To be honest, I change my mind so often it isn't even worth a thorough analysis of which specialties interest me the most.
This variance occurs because I find so very many of them fascinating, rather than feeling like I couldn't do one or the other.
A part of me thinks that I should find one that is fairly lifestyle-friendly, but the rest of me knows that when I have gone for lifestyle-friendly careers before, I can end up dissatisfied and miserable - I am the kind of driven person who needs a challenge in order to be happy.
I am leaving it until I do practical work in areas to narrow it down a little, and probably won't even make up my mind fully until I am out there and working as an intern. Perhaps not even then.
A wise person once told me that your specialty choice is often determined by how well you get along with the other people working in that area at the time. If you are interested and happy in the specialty already, I can think of far worse ways to choose a future workplace.
I also don't want to be hanging around in resident-land forever, because the specialty I want is so competitive that entry is almost impossible without connections. Considering the medical student "tsunami" currently pushing its way through the schools at the moment (and which will only get even larger in the coming years), it is a nervous time for most of us.
The best and most sensible thing to do would be to potter through medical school and do my best, crossing off the specialties that really don't appeal and just decide when I am ready. (Surgery is already off the list - not because of the actual work, which is fascinating, but because: a) when I have to go to the bathroom, I have to go; and b) I like spending SOME of my time at home, in my own bed.) I'm sure it will happen sooner rather than later.
So, I am interested in:
- A specialty that will keep me challenged and interested;
- An area with a decent amount of colleague collaboration;
- A specialty with nice conference locations (KIDDING - I think they all have that);
- Not an excessive amount of on-call;
- An area where I can use my clinical skills, stethoscope and talk to patients;
- A wage to live comfortably (but seriously, every doctor earns that, I don't need a Porsche!);
- Pleasant colleagues;
- Work-life balance;
- Respect (not worship - there is a huge difference);
- Results from my work, and work that I can be proud of;
- Decent patient satisfaction;
- Some amount of procedural work, as I am a practical person and like to use my hands;
- And just to re-state it: I need to use my brain, or it tends to get very unhappy, which makes me miserable. It may not be the smartest brain on the planet, but it needs regular feeding!
So as you can see, my list doesn't cross out many specialties at all. Suggestions? ;)