I began medical school with the observation that members of the medical profession and those aspiring to be physicians were generally united by common core principles and codes of conduct: through these hallowed doors we enter with a desire to do good and the willingness to sacrifice and commit to a lifetime of difficulty choices. When challenged by external criticism and jealousy, it is easy to commiserate over the shared experience of practicing medicine in a time of diminishing rewards and increasing needs for medical expertise and leadership. However, almost a third of the way through my third year of medical school, my growing familiarity with the subtle differences between fields of medicine has rendered a more detailed depiction of the personality types and styles that dominate each specialty. While there are many exceptions, it is remarkable to note how one’s strengths and personality traits induce the tendency to gravitate toward one field or another.
Each classmate I speak with seems to be at a different stage of transformation and discovery. Some have developed strong passions for a particular field while others have had the color drained from an idyllic image of a future career. Others have found themselves adapting to each clerkship with the thought, “I could see myself practicing in this field,” while others have found little joy or inspiration in their experiences thus far. Universally, the experience of the third year of medical school appears to be one with much at stake: not only is this the only year of medical school in which grades matter for residency applications, but this is also the year when we begin to take steps in very different directions from our peers. While the decision to enter medical school may have been a natural or difficult choice, the choice of field will certainly have a large impact on the quality of our lives: our job satisfaction, our intellectual stimulation, our potential for achievement, our family-work balance, and our impact on society and the world around us.
On a less serious note, the experience of third year thus far reaffirms my thoughts about medical training seeming a lot like the seven years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: the third year of medical school is like the Sorting Hat ceremony when the students are sent in different directions based on their personalities and potential. Here is a brief correlation between the Houses of Hogwarts and some fields of medicine that my fiancée and I matched (subject to change, and no offense intended).
Houses of Hogwarts
Gryffindor – Key Attributes = Chivalry, Courage, Fortitude
• Internal Medicine
• Infectious Diseases
Ravenclaw – Key Attributes = Intelligence, Analysis, Wisdom
Hufflepuff – Key Attributes = Equality, Tolerance, Hard Work
• Family Medicine
• Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
• Palliative Care
Slytherin – Key Attributes = Ambition, Resourcefulness, Cunning
• Orthopedic Surgery
• Plastic Surgery
• Radiation Oncology
• Slyther-Dor – Cardiology, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Gastroenterology, Otolaryngology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Trauma Surgery
• Gryffin-claw – Vascular Neurology (because it’s practically Medicine, but it’s also Neuro), Hematology-Oncology
• Raven-puff – Pediatric Neurology, Endocrinology
• Gryffin-puff – Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Ophthalmology
And then there’s…
• Most likely practiced by Neville Longbottom = Podiatry
• Most likely practiced by Luna Lovegood = Naturopathy