Behind the Scenes - Microbiology

Medical school is coming to an end; your relatives and friends keep asking you “what specialty will you choose?”. You are just trying to avoid answering these questions with an awkward smile. We all have been there... In this interview series, we would like to bring  the different medical specialties closer to you through a conversation with young specialists.

Meet Zsófia, a young doctor from Hungary who is currently working in Germany. Do you want to know why she chose Microbiology after Psychiatry? Read her interesting story in today’s post.

Why did you want to be a doctor?

My favorite subject in school was definitely chemistry. I wanted to pursue my studies in that direction, that was the main reason I chose medicine. Another factor in my decision was that I always knew I wanted to work abroad. It’s no surprise that it was easily achievable as a Doctor of Medicine.

What were the best and worst memories from medical school?

The community and the Medical Cups were the best. To be more scientifical, I loved the practices of the Department of Surgical Research and Techniques very much. They were very creative and innovative, lecturers did everything to make sure that we enjoyed the lessons. Negative experiences seem so much better now so I couldn’t highlight any particularly bad memories.

What factors influenced your decision in choosing a specialty? Why did you choose Microbiology after all?

It was quite hard for me to decide: as years went by, my interest shifted from one specialty to another. In the end, I chose Psychiatry because that had been my favorite rotation. I started my first medical internship programme in Germany. Psychiatry was much more diverse than I’ve imagined. Legal, social and other aspects were some things I hadn’t considered. I had a depressing feeling that we couldn’t really help patients. I wanted a specialty in which I felt helpful - in Psychiatry we often had to do things patients didn’t want (even though these actions were of course for their well-being). After a year, I knew I needed to change to a new specialty.

That was when I realised diagnostic specialties were closer to me. I looked into the programmes of different fields and I found Microbiology. The requirements were great and Microbiology looked exciting, interesting, important and useful. I started working 6 months ago and now I finally feel like I am where I belong to.

What kind of advice would you give to those medical students who are unsure about their future specialty?

My advice would be to estimate your physical and emotional stability. Do not forget your interests. Ask loads of questions from specialists, try to get as much practical information as you can because rotations don’t really prepare you for real life. You have to know how sociable you are and what part you want to take in the patients’ and their relatives’ lives.

Did your expectations meet reality?

Psychiatry was absolutely different  from my assumptions. I might have been too naive but it was much more complicated than I had imagined before. In my current specialty I feel more confident. I was more prepared, so my expectations completely met reality.

Now, that you see how this profession looks like, would you choose a different specialty?

Well, I actually changed my specialty 6 months ago. Microbiology is totally new for me but I feel that this time it was absolutely the right decision.

What does one of your average day look like?

I work from 7.30 to 16.00. in the morning, I usually examine microbial cultures and I use the microscope. Then we start to document the results, I even call the doctors in emergency cases. We give therapeutical advice to the clinicians, we do infectological consults in different wards. In these situations, I just follow the specialists, however I do night shifts alone.

Do you have enough time to your friends, family, hobbies?

Time is not a problem, distance is. I have enough free time to refresh and relax, despite the obligatory night shifts. However, spending time with my family is a little problematic right now.

Do you think medical school prepared you for the clinical work, or something was missing?

Truth is, medical school couldn’t have prepared me for the things I didn’t expect. In my experience, clinical departments try to do their best to prepare us for real life.

Are you still unsure about your future specialty? Try yourself in different fields with the InSimu Patient app. You can download it for iOS or Android.