Lab Science or Medicine? Considerations from Angela Gucwa

During her time as a surgical resident, Angela Gucwa also spent a year working as a research resident. For Angela Gucwa, part of this impulse was to experience the other side of the medical world, the side that she thought could also be the right fit for her. How do you choose between lab science and a clinical career? Some doctors balance this by doing clinical trials, but for many doctors there is a larger distinction at stake between doctors who work with patients and researchers who are confined to the lab. Angela Gucwa offers some considerations on deciding which field is right for you.

Angela Gucwa
Angela Gucwa

One primary consideration in choosing between lab science and clinical medicine is the question of bedside manner, says Angela Gucwa. For some people, the ability to be calm and direct yet have an empathetic presence at the bedside is extremely difficult. For others, giving bad news, such as the death of a family member, is simply out of the question. Consider these types of situations, says Angela Gucwa, and determine how you would handle these situations. Being overly brusque at the bedside or overly tearful with grieving families may make you a better candidate for the lab.

Another consideration when choosing between the lab and clinical medicine has to do with the kind of schedule and life you would like to have, says Angela Gucwa. People who are seeking a more regular, easy to schedule family life are better off in the lab because clinical medicine simply will not accommodate that lifestyle, explains Angela Gucwa.

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