Considering medicine? What are my options?

As the Medical School application draws close, it raises our interest and attention to find out more about the intersection between biotechnology and medicine. To many undergrad students in biological science related programs starting out their journey in university, they need to choose a pathway among the vast options available. Medical school is definitely among the choices. When we talk about medicine, the first impression always seems to be related to becoming a doctor, however, there are a lot more diverse options for people to be involved in medicine other than becoming a doctor.


One way biotechnology ties closely is through medical devices. Innovations on diagnostic tools and devices tie in closely with the medical field to contribute to better patient care for tomorrow. Medical technologists are people who specialize in one utilization of a specific medical diagnostic tool such as MRI scan or ultrasound. They help gather important data and images for further analysis of a patient's medical situation. Check out many programs at the Michener Institute of Education on medical technology.


If you enjoy organizing data and have a programming background, perhaps health informatician would be a good career path to explore. Health informatics focuses on developing more comprehensive systems on processing medical statistics and sorting through patient information. Another role that benefits from good data management skills is genetic counseling, who combines DNA research with medical treatment alongside doctors.


Other than the traditional medical school, therapists (physical or mental-health related) and pharmacists have a slightly shorter pathway than doctors. A certification process would be involved after the graduation of the Bachelor's degree, usually in the form of a master program or training in specific colleges. Most practitioners aim to open up their own practices to provide services to the clients.


Some medical careers have an even shorter pathway, typically that of primary care or nursing sector. People in primary care and nursing work closely with patients and there are newly emerging fields such as mental health nurses catered towards specific medical conditions. Usually nursing programs allow entry from high school and students would pass licensing test to become registered nurses.


Last but not least, clinical practices are always closely tied with the research advancement of the medical and science community, so a career in research would also allow one to contribute meaningfully to important aspects such as pathology, epidemiology, and global health. In the field of clinical research, there are opportunities to advance forward to leadership positions that manage clinical research projects.


About the Author:

The article is brought to you by Molly Lu, a 4th year undergrad passionate about bringing positive change to people and community through biology. She has been involved in BioTEC for the past two years to advocate biotechnology opportunities to undergrad student population in Canada. She will be pursuing a medical career in the near future.