Description:This book consists of short narrative descriptions of the many career paths open to physicians.
Purpose:Designed to help medical students in their career choice, this small book will be an important adjunct to other sources of information -- such as faculty advisors, practicing physicians, and student affairs deans -- because it is important that students have access to as much information as possible in making critical career decisions.
Audience:The book is targeted to medical students, but individuals considering a career in medicine might also find it helpful. The two editors bring the perspectives of an experienced consultant physician and a recent graduate. In addition, more than 80 contributors have written about their own disciplines.
Features:The book begins with a short overview of medical training in Great Britain. The bulk of the book, however, consists of an exploration of the many options for a medical career, ranging from primary care to the subspecialties, and from basic science research to journalism or the law. The editors employ a light, easily read, and often witty style to summarize myth versus reality, the best and worst aspects, competitiveness of training programs, stress, and similar features of each discipline. For example, the myth is that emergency medicine is "a glamorous job which involves saving a life every five minutes" while the reality is "hard work, unpredictable in nature, but constantly interesting and frequently rewarding.
Assessment:This book provides a succinct and useful survey of various specialties. Because it focuses on the British system, its usefulness is somewhat limited for U.S. graduates, insofar as it discusses specific details of postgraduate training programs. Nevertheless, the general information is quite pertinent. This book will be a useful addition to the libraries of student affairs deans, career counselors, program directors, and others who help guide medical students in their career decisions.