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Computer Science to Medicine

I'm taking a computer science degree at a top University. My courseload is heavy, but I'm doing fairly well. I'm in first year right now.

I've been thinking lately that once I'm finished, I might want to go into the field of medicine. Usually they accept people from any undergraduate program as long as they take some required courses such as first year chemistry and biology.

The computer science faculty is well-known in that the workload placed on students is fairly high. But what do you guys think, is taking these classes manageable?

Also, what classes would you recommend as electives?

Euler C. Riterion
Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'd switch to either biology or chemistry.  And get some volunteer health care experience.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Medicine is a good field, with a huge potential market as the "Baby Boomer" generation is starting to get old (sorry guys, no offense meant if you fall into this) -- Older people typically have far many more health issues than younger generations. I see it as a great field to get into for the next 10 to 15 years -- with one caveat: If you're in the US (you didn't say), look for some heavy additional government regulation in that same time period that may put caps on your earning potential. If the US goes for some sort of government sponsored "Universal Health Care", watch the compensation in the medical field drop drastically.

Just my opinion. Feel free to shoot holes in it.

Sgt. Sausage
Thursday, February 19, 2004

If your school is any good, you'll have to be strong at all five pillars to do well in medicine: math, physics, biology, chemistry, and lots and lots of tuition money.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, February 19, 2004

You didn't say what country you're in.  If you're in the USA, I'd recommend picking a specialty that's ELECTIVE. I.e.,  a specialty that a patient will essentially pay "out of pocket for". Otherwise, you're working for the insurance company, not the patient.

My knowledge is based on the USA and the following:
My wife is a speech therapist.
3 of her brothers are doctors (Orthopod, Pediatrician now with the CDC, and a Plastic Surgeon).

The 3 brothers ALL recommended AGAINST going into medicine.

Here in the USA (and possibly even more so in other countries) your customer is the insurance company, not the patient. So you're caught between patients who want everything (even if it's not medically needed) and insurance companies who don't want to pay for anything.


"In seven days their medical practice could be forced to shut down, and the sheer absurdity of the situation has put doctors Richard Levine and Michael Faust in a slightly silly mood. Seated in Faust's cramped office overlooking the hills of northwestern New Jersey, the two managing partners of Valley Center for Women's Health are still trying to sort out their feelings about an offer they just got on this sunny day in late July. A malpractice insurer has promised very attractive policies to their four partners in obstetrics-gynecology, but the insurer refuses to cover Faust and Levine, the two managing partners, at any price. Since their current insurer has already announced that it will not renew any policies written in New Jersey, Faust, 49, and Levine, 50, are only days away from being left "naked"--and legally barred from practicing medicine.
Visit the link above for the rest.

The real Entrepreneur
Thursday, February 19, 2004

"Usually they accept people from any undergraduate program as long as they take some required courses such as first year chemistry and biology."

if you want to get into med school, it's all about the numbers. MCAT and GPA. I knew people who majored in history so they could get a high GPA for med school, and it worked. Of course, there is always the caribbean or mexican "med -schools" or chiropractor school. 

Tom Vu
Thursday, February 19, 2004

med schools supposedly also like people who got other degrees--especially engineering degrees, which a CS degree might be.

Friday, February 20, 2004

You know, reading that, I'm not sure which is worse -- practicing medicine in the US with that sort of grief about HUGE amounts of money, or practicing it in the UK where you have different sorts of grief about TINY amounts of money.

Either way I'm really glad I turned out to have a talent for software design and not something like brain surgery.

Katie Lucas
Friday, February 20, 2004

I went to medical school in the US.  Doing so with a computer science background is perfectly plausible and might even intrigue the admissions committees given the number of medical informatics problems yet to be solved.  The course load you imply is perfectly manageable if you are intelligent enough and willing to do slightly less drinking (i.e. maybe get drunk only on Saturday night most of the term).

As for doctors who recommend that no one go into medicine, this phenomenon is well documented going back to way before I was born.  One never knows what a field will be like in practice and many are dissappointed.

The main warning I would give you is that in the US you will pay for your own education and in some lower paid specialties the day is fast coming when the pay will not adequately handle the student loan debt.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, February 20, 2004

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