As medical students and future medical practitioners, we spend a lot of time differentiating between possible conditions, treatment options, etc. This approach is used not only in our practice but also in our career decisions. Medical students choose their future specialties sometimes with very little exposure or knowledge. There seems to be an increasing sense of urgency in beginning to invest in a particular specialty from earlier on, and the rewards of early exploration are clear as the demands to gain a competitive edge are high and the applicant pool continues to increase. However, pre-clinical exploration remains a self directed learning process, with lack of true institutional guidance for the most part. This leaves room for biases and poorly-informed decisions. More structured guidance is needed as regards decision-making and information-gathering to enable medical students to make informed decisions while benefiting from the advantages of self-directed exploration.

Full article:
PMID: 21812670

Title: A Differentiation Diagnosis — Specialization and the Medical Student
Authors: Xu R
Journal Title: New England Journal of Medicine