New multimedia resource assists medical students in choosing specialty

September 30, 2011 | News, UToday
By Feliza Casano



Students in medical school know they want to be a physician, but what type of medical specialty they would like to practice can be more difficult to pinpoint.

A new multimedia tool developed by medical students and the Office of Student Affairs for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences is a resource to assist students in making that decision.

“When students come to medical school, they know they want to be a doctor, but there are almost 100 types of specialties a physician can pursue for their career,” said Dr. Patricia Metting, vice chancellor and associate dean for student affairs on Health Science Campus. “They need up-to-date information on various specialties and the competitiveness for each field.”

The new resource Medical Career Advising Resources Project, available here, is an education tool to help medical students learn more about the different fields to make informed decisions about their specialties. Medical students on average change their specialty choices up to three times.

“To our knowledge, there’s no other resource like this,” said Mark Tuttle, UT medical student who helped develop the site. “It’s unique for medical students, combining rich media, including the videos. Something as comprehensive as this doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

A mobile version also is available for use on smart phones or tablets, another special component, Tuttle said.

“One major feature is the series of videos from residency program directors and physicians in different specialties, which offers a nice snapshot of each field,” Metting said. “There also is a section for peer recommendations in which fourth-year students who have already gone through the process give their insights on how best to proceed.”

The Medical Career Advising Resources Project is another tool to assist medical students in addition to individual advising sessions, group workshops and other services, Metting said.

“Career selection is an important part of the maturation process of every medical student and health-care professional in the world. It’s a dynamic process that takes place over a long period of time,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor, executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Gold, who provides the introductory video interview for the website, notes there are many facets involved in making the career decision, such as employment opportunities in a specialty, family plans, interest in research and more.

“I assure you that as time goes on, the natural process will evolve, your wishes and your desires, your competitiveness, your aspirations and that of your family, will all be successfully woven together into a highly successful fabric that will not only get you off into a wonderful track of graduate medical education, but that will produce a highly satisfying and successful career,” Gold tells students through the website.

The Medical Career Advising Resources Project resource will continue to grow and evolve to assist students with more information. A link at the bottom of the page allows medical students to comment on the site and help make it better.

“We’re excited to add to our existing repertoire of career advising services with this online portal,” Metting said. “I hope students are able to enjoy and derive benefit from it.”