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Featured Being a doctor with Asperger's - Can this work?

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by Dadamen, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    I have self-diagnosed Asperger's. I'm 16 and have 2 more years of high school and then I can go to a university. I am very interested in medicine and want to study medicine and become a doctor. Do you think this will work well? I maintain good relationships with my classmates, but have no close friends and don't hang out outside of school, have narrow interests (medicine is one of them), i feel empathy, but don't know well how to express it. In school my marks are excellent, espicially form physics, chemistery and biology. I struggle a bit with reading comprehension and Croatian, English, German and History are a bit harder for me. Also, can they refuse me from medicine university if I get an offical diagnosis of Asperger's, I also had a cancer (Non-hodkgin Lymphoma) 3 years ago, but now it's all ok, except panic attacks if I find a lump somewhere in my body, but they always say it's all ok.
     
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  2. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't see why not. From my knowledge, there are quite a few doctors with autism and I never heard about people being refused from university due to the diagnosis - although it may be different in your country. Learn about body language alongside medicine and try to stay open-minded and it should be fine.

    The problem with being a doctor is the stress and, at times, unpredictable working hours, so you'd also need some stress-coping strategies under your belt. Still, sounds doable to me. Try to find a forum or a facebook group for autistic doctors - there are supposed to be some.

    You may find this interesting:
    This Doctor Can: The autistic doctor
    Autistic doctors: overlooked assets to medicine - PubMed
    Error - Cookies Turned Off
     
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  3. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your answer.
     
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  4. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    "You are very skilled at reading body language. When you are interacting with someone, you likely make it a point to pay attention to both what they say verbally as well as their non-verbal communications. This provides you with a more well-rounded understanding of a person's feelings, and allows you to adjust your own social approach in turn. This skill is an asset in any position that requires you to work with people." Took a body language test and says like this, maybe I'm not autistic at all if I'm so good at body language.
     
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  5. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    People with Asperger's can do anything, and they do.
     
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  6. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    You can do anything you set your mind to. Don't let any label stop you from achieving your dreams.
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    We have a Medical Doctor here on the forum. Hopefully they will see your post.

    From my own experience I would say being on the spectrum with ASD1 does not automatically rule out anything. There is so much variation among us, and it will depend on your particular characteristics and desires. There will likely be challanges NTs do not have, but on the flip side also possibly extra ability that can balance it out. I for example managed a 27 year military carreer because I liked the clear rules and routines and my strengths could be brought to bear in a technical/military setting. And the military and history was my biggest special interest.

    I am also Leukemia survivor! I had ACL Leukemia. Its not all bad. With my sister's bone marrow/blood my hair went from greying back to brown and I may be immune to the covid virus. That sister's husband got it, she has tested positive, but she never actually got sick. ;)

    You can check about ASD1 being a disqualifier in advance at the schools. But I doubt it. With the military it was a 95% chance disqualifier so I couldn't go down the diagnosis route. My son is also ASD1 but undiagnosed and works on Stealth Fighters for the Air Force.

    You have to figure out your own pacing needs and limitations. The ones outsiders tell you you must have are not necessarily true for you. Its not a one size fits all thing.
     
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  8. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    People with Asperger’s make excellent doctors and especially good surgeons. You may just have to work on your “bedside manner” a bit. Don’t mention on admissions applications (or anywhere else at school) that you’re autistic, because they could certainly discriminate against you.
     
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  9. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    I think you would do very well. I also wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but was not given the opportunity. Nevertheless, I have two Masters degrees and a PhD, and have had a good career. If you have the desire and ability, and are willing to work no matter what to achieve your goals, you can succeed.
     
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  10. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    I read some articles where they explore link between autism and cancer and say that similar genes are responsible for both. So, people with ASD have higher risk of developing cancer. Thank you all for optimistic predictions! In fact, ASD 1 more affects private life (lack of friends and relationships) than a business life.
     
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  11. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I don't speak from personal experience, but I think that although being a doctor can be a stressful job, it's not impossible, and there are medical doctors on the spectrum - good ones. There's a doctor on this forum, @Bolletje , though I haven't seen her around for a while, I don't know if she's still around.
     
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  12. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Do you have any links? I would be interested to read more, if you do.

    I also had cancer about 3 1/2 years ago, in its early stages - I was treated and have now been cancer free (no evidence of disease) for three years.
     
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  13. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    @Progster I lurk ;) Just happened to log on just now.

    @Dadamen I’m a medical doctor. It’s absolutely possible to get that medical degree and become a doctor. However, there are some aspects of the job that can be tricky for everyone and even more so for someone on the spectrum. For me, personally, the intellectual aspect of the job is not a problem. Neither are my people skills. But I have struggled with the vast amount of paperwork that comes with the job and the everyday chaos of patient care. Working in patient care in a hospital or elderly care facility will especially mean tons of unpaid overtime and hardly any time for a life outside of work.

    By no means do I want to scare you off. I worked in internal medicine, pulmonology and gastro-enterology before I decided to take an indefinite break from the hospital. I absolutely loved my job, but 60+ hour weeks, more patients than I could handle and constant sensory stress (phones, pagers, bleeping machinery) meant I really needed a break. It’s a situation of cumulative stress round the clock. Pretty much every new doctor has a breaking point in their first 6 months of being a doctor because it’s too much to handle for anyone. But you move on from that. If I could find a hospital that had their affairs in order with enough doctors and nurses I would go back in a heartbeat, but that’s a utopia and not realistic. Which is why I took a step back for a bit.

    However, direct patient care and being a doctor in a hospital are not the only options for a medical doctor. I’m waiting for a position to open up in radiology or medical microbiology. I’ve already worked in radiology for a while and I loved every second of it, but residency positions are very scarce so I had to find another job. I’ve worked in insurance medicine for two years now, which is not too stressful but also doesn’t allow me to treat patients. I’m about to start a new job as a supervisor for a huge network of patients on anticoagulants and anti diabetics where I oversee their treatment plans and adjust medication accordingly. Is it my dream job? No. But it will allow me to use my medical knowledge without having the stress of constant medical emergencies.

    Anyway, I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here. If you’re interested in being a doctor, go for it! It’s an amazing and rewarding job and being on the spectrum doesn’t make you any less qualified than other people. Just make sure to take care of yourself too :)
     
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  14. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    @Dadamen Thanks for the links. I will read later.
     
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  15. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    IIRC, @DocBee is a doctor, too.
     
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  16. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    That's an important thought you brought up. I never tell anyone in a position to make decisions over me about my Asperger's. I will NOT try to get special accommodations. Because just about anyone who asserts a "need to know" can access your medical records, I have taken care to make sure it never gets documented.

    People can and will discriminate. There can even be official approved discrimination, like not getting into certain schools or denied certain positions. I would never have served in the military. I could never have worked in highly classified position in aerospace. I believe that people must be judged on their actual behavior and not some distorted stereotype conjured up by neurotypicals.
     
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  17. Moonhart44

    Moonhart44 Active Member

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    My mom used to work with a doctor with autism
     
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  18. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    This really depends on which country you are in. For instance, I live in the Netherlands. The only people that can access my medical records are the doctors treating me at that time. If someone else wants access to my records, they have to write out specific questions to the doctors treating me and I have to sign off on those questions. If a doctor gives my medical information without my written permission they can be banned from being a doctor in our country for life.
     
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  19. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    In the US, i is very common to have to authorize employers to see your medical records or you just won't get hired. By not hiring people they consider "high risk" they used to be able to keep their medical insurance expenses down. "Preexisting conditions" is a very hot topic here in the health care debate. In 2014 discrimination because of preexisting conditions was prohibited but there are always exceptions.

    People with mental health issues can't be required to state this on their application. Once they get a job offer, however, they can be required to undergo an exam and to give their medical records to the employer for evaluation. If they decide you might not be able to do the job with "reasonable accommodation", the offer can be withdrawn. ("Reasonable" is always an opinion.) Or you can be officially denied employment for reason "X" when it was really reason "Y" hiding in the back of the employer's mind if you catch my meaning. The ball is now in your court to prove they are wrong.

    Now if you are enlisting in the military or applying for a position the government considers sensitive, you can be denied employment if anything at all shows up on your records because your clearance might be denied. (The clearance process is a classified government activity and not up to the employer. They decide if you are a security risk and there is no appeal.) Had I been diagnosed for depression or Asperger's or ADD at the time, I could not have spent 6 years in the National Guard nor could I have worked in aerospace for 9 years.
     
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