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I want to be a doctor, but I panic!

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Here's my problem:


I am pre-medicine and really dream of becoming a doctor. I feel such a strong calling to do so.


I keep trying to ignore my awful panic reflexes... I am so scared that I react poorly in situations. For example, I am at home from school on winter break and I heard my brother go crashing to the floor downstairs. He started screaming in pain and I heard my mother saying "Oh my God, oh my God" ... turned out he was fine and just fell over a chair but when I heard this I was paralyzed, I actually plugged my ears to cover up the screaming!


I keep telling myself that experience is what makes doctors able to react in horrible situations... but do you think in order to be a good doctor you have to be naturally quick and unaffected in panic situations? Does this come with training?

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When I was doing work experience in 4th year, I was once in the renal department and the nurse had just taken out a needle of some sort from a patient. My friend beside me fell over and fainted. It turned out in the end he thought medicine wasn't for him. Not everyone is born to be not afraid of blood, or in your case: not everyone is born to KNOW what to do in panicky situations. With experience, you will DEFINITELY overcome this. =)

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Part of my training as a life guard was advanced resuscitation, when a guy had a heart attack on a busy street I took charge and brought him back to life

Even though I was only 16 at the time, people gave way because I had the confidence to deal with the situation, without the training would I have reacted the same way? probably not.

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Are you actually accepted into medicine yet?


Just wonder as often people say they are pre-med or pre-law, and are still doing their undergrad and not accepted yet (in that case everyone can be "pre" something!). If you are still in undergrad, you have time to think about it and figure it out. Can you shadow at a hospital, or take some First Aid for example?


I think you need to be able to react, and part of that comes with training and experience - but part of it is also your general personality.


I had to respond in a first aid situation before, where an elderly woman was hit by a car (she was pedestrian) and I just DID it based on my training (I was lifeguard trained, had my Red Cross and also training through military). If I had not had training, I would of likely been quite lost and hesitant to take action though.


Part of it may be you knew your mom was there and there was little you could do - or on your experience you know it was your brother. Plenty of doctors/nurses and so on are hesitant to deal with family members too.

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I think you can overcome that if you really want to be a doctor. You could also do something like be a radiologist where you wouldn't have to deal as much with situations like that once you get past your training. I dated a doctor who said he felt uncomfortable doing his OBGYN rotation, but he ended up a pulmonologist so it's not like he ever had to give a woman a pelvic exam again.

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are you just afraid in 'emergency' situations, or anytime someone has an injury (i.e., the sight of blood, people hurt).


you can go into a specialty where crisis medicine is not required, BUT you do have to go through rotations in hospitals and experience seeing a lot of traumatic injuries and crisis situations while you are in training especially in the emergency room and intensive care units.


lots of med students do faint or have trouble at first but get desensitized to it. there are even courses or classes to treat people with phobias where they are terrified of different things. they teach you to visualize things in your head until you are desensitized and it doesn't bother you as much. perhaps you could take one of those and see if it gets better.


but if you absolutely are terrified of blood and injury, it might not be a good choice because the doctor has to keep their wits about them to help the patient.

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It comes with experience. It really does. I was terrified of dealing with paediatric emergencies when I first started, but now I just get on with it because I have the experience and know what I'm doing. Same with major trauma. It still doesn't look pretty but you look past that and get on with your objectives. Preserve life and prevent further injury to the best of your ability.

You're new and fresh and haven't had any of your "firsts" yet, so that, coupled with the fact it was one of your family.....well, it's understandable you froze. Give it some time and get some experience dealing with real patients. Do you have any kind of "caring" experience?

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