Many students enter medicine for job stability and the opportunity to help others in a meaningful way. Over the last few years, COVID-19 has shown many young people how important the medical field is for society.
However, after the onset of the pandemic, the American Association of Medical Colleges recommended that medical students not work in clinical roles. The medical community has adapted to these challenges with virtual learning meant to simulate real life.
Although current medical students have lost access to real-world clinical training, more students than ever before are applying to medical school. Here are five tips for students who are interested in the medical field in the age of COVID-19.
1. Start With A Goal
All life decisions are made with a goal in mind, but often this goal stays deep in your subconscious. Before deciding on your future plans, try to identify your career goals and write them down. Depending on what you want to do, there may be more than one way to reach your goals.
For example, there are many ways to fulfill a goal “to help people heal from chronic illness.” You could study nutrition, work at a gym, become a doctor, or work in advertising for medical clinics. Try to get as specific as possible with your goals to ensure your chosen career will help you meet them.
2. Do Your Research
Going to medical school is a huge investment of time and finances. Before you choose a specific career or school, invest in thorough research. You can use this process to discover how medical schools have historically handled COVID restrictions and whether those schools are a good fit for you.
Over the last two years, applications to medical schools across America have increased to unusually high levels. Although learning conditions have changed, more students than ever before see the value of working in medicine. Because application numbers are so high, it’s important to apply to several schools to increase your chance of acceptance.
3. Build Soft Skills
Building soft skills is one of the best ways to prepare for success in medical school. Applicants who demonstrate strong leadership, teamwork, and communication skills are more likely to be accepted. Positivity and emotional intelligence are other highly valued professional skills.
Hard skills like technical knowledge and medical procedures are easy to teach. However, soft skills must be developed intentionally by each individual. Investing in yourself and others with discipline and drive will significantly improve your application to medical school and set you apart from other applicants.
4. Create Opportunity
You may be wondering if you should wait to start medical school until after the pandemic is over and more opportunities are available. While learning has been challenging during the pandemic, students have also had unique opportunities to build resilience and adapt to changes within the medical community.
While the decision about when to apply is ultimately up to you, it’s impossible to predict what could happen to the medical field in the future. Instead of waiting for opportunities, take the initiative to create growth opportunities wherever you are. This skill will serve you well whether or not you go to medical school.
5. Talk To Professionals
Talking to medical professionals is another good way to determine whether this field is right for you. Reach out to people you know and professionals on LinkedIn to see if they would be willing to give you a quick phone or video call to answer questions about their field.
You can also use Google and YouTube to research specific professions, personal experiences, information on schools, and how COVID-19 has impacted medical learning. Always keep in mind that the internet hosts diverse perspectives, and research widely before you come to any conclusions.
Don’t Be Discouraged
COVID-19 has been hard on everyone in the medical community, from students to teachers to professionals. However, the pandemic will not last forever – and after it’s over, medical professionals will still be valuable to their communities.
Do what you can to prepare for a strong career, and don’t worry about what may happen in the future. The resilience you develop in response to COVID-19 will carry you through whatever unpredictable changes may come.