. Wherever your interests lie, the only real failure is to give up searching for what will unleash your unique combination of abilities on the world, even if that means failure or embarrassment.”

The book totals 190 pages and includes the following chapters:

  1. Guide to Becoming a Physician
  2. Undergraduate Premedical Programs
  3. Medical School Application Process
  4. Nontraditional/Veteran/Military Applicants
  5. Osteopathic Medicine and Allopathic Medicine
  6. Joint Degree Medical Programs
  7. Medical School Curriculum Preclinical Years
  8. Medical School Curriculum Clinical Years
  9. Residency Application Process
  10. Graduate Medical Education (Residency and Fellowship)
  11. The Practice of Medicine
  12. Medicine and Research
  13. Money and Medicine
  14. Family and Medicine


For more information, please visit: https://www.kendallhunt.com/store-product.aspx?id=302862

— Katherine Hancock

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