Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Careers

From medical student to junior doctor: Working outside the box

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 01 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:0606238
  1. Sarah Aldington, senior research fellow1,
  2. Richard Beasley, general physician1,
  3. Geoffrey Robinson, general physician2
  1. 1Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. 2Wellington and Kenepuru Hospitals, Wellington

What less mainstream specialities are available to medical graduates? Richard Beasley and colleagues give an overview, in the ninth article of the series.

While some people are lucky enough to realise when they are five years old that they want to be a paediatric surgeon, most graduates are still wondering what they want to do with the rest of their lives. One common misconception is that the choice is between clinical medicine in a hospital and general practice. Numerous other opportunities for anyone with a medical degree exists, and it is important to know what the options are, what training is required, and what the careers entail. For general careers advice we recommend documents such as “Signposting medical careers for doctors” produced by the BMA.1

Academic medicine

While most consultants teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and do some clinical research as part of their routine practice, it is possible to have primary employment in this field. Usually within a university or research unit, these jobs entail varying amounts of research, teaching, administration, and clinical work. This is a rewarding specialty for those wishing to make an important contribution to medical education and knowledge. It is a highly competitive field and it can be demanding balancing the different parts of the job. Completion of a higher research degree such as a medical doctorate (MD) or doctor of philosophy (PhD) is required. Academic medicine in the United Kingdom is going through a difficult period, but a successful career in this field is still possible.23

Aviation medicine

A subspecialty of occupational medicine, aviation medicine is developing rapidly as more and more people take to the skies. The main role of the aviation medic is to assess the fitness to fly of pilots and cabin crew and to advise infirm passengers on their …

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