Andrea Paul, MD: What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting Medical School

Andrea Paul, MD Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer of BoardVitals

If you’re staring down a path to becoming a doctor, there are many, probably too many, things to consider. I finished medical school and became a Pathologist in 2008. Since then I’ve had time to look back on my journey and share best practices. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I learned through my journey- including, but not limited to, what really matters, and what really doesn’t.

Getting Started In Medicine

In college, I loved science, particularly biology, physics, and chemistry, so I decided that medicine would be a good avenue for me to pursue. It helped that my father, too, was a physician, and was passionate about what he did, which I found so inspiring.

If you’re starting on this path, I’d advise you to keep your mind open when it comes to being a doctor. It can mean so many things nowadays, and physicians contribute to this world in so many ways. You may find a path in patient care, technology, administration, or politics — there’s a lot you can do with an MD or DO degree.

A “Right” Personality for Doctors?

Knowing yourself is key in readying yourself to help and serve others. It may seem futile to identify your personality, but it could give you insight into what you might be best fitted to do. Whether you try a few online quizzes like Myers Briggs, or the Color Personality test, I think that personality types can often help or hinder people depending on what career path they choose.

Once you identify your personality, and namely your greatest strengths and weaknesses, use that knowledge to make a good decision on how you want to pursue medicine. Make sure to choose a pathway that fits your temperament and personality type.

What I Wish I Had Known

I wish I had known how subdivided medicine is and had started exploring paths earlier in medical school. When I started in medical school, I probably drove many attendings crazy in my inability to decide what specialty I wanted to focus my residency. I did every rotation available to see every part of medicine.

I really wish I had known how important it is to try to narrow down your specialty early on. I kept looking for something to feel right. By the time it is time to choose a specialty or path, there isn’t much time to actually try things out. I had to figure out what to do, when I didn’t have that “perfect fit” when it came time for me to decide on my specialty.

Last month, I spoke in detail with the Surviving Medicine Podcast host, Frank Cusimano, about my time in medical school and how it landed me at BoardVitals. Check out the video for a few more lessons learned in my time through school.

 

Andrea Paul, MD, is co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of BoardVitals. Follow Andrea on Facebook and LinkedIn for information on startups, medicine, health care tech, education and venture capital.